Steve Pope Barbel Fishing

Catch more barbel!

Mid December Update

I would like to start this update by offering my sincere thanks to everyone who has contacted me with their good wishes and messages of support for the website. I’m overjoyed at the response, not just for myself but also for Simon and the guys at Studio DM who put it together.

Thanks also go out to a number of people for helping me let the angling world know that the site is online.


Angling Times gave the site a good mention, drawing particular attention to the different haircuts and shades! Interesting because haircuts have been the subject of discussion on certain forums but I have to say Mr.Barbel still takes some beating when it comes to best barnet!


In the same issue Steve Partner wrote a very interesting article on the end of the monster barbel era, raising lots of interesting points. I’m going to pick up on them next time around because it is a very topical issue.

Graham Marsden gave a nice review over on Fishing Magic. This website is now firmly established once again after going through major change and is essential viewing for all anglers.

Barbel Fishing World allowed me to inform the members there that the site is up and running and I’m indebted to Andy Francis for his kind gesture.

Bob Roberts on his website gave me a nice plug, he definitely sets the pace on the blog front and I can see me pinching a few more of his ideas in the future!

There is another friendly barbel forum on the Barbel Angler website and this site has received a warm welcome there, so thanks to Micky and his crew.


You would be amazed at the number of visits that have been generated from the above sources.


It’s basically up to me now to make sure I give you enough interesting content to ensure you keep coming back, it’s going to be hard work but you can be sure I will be doing my very best!


Well once again I missed that oh so small window of opportunity which presented itself. The temperatures have taken a real tumble and serious barbel fishing is on hold for the moment, life is always a balancing act and for the next couple of weeks family takes priority.

I had a call from my good mate Kev when that window was slightly ajar, he was fishing on the Kennet and rang to say the barbel were having it. Five of them in fact, with a couple of nice doubles and one just missing out by an ounce or so. A brilliant result that shows how important timing is at this time of the year. Mind you Kev is a mighty fine fisher, and he has taken the bait made famous by another pal who I wrote about last time, Howard Maddocks, to new heights. Meatballs are still a killer bait in the right hands using the right techniques, I’ll try and get Kev to put something together to go on here and show just how he does it.

I’ve put a short piece by my good friend Rich Frampton in the articles section. Rich has been plugging away on the upper reaches of the Severn where the barbel are extremely reluctant to show themselves. Depending on your stance Rich was fortunate or unfortunate enough to witness a family of otters putting on a show and he even managed a few photos, which I’ve included.


A trip back to London beckoned, eldest daughter was arriving at Heathrow at six fifteen pm to spend Christmas and New Year over here in preference to the warm sunshine Down Under. She must be crazy! Not really, as I said family takes priority over everything, especially at this time of year.

Bondi Calling!

So after driving for close on five hours through the Teme Valley fog, the Cotswolds rain, the traffic jams around the M25, I found myself in the arrival lounge to be met by my daughter looking like she hadn’t slept for the past week which although is an exaggeration, she had spent the past few days in Dubai with a good friend and was now paying the price!

Her vision was good enough to spot the lone figure of James Corden waiting patiently for someone from the same flight, for those of you who don’t know, he’s the one who plays Smithy in Gavin and Stacey, he also co writes the programme as well.

Gavin and Stacey

He was gracious enough to let me take a photo of him with my daughter but he didn’t rise to the bait when I told him I used to live near Billericay but now find myself in the Welsh hills!


So what’s occuring?

 Well, a visit to the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.

Winter Wonderland

 Excellent afternoon out that I would thoroughly recommend to anyone, especially those with youngsters because there is so much to do. The rides didn’t interest me too much apart from the giant wheel, which is almost as good as the Eye; the hog roast and the mulled wine did it for me in copious quantity. Well three polystyrene mugs if truth be told.

Maybe its because I’m a Londoner that I love London Town! That’s how the song goes and the lyrics ring true for me.


As much as I love living in the remote part of the country where sheep outnumber people, I still have a very strong affection for London itself, it’s a wonderful place, just a few too many people!


Whenever I’m back in town I grab at the opportunity to see my old mate Fred Crouch. An afternoon in his company whether on the bank or as this time in his cosy living room always warms the cockles of your heart and with the brass monkey weather outside it was hugely appreciated!

