Steve Pope Barbel Fishing

Catch more barbel!

Early March Update


After the overlong gap between my last couple of updates I thought I would make a real effort to keep the Blog more active although you won’t find too much fishing content because for the time being it has definitely taken a backseat.

I have managed to get out on a river here in Sydney and that has by no means been an easy task, why? Because there has been far too much rain here this summer and the dams are spilling over and the flooding has caused one heck of a problem in New South Wales.


The details of my trip can be found in my latest Fishing Magic Diary and the link is right HERE.

Here are a couple of additional shots;





I’ve been going through my diary and I have a few places available during July, August and September.

I also have quite a few dates available in October when it is often the very best time for the bigger fish.

The rivers I guide on are the Kennet, Severn, Wye, Teme, Warwickshire Avon but I’m happy to visit your home territory as well!

Let me know if you are interested, I would imagine my diary will be pretty much full by the start of the new season.

You can look back through the blog to get an idea of what gets caught on the guided days and if you contact me I’ll run through all the details with you.




Quicksilver, Billabong, Ripcurl, Surfection – Cool sounding names and the shops are great but for me it’s Huggies, Rafferty’s Garden banana and pear, milk, sterilising bottles and buggies! Yep, I’m definitely revisiting years gone by, when I was in my twenties in fact, this time though it’s all about the next generation.

So sit back the rest of this update will take you on a little tour of Sydney and let you into my new found world where truth be told, there’s nothing better than being a Grandparent.


A boy needs a Grandpa

to sit on his lap

And if no one is looking

they take a wee nap

Each wrapped in an aura

of love and esteem

Each smiling gently

at some special dream.



The photo does not lie, it really is a tiring business looking after a nine month old boisterous baby boy who moves around like greased lightning and whose tiny fingers are everywhere they shouldn’t be, you can’t relax for a single second, but hey, what joy and fun!

The point is when we are together I see everything through the eyes of a child and it truly is a magical world.

I loved being a dad when my own daughters were small, when they went to school I don’t think I ever missed an important occasion, I was even chairman of the PTA – I can hear the groans – I took parenting very seriously! But being a grandparent is altogether different and as long as I keep fit and well  I know I’m going to enjoy the next ten years.

The other day I was in the big newsagents shop on the Corso and after spending time perusing the many colourful fishing magazines my eyes were drawn to the display of toys at the front of the shop, there tucked away was a box containing something that instantly whisked me back to my own childhood. Yoyo’s, by the dozen and for a knockdown price of four dollars, even at the exchange rate this Englishman could afford one of those!

I’ll let you into a secret, when I was just into my teens I was a local champion on the yoyo. I could walk the dog, rock the baby and loop the loop with the best of them and Tottenham recreation ground is where I honed my skills and the pavilion is where I once gave a display.

Had all the badges, spinner, expert and junior instructor, happy days indeed.

Now the thing is, would I be able to remember how to do it and two, would Henry be impressed?

Well I remembered some of the tricks and Henry was in stitches, we’re going to have a lot of fun I can tell!

Plus, the yoyo was the catalyst for getting Henry to crawl, he liked it so much he decided the effort to get moving was worth it to try and catch the spinning toy.



So the yoyo kept him amused for a while but when you’ve only been around for thirty six weeks or so your attention wavers after a very short while and the doting grandpa has to be on the lookout for something else to keep Henry happy, the answer I found in the shape of bubbles!

They worked for my kids and sure enough they worked once again, only problem, a wood floor which became wet and slippery had him in fits of giggles! If you had told me a year ago I would be getting more fun out of blowing bubbles and spinning a yoyo than catching a fish I would have thought you mad, as I’ve said a profound change has taken place!



He may love the bubbles but there’s no way he’ll be an ‘ammer, Tottenham through and through Henry will be!


While we were shopping for a new laptop the other week I couldn’t resist the drum kit that once again was at a price too good to be true, it did say for children three years of age but that’s the great thing about being Grandpa I can do things I wouldn’t do as dad! I’m prepared to take the flak while Henry thinks I’m great!

Fishing rods, train-sets, racing car layouts, you can forget your X boxes and all that stuff I’m looking forward to being a kid all over again.



And then there was the special day at the zoo and when you’re in Sydney one of the world’s finest is on the doorstep. The location is breathtaking, high above the sea with the Opera House and Bridge the other side of the bay forming a backdrop, it is really stunning. It isn’t a huge zoo but that makes it easy – apart from the uphill bits – to get around and they have a wide array of animals. Have a look at the website HERE.

