And Then There Was One... (2024)

Carl Smith News

And Then There Was One... (1)

After 16 years, 70 million combined YouTube views and a total online audience of over 700,000 people, the world’s most successful fishing brother duo, Carl and Alex, are parting ways.

We’ll start with the elephant in the room: we’ve heard you and Alex are going separate ways and ‘Carl & Alex’, as we know you, is no more? Please say that’s not so?
“I was surprised when Alex told me he was starting a new channel. I was even more surprised when he said he wanted to stop working with me full time on the Carl and Alex project! We’d made films together for 16 years, fished some incredible places and made so many great memories. At first I couldn’t understand why he’d want to go and do something else—what could be better than filming fishing? Now though, two weeks after he made the decision, I do understand his point of view.”

So it was entirely Alex’s decision?
“It was entirely Alex’s decision! I wouldn’t have suggested making this change, but he did have a good point! Siblings tend to get on each other’s nerves, especially when you spend a lot of time in their company. Alex wanted to spend quality time together, as brothers, rather than colleagues. Besides, over the last few years we’ve done everything together and worked alongside each other almost every day of the week! I’m excited to see where his new outdoors/travel focused ‘Just Alex’ YouTube channel goes. We’ll still be fishing together and filming a few videos for the newly re-named ‘Fish With Carl’channel.”

So what can we expect from you? Will all your films be vlog style now, just you on your own, or will you be heading out and filming with any vloggers/anglers?
“On my new channel, Fish With Carl, I’ll mostly be fishing with friends and family, as well as documenting my personal fishing. I’ve got plans to organise sessions with top anglers, like Tom Stokes, Martin Bowler and maybe Darrell Peck too. If opportunities come up to film with other YouTubers then that’s cool!”

What about your YT Fishing Tutorials channel—will that continue, and if so, in what capacity?
“At the start, Fishing Tutorials was mostly my project. Alex worked on it with me and helped a lot, but I desperately wanted to help beginners grow their fishing skills. Now that Alex is going to be busy on his new channel, I’ve found people to help me with Fishing Tutorials. Editing and filming is time-consuming and I would have been snowed under without support. I’m very excited to work with friend and now employee, Callan, to make more videos and help people enjoy their fishing and catch more along the way.”

Do you ever look back and reflect on what you’ve achieved? It really is mind-blowing. Almost half a million subscribers, 70+ million combined views, a merch line, and sponsorship with one of the biggest brands in fishing. Was this ever the ‘big picture’ or did it just happen?
“The dream was always to build ‘Fish Land’ (that’s a working title by the way—ha, ha!). Somewhere kids could learn from coaches at the fishing academy, watch fish being bred and grown on in aquariums and indoor ponds, and then develop their angling through the coarse and specimen carp lakes. Also on this site is a fish farm, woodland walks, family picnic benches, café, tackle shop, waterfalls and lakes where you can hand feed giant ornamental fish. It’s an elaborate dream, but whilst looking forward to the day I open ‘Fish Land’ to the public, I’m focused on entertaining people with the YouTube films. No doubt there will be a whole series of videos on theFish With Carl YouTube channel documenting the development of Fish Land—once I source funding to actually make it happen, of course!”

And Then There Was One... (2)

How scary was it making that jump from being employed by Nash to going it alone and making fishing films, and relying on your own revenue streams to give you a wage?
“Whilst scary, I didn’t have a lot of choice. I had been stressed and unhappy for too long. Once my own company was formed and my focus was on my own future, things felt entirely better! At first, it wasn’t a wise move financially. Our YouTube channel was 12-years-old and still hadn’t made a penny of profit. That began to change once 100% of our time was focused on growing it and making better films.”

Your growth after going full time on YouTube was incredible. Did you forecast that success or did it happen quicker than you expected?
“In a meeting with the team at Korda, I explained to them that within two years we’d have the biggest fishing YouTube channel in Europe. It was a ridiculous claim, but something inside said ‘you’ve gotta think big’. Thankfully, Danny and Damian at Korda trusted my instincts and decided to support our journey. Their backing meant the target was smashed ahead of time and I’m still humbled to this day that the top carp brand put their faith in us.”

Why do you believe you’ve been so successful?
“I’d love to say that Alex and I were born with wonderful skills and talents, but I’d be lying. We both struggled at school, couldn’t spell or do maths without a calculator, and certainly weren’t confident in public speaking or being on camera! There are two reasons we’ve done okay. Number 1 is supportive parents. They sacrificed a lot to drive us to ponds and rivers when we were younger. Number 2 is a willingness to work hard. Most of the time I work 7 days a week, sometimes this means very long hours at the desk editing. Whilst I wouldn’t encourage others to overwork themselves, if you want something that few people have, you need to do something few people will.”

