Steve Pope Barbel Fishing

Catch more barbel!

My Presentation at the Barbel Show – June 2015

2015 Show Presentation






• It was twenty years ago today

We asked the band to play

They’ve been going in and out of style

But they’re guaranteed to raise a smile

So may I introduce to you

The act you’ve known for all these years

The Barbel Society!

• In 1995 it was anniversaries all round. 50th anniversary of VE day and the 50th cup final at wembley. And we were all twenty years younger – no grey hair back then!


• Back in 1995 Spurs were the top London side, Blackburn – with Tim Sherwood as captain for heaven’s sake were crowned champions, I can’t help thinking my team has messed up somehow.


• Mind you we were all still cringing at dear old Robson Green; believe it or not he was top of the charts back in those days!


• So a time to reflect, look back and acknowledge the work put in by so many.






• Chief exec of Worthing Council, a lawyer, a clever bloke!

• Came fishing with me and Fred.

• On the banks of the Bristol Avon we decided to go for it. Mike was involved in setting up the Pike Society.






• Sent out to well known anglers and those who had shown a real interest.





• It was a huge disappointment when I received this, I had set my heart on Peter being there.

• Days before the meeting a call from Marsh Pratley, Peter would be coming, to say I was overjoyed would be a huge understatement.

• Success now guaranteed!





• The birthplace of the Society. April 29th 1995.

• Often on TV in the days before the flood barriers, you had to swim to get in the saloon bar and that’s where the best barbel swims were!!

• All those who attended plus a couple who could not attend all became founder members.





• Thirty three people listed as FM’s many still around today.

• Aims set out and we’ve always done our best to follow these and I’ve written a few times in the magazine how we have done this.





• One of the first things we did.

• Reached a wide audience, many clubs asked for it.

• Been revisited a few times

• NFA adopted it in 2006

• Hugh Miles dvd in 2013

• Has certainly helped to educate many angler.

• Something to be proud of.





• Over 250 meetings covering most of the country. Average 12 per year. Many top line speakers, practically everyone has given a presentation.

I’ve visited all I think and along with Fred talked at twenty plus.

• From the big all singing all dancing meetings initiated BY Paul Owens in Yorkshire to the smaller regular meets that the Cambridge boys enjoyed – good to see that that area, now the Anglian Region is ready to go once more!

• Plenty of memorable moments. the early Berks meets in the pub where the landlord let us stay well into the night rolling meat along the lounge carpet!, on a personal note along with Fred giving a talk in a Toby Carvery in Enfield – not sure the diners approved!

• A resurgence in popularity because face to Face is always best

• 65 RO’s and I thank you all.






• Format has changed quite a bit over the years.

• Conscious of the fact that we want to produce good value and that’s why it became a mini magazine.

• Scope for more change in the future.

• I would like to thank all the guys who have edited the newsletter.







• Our flagship in many ways.

• The content really is superb, having spent time looking through every copy that really has become apparent.

• So much work involved in the early days, Lawrence and Gordon really did perform wonders.

• Our best move was tying up with Kevin Clifford’s crew, their expertise has made life so much easier. 1999 issue 8.

• As long as you keep the features coming your first class magazine will keep dropping through the letter box.

• Again I would like to thank all the editors.







• Fred had made up his mind to head up the Junior section and he totally committed himself to it from the off.

• For the first five years Fred, with some help and support – notably from Trefor West, organised junior events each year. Quite a few rivers featured and one event I particularly recall was held on our stretch of the lower Severn where Fred had managed to gather a premier league team of anglers to help the youngsters at the same time raising a good sum of money for the ACA. Peter Stone attended many of these junior events and as a result he and Fred formed a strong friendship.

• When Fred took on the role of President in 2000 he handed over the junior reigns and the fish-ins continued for another nine years and were always popular and well supported.

• The junior section has been in hiatus for the past four years but things are set to change. There is a new generation out there with youngsters who I’m sure would benefit from attending a Barbel Society arranged junior day. All part of the big plans for the future.






• A founder member, very much involved in the early years, a gifted wordsmith. Gordon would have loved the social media aspect we have today, he was a gifted wordsmith and you will find many wonderful quotes in the mags and newsletters he edited. I always liked the one; Although the Society is in its infancy, I think its fair to say it’s a precocious infant!

• Every name on t trophy has made a significant contribution tO the Society


• 2001 – Phil Buckingham

• 2002 – Andy Orme

• 2003 – Trefor West

• 2004 – Phil Betteley

• 2005 – Dave Burr

• 2006 – Dave Russell

• 2007 – John Found

• 2008 – Dave and Mal Brown

• 2009 – Gav Johnson

• 2010 – Mike Osborne

• 2011 – Martin and Dicky Howell

• 2012 – Pete Reading

• 2013 – Phil Smith

• 2014 – Jerry Gleeson

• 2015 – scccchhhhhh!!






• Formation and Peter Stone as President– 1995

• Handling Code – 1995

• Stillwater campaign – 1995 – I’ll go into more detail when I cover campaigns.

• First Magazine – 1996

• The loss of Peter Stone and Gordon Scott – 2000

• Save the close season petition in 2000 – campaigns

• The production of PS Tribute – 2001 Debt to repay, our debt to Peter was huge. Money to Kennington Cancer Trust

• Gordon Scott Award – 2001

• Website online – 2002 – easy today, a bit more involved back then, I have to ring binders to prove it!

