Steve Pope Barbel Fishing

Catch more barbel!

Late February Update

Deeply profound thoughts by men.

Two men are out just fishing quietly and drinking beer.

Almost silently, so as not to scare the fish, Bob says, “I think I’m gonna divorce my wife.She hasn’t spoken to me in over 2 months.”

Charles continues slowly sipping his beer then thoughtfully says,”You better think it over, Bob.  Women like that are hard to find.”

That made me smile when it arrived a few days ago by email, I’ll not name the good mate who sent it incase it incriminates him, suffice to say that next time I give him a call I’ll tell his missus and it will be meatballs on his menu for the forseeable future!

At least it leads me into fishing and I did manage to get down to the river last week for a couple of sessions.

This time of the year always finds me on the Severn just below Worcester, I know I could be on other venues and probably catching more and bigger fish but it’s as though I’m drawn to the place, some mystical force continues to pull me in that direction and I’m unable to resist.

Over the years the river there has always been kind and I’m unable to experience that electric sense of anticipation when the reel spins and I hit into a barbel anywhere else. That not knowing whether it will be four or fourteen is still for me one of the biggest kicks I get from my own barbel fishing and it will probably stay with me forever.

On Friday, I was a day late, should have arrived on Thursday but there you go, I fished from three till about nine. The river was still up but only a couple of feet or so and I dropped into the swim upstream of the one I was in the week before.

I managed one barbel around the seven pound mark and missed a really good take on a large piece of meat! Happens sometimes no matter how long you let the bite develop.

I was prepared to fish till midnight but the heavens opened and even with a big shelter the wet and the mud told me it was best to call it a day.

I started early on Saturday, well the watch said nine and thats early for me on this venue, but I’ve always caught well during the day here when making an early start which allows me to build the swim nicely.

Unfortunately the weather forecast turned out to be spot on and the Northerly wind and heavy showers which saw the rain lashing almost horizontally across the field meant I was cooped up under the shelter concentrating more on my comfort than the fishing!

Nevertheless before lunchtime one barbel at least decided it was coming out to play ensuring I was drenched in the process.

With the sky constantly changing from a sparkling blue to an imposing black, it wasn’t long before watching the rugby became the best proposition.

I’ll be back again towards the end of this week and then it’s off to catch up with Dave and Rob on Friday.

There have been some wonderful fish out this past week just confirming what we all know about favourable barbel catching conditions.

A new barbel best from the Royalty from my favourite swim down there, Harrigans.

Some of the new Barbel Society members have been catching really big personal bests and there was a fabulous fish taken from Dobb’s Weir on the Lea. My old mate Fred won’t be surprised, he always knew that was THE place!

I’m hoping to spend the whole of the last week out on the river, the close season is going to be a busy time for me on all fronts.





I’m well into another autobiography, this one by Sir Alan Sugar. I tend to read twenty or so pages each night while laying in bed so it takes me quite some time to get through a long book.

I’m into the third chapter and thoroughly enjoying the start of his journey, it reads more like a Delboy story and I reckon there are many who can recognise parts of their own lives especially if you’re around the same age, I know I can.

Back in the seventies I used to see Sir Al every day of the week, he lived very close by and I often saw him loading the boot of his car, I say boot, the car was a Jenson Interceptor and I wanted one!

Somewhere along the path I became distracted and ended up where my schoolteacher always said I would – on the riverbank! Alan Sugar gets the Knighthood, millions and ends up on the telly!

Oh well!

Another interesting connection is that Sir Alan lives in the house that he bought from a man who was a mentor to me back when I was about twenty one years of age, a fantastic place, pretty much a stately home.

I’m looking forward to the next chapters, he makes it all sound so easy and I suppose if you have drive, ambition and focus then it actually is.





I managed to catch this on the telly last week, all about wild rivers, and what a fantastic programme!

With narration by John Hurt and stunning visuals this has to be one of the best BBC series in a long time.

Never again will anyone moan about the school run after watching a man take his two kids on a six day trek along a frozen river to ensure they studied at school……………….makes you think when you read about what goes on over here at times. Heart stopping stuff.


And when you see how a fisherman gets to his favourite swim on the Mekong river you’ll never again complain about that long walk from the carpark.

I reckon I’ll buy the DVD set, and that is a serious endorsement because I hardly ever buy them!





Those of you who have been in the Barbel Society for a long time will instantly recognise the author of this soon to be released book.

Terry wrote many fine articles for Barbel Fisher as well as some beautiful pieces of evocative poetry.

A truly gifted writer, it is really good to see his work being published in book format.

I haven’t seen it yet but on the back of what I  already know of Terry’s work I know I can recommend this to you.

Further information can be found HERE

We are hoping that Terry will be at the upcoming Barbel Show.




Last weekend found me back in London staying with my youngest daughter and her fiance at their place on St. Katherine’s dock. It had been a while since my wife and I had been down South and it was a refreshing change from my self imposed exile up here where I see far more sheep than people!

We enjoyed a couple of nights in the restaurants along the river, one evening courtesy of my very soon to be son in law celebrating success in his career.

I’m going to get on my soapbox for a moment and say how much it annoys me whenever I hear generalisations made when some are receiving scathing criticism. James works for a bank like many other people and he works damned hard and is as far removed from those who attract the criticism as is possible to be. He is at the beginning of what he and my daughter hope and expect will be a fine career, he has studied as hard as anyone and deserves the rewards that will come his way.

Moving on, one of the reasons for visiting was to see if my wife could find her outfit for the upcoming wedding, thankfully with huge help from my daughter she managed it, I had visions of being sat down outside a hundred different changing rooms in a hundred different shops for a hundred and more hours, I’m indebted to Katie forever!

Next time I’m down it’s my turn and I’m determined to be a couple of inches smaller around the waist when it comes around!

I’m working on my speech and looking forward to the wedding which is taking place in just about the prettiest village in Essex.











As I write this the Oscar’s ceremony is but hours away and while in London I was hoping to check out a couple of films. We somehow didn’t manage to get it together but I really do want to see The Kings Speech, Black Swan and the one I’m looking forward to most of all, True Grit.

Now when I posted on my Facebook page that I wasn’t sure which film to see both Kevin Wilmot and Ben Hervey-Murray recommended the western and as I said that’s good enough for me.

Hopefully I’ll see it this week in Shrewsbury, I’ll let you know my opinion on it later.

Well that’s it, just about to watch the League Cup Final when for my sins I’ll be cheering on the Brummies!

What else would you expect from a Tottenham man.

I’ll be fishing rather than writing over the next fortnight apart from working on the May edition of Fish ‘N Tips.

Don’t forget, the new magazine will be in all the main high street outlets  in the middle of March!

Good luck for the last fortnight!


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