Steve Pope Barbel Fishing

Catch more barbel!

Beginning of April Update


Well its been a month since I last put an update on here so before I kick off sincere apologies for my tardy behaviour!

My old mate Bob Roberts has been giving me a hard time but I just can’t write as quickly as he can!

However I have been very busy, I’ve written four articles that will see the light of day in the coming months and along with loads of other stuff I’ve managed to let this slip.

In view of recent developments these features are likely to appear sooner rather than later and probably on here.

But I’ll start off by describing my last barbel session of the season.




My intention was to hit the river on the Thursday and stay until the Monday night, fishing for most of the time, and grabbing some sleep in my caravan but you know what they say about good intentions.

I duly arrived on the Thursday and managed to get plenty of hemp down, losing a couple of droppers in the process. Even when you know where the snags are you sometimes hit a bad day!

But after three hours of endeavour there were no signs and I retreated to the pub where I was due to meet up with Paul Garner, The Doc.

Paul pulled into the carpark right on time and we were soon enjoying a decent carvery while talking business which I will expand upon later.

I went back to the river for a couple more fruitless hours and Paul went back home to grab a few hours rest before setting off to the Angling Show.

I started bright and early on Friday and picked up a nice barbel just shy of eight pounds very quickly, thoughts entered my head that perhaps it was going to be a good day.

Four hours later and I concluded that the barbel I caught earlier must have been lost, he definitely wasn’t in a crowd, so I retired once again for another carvery, you would too when it costs just a few pence over the fiver!

Suitably nourished, well actually fully bloated would be a better description, I fished on and was rewarded when the pin started to scream as barbel number two picked up the small pellet bait.

This one tipped the scales at an ounce over ten pounds, I was indeed a happy bunny! 

Looking at the photo you would never guess the weight of that fish, photo’s often mislead. For sure there are anglers who would deliberately set out to deceive, but I don’t believe they are great in number and they only deceive themselves.

I could quite easily post any number of pictures in my collection that would cause you to doubt the weight. Certainly from the old days when we had no way of seeing the shot until we picked up the prints from Boot’s days later.

So while I’m on the subject , don’t jump to conclusions when you see a photo that doesn’t seem to do the fish justice, yes it may be a deliberate deception but it’s far more likely to be the camera telling fibs!

Back on the river I made a decision and decided to head back home and make a return on the Sunday morning.

But the temperature started to fall over the next twenty four hours and to be honest I didn’t fancy another 120 mile round trip so concluded that the double would be my last barbel of the season.

Instead of sitting by the river the last day of the season was spent typing away looking out across the countryside dreaming of the summer days to come.

I’ll be looking forward to fishing the Lower Severn once again comes the new season and I really must spend more time down there in the autumn. The river has plenty of double figure barbel it’s just that there are so few barbel anglers fishing it these days, perhaps I should be happy about that and continue to enjoy myself on the banks happy in my quiet solitude!






Well its arrival has certainly caused a stir!

It is very different but with the likes of Ian Welch, Mark Barrett, Mick Brown and myself writing regularly there will be no shortage of good fishing content.

We could debate till the cows come home the more racy content but for every one person who may be offended there are 100 out there who have bought the magazine.

My local Tesco’s had a dedicated rack on the middle shelf with a dozen or so copies on the launch day, a couple of days later they had all been sold and that has certainly been the case all around the country.




Well I’m sure you already know but F ‘n’ T is no more!

Has to be the shortest lifespan of perhaps any magazine in recent history and the question is why?

Well as I said above and before the demise the magazine format certainly divided opinion and good friends of mine like Bob Roberts and Lol Breakspear have eloquently expressed their own reservations.

Let me go back to just before Christmas, it was then that I read that a new publisher was looking for people to help out on a fishing magazine that was being put together.

Funnily enough I read this on BFW on a thread were there was a lot of talk about the dearth of new writers etc, etc. I decided to contact the publisher to say I was interested in contributing articles and to look at my website to get an idea of what I’m about.

A week or so later they got in touch and said they liked what they had seen and would like me to write for them, they said the editor would be giving me a call.

I was really pleased that an opportunity had arisen and I was going to write for a new magazine, I had obviously got in early.

I wonder if all those who had been moaning oand groaning on the forum had actually put their money where their mouths consistantly are?

I then received an email from the editor, a guy I already knew from contact with the Angling press, and we discussed the type of article that was required, at this stage I knew the magazine title but not the format, I set to work on a feature for a mid January deadline.

I became concerned because there was no further contact until I received a call from Mark Barrett telling me he was now the editor and the other guy had taken up a position elsewhere, Mark then made me aware of the magazine format.

The idea of a Lad’s magazine made sense because I saw this as a way of attracting advertising outside of the Angling world.

I saw the idea as a Lad’s mag with a fishing content and that is not the same as a fishing mag with Lad’s content.

Knowing just how difficult it is at the moment trying to attract advertising the knowledge that this would be a hybrid mag , with weight behind it from the successful car magazine already being produced by the publishers, I thought it would be easier to attract advertising from other areas.

Now let me say at this point that I was quite excited about all of this, Mark was very keen, I knew the likes of Ian Welch were onboard and I saw this as a great  opportunity. I enjoy writing, I saw it as a way of promoting myself to a new younger audience and also a way to promote the Barbel Society, pretty much a nobrainer.

