Steve Pope Barbel Fishing

Catch more barbel!

First Day of June Update

The beauty of writing this blog is that it affords me the opportunity, once in a while, to become terribly self indulgent!  As long as the temptation passes quickly I don’t see a  problem. So with that in mind…………..


The recent good news from my pal Simon and his wife Dawn allowed me to take some time out for quiet contemplation and deep reflection.

The birth of their new daughter Megan will mean that life will never ever be the same again, but oh my, life will be so much sweeter from now on.

My wife and I have been blessed with three wonderful daughters, who are now our best friends, and whose very presence enhances our own lives.

A son is a son till he takes him a wife, a daughter is a daughter all of her life.  The words in that old saying are very true…………just  as long as you get it right from the very start.

Certain is it that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter.  In love to our wives there is desire; to our sons, ambition; but to our daughters there is something which there are no words to express. 

Time passes by very quickly Simon, the babe in arms in the photo above is now a high flying London lawyer and she is getting married next year.

Grab every moment, because they pass all too soon, in the blink of an eye.


When I went live with my website six months ago my primary reason was very much commercially based. I wanted to become more involved with taking people out fishing, having previously enjoyed the days I had spent with fellow anglers who were strangers until we met. I soon realised I could do it and that more to the point, people enjoyed it,  it seemed to me to be a logical step to take. It’s working very well.

This section, which has now become a blog to all intents and purposes, was originally meant to be a fishing type diary, you know the sort of thing,  photos, tactics, catches etc. In a few weeks time it’s likely that is how it will be and I will also be using the Articles section on the site more and more to give detailed write ups of the sessions and for publishing articles from friends. Barbel fishing will then become number one on here.

But, as I’ve now become well and truly hooked on this blogging lark, I thought I would ask the obvious question…………………………..


Always bearing in mind we are talking about writers and readers who are predominantly anglers.

Variety, humour, controversy, visuals, music, sport, topical news items,  politics, hobbies, family and friends………………the list of potential subjects is endless.

More and more anglers are taking their first tentative steps into Blogworld and it’s interesting to look at the different styles and content they bring with them. My mate Fred Bonney is one, see HERE.

If you google around you will find a number of other blogs written by anglers, they vary in content quite a bit. Bob Roberts sets the pace in my opinion not only with his style and content but because he genuinely has exceptional writing skills.

Humour is a decidedly tricky one to employ in a blog. One mans laugh can more often than not be another’s anguish. A good recent example is on a blog where a good friend of mine was intentionally ridiculed albeit under a  thinly veiled disguise. Then we witness some joker pointing people from a public fishing forum to this blog to share in the “laughs”. It’s a joke alright, a rather sad one at that.  Luckily for us all this type of thing is not widespread and the perpetrators  are a tiny minority, although you’d be hard pressed to convince them of that absolute fact!

I still laugh when I watch the Two Ronnies or when Fred Crouch tells me the same old jokes I’ve heard a hundred times. I also laugh at some of the new comedians we see on the TV as I mentioned once before in an earlier blog, humour is very subjective.

So in a blog context, unless you have a true gift when it comes to using our language, humour is a dangerous game to play, I’ll tend to stay on the safe side!

Controversy is another minefield for prospective writers,  I would almost certainly double the amount of hits I get if I entered that territory on here. I don’t go looking for it but trouble often turns up on my doorstep so there is obviously much more I could say. All it would do is attract the Internet voyeurs whose own lives are sad enough as it is already.

Bob Roberts is an absolute master at this game although at times I squirm when he is really going for it, his way with words can be quite brutal at times and you have to be good if you want to take him on. Me? I’m glad he’s a mate!

So I’ll happily leave this sort of thing to others, this is a peaceful place, somewhere it’s safe to visit and I’m likely to keep it that way.

Once you get a blog established readers can see the real you, there’s no hiding place.. I like that because it means I have the opportunity to break down any preconceived ideas some might have by reading misleading information put about by others.

You can’t easily conceal yourself  behind the words, the real you has to come to the surface.

 At best the blog can be much more than a diary, it becomes an insight into what makes the writer actually tick. I’ve enjoyed writing in this sort of style for the past fifteen years in the Barbel Fisher magazine

under the heading of Pope’s Patch and writing this is an extension of that although it’s far more time consuming!

Mind you it’s very cathartic, excellent therapy and much cheaper than lying on the shrinks couch!

I suppose mixing it up, making sure the reader connects and is interested enough in what you have to say to keep coming back, add  a few surprises and you create your own personal newsletter online. That seems like the idea to me.

If you have any ideas of what you think makes a good blog then let me know.




  The last show had everything in it but the kitchen sink, only in America as they say! This show may be about discovering new talent but most of the guest acts on the finale had certainly seen better days.


Not related but any excuse………………………………!

They brought out the likes of Alice Cooper, Michael McDonald, Darryl Hall and John Oates, The Bee Gees, Alannis Morrisette, Chicago, Joe Cocker…………….the list could go on and on!

You tended to forget that the point of the show was to pick a winner, they did get there eventually…………….after two hours or so!

Michael McDonald looks a lot like Charlton( Moses)Heston these days, up on the Mount in his flowing robe with a mane of white hair and matching  beard clutching the tablets of stone, much preferred him back in the old days………….