Henry loved the meerkats and when he caught sight of the huge lion his face lit up in pure wonder, he is used to the image, watching a clip from the Lion King on the i pad is one way of getting him to sleep!

We missed out on the Koala photoshoot but there will be another time for that but he must have taken note when he saw them asleep in the tree because he’s taken to doing the same when I’m holding him which is really special.

The bird show was something else and all I will say is that if you ever visit Sydney make sure you visit this zoo, you won’t be disappointed.






I’ll take you on a walk from the front door down to the wharf, through the Corso and on to the main beach, its a walk I’ve done most days for the past few weeks.

This first shot shows the beach that is right on the doorstep, the pool you can see is ideal for someone Henry’s size, he’ll be swimming in no time.



I have one slight moan when walking along the path and this is no whinging pom moment, the subject made the pages of the local paper that is delivered every day. The etiquette requires us all to walk on the left, there are even signs and markings on the path to indicate this, some though take no notice. Well when I’m pushing a buggy they do take note because I don’t budge! And then there are the stupid dogs……………..Aussies around these parts all have them and they get on my nerves! Most of the dogs are no bigger than cats, it’s a national thing , It seems to me they have taken over from the UK as the dog loving nation.



Moving along the path the wharf comes into view and a ferry boat has just pulled in. I have to say if you have to commute to the city then catching the ferry has to be the best mode of travel in any part of the world. I’ve been here a few times and I never tire of taking a ride on these iconic vessels.



And so to Manly Wharf, a place I’m very fond of, you get the best iced coffee here.



This is The Corso, if you have to shop this is as good a place as anywhere, not cheap at the moment with the exchange rate but plenty of shops that make browsing fun.





The main beach where the surfers rule the waves until the Great Whites make a visit is in view in the shot below.



The Copenhagen shop sells the best ice cream, as long as you don’t work in pounds it doesn’t hurt too much, $5 for a single scoop! Chocolate is very expensive as well but fruit is cheap so it helps the diet! The chippie next door is always popular, barramundi and salad goes down well at lunchtime.






And then its back home late afternoon and I’m eternally grateful for the cartoons on the TV. They keep Henry quiet for an hour or so and I can recharge for the next day!






If you are on Circular Quay apart from the bridge and Opera House you can’t help but notice the boats, I’ve already mentioned the ferries which in their yellow and green livery are unmistakeable, there are also huge cruise ships that stop here on their world voyages and the Captain Cook liners that are more in my price range.

In the past I’ve enjoyed New Years Eve on one of their boats moored in the prime spot watching the fireworks, I can’t recommend them enough.

This time out I’ve been on a lunchtime tour that includes first class food and as my daughter came along, it was a late birthday treat, the sparkly stuff flowed as well and we were able to stay onboard for the whole afternoon, a great time.




Take a look at the website HERE.




There are many superb restaurants in the Manly area and one of the best is Whitewater, HERE is their website. A first for me was the Wagyu steak which I have to say was the best steak I have ever tasted. If you ever see this on a menu then go for it, better than any fillet , T bone, rump, whatever. An interesting fact is that where I live on the Welsh border, a local farmer has a herd of cattle that are reared for the Wagyu meat, most if not all goes to the most expensive London restaurants.

Another first was a visit to a Rugby Union match, the first of the new season here involving the Queensland Reds and the NSW local boys, The Waratahs. I did wonder what the name meant and was intrigued to learn it is the name of a flower which is the emblem of NSW. It struck me they would have had a problem if it had been a pansy……………………!

The match was at the ANZ stadium located on the Olympic Park, I’ve been there before to see The Police in concert. The match was going well until the very last play when defeat was pulled from the jaws of victory. The home team lost and it was all too familiar if you are  a Tottenham fan like me!

I won’t dwell on recent results, it’s been too painful watching the goals go in at the other end.

The pic below shows a familiar scene, tense faces watching the match on TV!





I’ll end on a fishing note.

I have a couple of harbour trips planned, plus a late evening beach session and I’m hoping the river drops back to enable another go at the carp.

Hope you barbel enthusiasts have a great last few days, I’m just a little bit envious but looking at my diary I know I have more than enough fishing to look forward to when I get back.

One day, perhaps in four years time I’ll have a new fishing buddy, hope so……………..!



All the very best.





Leave a Reply

For more information regarding guiding, articles, talks and presentations, shows and anything barbel fishing related contact me at: StevePopeBarbelFishing Facebook