Steve Pope Barbel Fishing

Catch more barbel!

Early August Update



Yesterday after what has seemed an eternity I finally managed to meet up on the riverbank with a great friend of  mine, Lol Breakspear.

I don’t really want to think about how long it has been since we last met up to fish but lets just say if the next time takes as long we may both be sitting in our rocking chairs in that lovely home for barbel fishing old timers, similar to the one where the old football managers get put out to grass, and thats if we are lucky!!

 Lol is the epitome of the thinking angler. You only have to read the excellent articles he has written on here to realise that. His results over many years confirm that his approach works, Lol really does make sure that every piece of the jigsaw is in place before he casts his line. I remember when Lol first hit upon the big meat method as a way of being selective on the River Teme. Twenty years ago this river was the place to go to catch lots of barbel but you would be very lucky indeed to catch a fish approaching nine pounds or so. The main reason I moved from the Teme to the Lower Severn was because the odds of catching the bigger fish were greatly improved.

Lol soon sorted it out and started to catch bigger fish on a regular basis from the Teme. He went into every detail as to how to present the bait, how to position the rod, the precise weight needed, how to cut down resistance, the list goes on. If you check out Lol’s articles on the site you will see just what I mean.

Back to the present, I pulled into the carpark of the bikers cafe just outside Bridgnorth, Lol was already there and he had the phone attached to his ear, I mention the phone because it may well have been the last call Lol was to get on that handset, the story will unfold!

Anyway, turned out it was Des on the line, Lol and Des Taylor are great pals and have been for many years, they go way back, long before Des became a household name.

We shook hands and both of us agreed it didn’t seem as though twelve years had passed since the last time we had fished together, time unfortunately waits for no man.

Pulling out of the carpark we headed back towards the town to eventually park up on the side of the road, a very short distance form the mighty Severn. The Danery on the BAA card was our fishing venue for the afternoon and evening.

There were a couple of lads already fishing and so we walked along the stretch checking all the likely looking swims, the river looked in great shape and every swim screamed barbel. The BAA have put excellent platforms in and although the banks are steep , getting down to a safe, solid structure did not present any difficulties, even to me with my dodgy left foot which today had seen the right one join it in sympathy. I was in some pain I can tell you!

As we strolled along the path a chap came towards us and my first thought was that he was a walker, he wasn’t carrying any fishing tackle and wasn’t dressed for fishing. As he approached us he said, ” You’re Steve Pope.”

My immediate thought was that he was then going to say you’re the guy who gets all that stick on the Internet!  But no, much to my relief he turned out to be one of the ninety nine point nine percent of good guys whose only interest is the fishing.

” Love reading your articles, what are you doing up here?”

I explained that I live pretty close by now and quickly directed his attention to my companion Lol, explaining,

” This is the main man, this is Lol Breakspear, one of the finest Severn anglers you will ever see!”

The fellow turned to Lol having made the connection and we all chatted together for a couple of minutes before going on our way.

Made me feel good I can tell you, not because the guy recognised us but because he was a genuinely nice guy and was sincere in his words.

Internet warriors should take note, you are in a tiny minority, the nice guys really do rule!

We settled into our swims fifty yards or so apart.

I put some hemp and mixed pellet close in with the intention of pulling the barbel up and away from the good tree cover in about five feet of water.

Then it was up to sit and chat with Lol.

 We spent the next couple of hours reminiscing, putting the world to right, catching up with the goings ons of mutual acquaintances and generally rolling back the years.  Blue remembered hills ( The Malverns) when we both suffered and almost paid for what had become a mutual obsession, somehow we’ve both survived but there are many tales to tell.

Today though was just about enjoying each others company on a river that has been very kind to the both of us and hoping that a fish or two would come along to set the seal.

Lol is even more convinced today in the power of the big meat and his plastic bags full of  chunks of the stuff infused with sweet aromas bore testament to his faith!

As the afternoon gradually faded into the evening sky Lol missed what he said was the perfect run!

The slight nod on the tip, the steady click, click, click as the barbel moved slowly away ( They rarely bolt) with the meat safely engulfed in its cavernous mouth, the calm pick up of the rod and easy pull backwards that usually meets with solid resistance, this time nothing!!

And to add to lol’s woe, his mobile phone which was in the waistcoat top pocket, somehow removed itself from its usual safe place of residence to end up in three feet of water!

Good job it wasn’t a blackberry or i phone!

Back in my swim just as the light began to fade the reel gave out its battle cry and a barbel eventually ended up in my landing net. It was only a small one but that was not of any importance, it had brought a perfect end to a few hours spent once again on the Severn in the company of a loyal friend.

There was only one rod I could have possibly used for the occasion………my Teme Tamer, one of a series that Lol had put his name to back in the early nineties. This rod was one of the very first produced and Lol gave it to me fifteen years ago.

As we shook hands once more to set off for the short journey home through the winding Shropshire country lanes we knew we we would be meeting up again real soon.

As I’m always saying friends are so much more important than the fish and today I had that confirmed once again.

All the best,


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