Steve and Fred

For the best part of four hours we certainly gave the grumpy old men a run for their money, I reckon we ran through a full series worth of material!

grumpy old men

“Why are there no comedians like Ronnie Barker, Les Dawson, Tommy Cooper or Jethro around today?” says Fred. Well there’s Peter Kay, Michael McIntyre and one or two others says I but to no real avail.

“Why do the new breed think its amusing to be coarse and vulgar on our TV screens, that just isn’t funny?” and I had to agree.

Things often go off in new directions and comedy is the same, these new horizons may not always be better in fact they are definitely worse but often we end up back where we started, full circle if you like and fishing is often the same.

“Why does Andrew Marr have to run around so much on his programme, why can’t he just stand still? Why doesn’t anyone sing live anymore and don’t even mention reality shows?”  Fred was now in full flow.


This stream of TV annoyance all came about because Fred is now the proud owner of a digibox, not for the extra channels it affords but because of the changeover, he was not happy!


Now I’m a big fan of the likes of Strictly, X factor and Celebrity, I just take them for what they are, light family entertainment. But to Fred, those along with countless other shows send him into full on Jeremy Clarkson mode! “Where oh where is the next Only fools………….or Two Ronnie’s?” And so we went on!

X Factor


Somehow we moved from digital photo frames to computer enhancement on our TV screens, what actually is reality today, is it all virtual?

Fred had seen the stingrays gorging on the crabs in the Life programme and said, “Did you see how they went straight for the ones that had shed their shells?”, it didn’t take long to go from there to barbel eating crayfish. On that subject I’m totally in agreement with Fred, at least until Bob and Stu come up with the definitive underwater shots of a barbel going for a fully armoured Reggie.


Football came under fire as well, especially Spurs who are trying to build a massive training complex just down the road and Fred has visions of more urban expansion into his part of the green belt.


Ask Fred what is a googol and he can answer without hesitation, mention google and his mind goes blank!

And then we got onto fishing.

“Why the big fish obsession, why fish with more than one rod, where has the skill all gone, bring back the days when we were happy to catch half a dozen barbel that were big enough to put a decent bend in the rod, lets return to fishing for pure enjoyment?” Fred was bringing out the full repertoire!

Mind you, it’s hard to disagree with most of what he says, for my part I’m not big fish obsessed but I do like to know that I’m in with a chance of a double.


And finally politics received the full works and I’m not going into any detail here for fear of getting into all sorts of trouble!

However, I’ll just say this, if the General Election goes badly wrong then the next blog update will be coming from Manly, Down Under! The site will be renamed!

And will the last one to leave this glorious, sceptred isle please be sure to turn off all the lights.


I’m really looking forward to our upcoming talk together for the Barbel Society Hertfordshire Region; it could well be a long night!


So what will be happening on here in the future?

Well once I transfer a shed load of photos onto the computer the gallery will treble in size.

 There are a number of articles in the pipeline and Fred Crouch is working on regular extracts from his fishing diaries, which cover more than half a century.

I’m putting together my own trips down memory lane under the banner of Looking Back and I’m also looking at ways of bringing short interviews with barbel anglers known and not quite so well known to you.


And I’m hoping the weather improves enough to be able to write about late season success on the Severn.

So keep looking in.


I’ll sign off for now by wishing each and every one of you a very merry Christmas and happy and successful new year. Have a good one!

 Happy New Year



Only a couple of days to go and as the song says,

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas 
Just like the ones I used to know 
Where the treetops glisten, 
and children listen 
To hear sleigh bells in the snow

Here’s a few more pics just taken, the sun is shining now but I have a feeling the snow on the top of the hills will still be around on Friday.

Something magical about snow at Christmas…………….as long as you’re not travelling too far!

A view from the front across the hills

A view from the front across the hills

Down the lane

Down the lane

My neighbours!

My neighbours!

Up the lane!

Up the lane!

Over the hills and far away.....

Over the hills and far away.....

Snow covered hilltops

Snow covered hilltops


Christmas Eve and the snow fell last evening and I can’t see it melting before tomorrow so it looks like a white Christmas is on the cards!

Christmas Eve 11:15am

Christmas Eve 11:15am



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