Steve Pope Barbel Fishing

Catch more barbel!

May Update

Hello! First of all I have to offer my most sincere apologies because the site has been down for a bit. The reason being that some time ago I was hacked and that has presented problems that recently led to the decision being made to change to a new server.

Thanks to my good friend and colleague Simon Asbury, and his fantastic team at StudioDM, this has now happened but it involved a lot of work and for that I am eternally grateful to them.

This has meant that all the comments that were made by people looking in have all gone, this unfortunately couldn’t be helped but it doesn’t affect the future, all comments made will be approved and published.

Fingers and everything else all now crossed in the hope that everything is now working as it should be and there will now be regular updates on here.


Notwithstanding the sites technical hitch it has been a while since my last update on here, no excuses, just been too busy on other fronts and to some degree my writing mojo had deserted me for a while.

In saying that I’ve still found time to have lots of fun on Facebook but thats mostly about sharing immediate thoughts rather than a more detailed experience.

That’s where a website and your own blog comes into its own and I should take more advantage of the facility I am fortunate enough to have at my disposal. I receive great numbers of guiding enquiries and practically all come via this website, people from far and wide, Europe and even America. So the power of the ‘net and your own website can never be understated, it is simply awesome!

Once the fishing season starts I know there will be lots to talk about but much has happened since my last indepth piece on here and there’s much thats likely to happen over the next twelve months so stick with me on here and I’ll keep you up to speed.

I’ll give you a bit of a rundown of the first few months of 2016.



Well it didn’t actually happen! I was all fired up and really looking forward to spending the last few weeks of the season on the lower Severn with my good friend Lol Breakspear. Lol had already notched up a fantastic tally of double figure barbel from the water during 2015 and I had done well on the handful of visits I had made, so we were both convinced something special could be on the cards, for the lower Severn that would be a barbel in excess of fifteen pounds because they are very few and far between. But the weather gods had it in for us, the constant rain up in my neck of the woods had meant that the Severn was constantly bank high ( perfect) but it had risen too much which meant the banks were now treacherous and impassable even with four wheel drives.

So the end of season just didn’t happen and so at the beginning of March I headed out to Dubai. I’ll tell you about that later on.

But apart from the weather acting against me, I also found myself in trouble health wise…………….



Well I don’t know about you but for me the pain I have endured during the January and February has at times been quite excrutiating, without doubt the worst I have yet to suffer!

Impossible to drive – although I did manage to get out on one trip only to pick up another speeding ticket in Worcester, and it was also very difficult to get upstairs even in our hobbit house!

I eventually sorted myself out with the doctor and I now have another pill to add to my growing collection, this one is called Allopurinol.

I just hope I don’t find myself in trouble with another gout attack when I’m down on the river!


Other Ailments!

An eye test had confirmed what I already knew, new glasses were required!

More expense, whenever I find myself in the opticians I mentally prepare myself for a bill around £400 and it was no different this time. At least the sunglasses will be of good use on the Wye with the added polarising lens.

Apart from eyes I also decided to have my ears checked out again and this time I have succumbed and as I write I am waiting for a hearing aid. Can’t see me using it all the time but we’ll have to see!

While contemplating the fact that I appear to be falling apart I consoled myself by regularly ordering ‘stuff’ from Amazon – I’m addicted to parcel deliveries!


An Amazon reminder of the old days!

An Amazon reminder of the old days!


This Sporting Life

I’m not going to dwell on it, spent far too much time on Facebook where I eventually had to put my hands up and take it on the chin – yes I’m talking football and Spurs in particular!!

Another false dawn, us Tottenham fans are used to it, but it was different this time because there really was an air of expectancy – at least for a short while!

To be fair it was always going to be tough making up the lost ground and Leicester, to their great credit, never really looked like sliping up.

The capitualtion at the end was hard to take. The key moment though was when we couldn’t beat a ten man Arsenal team at home. That was the moment in my eyes where the chance was gone although I kept making positive noises on Facebook!

The final straw was listening to Chelsea players stating that they would prefer to see Leicester rather than Spurs as champions. Bearing in mind Chelsea still had to play both leading teams and also the way they had played to be rid of Jose this to me was tantamount to cheating, possibly match fixing!

I’m sure the weasel words got under the skin of the Tottenham lads because the eventual match turned into a grudge fest rather than a football match, so to that end Chelsea had won because they got right into the Tottenham heads.

Anyway there’s always next season and us Spurs fans have every right to be optimistic.

As my brother in law mentioned on Facebook, if Spurs had pipped Leicester we would have been the most reviled champions ever, so perhaps its all for the best.

