Steve Pope Barbel Fishing

Catch more barbel!

Popes Patch – Barbel Fisher 33


in the days when most of my fishing days were spent in the company of Mr.
Barbel, the one and only Fred Crouch, many was the time when his words of
wisdom acted as a form of therapy, the sort you would pay lots of money to hear
while lying on the shrinks couch!

the scene.

A late autumn Friday afternoon following a
very busy morning’s graft, its pouring down with rain, the traffic is starting
to build up on the M25 and there is a three hour journey before we hit the
Severn and another all-night session. It would be fair to say I would not have
been in the best frame of mind, cue Fred……………………….

woke up this morning, you were physically able to get out of bed, the electric
and water worked as you had a shower and then made a cup of tea, the car
started, you made the journey safely…….”

probably said a lot more and if my memory is not playing tricks I seem to
recall him writing about his therapy for dealing with the times when we feel a
bit down in an early Barbel Fisher

Fred is absolutely right we take so much for granted but every once in a while
life has a nasty way of reminding us all that taking the simple things for
granted is a very dangerous way to be and us fisherman, more than most, have a
tendency to forget we are all just mortal human beings and none of us know what
lurks behind the next corner.

is this ramble leading? Well I’ll tell you.

very well-known and very much liked and respected barbel fisher Dave Mason is
as I type recovering in hospital from a major health scare.

just a few short weeks ago that we were chatting on the phone, Dave his usual
exuberant self talking about all the things we had planned for the coming
season. Just a couple of days later and Dave is in hospital and it’s probably
no exaggeration to say engaged in the biggest battle of his life.

pleased to be able to report that Dave is well on his way to recovery and I’m
looking forward to the day in the summer when we can meet up on his beloved
River Teme to resume our plans.

also acutely aware that some of my very good friends are also carrying the
burden of health scares and losses in their own families and I suspect there
are probably others who are reading this who are in a similar position, this
puts everything into perspective.

is a wonderful past time, barbel fishing is just brilliant but family and
health is all, nothing and I mean absolutely nothing is more important.

brings me on to my own current situation, I’m typing this from Manly in Sydney
, Australia, the temperature outside is in the high twenties and this is where
I will be until Easter, my season came to a premature end, but as I said family
always takes precedence.

suppose I’ve become a grandad rather late in life, I always remember being in
the Barbel Catchers when the then
Secretary, Alan Slater, became one at forty, all of a sudden he aged overnight!

wasn’t completely sure how I would embrace this new phase in my own life
journey , my good pal Lol Breakspear told me I would love it and that old
romantic Ade Kiddel is always saying how fabulous the experience is and I can
happily confirm they are so right.

“There is no grandfather who does not
adore his grandson.”
Words from a famous Frenchman that say it all.

a moment you are magically transported back in time to when your own kids were
babes in arms, it all comes flooding back. This time though you get to enjoy
all the best bits, the sleepless nights are someone else’s worry!

another famous quote says, “An hour with
your grandson makes you feel young again, anything longer than that and you
start to age quickly!”

like I’m about to move from wild flowing rivers to on golden pond!

predicament if you can actually call it that is that my daughter runs a very
busy and successful business here in Sydney; her partner is establishing his
own venture and believe me you need a serious amount of money to enjoy the
Aussie way of life because it is very expensive these days.

buoyant mining industry on the West coast has only added to a vibrant economy
and Australia with its very strong dollar is well on the way to becoming one of
the richest nations and the situation is likely to last.

what this means for me is that for the foreseeable future I’ll be spending
English winters here in Australia to help out with family business!

established a few contacts over here and there is plenty of excellent fishing
on the doorstep, it’s just a matter of getting organized.

can probably see the connection now in what I have been trying to convey in
this piece, life is about enjoying every single day, every single moment,
because there will come a time when to put it bluntly we won’t be able to.

Fred’s words   undoubtedly made an impact on me, my life is
about to change but there are no complaints, how can there be?

in the beautiful Welsh Marches, summer on the banks of the Wye and Kennet,
autumn searching for that elusive Severn monster and winter on the other side
of the world enjoying the beach life………………….sounds pretty good to me, just need
to stay fit and well.

return to fishing and the end of my barbelling for the season, I enjoyed some
success on the Lower Severn and have to say as I always do that the potential
is most certainly still there.

key as always is to be there at the right time especially when the river is on
the rise, I’m really looking forward to putting in more effort in the new

you haven’t seen it, I wrote a piece for my Fishing Magic Diary and it
generated an interesting response. The topic referred rather tongue in cheek I
might add, to the celebrity status in barbel fishing. To some extent it follows
on from the Legends feature in the
last Barbel Fisher. Without giving too much away I reckon there are very small
numbers of Legends and true celebrities but a good number of personalities and
household names, if you log on to Fishing Magic you can see how it unfolds.

can’t sign off from this piece without saying how pleasing it was to see the
outcome for this year’s R and C Auction.

truly outstanding result given the economic times we live in, and a massive
thank you to all who became involved this year.

is a fantastic Barbel Show coming up soon. I have not missed a single one and have
been involved in the organization of many but have to say having both John
Wilson and Peter Wheat (Legends by the way!) on the same bill is a special show
indeed and one not to be missed.

a lineup that is unlikely to ever be repeated so make sure you get your ticket
for what promises to be a fantastic weekend.

the weather improved enough for some great end of season catches, the wonder of
the web means although I’m many miles away it’s very easy to stay in touch.

forward to a day on the Hawkesbury River this week in pursuit of carp believe
it or not! They grow big here and I have a mate who has access to a good
stretch where we should do well now that the floodwater has receded.

the best from Down Under.


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