Steve Pope Barbel Fishing

Catch more barbel!

August Update

It has been ages since I last put out an update, no real excuses just been rather busy!

On the writing front  I’ve had to ensure I hit the deadline for my Fishing Magic Diary and I’ve put something together for the Think Tank feature in Coarse Angling Today and I’ve started working on my book, but more on that later.

Loads to cover since I arrived back in the UK, it seems a long time ago since I was on the beach in Manly but one things for sure I certainly brought the sun back with me!

Not sure that has done us any favours with the fishing but has meant the tan hasn’t disappeared!

I have completed my June and July Fishing Magic Diaries and there is plenty of fishing content in those, the June edition has now gone live  and I’ve put a link up in the last message on my blog, otherwise keep looking in on Fishing Magic and you will see it there.

So where shall we start?

The Barbel Show is the best place as that’s where I found myself just a couple of days or so after returning home from Australia.

I set off on the shortish drive from my cottage to Rich Frampton’s house in Telford, arriving there early in the morning we then set off for the new show venue in Kenilworth.

We were first to arrive at the hotel and as it was my first visit I was immediately impressed with the layout, it was clear that this venue would be a winner.

Later in the day, as Barbel Society members began to arrive,  we went through our annual general meeting which went well with no major issues.

Late afternoon turned to dinner time and I joined those who had elected to eat at the hotel for an enjoyable couple of hours before deciding to hit the sack earlier than is usual for me. You have to bear in mind that although my body was now in the Midlands part of my head was still in Sydney and it wasn’t a surprise that tiredness had set in.

Up bright and early, the exhibitors began to arrive, our ever faithful sound and vision team were already setting up their gear, things were coming together – all we needed now was for the people to start coming through the door!

And right on cue they started to arrive …… droves! We had a really good turnout, the new venue , an excellent date, the speakers, the added attraction of a book launch and plenty of exhibitors had obviously struck a chord, it was great to see!

The day flew by, everyone had a good time, to put it mildly…it was a resounding success.

Here are a few pics from the day;






The Barbel Society Show will be back at the same venue in 2014, a little earlier because the hotel is popular and fully booked on our first choice dates. We’ll also be back in 2015 and that will be in June, you now have to book these hotels two years in advance.

Hope to see you all there once again.

Back home I didn’t rush out on the first day of the season, too much to sort out after being away so long and I had a date to keep in Coventry with The Boss.

The garden had become a jungle and was in dire need of some serious attention, I’ve only just about got on top of it!

As I type this it’s raining and that’s a rare sight these past few weeks, at long last we can actually say we are having a summer!

There is a brand new winery just opened less than a mile away and judging by the cars in the carpark it’s doing well, the Hunter Valley has come to the Vale of Kerry!




Then, a week into the new season and I was on the Wye to catch up with Chris,my guest for the day.

I had booked the stretch at Llanthomas , near Hay, for a guding day but due to unforeseen circumstances the chap had to cancel, fortunately for me Chris, who had won a days fishing with me on the BS Auction – he has three days to put up with in actual fact! – was able to come along and everyone was happy.

If you read my Fishing Magic Diary you will see that the fishing was quite hard, I thought we would get a few more chances but we had one and the result was a stunning looking barbel just two ounces of f that magic ten pounds mark.

I stayed overnight, the air was warm and I slept like a log, mind you I was up at first light ready for a day in the company of Martin Salter.

Martin is very well known in Angling circles and I had been looking forward to meeting up on the river for some time.

Martin eventually pulled up in front of the hut and we were also joined by Will Barnard and Adrian Eves. Geoff Maynard who owns the fishery turned up as well.

Once again the fishing proved to be quite tough, I did manage to nab two barbel in quick succession but apart from some chub that was it.

However as I said in my diary this session was more about meeting people than catching fish and I for one thoroughly enjoyed the company of everyone!

Before the week was out I was back on the fishery with that larger than life character Bobby Baker, mind you compared to his old man he’s really a pussycat! Bobby had arranged a day with me for his dad and his good business pal and the pressure was on to produce the goods. I tried and I tried but all to no avail, the fish and that included the chub were just not having any of it – it goes like that sometimes!

Back home after chilling out by walking to the top of Montgomery castle in the morning, I took it out on my old timber greenhouse, razing it to the ground – it felt good!

Sometimes frustration has to be vented and that seemed as good a way as any!


I had a rendezvous to keep near to Clevelode where I had a BS committee meeting to attend.

Over the years along with my wife, I try to catch up with a group of friends we have known for many years. We have kept in good contact with Geraldine and Ray but not with all.