Well done to Leicester and Ranieri who just didn’t put a foot wrong.

Away from the football I did get lucky on the Grand National managing to pick out the first and second – now if only I understood betting and win doubles!


DIY and Broooooooooooce!

You will remember if you follow my blogs that some time ago I had unwelcome visitors in my back garden in the shape of the very finest Welsh beef. A whole herd of them and I’m not talking about the local rugby team!

They managed to trash the balustrading around the deck I had lovingly created but fortunately most of the timber was salvageable. So I have been busy putting it all back together and repainting it in the finest Cuprinol Shades.


13241185_1039288916136774_6008465976479596682_n[1] (275x500)

And some of those aforementioned Amazon parcels have contained rattan garden furniture so the deck is now complete and all we need is plenty of sun so that we can enjoy it!

On the up side as well, it looks like we have said goodbye to the bovine neighbours as we will be adjacent to fields sown to the brim with swedes, evidently this is all the rage for pregnant sheep. So comes November the sheep will be back and in the new year lots of lambs all prepared on a diet of root vegetables!

I had been waiting to hear that Springsteen was going to tour the UK this year and back in February, just as the pain from the gout was receding, the tour was announced. That meant one thing, sitting by the computer ready for the instant tickets became available. It wasn’t too difficult and I purchased one standing ticket for myself at the Etihad and two ( my wife likes Bruce as well) excellent seats for Coventry.


13239139_1039513852780947_298364366396019220_n[1] (217x395)

As I type this I’m only days away before setting off for Manchester to queue for two days to ensure a front row position. Following the European tour on the Springsteen website ( Greasy Lake) I see that he is putting on a three and a half hour plus show, 35 songs, so its going to be good!


Being Grandad

Just about my favourite past time. I love it. It’s come to me relatively late in life and so I suppose I realise just how precious the time spent with my grandchildren really is. They grow up so quickly and I’m not getting any younger. Childhood is such a short space of time , I suppose its fair to say that from a grandparents pespective it’s from two and a half up to twelve, ten years at most. Now bearing in mind my two grandchildren are soon to be three and five that gives me until 2026 and if I’m still around I’ll be 76!

So I have a limited amount of ‘good’ time available to me and I mean to capitalise on it.

Prioritising one’s life is no easy matter, even when you are past sixty five there still doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to cram everything in, so working out just what is truly important becomes vital.

I’ve just written my regular piece for the next Barbel Fisher magazine and I’ve made this subject the focal point.

We, my wife and I, are lucky and we get to see our grandaughter on a regular basis. We share childminding duties with little Eva’s other grandparents and so she gets the benefit of both worlds.

Playing with all her toys, taking her out to the park and the soft play areas in the pushchair, taking her to the restaurants in town are all things we cherish – I suppose having three daughters it brings back all the happy memories of when they were a similar age.


20160223_124727_HDR (305x500)

It is now a regular routine to take her for lunch in one of the many restaurants that St. Albans town centre boasts. One of our favourites is Zizzi’s and one of life’s joys for me at this time is watching Eva sit there so perfectly eating her waybthrough three courses and loving every second of it. She has a wonderful appetite, rarely turning her tiny little nose up at anything but the reality is she only takes a few nibbles of everything but every single bit of the ice cream! Like her mum, she is a tiny little mite and she is going to stay that way so her sweet tooth is kept in check!


IMG-20160213-WA0001 (375x500)

IMG-20160307-WA0003 (500x375)

She is adorable, no trouble whatsoever and I look forward to every moment I’m lucky enough to spend with her.

Our other grandchild is Henry and he lives in Australia and we were lucky enough to spend real quality time with him when we all met up in….



And what a fabulous place it is, I enjoyed every minute of our two week stay. Well that is apart from the descent from 40000 feet into the airport which was so rapid my stomach couuldn’t quite handle it! Thats a first as well and I’ve clocked up plenty of air miles.

The first couple of days were cloudy and even a couple of torrential downpours but after that it settled down to a very comfortable temperature and plenty of sun. As I write this the temperatures are now on average in the mid thirties heading towards the forties which basically means it ain’t very nice!! So if you are thinking about going and its well worth it, then February through till April is probably the best bet.


20160313_181027_Burst02 (500x435)

20160318_171734_Burst01 (281x500)

20160321_172210~3 (480x500)

1458851925697 (282x500)

FB_IMG_1458103941445 (375x500)

FB_IMG_1458386366594 (500x448)

FB_IMG_1458386385837 (500x401)

IMG_3902 (500x358)

IMG_3904 (500x333)

Time was spent around and in the pool with Henry, and various trips out to see the Burj Khalifa, Atlantis, the Mall,  a boat trip along the coast, beach trips, a Boney M concert, Sooks, Garden glow, the golf club and an interesting meet up with someone I hadn’t seen in a long while. This someone was Nick who I once took fishing when he was a lad at school with my daughters back in the late seventies! Its a small world.

