Steve Pope Barbel Fishing

Catch more barbel!

December Update



There has never been a better time to join the Barbel Society. If you subscribe now you will still get the latest magazine and save on upcoming regional meetings and the upcoming Barbel Show which is not to be missed.

Check out the Barbel Society website for joining details and look at what’s on offer in this latest press release.

Press Release

The Barbel Society’s annual auction, for the R & C fund, finished on the 29th November and has raised once again in excess of £5,000.00

Pete Reading Chairman of the R & C Panel of The Barbel Society said :-

“ A big thank you must go to all the companies and individuals who had donated the lots for this auction. Without their generosity and the willingness of members to take part in the auction, we would be unable to continue with our financial assistance and advice to angling clubs or river environment improvement projects throughout the country.”

 The Barbel Society also announced improved benefits to this years membership, which includes a free entrance ticket to all members for the annual Show to be held at Hinckley on 9th May 2010, a probable third Barbel Fisher magazine, and a new category Family membership at £30 a year, for a member & partner plus two Juniors.

The annual membership fee to the Society is £25.00 for new members, with reduced fees for Senior Citizens, registered disabled persons and under 18’s.

All classes of membership run from June 16th – June 15th annually





A Christmas Carol


Don Caliendo aka The Don

Don Caliendo


Anglers give names to special fish and one named “Carol” was special to many barbel anglers but for reasons different among the many opposing views held.

 Carol was resident in a syndicated river, the syndication being controversial from the outset, and when occasionally captured weighed greater than last time breaking the BRFC record she had set before.

One syndicate member of traditional angling values didn’t agree with the Glory Hunting new boys who constantly pursued Carol feeding her high protein baits to increase her weight. He hadn’t fished the river since the syndicate had been taken over by these upstarts who didn’t care for fish welfare like him but only Glory for them. He cared more for Carol than those who targeted her.

 He telephoned the Secretary, a friend of his, intending to resign on principle and explain his views. His friend listened respectfully and countered with the considerable improvements made by the syndicate all with fish welfare and conservation as main objectives. He hadn’t spoken with his friend for some time now and although he enjoyed the conversation eventually they had to agree to disagree. Out of respect for his pal he didn’t resign but said he wouldn’t renew next season. The secretary suggested he revisit the river and fish at least once more before a decision was made for there was a long waiting list following return of a permit

He visited to walk the stretch. Spoke with some old and newer members; at least some had hair not like him. They were not bad blokes and gave him some good tips over techniques he had read about but was not familiar with. He was also surprised at the many careful improvements made since his last visit proudly shown to him by newer members who knew of his name as a respected angler but had never met him before. This all inspired him to come and fish there again.

 He phoned to book a date and the next available was disappointly the 25th of December … but then he thought why not? Probably have the river to himself !!

Having carefully prebaited the wife with an expensive pre Christmas necklace gift of her choice she willingly drove him after Christmas lunch and his too many glasses of Port to arrive at the river before dark. As he had anticipated no other angler was there

 Tackled up he cast into a well known swim, prepared to sit comfortably and patiently watch his rod end isotope for signs of action.

It seemed almost immediately the rod end banged round and he was into a good fish. What a fight she put up and he wondered if the new rig end shown to him would be up to it. He gained confidence when stopping her runs as it became clear it would.

Despite himself hecouldn’t help hoping it was her and desire for Carol increased as his previously held opinions weakened and faded from reconsideration since his walk about visit.

Banked she weighed 23lbs.Another record-breaking weight for Carol as he recognised her distinguishing features from photos in the clubs hut.

Photographs !!! Witnesses !! He searched in vain for his mobile phone,,,, Ooh no!!.. Was it lost in the panic of landing her?

 Then in the dark he felt a friendly presence and hand on his shoulder.

Heard his wife’s voice.

” Wake up… wake up…its time to go home”




 I have just added a piece by Fred Bonney to the Articles section. It is written in similar vein to the above and ever so slightly tongue in cheek!

Fred put this one together some time ago when product placement in features was an issue and the fishery in question was producing colossal barbel.

I’ve included a couple of shots of Fred here, as you read the article you will see why!



 Chub 6lb4ozs Throop






I asked my good friend Graham Elliott to put together a few words and pictures to give you some idea of what to expect on next years Wye Adventures.

Graham paints a marvellous picture and the dates for next season are sure to sell out quickly so don’t delay.

I’ve fished with Graham on a number of occasions and am really looking forward to joining forces with him next year to ensure everyone who comes along has a really great time.

