Fishing brothers Carl and Alex are well known for their inspiring and entertaining fishing videos on YouTube. The pair, both in their early twenties, are also highly regarded in the industry for their work with popular tackle and bait brand Nash.
It was, therefore, a surprise when in a recent video they revealed they’d be leaving Nash in order to focus more on their own channel ‘Carl and Alex Fishing’.
We caught up with the ambitious siblings to find out why they took the decision and what the future may hold…
Q) How long have you been making videos for your channel?
Carl: So long ago we can’t even remember the year! We would have been about 10 years old, though, because it was soon after moving house away from all our friends. Fishing the lake in the woods gave us a great project, and filming it added another dimension.
Q) How long did you work for Nash?
Carl: I worked there for five years, Alex a little less.
Q) How and why did you come to the decision to leave Nash?
Carl: When we noticed that our films were regularly reaching more people than the videos we were paid to produce, we started to think about working full time on our own content. To be honest, due to our love for the Nash team, we tried our absolute best to work on both Nash and Carl and Alex films. This wore us down, to the point where we were struggling to get everything done. I decided to streamline our workload and begin focusing on our number one passion – making videos about our adventures!
Q) What was Nash like to work for as a company?
Carl: Deadlines were troublesome at times, but the fact that everyone had fun and the company’s family spirit kept us all sane was brilliant! We hugely appreciate the time we spent working with Nash, and we learnt so much about fishing, filming and business. It prepared us to become self-employed and step out into the world independently, without a guaranteed income!
Q) What was the reaction from the Nash team, friends, family and fans?
Carl: The reactions went a bit like this. Friends: “WOW, go for it guys!’ Family: “You should have done this years ago!” Fans: “Awesome, this means more videos!” The reaction from the Nash team was broad, from tears and congratulations, to smirking, thinking we’d lost the plot.
Q) You have seen your channel grow from 100 to 100,000 subscribers. Why do you think you have become so popular?
Carl: This question reminds us of a time when our content really wasn’t popular! There were four years or more when barely anyone watched our films, and those that did often left pretty negative comments. It was a strange time, because we loved making videos and going fishing, but we were so poor at angling and filming that people really were not impressed. Luckily the hate comments and messages didn’t discourage us and we just kept filming and learning. A few years later, around the time of ‘Quest for a 20lb Carp’ and ‘Park Lake Campaign’, people became more positive about our films, their visual quality had improved and we were catching some better fish.
Things just grew from there, with our videos gaining audiences across Europe and in the USA too! What seemed to help with our popularity was being very honest, showing our mistakes, and sharing our struggles as well as successes. People could relate to this, and the ups and downs helped us tell stories which they engaged with.
Q) Since starting your channel, what have been your most memorable moments?
Carl: A few big captures stand out as moments we will never forget: landing the three biggest carp in a 280-acre reservoir, and the capture of a sturgeon just under 10ft long was truly mind blowing! Meeting Omi (now my partner) while out fishing on the canal in the snow was quite memorable too! I’m sure Alex would put his recent capture of a 5lb-plus perch high on his list.
Q) Who or what inspired you not only to pursue this as a career but to start a fishing channel in the first place?
Carl: Starting a fishing channel was just so that we could store our videos somewhere and not worry about our camera breaking and losing our clips. As things grew and an audience developed, people like Jon B and Victor from Ich Geh’ Angeln inspired us to work hard on our videos and think about making it our career.
Q) You are going to be living the dream, but to come to this decision must have meant the channel takes a lot of work. What goes into making a successful YouTube channel? Is it easy?
Carl: Our dream has always been to fish and film all around the world and inspire as many young people as possible to fish too, mostly because as kids we had no friends who liked fishing and we don’t want others to be in that situation!
Making videos is the best job in the world for us, as we are hugely inspired by storytelling, filming, editing and, of course, the fishing. However, behind the scenes there are hundreds of comments and emails to try to reply to all the time, and the video editing process takes days and sometimes weeks of concentration and effort.
Q) We have seen you go on some pretty crazy and inspiring adventures over the years. Where is the best place you have fished?
Carl: Canada, Slovenia and Iceland were all incredible places to wet a line, but I think Alex’s most recent trip to Tennessee in the USA might just top it all. He boated out into a lake so big you can’t see the other side, camped up for two weeks and caught numbers of huge carp, most of which had probably never been caught before! Stay tuned for the video coming very soon!
Q) We have seen you fish some very bizarre waters. What was the most unusual of them all?
Carl: A shipping canal between the Great Lakes in Michigan was pretty mental – cargo ships are huge and move so much water that all your rods are peeling off at once. Even more crazy was when all the fish fed hard at the same time and we ended up hooked into a carp ripping line towards a ginormous ship! We also dangled some bread into some service station ponds on a long journey when we got bored. Despite there being no signs indicating ‘no fishing’ we did end up in rather a lot of trouble with the police and are now banned from almost every service station on the M25!
Q) You always seem to have fun and a good laugh on the bank, even when in awkward situations. What would you say are your funniest moments?
Carl: We go fishing to relax, have fun and enjoy ourselves. Yes, we want to catch big fish, but much more we just want to chill out and spend our life doing something outdoors. We’ve had our fair share of slips and falls, mostly ending up neck-deep in a lake laughing our heads off.
On a pretty hilarious night session, a friend of ours had just landed a big linear, and while holding it up for the camera in the late-evening darkness, two head torches appeared on the far margin. They began moving towards us, two figures in high-vis jackets. It was then that our friend remembered he had forgotten to buy his rod licence. Certain that these two figures were from the Environment Agency, we frantically tried to buy a licence online, before deciding that reeling in and hiding would be a better option.
We desperately didn’t want our friend to be fined, and as we panicked and came up with some poor excuses the figures strolled up. Nervously we just stared at the two women, who asked politely if ‘we’d seen any newts!’ They were just wildlife geeks, who wanted to try and find a rare newt, not at all interested in our friend’s rod licence slip-up!
Q) We know you fish for pretty much any species, but do you have a favourite?
Carl: Perch, barbel and carp are all super-awesome!
Q) In your latest video you mention some work you have been doing managing a local syndicate water. What’s that been like?
Carl: I’ve been keen to improve the access at a small pool we know of as ‘The Secret Lake’. It’s a lovely secluded place, but the reeds, pads and bushes have made it almost impossible to fish. With the lease for the fishing rights secured, it’s now time for us to make it a little more accessible for the members.
Q) You have fished with some of the country’s best anglers, but who have you learned the most from?
Carl: We’ve picked up little bits of information from everyone we’ve fished with, but Alan Blair taught us the importance of energy and staying on the move. That has resulted in more fish captures for us than anything else.
Q) What plans for the future?
Carl and Alex: We want to make more, and better, films for the people who enjoy watching them. We’d like to help with protecting lakes for the future of fishing, particularly free park lakes and village ponds, the sort of places where kids can learn to fish without paying big bucks for a day ticket or club membership.
Q) Advice to others wishing to follow the same path?
Carl and Alex: Go for it! Whatever inspires you in life, providing it doesn’t hurt other people, is well worth pursuing. One thing making our YouTube films has taught us is that inspiration is rife, delivery is all but absent. It’s scary to follow up on an idea because there’s a risk of it not working out. In our opinion, though, having regret in old age is far more daunting than giving things a go while you’ve got the chance.