It was a great opportunity to catch up with two daughters, Peter who was a brilliant host and of course Henry our grandson who had flown with his mum all the way from Sydney.

For much of the time Peter was hard at work , being a partner in a busy law firm has its benefits but it also entails full on graft! He is an Arsenal man as well, through and through, season tickets, the works. So you can imagine the conversations we had!

Keeley had come to Dubai as she and my daughter Amy ( who now lives in Dubai) were busy putting together  a new branch of the well established recruitment business she has established in Sydney.

What this meant was that for much of the day we were looking after Henry and I loved it!

I’m now looking forward to seeing him later in the year before he starts school. In the meantime we have sent him his remote control Leonardo Ninja Turtle and I can’t wait to see his face on Skype when it arrives for his birthday!




Things have changed and I’ll be heading back out to Oz in the autumn. My daughter needs our help and assistance and so we’ll be there. I’m looking forward to it as always and there is the possibility of a trip to Adelaide where I just might be able to enjoy some serious fishing.

Life now very much revolves around our immediate family, I suppose its how the wheel goes around and once a parent always a parent.




Another continent, closer to home though but for me purely in the geographical sense. I get on with most people but I’m not a believer when it comes to the Melting Pot Principle. For that reason I will be voting to come out of the EU. I have found myself embroilled in much discussion on Facebook and have listened to all the arguments, indeed most crossed my mind way before they hit any headlines. I do believe it will be a close call, I can usually predict political outcomes ( not so good at football), but this time its tricky. Fate has also played a trick on me because just one day after voting I will be catching up with my German friend Horst and we will be enjoying six days together! We will have plenty to talk about as will Wolfgang, Holger and Simon ( all from Germany and over here to join me for fishing). And that leads me on to fishing matters……



There is always plenty going on with regards to the Barbel Society and with our show being a month earlier than usual life has been a bit hectic in the lead up to the event on May 1st.

Mark Dutton, one of the many younger guys now on the committee, took the reigns as this years organiser and along with his team he did a formidable job. The show turned out to be a resounding success and once again we are indebted to all the people who make it so.


015 (500x281)

Presenting Simon Asbury with the Gordon Scott Award

Presenting Simon Asbury with the Gordon Scott Award

Next years show will be held in June and will no doubt be another brilliant weekend, so make a note in your diary – June 4th!

I’ve put together a review for the next Barbel Fisher and will post it on here once the magazine has been published.

In the week before the show I found myself at a couple of meetings to do with the removal of Powick Weir, a very hot topic for those who are interested in the River Teme. Even managed a radio interview before eight in the morning, along with my pal Lol Breakspear. I’ll keep you updated with events as they develop but there is plenty on Facebook if this is a subject that interests you.


Fishwifes Tales


You may want to check out the Articles section on my website. I have uploaded four short stories written by my sister in law, Dianne, she has been firmly bitten by the fishing bug! She is a very talented writer and you will enjoy her adventures as she goes fishing with her husband Howard. As long as she keeps writing I will put them on here because I’m sure there are many who will enjoy her amusing anecdotes.



I am practically fully booked. As I’m off to Australia in October my guiding will finish early in that month. I’ve managed to jig things around and have just a handful of dates if anyone is looking for a days guiding, otherwise its on to 2017!


Wye Valley Adventures


house_1[1] (500x332)

There are a few places available for the four holiday breaks we have in place. Remember you can book for two, three or four days – the choice is yours. As I always say these are fantastic value and we have added an exclusive venue this year where there are lots of barbel! Don’t miss out, get in touch with Peter at Caer Beris Manor and he will sort things out for you.


Thats All Folks!


Busy times ahead, I’ll keep you posted!


All the best,





4 Responses to “May Update”

  1. Great read Steve, looking forward to our day fishing together in July.


    Steve Hodges

  2. Cheers Steve, pleased you enjoyed it. Looking forward to catching up, not long now – will be here before you know it!

  3. Great to catch up with your life Grandad Steve time goes so fast Are we still on for a day in early August would really like to catch up and tell you about the demolition of Rudolfs in Tottenham High Rd found memories

  4. Cheers Bob, look forward to seeing you soon, lots to catch up on!

Leave a Reply

For more information regarding guiding, articles, talks and presentations, shows and anything barbel fishing related contact me at: StevePopeBarbelFishing Facebook