Steve Pope Barbel Fishing

Catch more barbel!

Early October Update

Don’t say it, I know…………………..this Update is late, very late!!

September 2011 has disappeared completely from my blog although I had every best intention, as I write I have just deleted the draft titles, early September, mid September, end of September etc. As the main man Big Bob has said on his site, I’m slacking of late and he is quite correct, he sets the standard and I’ve fallen way behind.

My updates are meant to be a light hearted commentary on my fishing exploits and what generally goes on in a rather busy life. I steer away from the unsavoury side of blogging, leaving that to the uglies who enjoy that sort of thing. Bob is much better at dealing with them than I so I leave it to him and agree with all he says.

Anyway I have excuses and you’ll have to sit back and make yourselves comfortable as this Update is pretty long and hopefully fills in all the gaps.



First of all I must mention Fishing Magic. One of the reasons my Updates are later now is because I’m  writing a monthly diary for this website which is undoubtedly the most popular Fishing site on the Internet.

Its a great opportunity to reach a huge number of anglers and to be part of something which is definitely on the way up.

You can read my last entry here,

Ian Welch is now the editor and as I’ve mentioned before he is moving it on from the solid foundations laid down by Graham Marsden.

I rarely participate in open forums anymore but have to say that there is a wealth of knowledge on the Fishing Magic forum and it is exceptionally well moderated so there is no fear about putting your first post up. If people respond or ask questions about my articles I do answer so as I said it’s a chance to reach a new audience.

Everyone I meet looks in on the forums but to a man they do not join in and to a man they really dislike a lot of what they see. You can’t blame them, not many people like ridicule, micky taking no matter how carefully veiled.

But just to re-iterate the Fishing Magic forum is one of the best and has the best moderators around.

Moving on, and to a very good forum indeed, the Barbel Hunters.

I was really pleased and honoured to be able to help them out by offering up a days guiding for their charity fish-in and auction. I understand that over £1000 will be going to the ABF, the soldiers’ charity and I have to

say that is some effort.

So a huge well done from me and an unequivocal recommendation to visit their website.

Here’s a photo of Jerry who contacted me and who put a great deal of work into the Barbel Hunter’s raffle/auction. Looking forward to spending a couple of days on the river with him very soon.

You can check them all out here,

Following on from what I said in my last Update, the barbel website BFW has decided to stop promoting other organisations events on their dedicated page. That is unfortunate so you’ll just have to keep an eye out on all the other sites and the Angling press and magazines for upcoming Barbel Society events.



Right lets get down to business,  I’ll take you back to mid August, that’s where I left you on the last blog and its when I was lucky enough to find myself down on the river with a day to myself. A rare event for this summer.

It was also the first real chance I had to put my new Seeker through its paces.

Have to say it fared beautifully and half a dozen barbel including a ten pounder was the perfect way to christen this rod.

I’ve said that I am reluctant to recommend rods but notwithstanding my long relationship with Simeon Bond and Free Spirit I can honestly say that for close in small river work this rod is the absolute nuts!

It’s not the cheapest rod on the market but for sheer enjoyment and the confidence it instills that it will handle any size barbel with ease puts it at the top of the charts as far as I’m concerned.


The next day was one that I had been looking forward to for some time, I was also slightly apprehensive because I was aware that this was the last opportunity Simon was going to have for fishing before he embarked on his Tour of Duty to Afghanistan………Simon you see is an RAF man.

Our day together turned out to be one of those you always remember.

Simon is a very accomplished angler having landed many good sized barbel from the rivers around his East Midlands home but he had not yet caught on a ‘pin so as always I had to do my best to put that one right.

The day progressed and two nice barbel came to the net as once again the casters weaved their magic but neither of us were truly prepared for what was about to happen next.

Having noted Simon’s undoubted skill I had no hesitation in getting the new Seeker out of its sleeve and once paired with my faithfull old Rapidex the trap was set, Simon would get his barbel on the pin.

A few more droppers and then the take, the reel sang for a split second before Simon took full control and using the rod to its max he expertly guided what was obviously a big fish to the net, I made no mistake and knew immediately we had something special.

