Steve Pope Barbel Fishing

Catch more barbel!

Pope’s Patch – Barbel Fisher 30.


My last piece for the magazine was a rundown of what has happened in the Society over the past five years, so after analysing the detail and sifting back through the archives it was relatively easy to put together.

Since then and over this past year I’ve written more words than ever before, easily enough to fill a book, only thing is they have mostly all ended up on the ‘net!

With the recent demise of the magazine Coarse Fisherman, it really does make you wonder how we will all be enjoying our fishing reading in the years ahead.

The big advantage of the Internet is that everything is immediate, you can catch a fish have it resting in your landing net while your I phone gets the message out to just about everyone. It’s no wonder then that the magazines and papers find it more and more of a challenge to keep with it in this high-speed age.

The people who like to write and feel they have something to say use the Blogging system, it’s becoming increasingly popular.

Basically an online diary and it’s a facility I use more and more these days.

It has impacted on other lines of communication, open fishing forums are nowhere near as active as they once were because those who enjoy that medium have settled into areas where they feel most comfortable.

I’ve been updating my own blog on a regular basis, almost weekly, and it is time consuming but I know from the amount of people who visit that it’s popular so I’ll carry on putting the effort in.

It allows me to be self-indulgent if I so choose and I don’t have to concern myself with negative responses because I’m in control of what goes up on the screen!

 In saying that I’ve only had a couple over the past twelve months and that tells me all I need to know.

I can see someone coming up with a book of blogs in the not too distant future, if I was a betting man I would say Bob Roberts is the man to do it.

Whether you agree with what he says is not the issue, the point is he is an excellent writer with the perfect style for blog writing and his output is just incredible.

All of my fishing exploits are fully detailed on my blog and this season I’ve discovered a new enthusiasm, which I had wondered at times, was still there.

I managed to catch up with an old friend Lol Breakspear for an afternoon summer session on the Severn near Bridgnorth. It was just like old times as we sat there putting the world to rights waiting for the pin to scream. Lol put the very first Barbel Fisher together and for anyone who doesn’t know he is credited as being the pioneer behind the huge lump of luncheon meat method that is still working very well today.

There’s no doubt we will meet up again because I seem to be at that point in my life where it is important to catch up with friends from the past, perhaps we all go through this?

I’ve also spent time with another old acquaintance from times gone by, Dr. Paul Garner.

We shared days on the Kennet, Wye and Warwickshire Avon and caught some nice fish while once again cementing a friendship that goes way back.

After months of trying to meet up with each other, back in June I managed to catch up with Barry Norris, someone I’ve known for many years and someone who has put much into the Barbel Society over the years and someone who I consider to be a really good mate.

We didn’t meet up on the river, that will happen at some time I’m sure, Barry made the journey to my place up on the Welsh border to celebrate my sixtieth.

It was just like old times as we sat out in the summer sun with Fred Crouch and John Found recounting the good times we have shared.

Another Society stalwart Phil Buckingham has now made the same move I made and lives reasonably close by on the Wye, I know once we meet up again on the river then its going to be hard to pull myself away because the Wye has everything you could possibly want as a barbel angler.

I’ve mentioned before how small the fishing world is and is now made even more so by the Internet.

In my Baitdropping article you will see I have made reference to the Broadwater fishing club and my childhood fishing tackle shop, Charlie Rew’s.

Well, a few days ago I received an email from the wife of a keen angler enquiring about two or three days fishing with me next year.

I made contact and found myself chatting to Bob, a seventy year old who is not as active these days but was nevertheless a very keen angler and looking forward to meeting up with me.

Last night he rang me once again and said that he knew me from way back, I have to say I couldn’t recall until he started giving me more information.

It transpired that he was brought up in Tottenham, no more than five hundred yards from where I used to live, he went to the same primary school and to the senior school which my house backed on to. He moved away to Cambridgeshire in 1964.

Now to the strangest co-incidence you could imagine, he was the captain of the Broadwater Angling Club when they won the LAA Challenge shield and he used to spend lots of times in Rew’s.

I’ve absolutely no doubt that he was one of the guys I used to see in the shop when I called in for a bob’s worth of maggots!

To say I’m looking forward to catching up with him in the summer would be a huge understatement, yet another key to help me unlock bits of the past hidden away in the deepest recesses of my memory.

What with guiding days, auction days, gentlemen’s days, features days and just plain fishing days its easy to see why my enthusiasm is restored, just hope I have the energy to keep it maintained!

This season has also seen another change in my outlook to barbel fishing, I now fully appreciate that there is as much if not more pleasure in seeing others catch their first, their biggest or their first barbel on a pin.

My dear friend Fred Crouch told me a few years ago that I would understand it but I have to admit to being ever so slightly sceptical at the time but I really get it now.

These past few months have seen me share in the total enjoyment of anglers who were total strangers at eight in the morning and who become friends for life twelve hours later.

This leads me nicely on to what I hope will be a really successful Barbel Society initiative in the near future, Barbel School.

We have talked for many years about providing days where inexperienced barbel fishers can meet and learn from others who have spent many years in pursuit of our quarry but, because of other commitments and one thing or another, it hasn’t really got off the ground.

Andy Holder, our Gloucestershire Regional Organiser reminded us that this should be happening and was a very good idea and so at long last we will be making it happen..

The angling press have picked up on the idea as well and with the right drive and organisation this could well see the Society move forward and perhaps attract the generation of anglers who are missing out on the joy of river fishing.

We are in difficult times and barbel fishing and the Barbel Society is caught up in that like everything else.

But with a vibrant Research and Conservation side, more active regions and Barbel School, the Society has in place key points that should appeal.

 The past four months has convinced me that there are many out there who want to learn more about barbel, make new friendships, become involved and therefore take the Barbel Society forward.

So no reason for negative thoughts, sure there are problems out there affecting us all but they only become obstacles if we let them.

Positive thinking with a smile on your face is the only way.

And that leads me nicely on to my last words where I want to offer my heartiest congratulations to Society stalwart Simon Asbury.

Simon has just broken the Dove record with an almighty barbel and the fantastic photo of Simon with the biggest smile you could possibly imagine says it all!

Simon is a really nice bloke, and as I said to him only hours before his capture, nice guys always come out on top!

On that upbeat note I’ll bring this to a close especially as there is an article from me elsewhere in this issue!

Enjoy the rest of the season, and have a great Christmas and New Year!

 STEVE POPE October 2010

Leave a Reply

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