Steve Pope Barbel Fishing

Catch more barbel!

Early October Update

Back home now after a busy few days down by the river.

Monday afternoon found me on the lower Severn enjoying what I consider to be the best conditions possible! The river was up about seven feet or so which meant it was right at the top of the bank making for easy, comfortable fishing.

The problem was I only had a couple of hours to go at it because I had to be on the Kennet very early in the morning and I do need my sleep!

I know with absolute certainty that if I had the time to put the hemp in and fish the big river the following day I would have had a good result, I had to be satisfied with this one barbel which quickly picked up my 16mm pellet under the rod top.

I recently mentioned the fact that my usual route was going to be disrupted later in the month, well it’s a good job I set off earlier than usual because the diversion was in place when I hit the roundabout at Birdlip.Someone messed up with the warning date signs! Luckily the journey didn’t take that much longer and at least I’ll know what to expect for the next visit in a weeks time.

On arrival at the Kennet I set up our base camp, put the hemp and casters in to prepare the table and wandered back to the carpark just as Ian arrived. He was early as his journey had proved to be much quicker than expected. At least that’s what he said but I’m sure he was just eager to get down to the river!

The fishing for the first four hours was slow, I was surprised by this because the level was up a bit and I knew the barbel had been feeding but for whatever reason they were reluctant to pick up the carefully presented casters we had on offer.

Just as we were talking about dear old Stef Horak, in glowing terms I hasten to add, the rod top went round in unmistakeable bite fashion and the ‘pin started to turn at a speed which often means big fish!

Ian immediately connected with the barbel and proceeded to play the fish with real aplomb. The pair of us barely spoke for the first thirty seconds, I think we both knew.

Ian then said, ” Feels a good ‘un”.

I smiled and gave a thumbs up, a couple of minutes had passed and I had yet to see the fish. Suddenly it decided to roll on the surface and yep, it certainly looked a good ‘un!

I was mightily impressed with the way Ian played the fish, he had caught big barbel before and it showed.

I then caught my first glimpse of this barbel as it came close to the landing area, the depth on the flank was incredible and I just hoped that the size twelve hook would hold as the fight entered its final stage.

Ian expertly brought the fish to the surface and as she rolled into the waiting net we both knew this was a big fish.

I put the net down with the barbel laying beneath the water to rest up for a few minutes, Ian put the rod down in the rests and we both looked at each other smiling that knowing smile!

The scales registered a weight of 13 – 08, elation was the name of the game!

After another good rest in the landing net and a couple of photo’s back she went for one more rest before being safely released.

The hook had the lightest of holds and a mistake at the net or another heavy roll on the surface could easily have meant a lost fish, thankfully for the pair of us that didn’t happen and the look on Ian’s face in the photo’s says it all.

Later in the day we changed to a maggot approach and another nice barbel came Ian’s way, the day had been truly memorable.

Now apart from catching barbel and talking barbel for the best part of twelve hours we did find ourselves touching on other subjects. Ian  loves his music as well and our tastes are pretty similar so we had plenty of stories about concerts through the years. Now anyone who knows me would already be aware that I’m a massive Strictly Come Dancing fan. I’ve always been certain that the same guys who tease and ridicule me for saying that are really closet fans and Ian agrees!

He too loves the programme and doesn’t miss a show, even the weekly updates!

Good on yer Ian, we’re not alone, roll on Saturday night!

The picture on the right is especially for Dave Slater, you have to have some sympathy for Anton aka Ron Cooper. Mind you I can’t see them getting voted off that early, the comic factor is huge and Ann W. is a bit too clever for the judges so she’ll get votes for that as well.


It rained overnight but the forecast was not too bad as once again bright and early in the morning I met up with another keen angler full of expectation.

Daryl like Ian is a very experienced angler having caught a number of big fish both here and abroad.

Like me he has experienced the magic of the Fraser River in British Columbia and he has caught one of the largest sturgeon recorded out there, a monster weighing more than 600 pounds!

Amazingly I have been out with the same guide who took Daryl and he is one heck of a character. Len is his name and I remember him as being a big guy with a big moustache and an even bigger personality. If you fancy a trip out there and I’ve been three times you really should give him a call.

Daryl is off to Thailand in a few weeks time, here’s the LINK to the article recounting my good pal John found’s trip to Gilhams to get you in the mood!

The fishing was tough but we managed a couple of barbel and had an excellent day.

My guiding days will be coming to an end for this season in a few weeks time and I’ve enjoyed every minute of them.

I’m already getting enquiries for next season so don’t hesitate to get in touch because I limit the number I do. July through to October and never more than three a week so that I’m always up for it and rarin’ to go!

I’ll be updating the Guiding section of the website very soon to include different rivers and more details on the Wye trips which I hope will be popular.



Enjoyed reading Bob Roberts’  latest blog, I enjoy reading all his blogs to be fair!

Nice to see him giving the Barbel Society some excellent publicity for the latest membership offer and for the positive comments on the Fisherman’s Blues radio  coverage.

Getting info out to the media is the responsibility of Fred Bonney and he does a brilliant job. The coverage we get everywhere is excellent and it’s all down to Fred.

I remember getting paid ten bob a week for delivering groceries for the shop next door when I was a youngster, used to ride a bike with the basket on the front, bit like Granville in Open all Hours. So 12/6 was a decent rate Bob!

I must get hold of the Chris Evans Biography, sounds like a really good read. The top ten requirements for a radio show should be the basis for all blogs, it’s spot on.

I used to live close by Itchycoo Park, more memories, remember working there on a construction job with my dad back in the early seventies, and Harrison Gibsons in Ilford High Street was the furniture store and I’m surrounded by stuff we bought there as I type!

It’s a small world Bob.

Love the Small Faces and often get this Long Player out to give it a spin.



Seems like Stu is holding up well in hospital, hoping to see him back on the site and fishing once again. Get well mate.

Have all my droppers in one place so I’ll get that article finished now!

For all you Fred Crouch fans who read this and that should be all of you, make sure you’re watching the Weakest Link on Monday the 18th of this month!

Back soon.

Enjoy your fishing.


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