This year was the first time all of us had been together for the best part of thirty years and it was good to meet again after so long, all of us from North London and we’ve known each other since the late sixties.

The sun came out, we had a wonderful time and to cap it all we enjoyed Sunday afternoon watching Murray demolish Novak in the Wimbledon Final.

Geraldine and Ray have a fabulous house, nestling in stunning countryside on a very small private estate, the ideal setting for a get together especially when the sun is shining.

The only downside to the weekend was me falling prey to some sort of allergy that rendered me completely useless at the committee meeting! Not only that, it prevented me from attending the Barbel School which was a huge personal disappointment, thankfully I was not missed and the School weekend was a great success, well done Rob.

After that my time was spent on the Kennet and over a four day period the fishing gradually improved to the point where I managed to nab an early morning double which really did please me.

Then it was off to the Wye and the first of this year’s Wye Valley Experiences.



The conditions were not conducive to good fishing, blazing hot sun, clear blue skies and very low river levels – we should have been sunbathing on the beach!

Barbel were caught but boy was it hard.

Mind you no one was complaining, these breaks are about having fun as well as catching fish – and enjoying the place where we stay, the fabulous Caer Beris Manor Hotel.

It’s only a week to go before I set off to Builth Wells for the second trip, I’m hoping the rain that has fallen ove rthe past few days will have at least freshened the river, it’s hardly likely to have affected the level.

Once again the week was all about getting to know a group of characters who until the Sunday afternoon had bar one or two, neve rmet each othe rbefore. It’s always interesting observing how the chemistry unfolds as the days go by, it really is fascinating to watch! A sort of high class Fishing Big Brother!

A few pics;





I also took time out to call in on my lower Severn stretch, I haven’t been tempted to wet a line there yet.

I bumped into Geoff, an old friend who knows his stuff, he had put in eight short sessions for just two barbel – my decision already vindicated!

This time last year the spring rain had pushed the barbel into the venue and the fishing was good from the off, even when the levels fell. This time though with no rain the barbel are just not there, they will be though – when enough rain falls to add a foot or so of fresh water, then I’ll get the rods out.


Then it was a trip back to London, well Wimbledon via St. Albans.

My youngest daughter was just days away from giving birth and we called in to see her before the heavy stuff began.

I predicted she would have a girl and she would weigh six pounds twelve ounces. I’m not entirely sure where the weight came from, must have been thinking small barbel or big chub! I knew for certain that I would be getting a grandaughter.

After spending the night in Wimbledon with our other daughter Amy we received the call in the morning that the baby had arrived and we should set off for the hospital in Stevenage.

The caller, our daughter Katie, informed us we had a granddaughter and she weighed in at 6-12……..I will be doing the lottery this week!



So you can see it’s been a pretty eventful few weeks!

As I write this my other daughter is up in a plane on her way with Henry to catch up with all of us, I’m looking forward to a family photo with the latest additions!

A busy month ahead for sure.



Earlier on I mentioned my book.

I’ve been thinking about it for some time and the success of the Barbel Society book has prompted me to get my finger out. I’m giving myself eighteen months to bring it to fruition, I know what’s required and have all the necessary contacts so it’s just down to me producing the words, 100,000 of them!

That’s thirty or so articles or fifty Diaries or blogs, it’s a lot!

I know I can put 2000 words together reasonably quickly and now I have the basic layout in my head the words should flow. The difficulty is searching through the boxes of books, papers, notes and letters where I have a treasure trove of archive material – lots of interesting stuff to scan in that definitely hasn’t been seen before.

I will be producing a few specials, a decent number of leather bounds and a good quantity of hardbacks. I really want to be able to price the hardbacks very competitively.

Also by including non – fishing chapters I hope I can increase the appeal, might even sell copies in Australia!

Anyway I’ll keep you posted on here how things progress but this is where I’m at now and I’ll see where this takes me;


Reflections of My Life – A Barbel Fisher’s Story


1. Foreward – Fred Crouch

2. Born To Fish

3. School Days – Growin’ Up

4. One Day We’ll be Millionaires

5. My Dad

6. My Mate Fred

7. My Rivers; Lea

8. Kennet

9. Severn

10. Ouse

11. Teme

12. Wye

13. Obsession

14. Sponsored

15. Barbel Catchers Club

16. The Barbel Society – Being chairman

17. Spurs

18. Gigs

19. Friends

20. Family

21. Being grandad

22. Canada

23. Australia

24. Magical Places

25. Blogging

26. On The Road

27. Guiding

28. The Future

29. Guest chapter 1

30. Guest chapter 2

31. Guest chapter 3

32. Guest chapter 4

33. Guest chapter 5



That’s the lot for now, enjoy your fishing, see you soon,





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