Steve Pope Barbel Fishing

Catch more barbel!

End of August Update


Of mice and men often go awry, or something like that. When Rabbie Burns, Scotland’s favourite son, penned that line, he certainly knew what he was talking about………….barbel fishing!

However, there is a lot of truth in that old adage that says you learn more about your fishing when you are not catching than when the barbel are positively crawling up the rod!

Monday afternoon saw me loading up the car for the ninety minute journey to my stop over base near Worcester in readiness for two full days on the Kennet.

Arriving at my caravan I made a quick beeline for the river to see what affect, if any, the rain up in the hills had made to the water level on the lower Severn. Well, there was definitely an extra foot on, and as I walked along the bank I came across a mate of mine who had been fishing for an hour or so and to my and his absolute joy, I noticed there was a nice barbel resting up in his landing net. This was his third barbel in little more than an hour………… long last they had finally shown themselves!

After the pair of us had waxed lyrical about how those few extra inches of  water had made all the difference I watched as he cast out again after safely returning his prize. Within minutes the rodtop was over and heading for Upton as barbel number four picked up the pellets and tore off in determined fashion.

If ever confirmation was needed as to how the Lower Severn responds positively to a sudden increase in level this was it, up until now you could count the barbel caught here this season on the fingers of one hand.

I was sorely tempted to have a go myself but knew I needed to get some sleep as I would be up in the morning at 4am for the next ninety minute drive, to Newbury.


of a barbel nut!

Woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head…………..and set off for the Kennet to meet up with Gerry.

Well we had a great day even though the barbel were totally conspicuous by their absence!


I tried everything I know but a gallon of casters failed to produce a single fish, and to add to our woe the south westerlies were blowing and howling with a real vengeance and the trees around us were shedding branches at an alarming rate! I thought August was supposed to be summer, you could have fooled the pair of us, I was wearing as much clobber as I would in October……………..just crazy!

As if to rub salt into already open wounds, Pete Reading had managed to winkle out a couple of really nice fish from my second choice swim, I consoled myself in the thought that the fish had moved from my swim to his but subconsciously reluctantly accepted the truth that Pete is far more competent than me!!

We packed up at dusk, beaten but undetered, I would be back tomorrow and Gerry assured me as he prepared to drive off that he had enjoyed a wonderful time. But I’m still worried about what he is going to say to Gary Knowles when they meet up on the Ribble in a few weeks time……………………………….I dread to think!!

ANOTHER DAY…………………….

In barbel fisher’s paradise?


Well not quite. Yesterday it was the wind, today it was the rain, and boy did it rain!

Rob was my guest for the day and when we met bright and early in the morning, with the sky displaying no hint of what was to come, we were both full of unbridled optimism………………….

Well that soon faded to a distant memory when we were faced with the harsh facts of reality as the heavens opened around mid morning and did not close all day. It was still pouring down as we packed away just before dark.

We were soaked through from head to toe!

Once again there were no barbel to be seen, caught or heard, they had simply vanished.

One explanation could be that the otter spotted last week has caused the barbel to leave one of their favoured haunts to seek out safer water further downstream, it seems plausible.

Another reason may be that the barbel have simply wised up and are hanging well back waiting for the casters to roll down the current well away from the baited hook. As there are definitely fewer fish about at the moment that too seems a possibility but I’m not totally convinced.

As I said at the beginning the times when you are not catching force you to think things through  a little more and this can definitely advance your knowledge, it’s always possible to come up with something new that may at first seem daft but then all new ideas can seem silly until they work and they then they are called genius!

Off to London once again at the end of the week but may well cast a line into the Severn on Friday if the level is still up and even if I don’t, I will definitely be on that river next week.


Back again in a week or so.


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