Steve Pope Barbel Fishing

Catch more barbel!

May 2021 – Update

Hello, it’s been a long time!

I have a few excuses, the main one being my computer which decided to give up the ghost and at first I thought it was a major problem which would require a trip to the repair shop. Fortunately it didn’t as I located a local lad who sorted my problem immediately. Then of course lock-down got in the way of us all and my isolation became even more so as I became very reluctant to go outside or meet people!

As I write there appears to be a light at the end of this very long and dark tunnel, nine months have passed since I last saw my close family, Facetime has been a godsend but it doesn’t beat the real thing.

I’ll take you back to last summer and give a brief summary of the fishing we enjoyed back then. On a personal note it was hugely disappointing to have to cancel our Barbel Show, I was really looking forward to doing one final presentation, I did manage to give a truncated version of it to a lovely audience in the Shropshire countryside in a car-park and I’ll come on to that a little later!

My fishing revolves around three rivers, The Severn, The Trent and The Wye, big rivers but each very different, throwing up problems to solve and with hugely differing expectation levels.

I made a start in early July and Atcham on the upper reaches of the Severn was the destination, a beautiful venue that didn’t give up its prizes very easily. Throughout the summer I was a frequent visitor because of its closeness to home, safe parking, beautiful surroundings and comfortable fishing. We had a good few barbel up to nine pounds, a few chub as well and I’m looking forward to spending more time on the Lymm Angling Clubs waters.

I’m honoured to be an Ambassador for Lymm and back in September I gave a talk for the barbel guys in the car park at Atcham. An outside gig! Not a first because many years ago I gave an alfresco talk for NASA talking about sturgeon fishing in Canada which seems rather apt considering what I encountered at Sutton!

We visited a number of different venues on the Wye and once again fish to the nine pound mark were landed, had a few red letter days but in the main we had to be satisfied with four or five fish.

Trips to the Trent were certainly eventful.

On my first visit to the Barbel Society stretch at Sutton in many a long year I thought for ten minutes or so that I was playing a record barbel! It fought like one, I had to wait until it decided it had had enough and then I was consumed with disappointment as a sturgeon rolled into my landing net! I couldn’t believe it, amazingly it was caught again that very same day by an angler fishing half a mile or so downstream of me, a strange day indeed. I’ve caught plenty of sturgeon in British Columbia but this was a first and I suspect never to be repeated experience.

Days and nights on Collingham produced lots of personal bests and happy anglers. This year we managed barbel in excess of seventeen pounds and there were sixteens, fifteens, fourteens, thirteens and twelves in good numbers – it was great fun.

Bait wise I’ve had great faith in Dynamite garlic pellets and Dynamite Source boilies, if the barbel are there then they will happily pick up these excellent baits, they wont let you down.

Tackle wise I bought a couple of Barbel Buster centrepins, I have far too many pins but these are special and commemorate the Barbel Societies 25th anniversary, they will eventually reach my grandchildren.

As autumn arrived I was beginning to get a bit edgy over the Covid situation, with my own personal situation I really couldn’t risk picking up the virus. I had a guiding day arranged in October and then I received a message from my client saying he would have to cancel because he was unwell. No problem but a couple of days later he messaged me again informing me that he had tested positive for the virus.

That was it, too close for comfort, no more fishing and I went into self imposed isolation.

Sadly I had to say goodbye to Marsh. He had put up an incredibly brave fight but even a man of his strength and character could not withstand that horrible disease that causes so much pain and suffering to so many. I feel privileged to have known him and so unbelievably honoured to have contributed to his book which tells the story of a life well lived.

At the start of the year and before Covid had really kicked in I made a big decision, I wanted a cat, not just any cat but a Birman just like we had nearly forty years ago. I made inquiries which eventually led me to a lovely lady in the Lake District who bred these cats and she told me that I could be in luck later in the year. I put my name down. As I started to become more and more interested I realised that I actually wanted two and luckily my breeder was able to accommodate me and so it came to be with the help of my wonderful daughters who treated me, that in December I became the proud owner of two fabulous kittens. Now eight months old they have changed my life.

This coming season I have plenty of trips planned and I’m especially looking forward to hopefully catching a Welsh barbel on my doorstep, I’ll keep you posted.

Before then I have a roof to renew and more urgent DIY jobs to finish and of course life now revolves around my two feline buddies.

I’ll leave you with some pictures and hopefully I wont leave it so long before coming back on here again.










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