With one hand holding the net as the barbel took a well earned rest in the margins the other reached out to grasp the shaking hand of Simon, his grin said it all.

I gave Dave Brown a quick call, he was fishing close by with his wife Mal, and told them we had a good fish and to come and have a look. Those of you in the Barbel Society will know Dave and Mal, they do a wonderful job as joint Membership Secretaries and they are quite simply really nice people.

The scales hovered around the fourteen pound mark, a truly magical fish and one that would provide a lasting memory for Simon while serving his country in the desert land far away.

Chris Tarrant also put in an appearance as the day drew to a close and he landed an old Match Aerial which looked like something out of a deep sea treasure trove from Pirates of the Caribbean, you can rely on Chris to come up with something unusual!

He sent it off to Fred Crouch with a note requesting a full reconditioning of said reel, Fred saw the funny side!


Before the day was over I found myself on landing net duty once again as Mal did battle with a really hard fighting barbel that tested her beloved split cane rod to the full. This rod was specially made for Mal as a present from Dave and as you would expect is her pride and joy.

Simon is in Camp Bastion as I type this and my best wishes for a safe return go out to him, I hope he reads this and relives our rather special day.


My next trip to the river was in the company of Paul and his sons Josh and Cal. Paul had won a day out with me on the Barbel Society Rand C Auction and was hoping that his sons would be able to experience the fun that comes with catching battling barbel.

It proved to be a tough day, once again ramming home the point that no matter how much we think we know the barbel always call the tune.

We ended up with just the one fish which although disappointing was enough to put a smile on the face of this young angler.


You might recall the brilliant day I had last year in the company of Robert and his wife Dal when we were joined by Fred Crouch and some rather nice barbel put in an appearance.

Well on the back of that Robert and Dal decided to treat their best pal Dennis to a day out with me no doubt in the hope that history would repeat itself.

This friendship has blossomed through their absolute devotion to the 2CV automobile, they are absolute fans who belong to the 2CV club and go all over the place in their beloved wheels!

Dennis and I had an absolutely cracking day although once again the barbel played hard to get.

We chatted for hours putting all manner of things to right and I would like to think I’ve convinced this fine Yorkshireman that democracy in the world of fishing is not quite as simple as it may seem!

Now Dennis had a rod that on first glance appeared to be up to the job but in practice turned out to be well under gunned.

This caused us to lose a barbel because it basically locked up, after waiting hours for that first bite this was nothing short of disaster.

Just goes to show that you really do need to see a rod in action before parting with your money.

We changed things around and the result was a nice barbel at last knockings which brought a smile to a great fella who I’m sure I’ll meet up with again.


Bank holiday weekend found me on work duty for Pegone at the Evesham Festival.

Managed to buy some kit for my young nephew and according to the Man on the Mike he is now the proud owner of the best barbel rod around and it only cost a tenner! It will do the job on the two pound carp I have in mind on his local commercial.

There was a great amount of activity on the Nash Pegone stand mainly due to the freebies that were being given out, amazing what a handful of coloured pellets can do.

It was good to meet up with the Doc, Paul Garner, once again and the other guys in the Pegone team, they have caught some amazing fish I have to say.

Having made my involvement with Pegone very clear I must say how much I love my Transformer chair, its the most comfortable one I’ve ever sat on and with the attachments really makes it the perfect chair for my guiding days.

Everyone who attended the Festival agreed and I don’t think a minute passed when some one was not trying it out!

I met up with a good few people I had not seen for a while and some I see all the time……………….the Don for instance!

I met up with John Lewis who was a great friend of the late Mike Burdon who was a great man and one of my absolute mentors.

Pete Bailey a man who seved well on the BS committee said hello.

Lots of others who knew me took time out to chat about their fishing and then Alex Bones turned up.

I have spent time on the river with Alex putting together features when Alex worked for Dynamite Baits, it was good to see him again, we get on well.

I took time out to watch the matchmen on the Avon and was amazed at the amount of tackle they all had spread around them. The poles were something else and as someone who has only ever lifted a cane roach pole I was in awe at the way they all handled what to me anyway appeared to be a monstrosity!