Their 5 Biggest Films

1.The Most Expensive Koi Fish In The World! 8.5m views (uploaded 1 year ago)

2.Overnight Fishing at the Abandoned Quarry 2.1m views (uploaded 1 year ago)

3.BIG FISH live in unexpected places! Micro stream fishing 2m views (uploaded 2 years ago)

4.The Ultimate Multi Species Challenge 2m views (uploaded 1 year ago)

5.100+ EPIC Fishing moments 2m views (2 years ago)

Their Oldest Film

Method Feeder Fishing In Winter 180k views (uploaded 8 years ago)

And Then There Was One... (3)And Then There Was One... (4)And Then There Was One... (5)And Then There Was One... (6)And Then There Was One... (7)And Then There Was One... (8)

From an outsider’s perspective, it may look like you make a couple of fishing videos a week. But what is the real reality? How much time do you invest in answering viewer’s questions, replying to comments on social platforms, working on your merch lines, etc.?
“My aim is to make a couple of films a week, however I normally fall short of this target. There are hundreds of films I’ve not launched as I didn’t believe they were good enough. Ever been on YouTube and watched a film and found yourself skipping through or pressing dislike? That’s what I want to avoid posting! Having high standards is frustrating but rewarding in the long-term. In a week I’ll normally spend 1 day on the bank filming, 5 days editing and 1 day making plans and responding to comments. Our merch is very much a side hustle; I don’t devote time during the working week to this. My job is to deliver entertainment to the viewers, so the content remains a priority.”

Out of all the films you’ve made, which are you most proud of?
“The Reservoir Diariesseries documents me and Alex’s journey in carp fishing, taking on the challenges faced when fishing large waters. I think it was making these films which encouraged us to fish the huge waters in the U.S. I’m also fairly happy with the documentary I made about koi carp in Japan. This is a hard question, though, as proudness is a rare emotion for me—I tend to look at my work and see ways to improve it, rather than the things which made it good.”

Is it true that your first YT channel got deleted and you lost a ton of subscribers?
“Our first fishing channel reached 4k subscribers before we were locked out of our account (or hacked or something) and the channel disappeared. Before this I had a handful of channels where I posted silly animation videos, or video clips of my pet goldfish, but none of them really took off.”

And didn’t you recently have to delete a large number of films because of copyright issues with music? That must have hurt…
“Yes, around 200 videos from when we were younger got taken down due to copyrighted music. At the time of making them, YouTube and the record labels said they were fine, but once you start getting thousands of views it’s funny how people come knocking asking for money!”

And Then There Was One... (9)

What do your old school friends think about your success now? Those who took the piss that you went fishing and filmed yourself.
“Funnily enough, those who teased me at school about fishing aren’t my friends anymore. My pal, Ryan, was one of the few who stuck up for me and encouraged the YouTube/fishing thing, and he still joins me on the bank now. That reminds me, I need to feed his cat this evening as he’s on holiday.”

Do you get affected by the odd nasty comment nowadays or have you become thick-skinned over the years?
“If the negative comments are pointing out something important then I must listen. For example, as a kid I used to leave two rods out and wander along the bank stalking. We got some negative comments about that and so I learnt my lesson to always be on the rods! However, if the comments are just rude for no reason, then they get ignored. Time spent on those things is time wasted.”

For any keen vloggers wanted to follow in your footsteps, could you talk us through your kit—what camera do you use, and which are your favourite lenses?
“I shoot with a Sony A7Siii and a 24-70mm f4 Sony lens. The camera needs to be something you become comfortable with and can operate without thinking. It’s better you capture the moment with a phone or GoPro, than have a fancy camera and miss the important shot because you’re fiddling with settings.”

What advice would you give someone who wants to start their own YT channel?
“Start the channel because you want to help people, not to help yourself. I know a lot of people who did YouTube and gave up because they didn’t get rich in six months, or didn’t get ‘famous enough’. However, if I get big views on a video or not, it doesn’t ruin my love for the game because I’m doing it for the viewers, not for me. If you set out to help people learn, relax or be entertained then you are on your way to succeeding already. YouTube rewards generosity, just look at Mr Beast or Mark Rober to see this clearly.”

A few years back you suffered badly with social anxiety. How did you overcome that, and is it something you have to focus and work on today?
“There was a time when I couldn’t look people in the eye, when friendship was too overwhelming, let alone a relationship. I couldn’t take a train or visit a trade show without having a panic attack, and even presenting a video would stress me out to the point where I was crying! It seems so far away now and things are so much better. I used the ‘gentle exposure’ technique, where I put myself in challenging situations, but allowed myself to leave them as soon as it felt too much. Very gradually you can build up confidence, carefully and without too much pressure. Pushing through and trying to be ‘brave’ can work against you when anxiety is at play, this is what lead to my panic attacks.

“These days I still don’t find busy places easy, my comfort zone is at around 5 people maximum, but I’m now 2 years panic-free and that feels amazing. Talking personally is always okay. I hope my experiences will help others in some way. It’s important to be honest, open and talk to people, in most cases it’s the best thing you could do, for yourself or a friend.”

So what does the future hold for Carl and Alex?
“Alex will be travelling, learning new things and probably starting another 20 hobbies this year! He’ll be posting his films on his new channel‘Just Alex’. I will be fishing with Alex at some incredible places, teaming up with special guests and continuing to make helpful videos for the Fishing Tutorials channel.”

And Then There Was One... (10)And Then There Was One... (11)And Then There Was One... (12)

And Then There Was One... (13)

And Then There Was One... (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Barbera Armstrong

Last Updated:

Views: 6143

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (59 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Barbera Armstrong

Birthday: 1992-09-12

Address: Suite 993 99852 Daugherty Causeway, Ritchiehaven, VT 49630

Phone: +5026838435397

Job: National Engineer

Hobby: Listening to music, Board games, Photography, Ice skating, LARPing, Kite flying, Rugby

Introduction: My name is Barbera Armstrong, I am a lovely, delightful, cooperative, funny, enchanting, vivacious, tender person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.