Steve Pope Barbel Fishing

Catch more barbel!

Late September Update




Last weekend saw me back in London primarily to attend a family party. The venue was in an area I knew very well having spent a large part of my life close by, Woodford .

For the first time in almost thirty years I met up with my uncle John. It was a strange encounter, almost as if time had stood still, the face may have changed a little but the mannerisms were just the same, perhaps it’s always like that and we only notice when the years have passed us by.

Back in his heyday John was great mates with a lot of the old Arsenal players and he still sees Pat Rice, in fact he told me they were speaking on the phone that very morning.

John worked with my dad back in the early sixties and I always held him up as a bit of a jack the lad, always in cool clothes and he had the haircut, I was at an impressionable age! This was around the time of Billy Fury, John Leyton, Del Shannon, Eden Kane, just before the Beatles hit the scene. I wouldn’t say Johnny was a Teddy Boy, he was just cool.

The DJ for the night was obviously well versed and knew just what music to play and my mind went way back to the early sixties when I was just a young kid putting the 45’s on the Dansette record player when my aunts were not long out of their teens, dancing away to Buddy Holly and the Big Boppa, Chantilly Lace and a pretty face………………..!


Caught up with my barbelling cousin Brian who like me found himself dancing around with his Auntie, he left before me because he was fishing the next day……………..caught a big twelve as well!


My aunt, who was celebrating her wedding anniversary, handed me a bag and said it’s a present for you. I opened it up to find a number of Bruce Springsteen albums in pristine condition. They now have a special place in my collection, my auntie still knows how to rock!

As we said our goodbye’s I wondered if I would ever meet up with John again, it seems as though this reunion with my dad’s side of the family was meant to be, it will soon be twenty five years since my dad died, I think he would have been pleased to see us all together again.



Called in to my usual Severn haunt on Tuesday to find the river back down to normal level, well it was just above to be fair and although I knew my best chance may have gone it was still worth a proper effort.

The afternoon was just a warm up for a full session the following day on the Wye with my good friend Dr. Paul Garner.

So around two in the afternoon I found myself happily putting in a gallon or so of hemp a couple of rod lengths out in the same swim that I had the two doubles from the week before.

I was just hoping that the barbel were still around and close enough to home in on the carpet before I had to turn it in and get some shut eye.

Well it didn’t take too long before the first proper take arrived which resulted in a nice barbel around the eight pound mark, I thought it may turn out to be a decent evening’s fishing.

Not to be.

By the time ten o’clock came around and Spurs had taken a bit of a hiding, against Arsenal of all sides in extra time, my thoughts were turning to sleep and  of what the Wye might bring. I’ve bought myself a radio with headphones from Tesco for £4 to see me through the long cool autumn evenings.

Then the old Speedia which was getting a run out started to turn, a really nice steady take that usually means one thing……………….a big barbel!

The usual lift into the fish met with a solid resistance and the rod took on a healthy curve but that was it, nothing,  as the dead weight on the end of my line put up no resistance and I just wound it in.

As the fish surfaced close to my waiting net I could see why, it was a bream, a decent river bream at that.

I decided to weigh it because it looked to me as though it could be a double, it certainly felt that sort of weight as I lifted the landing net onto the mat.

Nine pounds it read on  the scales, a really good weight for a Severn bream but why anyone would want to target these fish heaven only knows!

The fight if I can actually use that word was non existant and then it took an absolute age to recover, far longer than a similar sized barbel. These bream are about as fit as I am these days!

I would definitely have words with Paul tomorrow because he actually enjoys fishing for these fish, albeit of a much bigger size, I’ll see if I can pick up some medication for him!

I expect the barbel to move in tomorrow and I won’t be at all surprised if Tony doesn’t catch a few if he gets in to this swim. Tony is a good angler who fishes the same stretch.





The plan for today is to meet Paul outside Woody’s at 8-15 am, so although the drive from Worcester to Hereford is not too long or arduous an early start is still called for.

We all met up on time, what a character that Woody is!

I knew of his reputation and he certainly did not disappoint, he steered us in the right direction and could not have been any more helpful.

If you’re coming over to this part of the country to fish the Wye then make sure you call in and see Woody, the man is out of the top drawer!

We managed to find the stretch without too much trouble, parked up and set off across the fields to find the river. It was quite a walk, alright on the way down but coming back was a real killer, all uphill and I was struggling I have to say!

We eventually managed to get all the gear down in one go, as always it was the bait buckets that caused all the problems, we had a lot of stuff, after all the whole point of this day was to get an article out of it using Dynamite baits.

And get the article we did, the barbel were very obliging and I managed to hook and land ten of the Wye’s finest.

Not big fish, the heaviest was probably around eight pounds I would guess, but everyone of them gave a brilliant bite and as I’ve said so many times that is one of the biggest buzzes for me.

A pre-drilled 16mm Halibut Pellet in conjunction with a Fisky feeder filled with all manner of Dynamite goodies did the trick and if it hadn’t been for my reluctance to fish further out than I could hit with the Rapidex I’m sure I would have caught a lot more, but hey, how many do we need to catch? Ten is enough for me in eight hours.

Woody came down in the afternoon to see how we were faring and Mark who recently had a day with me on the Kennet came to visit as well.

If this was a taste of Wye barbel fishing then I’ll have some more, great fun and great scenery, I’ll just have to work out a little more!

This was the last of the current trilogy with Paul and each trip has been brilliant, we’ve caught the fish, the features have come together and the company has been superb.

Looking forward to the next instalment.



If like me you were a Tottenham supporter in the early sixties you would have loved ol’ Smithy and would have been saddened to hear of his passing.

He epitomised everything a centre forward should be and when he had the likes of Blanchflower , White and Jones supplying the ball he was always going to score the goals.

Sad, reaching that time when many childhood hero’s are shedding their mortal coil, that inevitable wheel doesn’t stop turning.

It makes you realise just that little bit more that time waits for no one and there is no way we can put off things till tomorrow.


Another hectic family weekend coming up which I’m looking forward to and then it’s back down to the Kennet for a busy fortnight’s guiding.

Enjoy your fishing, it’s one of the best times of the season right now.


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