Steve Pope Barbel Fishing

Catch more barbel!

Every Picture Tells A Story




When a plan goes to plan nothing can be better….!

Steve had given me the groundwork already, fishing small chalk stream rivers takes a different approach to the wild and mighty sections of the Severn where I do most of my fishing.

Chalk (forgive the pun) and cheese, as they say!

The plan was to be on the bank early. Having grabbed a few hours kip in the car I set off to the stretch five minutes away. John was in the car park already and within moments Pete arrived. After a chat on where we were going to fish it was off to the chosen swims.

I headed to my first choice, a deep glide interrupted at the tail by a large bush with a tangle of roots beneath the raft. First job was to get some bait in with a small dropper, my “Severn” version stayed in the bag, it simply looked out of place here.

A good pint of casters and a couple of hemp went in to prepare the table. I then sorted out my rod allowing the swim to rest and, for that matter me as well.

How I wanted to cast straight away….”be patient” I had been told. After about thirty minutes I gentle swung out the bait, a cluster of casters glued to a hair. I sat back expectantly and nothing happened.

An hour went by and still the centerpin was silent. Surely I must have done something wrong? Then a strange knocking and the tip went round. I picked up the rod and felt a strange resistance but this was no barbel, it felt small and gave a jaggy scrap and within moments a perch of just over a pound lay in the net. I have done something wrong I was saying to myself, but it was lovely to behold all the same.

Next there was another bite that made the pin sing but the fish again fought like no barbel and was lost before I could see it….a chub I expect. The hook coming back with the hair and casters  intact.

I put  a couple of droppers into the swim to keep it topped up.

Half an hour went by and then a “proper” take resulted in a fish of about five pounds. It fought like a demon and reminded me of the fish on the Teme that simply don’t know when to give up.

A couple more droppers in the swim and then a thirty-minute wait to let things settle down.

A red kite flew over my head as I recast, the photo opportunity gone in an instant. It’s huge wings beating slowly as if to rub salt into the wound.

My instruction had been to keep a little bait going in regularly so every thirty or so minutes a couple of droppers of a mix of hemp and casters were introduced.

An hour later another five pound fish was in the net and another four droppers went out into the swim.

Time for a walk about and a chat I thought, so off I went.

Back at the swim I cast my bait with a renewed optimism and within twenty minutes the tip banged round and the pin screamed its alarm. Now this fish was different. It stayed deep and tried as it might to reach the bushes but my tackle and resolve held firm. It fought hard and when at last it came to the net its battle belied its size. At 9lb 2oz it was in great condition and once rested it was off into the darkest depths. Four more droppers but this time two were just of casters and another thirty minute rest time.

Out of the blue the calm was wrecked by my pin yelling out as if in pain. I grabbed the rod and whatever was on the end of the line went berserk. To prevent it from reaching the snags at the bush the rod was right down parallel with the water surface and literally bent round to the corks.

All sorts were flying through my mind…it was as if I had hooked a snag and I was testing the rods test curve to the limit. The problem was though that I wasn’t and the fish simply would not stop the intense pressure in it’s bid to reach it’s home. Slowly I managed to gain a couple of metres of line but the rod was bent alarmingly to the degree that I thought that surely something would give.

Would the size 12 carp hook hold? Gradually the fish came upstream towards me, the backlead the only thing visible and allowing me to gauge what was going on beneath the surface. I lifted the rod to let it’s action lift the fish but this only caused it to take off again and it nearly made it’s home.

After what felt like an eternity it came towards me and I could just make out a shape beneath the stone ledger weight .It looked bigger that the previous fish but it had fought far harder. At the third attempt to net it, she gave in and allowed the mesh to envelop her.

I just sat back and rested the barbel in the net and tried to get my head straight. I had never had a barbel fight like this fish had. My mind was trying to correlate the fight it had given to that of my personal best fish up on the upper Severn.This had been harder but not as long a battle. I lay down and unhooked it in the net and whilst doing so realised that this had a bigger belly on it compared to my other fish. Could this beat my 10lb 4oz pb?

I rang Pete to say that I had landed a fish that might be a new pb and that I may need a photo if it was, to which he agreed. I then lifted the net over to my mat and put the fish into the sling. The Heaton’s needle swung round to ten pounds and continued. The needle hovered and danced at twelve pounds and five or six ounces so five it was. I couldn’t believe it. I called Pete back and told him and he made his way round to me.

Out went the dropper with a top up and Pete arrived to take some photos and we quickly had the fish resting again in the water. After a while it was ready to leave us and it gently drifted away. I shook Pete’s hand and then simply sat down to get my head around what had happened. John came round to congratulate me and chat about the days proceedings.

It was great to share my capture with these two really nice people.

I continued to fish on following the same pattern of baiting and a little four-pounder followed and then another fish of just over eight.

By the time it was time to leave I was pretty well drained. It had been a long day, in great company and made even more memorable by the fact that, by following a plan, it had resulted in a new personal best fish from a new venue. I was over the moon.

 Thanks Steve, the method worked very well indeed!!



Leave a Reply

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