Loved the Doobies back in the seventies. The Boatshed  in Manly – my favourite little club –  has a regular band that plays all their old tunes, brilliant they are too, hope they’re stll around next time I’m down under!

Took my youngest to see Alannis a few years back, Wembley Arena it was, one of the scariest shows I’ve ever been to. Why? I won’t elaborate but just think Ellen Degeneres – one of the judges on Idol………………………..!

I digress.

While I’m talking lookalikes, Darryl Hall is bearing more than a passing resemblance to Des Taylor…………very strange indeed!

Anyway, after a real over the top tribute to Simon Cowell, this was his last ever show, we finally found out who was to be the 2010 American Idol and a shock was instore for most of us.

Lee beat Crystal showing that the nice guys can and do win. Perhaps it was more to do with the type of people who tend to vote on these shows rather than the actual talent. Nevertheless he’s not at all bad, not particularly great, as I said previously Crystal will be the one to watch, she actually is the real deal!

I know lots of people rubbish these type of shows but I’m a big fan, you take them for what they are and don’t go looking too deep., that’s the key.

Don’t think this one will ever be the same again without Mr. Cowell, as he said, you have to know when to leave the party. I know what he means, and he’s dead right as long as you don’t worry what happens at the party after you depart, unwelcome gatecrashers for instance.  Or, as in his case, you have a better one to go to!

On the subject of Getting Older………………….

I love old properties. Where I live now dates back to the mid seventeenth century, beams and inglenooks and that sort of thing. About this time last year I met up quite by chance with an elderly man who actually lived in our cottage as a child, I’m going back more than eighty years! I invited him in for a cup of tea and his memory came flooding back, he stayed for quite some time telling me stories from long ago. He said his parents had been brought up in the cottage as well so his family history went back into the eighteen hundreds! It was nice to know that many of the original features have remained in place. A really nice man, hope to see him again some time, he doesn’t live too far away.

Back in the eighties I lived in an even older property, one that dated back to the sixteenth century, it was a fantastic building. One big problem was that the date was written into the external pargetting in roman numerals above the front door. Nothing wrong in that I hear you say, unfortunately for us this date was the answer to a question that regularly popped up in Essex car treasure hunts. Every Sunday there would be a constant stream of total strangers pulling in and out of the drive trying to decipher the numerals!  They even knocked on the door and if we didn’t answer they would go around the back into the garden to find us…..amazing!

I solved the problem by putting up a fence and gates, and by covering the date with masking tape……………..I’m not proud of that but it really was an intrusion. Not long after it stopped, the message must have got home to the organisers and the question and treasure hunters disappeared.

One of the big plusses about being a barbel fisher is that we often find ourselves in parts of the country where there is a wealth of interesting buildings, it all adds to the enjoyment of just being there.





I always remember the wise words of Fred Crouch when I was starting out on the slideshow circuit, ” If you walk into a room with a hundred people there will always be one or two who for one  reason or another will not like you, no problem there. If you walk into another room where its the other way around…..get out of there PDQ!”

I saw Glen Campbell play at the Sydney Opera House not too long ago and have to say he was very good indeed and he can sure play that guitar. Not only that, these days he appears on stage with his daughter and that brings us nicely back to where we came in on this update.

This time next week I’ll be rocking hard at the O2 with my daughters, Livin’ on a prayer as ever and lovin’ every minute of it!

Can’t leave this one without mentioning ……………………..


A truly amazing spectacle this year, an absolute classic!

I know you must be thinking how sad, but be honest  I’ll bet you sat there and watched it as well, there wasn’t a lot on the other side.

Some of the songs were pretty decent and it wasn’t difficult to pick the winner, a German girl Lena, singing in English very much in the modern vein of Lily Allen, Katie Perry and Little Boots.  A good song and worthy winner.

The UK came last and rightly so, the song was dire! Whoever thought it would be a good idea for Pete Waterman to write a song for a completely unknown teenager with zero charisma needs to be sacked! It’s wrecked the youngsters future career and finished Waterman’s, although I thought his ended  back in the eighties! Truly unbelievable.

We just don’t get it, the Europeans do and leave us standing.

To rub salt into an already very open wound the results from the UK judges gave maximum votes to Greece! Now if I tell you that their song took me back to the seventies when I nearly ended up in jail in Athens for smashing plates in the Taverna – Well, thats what they said you do! – you’ll perhaps get some idea of how far we have truly fallen behind. Opa! indeed.

Graham Norton provided one or two funny oneliners but I really missed the cutting wit of  Sir Terry.


Looking forward to the prospect of a Nadal – Murray final at the French Open. The cricketers are warming up nicely for the winter Ashes series  and then there’s the football………………………just hope we do better in Africa than at Eurovision!

Quick edit; Make that Federer instead of Murray, I obviously spoke too soon!

Bye for now………..


PS. Just in case you were wondering, the botanical shots were all taken a day or so ago in the garden, sort of sets the tone for this blog, and I’ve overdosed on the Chelsea Flower Show…………..well that’s my excuse anyway!

PPS. The peacocks on the greenhouse roof is a story in itself which I’ll relate another time………………………’s the picture for now;

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