• Peter Stone plaque – 2003 – everyone there, Drennan, Bernard Cribbins, big thanks to Fred and Steve Hitch

• Auction of PS tackle – 2003 – grandchildren

• Barry Norris runs first auction in 2005 which led to R and c auction in 2006

• Loss of Mike Burdon in 2005

• NFA adopt code in 2006

• R and C took off with Pete in 2007

• Book in 2013

• Loss of Fred in 2014

• Trbute mag and bench for Fred in 2014 Debt to repay.

• River Records in 2014 Brian Dowling – my idea!





• Mike Burdon took on the Research and Conservation (R and C) role and set about the work that laid the foundations for the future.

In the very first newsletter Mike outlined nine points and I will repeat them here;

1. To produce a Handling Code for wide distribution.

2. To study barbel movements from spawning sites to summer and winter locations

3. To reach some conclusions regarding the stillwater issue, long term survival and growth.

4. Identification of spawning sites to protect them.

5. Maintain details of barbel stockings in rivers.

6. Determine reasons for annual weight variations in a variety of rivers.

7. Identify the factors affecting adverse fry survival in an attempt to rectify the situation.

8. Establish if there is a reliable guide to the sex of barbel outside of the breeding period.

9. Any other matters? Possible DNA recognition etc

We have acted on most of them.

And Mike added a very important rider – Assistance Required!

During Mike’s tenure he pushed for members to get involved with their river consultatives, become NRA liaison officers and in 2003 he proposed we undertake a study of barbel populations on all rivers…………

We also met the EA Head of Fisheries and visited Calverton.

We presented a detailed report to the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Review board outlining our objections to the stocking of barbel into stillwaters.

This eventually led to us agreeing a joint statement with the EA.

From 2004 it was very apparent that Mike’s health was failing him and he passed away a year later and it was a huge blow both to me personally and to the Society.

We were very fortunate in having Pete Reading ready and willing to take up the baton and to build on Mike’s fine work and these past ten years have seen huge strides on the R and C front with Pete at the helm.

The work we have undertaken has been detailed by Pete on many occasions and I will detail the projects here;


• Financial help towards Stocking on a number of rivers, Dane, Aire, Stour and Lea.

• Habitat improvements – Throop, Loddon, Teme, Cherwell, Hants Avon.

• A number of important Research projects in consultation with Universites.

• Phd projects

• Working closely with Rob Britten and Andy Pledger and river trusts and important national bodies.

I am sure even the most fervent critic would have to admit that for a purely voluntary organisation that’s a damn good effort in a little over six years.

Mike Burdon would be proud of what the Society has achieved on the R and C front, where there is a will there will always be a way.






• Every year we’ve put one on.

• Attracts the Biggest names

• Memorable moments, From Tony Miles and the projector at the very first one, Peter Stones passionate speech and Matt Hayes, the forum with Stoney, FJ and Wheaty, Chris Yates and the gudgeon, modern days stuff as well, bob and Stu – so many.

• Always a risk but always well attended – thank you!







• Against the stocking of barbel into stillwaters in 1995. Daiwa, Needed press and big boys on side, not brilliant to be labelled angling terrorists when you are just starting out but we made an impact.

• River Watch in 1998

• Save the close season in 2000.

• Against retention of barbel in keepnets in 2005.







• Don Caliendo ( A wonderful man) and his team of managers and bailiffs

• River Teme – 3 venues

• River Severn – 6 venues

• River Dane

• Bristol Avon

• Swale

• Trent

• Hants Avon

• Gt. Ouse

• Warwickshire Avon


• Always risky but we are always in the market if something comes up.

• Given many member some great days with superb fishing







• 57 people have been on the team.

• Thank every single person

• A bit like a Pointless question,let me slip into Andrew Alexander mode – see if you can name the one person apart from me that I’ve left out, it’s a pointless answer if you spot it!





• Well who do you think took the minutes of all our meetings?!

• Why did I spent so much time in Oz!

• I shouldn’t dwell on this because the last time we mentioned committee perks like the helicopter to get us to meetings we incurred the wrath of one member who wrote a lengthy letter taking huge umbrage that we were squandering the money, that is absolutely true and I probably have a copy of that letter filed away somewhere!

• No one guessed who is really missing and its this man……………..







• A great asset to the BS for a few years, about twelve years ago.

• Moved on to become an established name in the carp world editing various magazines.






• I’m going to close by thanking you, and everyone who has supported the Barbel Society through these past twenty years. Without that support there simply would be no barbel Society.

• While I’m in Sgt Pepper mode there is another song on that album that is very apt to me, It includes the lines;

Will you still need me?  Hope so – perhaps With a Little Help From my Friends.

When I’m 64?

Grandchildren are certainly sitting on my knee and the door is often locked when I get back from fishing at quarter to three but I still get the valentine and bottle of wine!

But I’m 65 next week, an oap for crying out loud but my passion and commitment is still total but the energy levels are dropping a bit!

• I’ve spent thirty minutes trying to condense the past, what of the future?

• Well that’s in the hands of the next generation and with that in mind I’m going to hand you over to Billy Shears aka Howard Cooke!



Steve Pope – June 2015.










































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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