With Christmas just around the corner, booking one of the scheduled trips would make a terrific present!



Here’s a lovely little report from Dave and Marilyn Brown, Barbel Society stalwarts and Regional Co-Ordinators. With the weather as it is at the moment it’s nice to be reminded of sunnier climes!


It seems ages ago that we were on holiday fishing on the river Kennet back in October, with no rain the water levels were seriously low, and we sat there in nice weather with the rods motionless for three days, roll on summer!

The fishing down south came to an end for us and we returned home to Lancaster,

Back to the winds and rain. But not for long, a fortnight later we had a bigger climate change as we landed in Goa, India.

 Dave Brown

It was the end of the Hindu festival of light, a bit like our Easter, with lots of candles and lanterns hanging outside houses and temples, it was quite splendid. There we enjoyed a lovely holiday, relaxing, visiting temples and a local market (that was quite an experience) we also visited a spice plantation that was very interesting.


At the plantation Mal got to wash and ride the elephant, which she had wanted to do for years. We also went on a boat trip and saw dolphins in the wild, handled sea urchins and did some fishing, well sort of.

 Dave Brown3

All the people on the boat were given a hand line; the breaking strain was about 15lb and the hook about a size 8 with a one-ounce weight, squid was the bait. The bites came quickly but much too fast to hit, the bait disappeared in seconds!

As usual I kept chatting away saying any minute I will catch one. Dave in the meantime was triumphant and caught a 4-inch Blue Momma.

 Dave Brown 2

Proud of himself he held it up and smiled at me and said, “Look at the trouble you get in if you don’t keep your mouth shut!”

 Watching him put it back and quietly laughing to himself, I tried to catch a fish without talking but failed.

Now we are back home, and of course all the very heavy rain. There has been snow on the hills and of course Christmas is coming.

 I’ve finished knitting cardigans for the grandchildren; we have bought all the presents and are now busy delivering them all over the country.

We were home in time for the Barbel Society Auction and Dave secured two fishing rods for me as mine broke at the end of October.

All in all its been a lovely year for us and we will welcome next year with lots of enthusiasm and hopefully some wonderful fishing on the Kennet and Severn in the warm sunny weather with no rain and lots of beautiful barbel and of course wonderful friends.

Merry Christmas to all and have a wonderful 2010.

 Dave & Marilyn Brown



Here’s an amusing little tale from my great pal, Mr. Barbel himself, the one and only Fred Crouch.

Now that he’s worked out how to use the memory stick, Fred will be contributing regular features on here!

Mr. Barbel


 Fred’s Christmas Tale.

Here’s a little festive tale that may give you a giggle – it certainly had me in stitches.   It happened on a Boxing Day in the late 1980’s.   My hopeless but good mate Willy had badgered me into spending a few hours on a local small relief channel of the river Lee.   I didn’t realise there were barbel in this particular piece of water, nor would you if you saw it.   It was only a couple of feet deep, fairly clear and had no noticeable flow.   Dead reed beds were in a state of normal winter decomposition and it was absolutely freezing.

Willy told me he had only blanked there once and as we started to assemble our gear I asked him how many times he’d fished there and he said twice!   It didn’t surprise me after three hours to see the light fading without so much as a sign of fish life.

As my brain got ice-bound I realised I had to somehow repay Willy for his kind invitation to suffer brass monkey syndrome in that useless place while all normal folk were enjoying Xmas leftovers and warmth.

As Willy walked a few steps away for a quick jimmy I grabbed the chance to flip my light end rig over his line.   He was using a small paste bobbin as an indicator.   All I had to do was slowly but surreptitiously twist my reel until I had contact and then the merriment could begin.

Just the slightest tweak was enough to draw his heron like stare to the indicator.   The fingers on his right hand began to flex as it hovered over the rod.   He was new to barbel fishing and I took full advantage.   Using a voice tone to suggest a possible monster I told him to wait until I gave the word to act.

With his expectant hand going up and down like a fiddler’s elbow I struggled to suppress my laughter.   The bobbin was dancing with increasing violence while I just kept telling him to wait until I, on the point of bursting gave line a good tug and shouted “go.” 

With the speed the rod went back if there had been a fish on it would have ended up in Heathrow Airport’s flight path.   After he blasted out a volley of expletives at missing such a banker bite it was confession time, which he took with good grace.   I have to say he got his own back big time a couple of years later in Yugoslavia but that’s another story.     


















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