I’m not knocking it but after watching a barbel being played out for far too long I have to say I won’t be in the queue for one, I’ll stick to the Seeker and pin!


My first outing in September found me on the banks of the Lower Severn enjoying a short evening session before it was off to the Wye with more Auction winners.

It was also an opportunity to use the twelve foot Seeker for the first time, coupled with one of Fred’s centrepin reels.

It turned out to be a fruitful session.

I put out a lot of hemp and mixed pellet with the dropper in a swim I had not fished for a year or two. It’s one that has a special place in my heart as I caught  a twelve from it the very first time I used a pellet, that was a long time ago!

It wasn’t long before a nice double picked up my Robin Red pellet and an hour later it was deja vu as another of similar size did likewise. I was a happy bunny!

After a tentative bite that only just turned the reel I hit into a fish that came in like a wet sack, you’ve guessed it, a bream.

Now the bream on the Lower Severn have been getting progressively bigger and this one was pretty big.

I didn’t weigh it because its capture co-incided with a call from my good pal Pete Reading and we had a good laugh about the fighting quality of this particular species !

The next day found me at Holme Lacy with Charlie and his pal, boy was it tough.

We all fished very hard but try as we might the barbel just would not have it, we managed a couple of small ones but that was it.

We had a great day as always but it just proved to me how enigmatic the Wye can be, some days a shedful, others zilch!






Phil Smith is well known to anyone who goes fishing, his exploits over the years border on the legendary, Phil is also one of the good guys!

His latest book, Targets Set and Achieved is a great read.

Phil has also set foot into this wonderful virtual world and he is regularly updating one of the best fishing blogs on the net.

You can check it out HERE.

You can read more about Phil’s book by clicking HERE.




Now I don’t know about you but I do enjoy really good food. That’s not to say I can savour it on a regular basis, I can’t, but I do look foward to those special occasions when the chance arrives to taste the very best.

This place, The Checkers, is not far away from my home in the lovely village of Montgomery.

What you see in the photo is what you get, a tiny market square, a castle and a handful of shops and an exquisite, soon to be Michelin starred restaurant.

Have a look at the website, its worth checking out if you ever find yourself in this beautiful part of the world.



On the days I haven’t been fishing I’ve been busy trying to finish building my deck.


I would have had it finished by now but for a minor disaster.

The posts and rails are to be painted in Beaumont Blue and the uprights in cream, I had three tins of Cuprinol Shades in the shed or so I thought.

The freezing temperatures from last winter had totally destroyed the paint, I was not a happy man! Never mind, I’ll get it finished soon and next spring I’ll be sitting out there typing away on the laptop.

Winter is just around the corner, snow is on its way but thats hard to believe when I’m sitting out in the garden with shorts on and its thirty in the shade……………………mad weather or what?!

Spooks is on the box and I love it, don’t know how I’ll manage when its all over, hope Harry doesn’t get killed off.

Strictly is back and you know how much I like that, X Factor is a pile of pants this year. total rubbish I’m afraid. I’ll just have to wait till American Idol and Steve Tyler returns.

The rugby is reaching its climax and you’d be a brave man to bet against the Kiwis and their Haka. The sight of them performing before the game always reminds me of the faces of some of those uglies I referred to at the beginning!

Its the end of the world for REM and thats a shame, I enjoyed their music, saw them a few times. I’ll not forget a phonecall from my daughter in Sydney telling me she was sat in the hotel foyer chatting to the members of the band……………….I told her to watch out, some are older than me!

The chance to go back to Oz in January and February is there and I just have to give it some careful thought.






More shiny, happy people including…………..A brace of nines for Simon, It all comes right for Fred, Neil’s aptly named ‘pin is well and truly christened, I lend a hand on the Severn, Tom gets his brace, Rock and roll Jimmy lands a whoppa and along with Andy, I come back to earth with a bang!

Plus loads more including Barbel Society news.

You can catch some of this in my next Fishing Magic Diary so don’t forget to call in over there.

All the best and good fishing.



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