Steve Pope Barbel Fishing

Catch more barbel!

Popes Patch – Barbel Fisher 32


Well it really
has been a hectic six months since the last time I was at the keyboard for my
Barbel Fisher piece, now I know Fred has written a thought provoking piece so
I’ll keep mine lighter in content and perhaps pick up on what Fred has to say
next time around.

I managed to get
down to London for the big Royal event and while I was there I managed to cross
over the county line into Essex to witness my young nephew win his big cup
final, have to say the parents seem to get more worked up at these things than
the kids, I think my brother received some sort of red card!

My Australian
grandson Henry arrived at the end of May and my wife was out there to lend a
hand, I stayed behind for the Barbel Societies Barbel Show and was not
disappointed, it was a first class event as always.

And then a far
more important wedding , that of my youngest daughter, which took place as the
fishing season got under way and I have to say it was some event. I take no
credit whatsoever save for the fact that I was fortunate enough to be able to
ensure my daughters received a good education and they have all taken full
advantage of that.

The sun shone, I
got to walk down the aisle, even received a standing ovation for my speech and
I thoroughly enjoyed every second of a spectacular day.

Those of you yet
to experience a daughter’s wedding day, I can thoroughly recommend it!

And then of
course there’s been the fishing, lots of it!

I found myself
on the banks of the Wye at the start of the season and after the relatively
easy fishing of the previous year found myself coming right back down to earth.

There’s little
doubt that the Wye now has one of the largest barbel populations of any river
in the UK and if you’re on a big shoal you can fill yer boots.

But, and here’s
the catch, if you don’t find a group of fish you’ll struggle there just as much
as you would on any other river.

And as I found
out on another visit, you can have a big shoal of barbel right in front of you
but if they don’t want to feed for whatever reason, you will struggle.

This past summer
I’ve tried a number of different Wye venues and caught on them all, I’ve
blanked on them as well.

Going back to
that first session of the season, I was guiding a couple of businessmen who
were more used to casting a fly than a feeder.

We had spent all
day trying different tactics and by late afternoon had only a couple of barbel
to show for a lot of effort.

They both wanted
to pack up and head off to the pub for a decent meal, they wanted me to go
along as well and my protestations that they would most likely miss out on the
best part of the day fell on deaf ears. They went, I stayed and caught a number
of nice sized fish, the following morning they were pretty upset to say the
least, moral of the story……………fishing must always come before filling
your belly!

A few weeks
later and just a little upstream I was up in a tree looking down on forty or so
barbel flashing and rolling in mid river, the swim for the next day was in the
bag and it was just a question of how many, or so I thought.

With a father
and son fishing happily away the barbel picked up everything but the hookbaits,
well one or two did but it was not the bonanza I had expected. Mind you the sun
was blazing in a perfect blue sky, a day for sitting on the beach by the sea
rather than trying to tempt a barbel.

The following
day and cue typical British summertime weather, grey and overcast with the odd
shower and the barbel in that same swim became ravenous and an excellent catch
was made, it’s always about being there at the right time!

And that sums up
the Wye, at least for me. Very important to be there at the right time, next
season I hope to report on a few more right times.

Back on the
Kennet and the fishing was a little more predictable.

No huge catches
although one two day stint produced a decent number of fish with a few doubles
included for good measure and the session was enjoyed by someone from my
distant past, I’m talking way back, early sixties when the LAA Challenge Shield
was the trophy to win and Bob was the captain of the local winning team, as you
can imagine our fishing trip was about all our yesterdays.

Another memorable
outing was in the company of Barry and his grandson Lewis. I have to say, and I
said it to Barry at the time, I was truly envious of the really special bond
between this pair with sixty years, a lifetime, separating their ages.

Lewis is turning
into a proper fishing personality, you can see him enjoying a day with Chris
Ponsford in the November issue of Total Coarse Fishing and next summer I’m
hoping there will be another feature with Lewis catching more Kennet barbel.

I hope I get the
same opportunity as Barry, he is a very lucky man and he has certainly taught
young Lewis well.

A day in the
company of Barbel Society member Neil will stay long in my memory.

Neil has
suffered more than his share of misfortune and just getting out on to the river
is a struggle in itself but did he moan about it, not at all, made me realise
how those of us more fortunate get things out of perspective at times.

I write about
all of the people I meet up with on my website so try and check it out, every
single one of them has enhanced my fishing experience this season and I’m
looking forward to meeting many more next summer.

I can’t finish
this section without mentioning the day with Simon. He is now out in the
Afghanistan desert with the RAF and being in his company was another humbling
experience. I was hoping the barbel gods would smile down on us that day and
they certainly did when a fourteen pound fish paid us a visit, a brilliant day.

Probably an
opportune moment to mention the ABF, The Soldier’s Charity.

Jerry Gleeson
and his pals over on the Barbel Hunter’s website raised an incredible sum for
this cause and I was proud to help out in a very small way by offering a day
out in the auction that raised all the money, I’ll do it again at the drop of a

Dean Aston did
his bit for another worthwhile cause and helped raise a tidy sum to help combat
breast cancer.

Great efforts
from good lads, well done.

I did hope to
get out with Paul Garner on the Warwickshire Avon, it sort of happened, we
spent the bank holiday at the Evesham Festival so I suppose that counts!

It’s looking
like next season now before we get out fishing once again.

I mentioned Ian
Welch, well you know what they say, when one door shuts……………

Ian has taken on the role of editor on the
popular website Fishing Magic, and he quickly installed Mark Barrett as his
assistant and kindly asked me to submit a monthly diary piece, so the magazine
team was back together once again!

There is a lot
of good content on this website and it really is moving ahead quickly to be the
premier Angling website.

The Barbel
School held on the river Teme was simply superb.

Dave Mason, Rob
Swindells and the rest of their team put on a fantastic weekend that I know
everyone fortunate enough to be there thoroughly enjoyed, there will be more,
and I’m sure they will be eagerly anticipated.

I met up with
Lol Breakspear as I hoped I would, but not on the river to fish, well we were
on the river at Bewdley but spent the day in the tackle shop!

Likewise with
Phil Buckingham, we met up on the Wye but Phil was walking his dog! It’s great
to have Phil back at the committee meetings, a BS man through and through.

Fred came down
to visit when I was fishing the Kennet and now that my youngest daughter has
moved to St. Albans, which is on Fred’s doorstep, I’ll be spending more time in
the area so I’m sure our day on the Lea is just around the corner.

I didn’t manage
to get over to Sutton to catch up with Ron Clay, nor to the Ribble to see
Barry, there’s always next year.

I’m off to the
Severn now, probably spend the rest of my season down there.

If the frosts
arrive that season will come to an abrupt end as its looking certain that I
will be Down Under in January and won’t be back till mid March, have to bond
with my grandson!

Have a great
Christmas and Good Fishing to everyone!











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