Steve Pope Barbel Fishing

Catch more barbel!

December ’23 Update

Coming to the end of another year and I thought it was about time for an update.

Logging on to my website I see that I had started to write a draft back in January and reading it through it seems a good idea to use it here as an introduction, it fits well, I hope you agree.


I will be trying my best to put a monthly update on here, a sort of resolution if you like, they always mean well but have a habit of not lasting too long! I’m keeping my fingers firmly crossed that I can keep this one going!

Having spent a few days looking back over previous posts on here going back almost fourteen years I’ve concluded that in many ways that  it’s better on here than on Facebook and that’s where I’ve been putting stuff almost on a daily basis! More permanent, Facebook tends to be here today, gone tomorrow and in many ways that’s exactly how it’s meant to be.

I’ll continue with my daily musings because I actually enjoy Social Media and it’s my form of therapy. For sure I know lots of people on there but there are many I’ve never met but who I consider to be good friends now and that’s the beauty of Facebook. It certainly responds to how you treat it and I have no problems at all.

I’ve kept a Facebook page solely for fishing and that works well but for more indepth material you can’t beat a website, I can put a 2000 word article on here, can’t do that on Facebook!

So let’s look back over this past month or so, to be honest it’s been really quiet and that’s mostly been down to the weather.

Back in December I did get out to see Rod Srewart with my daughter Katie at the O2 and it was brilliant, one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. You simply have to love Rod, approaching eighty he’s still the coolest guy as far as I’m concerned!

Christmas Day was spent with Katie and her family and I came back home on Boxing Day, I don’t like being away for more than one night. Life for me has changed significantly since my two cats adopted me.

I’ve been itching to get out fishing though, the success I’ve had on my local stretch of river has truly inspired me and each day I have been checking the water levels and temperature because those two factors are absolutely key at this time of year.

Unfortunately for me, so far they haven’t come together !

The rains came and didn’t stop so instead of the perfect situation where an additional six feet of water filled the river it soon became ten feet which meant the river was unfishable and then it turned cold and as I type this the water temperature is around the 4.5 degree mark which is too cold and the level is falling back to almost normal level. Perhaps next week will offer a chance to have a go for the barbel.

Writing has been on my mind and I’ve completed two articles which will eventually see the light of day on here.

The first details my fishing on the upper Severn which will be in the next Barbel Fisher magazine, fishing close to home has rekindled my passion and there’s a real possibility of a special fish, my anticipation is reminiscent of how it used to be when fishing below Worcester.

The second is something completely different, it’s my cat story, how I found an attachment to the Birman breed and hopefully that will go out to members of the cat club where I’m a member. I’m really taken with the Birman world, the people I’ve come into contact with are so friendly, cats bring out the best in people that’s for sure.

As mentioned before I’m once again editing the Barbel Fisher magazine, I think this is my fourth stint over the past twenty eight years. I enjoy the job, it isn’t difficult but obviously it is completely dependant on gettig material in. We managed to get the last issue out in time for Christmas but then the postal strike scuppered us and delayed receipt for lots of members. The next issue will hopefully go out in May and if anyone reading this would like to put an article together then I’ll be only to happy to receive!

While on the subject of the Barbel Society, our 2023 show is now well on the way to being finalised and tickets are now on sale. It promises to be another great day out, apart from the two year break due to the pandemic we’ve been puttng on a show since 1996, that’s some effort in anyone’s language! As long as people come we’ll continue to provide the entertainment!

I mentioned cats and these days they are a massive part of my life. My pair have been with me for just over two years and I cherish every moment I spend with them which is pretty much every day 24/7. I’ve had pets throughout my life but this is the first time I’ve had the time to devote all my attention and the subsequent reward is huge. The love you take is certainly in direct relation to the love you give. The beauty of cats is that they are not demanding, they sleep a lot but instinctively know when I need some attention, they happily sit on my lap every day but only for twenty minutes or so, I can live with that!

Quite simply they truly are my life.

Football is still a big part of my life too and while Spurs continue to test their most loyal supprt my grandson is doing well over here and I’m following his progression with great interest.

Plenty of DIY to catch up on, not so much for my benefit more for my daughters to make my place easier to sell comes the day. Obviously we all want to keep the place we live as comfortable and up to scratch but at my time of life it isn’t really for me if that makes any kind of sense.

A new kitchen ceiling consisting of antique white painted timber cladding. New wall tiles and then a refurb of the kitchen units and a new cooker, should be finished before June! I’ll enjoy making it happen.

Outside there’s loads to do but laying new gravel to the front drive is the main job, I’m almost ready for that.

Approaching seventy three so although my mind is still mega active and I can do all this stuff my body is telling me to slow down so my work sessions are done in short bursts!

I still have guiding sessions booked in for the summer but I’m definitely easing up on those now and concentrating on venues closer to home, long drives are not for me anymore.

That was at the beginning of the year, I’ll bring you up to date with what unfolded during 2023.

Well I didn’t manage to maintain a monthly update, just didn’t happen!

I have kept regular posts on Facebook, literally every day so there’s always something to read on both my fishing and personal pages.

The two articles I referred to are now on the website and you can find then in the Articles section, I enjoyed writing both of them.

I’m still editing the Barbel Fisher magazine and have put two issues together this year. I enjoy the job but I’ve noticed how much harder it is getting features in, there seems to be a definite reduction in prospective authors and thats a shame because this is a high quality magazine and there are very few outlets for new writers. I’ll be trying hard to encourage people to send me their work hopefully there will be enough material for two more magazines in 2024.

The Barbel Show took place in Telford and was well received although the attendance was down but all those who came enjoyed some excellent speakers and I was happy to sit on the Q and A panel. My personal highlight was presenting The Fred Crouch Award to Des Taylor. I’ve known Des for a long time and he truly is the number one when it comes to specialist fishing in the UK, his Facebook podcast on a Friday night is watched by thousands and he goes from strength to strength, well done Des. Plans are already in place for the 2024 Show which will be held in the East Midlands where we hope to attract a new audience alongside those stalwarts who have always supported the Barbel Society.

My personal fishing hit an incredible high in February when I caught what I consider to be my best ever barbel. I’ve written an article describing how it came about and that’s in the December issue of Barbel Fisher, once the magazine has gone out I’ll put it up on here.

The quest for more will continue this winter and I hope there will be additional tales to tell.

My guiding was cut right back this year but we still managed some truly memorable days. Big nine pounders from the Severn and Wye and close on seventeen from my annual visits to the Trent.

My guiding will be slightly different in 2024 and I’ll be putting the details up on here very soon.

I managed some of the DIY jobs and enjoyed following my grandson Henry on his football journey and my two younger grandchildren have also shown great interest in football so there’s lots to look forward to.

Concert wise I caught up with UB40 and the Manfreds, both excellent and if I’m fortunate enough to make it to eighty then I hope I look like Paul Jones because he has unlocked his own secret to eternal youth!

As I type this Christmas is very much in my thoughts and I’ll be catching up with my family, it really is what life is about and you realise that so much more as you get older. You can leave a fishing legacy but what really counts is the impact you have made on people and the more positive that is the more you can rest easy.

Till the next time……..

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