Steve Pope Barbel Fishing

Catch more barbel!

Mid October Update


GOOD THINGS COME IN ……………………………..

Well a lot more than three this week, we’ll tot them up at the end of this update and see how many we get.

First one is probably a little egotistical I have to admit but I’ve waited a long time, getting on for almost  twenty years!

Back in my Barbel Catcher’s days I acquired this ambition to get myself on to the front page of Angling Times. It wasn’t a total vanity thing, more a case of keeping up with my mates. I was in the London Region and at least half the guys had adorned the front cover, some more than once, I’ll readily admit Chrissy King was a handsome fellow and boy did he catch some fish, well he did back in those days!

I’ve managed this feat in Angler’s Mail and some of the monthlies but never AT, not until this Tuesday.

So big thanks to the Doc, Paul Garner for taking the picture, and to Steve Partner and the AT guys for using it on the cover.

Good luck to Paul in his new position with Nash Tackle and don’t forget to check out his website, there’s some really good stuff on there.

I’m now famous in Harry Tuffin’s!


Next one, another memorable day yesterday on the Kennet with Simon.

Now Simon is an accomplished angler but has only recently caught the barbel bug. He has read just about everything there is to read about barbel this year and has been dreaming about catching a double figure barbel.

So no pressure.

We were armed with a gallon of maggots and a bucket full of hemp and as always a head full of confidence! Weatherwise there was a distinct chill in the air, the mini Indian summer we enjoyed last week is fading fast. The previous evening I had spent four fruitless hours on the Severn until the cold started to impregnate my thermal layer, memo to myself, upgrade the thermals!

Having ascertained that there was still a problem with crayfish and minnows we stuck with the glued maggots, this time on a piece of elastic band impaled on a size twelve.

This worked well, allowing us to sit back and wait in the certain knowledge  that the maggots were intact.

After three hours of concentrated effort the rodtop pulled round in that unmistakeable fashion and Simon was in!

After a spirited tussle this lovely conditioned barbel came to the net and on the scales she registered a very pleasing 9-04, a new personal best!

Simon’s face says it all!

So, with one part of the mission in the bag we spent the next few hours talking all manner of barbel fishing interspersed with one or two other topics including Australia because Simon has spent as much time Down Under as myself, and the area around St. Katherine’s Dock, we had a good bit in common.

These fishing days seem to fly by and in what seemed no time at all the sky began to darken and close in, the air became that bit cooler and we were fast running out of time.

Fishing wise the one barbel had so far been the only action we had seen.

I started to pack things away.

 Tackle boxes back in the rucksack, the dropper rod broken down and put into the holdall, the bait buckets emptied and cleaned, the weigh sling and scales came down from the tree branch hook and into my bag, even my seat was put away. The only items left were the landing net, unhooking mat and the rod.

It was almost over.

Now I promise you I’m not exagerrating when I state that I was just about to say, “that’s it”, when the ‘pin screamed out in anger!

This was the equivalent of getting a penalty in the very last minute of time added on in extra time in the final of the Cup and just for Simon, Pompey have the kick!

The fish was staying deep, but Simon was in total control. Sidestrain with the rod bent to the max quickly brought the fish near to the landing area but then she decided to really wake up!

A few anxious moments went by before we caught a glimpse, it certainly looked a decent fish. On the second time of asking she rolled into the landing net and I could plainly see it was going to be that double.

Lifting her out after the obligatory rest period it was obvious we were into double figures, with a good bit to spare!

With the torch illuminating the dial, the needle went round once and settled past the twelve pound mark. We agreed on 12-07, pure magic!

It was another of those memorable moments, I seem to be sharing a good few of those this season!

 The pleasure I get from seeing others fulfill their dream is immense, Simon was in seventh heaven!

The second bite had been a long time coming but boy was it worth it when it came!

To conclude, it’s safe to say the barbel bug is here to stay and Simon like many of us is now hooked for life.


For the next one I’m nipping back to the Angling Times.

I’ve written on here before of my admiration for Steve Partner, he is now firmly established as the Angling journalist who tackles thorny subjects head on.

I  find myself agreeing with practically all of his views and this week I agree wholeheartedly with his opinions on website forums. In fairness most of the mainstream websites have cleaned up their acts and apply a zero tolerance policy, better late than never I suppose.

There is still the odd anarchic site and a handfull of Blogs where one or two can still let it all hang out, but as their readership is minimal the impact is non existant.

When I started this website I took a view that I would not entertain or invite the sort of comment one would see on the sites mentioned above and judging by the volume of traffic I get that decision has served me well.

I’ve met lots of new people this season and every one has said that they look in at some of the forums but would never want to get involved, I understand exactly where they are coming from.

So well done Steve for flagging it up again, lets all hope that Forum world becomes a nice place so that every angler feels welcome.


 Now this next bit really has pleased me because I truly didn’t expect it to happen.

Stopping off in Worcester on Tuesday I was sorting out my fishing gear when a very familiar face popped around from behind the adjacent caravan, it was my good mate Stuey.

He looked a bit worse for wear which is hardly surprising considering his recent ordeal. I was as pleased as it’s possible to be to see him and put my arm around him as we both sat down on my bench as he told me his story.

Many, I would even say most, would not have survived the heart attack he suffered and we just agreed that who or whatever decrees, had just decided that thankfully it wasn’t his time.

So take good care Stu, get the rods out again and catch those fish!

It’s great to have you back.


In a similar vein, wasn’t it fantastic watching those Chilean miners being rescued.

A fantastic story that warms the heart when most world news is pretty depressing.

Seeing them come up Juan by Juan as Chris Evans put it was a triumph for the human spirit and skill of the rescue team.

I would suggest that  team is urgently required at Liverpool Football Club!

Truly uplifting!


Today is also my wedding anniversary and I managed to get back in time to enjoy lunch with my better half at our local, Mellington Hall.

Keeping a balance is very important these days, I have been known to miss this day in the past, out on the riverbank and I’m not proud to admit that!

So Brownie points are in the bag, I’m going to need them as long as November stays reasonably mild because my lower Severn mission is certainly on…………………… long as I get those thermals!



The autumn colours are well and truly with us again, this really is a stunning time of the year, the spring lambs have left the fields and the farmers are pleased to be getting top dollar for their seasonal toils. The hedges have had their haircut, the clocks will soon be going back and Christmas is just around the corner!

Sincere thanks to the many readers who have sent me private emails saying how much they have enjoyed my recent writings especially the one about my dad, it obviously struck a chord.

So plenty of good things in this one, a lot more than three, they are always there, just have to open your eyes to see.

I’ll sign off with some autumnal shots and another Robert Plant tour de force.



All the best,


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