I’ve written for the weeklies and all the monthlies but never on a regular basis, so the thought of a monthly half dozen pages and having a reasonably free reign in a world where chances don’t come every day, this was too good to resist.

Now I know there are those saying how the hell can a sixty year old connect with the younger generation, well having met up with plenty of younger barbel fishers this past season and having three daughters who keep on my case I can safely say without fear of ridicule that I can quite easily connect with the youngsters. And no Bob that doesn’t mean I have to start speaking like someone from South London or wear my cap back to front, there are plenty of thirty somethings at a Boss, Stones or Who concert!

And finally sixty is the new forty anyway and Baby Boomers are forever young, phew had to get that off my chest and come up for air!!

I touched base with a number of people including well respected journalists and the view was that everyone had to see the first issue before passing judgement. Also to a man everyone agreed that as long as those writing stayed true to themselves then from a fishing content perspective everything would be fine.

And looking at the first and now only issue most agree that the fishing content was pretty good.

My personal view was that the speech bubbles were a bad idea and the cover was far from ideal. The strap lines were not funny or sharp enough and there were far too many pictures of the same lady throughout. If I had been sitting at a board meeting I would have expressed that view.

To appeal to a younger audience doesn’t mean lowest common denominator, one only has to look at a magazine like Top Gear or Stuff to realise that this concept will work as long as it is done smartly.

My view was that adverisers would have remarked in a similar vein and the magazine would have evolved accordingly, so thats not me jumping ship its me passing what would have been constructive criticism.

However its not to be and the fault ultimately lies with a flawed business plan.

The sales would have worked out, I’ve no doubt about that, the advertising should have been in place or sufficient funds set aside to get through the first three issues.

But hey, thats life, nothing ventured, nothing gained as they say.

And it is always better to have tried and failed than never to try at all.

I don’t believe for one instant that it was a mistake to get involved and I have to say there has been a good deal of hypocrisy from some quarters in regard to the outright condemnation of the format, I won’t go into detail but I easily could!

If I had posted on here back in January that a new magazine was about to hit the market and new writers were needed and would be paid handsomely you would have  had every scribe knocking on the door and likely to be trampled in the stampede!

So thats it, we all move on and wait till the next door opens which it surely will because thats how life works!

This is another  perspective HERE.




As my adopted favourite comedian Max Boyce once said, I was there, well I was the last time we played Real Madrid. Don’t remember too much of the game other than we lost!

 The last time Real Madrid played Tottenham at WHL, UEFA Cup qf 1985

I do remember all the Tottenham players from that era though, I hardly missed a game back then, had one of the best seats in the house;

I managed to find the programme, packed away in one of the stack of boxes in the store at the end of the garden,

Looking at those team sheets I reckon Spurs have a better line up today but then again so do Real! But even so I reckon we’ll beat them this time, just a feeling. Mourinho is probably my favourite manager, next to ‘arry of course, and you never know if ‘arry does go for the England job which he would be mad to take, then the door is open for Jose down at the Lane.

Well that’s what my brother tells me and he’s more in touch with the modern day game than my goodself.

Now when we play Barcelona in the semi I must find the programme for the last time Spurs played them because we sponsored the match and the Pope name is on the cover!

I think we lost that one as well to a Ray Clemence bloomer.

Roll on next week and the first leg.




 Back in the mid sixties fishing for perch was one of my favourite past times. The Walthamstow reservoirs was my venue and along with my school pals we caught literally hundreds of them, some good ones as well.

Not quite the sizes that are around today but plenty in the pound to pound and a half bracket with the odd one making two pounds. Most were between half and three quarters of a pound. Great fun when you’re fifteen years old.

We caught them on worms and livebaits.

And nothing changes because both baits were the order of the day when I visited a local lake in search of three, even four pounders.

So far the biggest I’ve had weighed 2 – 9, but I’m sure it won’t be too long before a three is gracing my landing net.

I had forgotten how stunning a nice sized perch actually looks in the flesh, that alone is a good enough reason to seek them out once again.







  I mentioned my meeting with The Doc earlier, I’m pleased to say that I have now become part of the PegOne Team.

This is a new and exciting development from the massive Nash empire and Paul is heading it up.

I’m sure there will be many new and interesting items of tackle that will appeal to the barbel angler and I’ll be keeping you up to speed with what is happening on here.

Check out the PegOne website HERE.               





Reading my brother’s Facebook page I was reminded how much I enjoyed this band back in the early seventies.

The first time I saw them they came on stage wearing the outfits they wore on the cover of the first album, The Human Menagerie, and I doubt there were fifty people in that smoke filled room somewhere in North London.

I was hooked from that first gig and over the following years I saw them countless times as they became more and more popular culminating in that song that everyone has heard, Make me Smile.

The original bass player was killed in he Lockerbie air disaster while flying off on honeymoon and the bands personnel changed out of all recognition.

I loved the lyrics of the songs and this one remains my favourite;

I have loads more to put on here, lots of Barbel Society news , but I’ll save that till next week otherwise this update will be delayed even more.

Off to the Ritz ( Another brilliant Cockney Rebel tune) on Sunday, looking forward to that.

See you soon,


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