Steve Pope Barbel Fishing

Catch more barbel!

Soon be Christmas! Update

Not entirely sure Christmas is going to happen for us this year!

Let me explain.

If I don’t manage to get out of the cottage and down the hill that leads to the main road then we’ll be pulling Christmas crackers while we tuck into shepherds pie!  It’s not so much the going down the hill that’s the problem although thats bad enough, no, its the trying to get back up which is the big issue, even with a 4 x 4!

I’m not complaining though, it’s cold, we all know that, but the magical pictures painted on the landscape which surrounds me up here in the borderlands is simply breathtaking and if having to forego a traditional lunch is the price I have to pay then so be it.

We spend this time of the year searching for the WinterWonderland that the shops and television screen would have us buy into, I step outside the door and find myself in nature’s own wonderful winter world and realise that we often have it all without perhaps realising it, mind you anglers are blessed with this sixth sense anyway.

Now I’m a big fan of the Moody Blues, have seen them many times and in recent years have always enjoyed their regular stints at the Albert Hall. Always been right down the front and always see the same group of fans and believe it or not most of them over from the States.

Now this years X factor winner Matt sang a Moodies classic which brought much praise from the judges, let me say this, just sit twenty feet away from Justin Hayward as he sings Nights in White Satin and you’ll soon realise that Matt is light years away!

There is no comparison whatsoever, the Moodies frontman has one of the best voices you could ever wish to hear and he still has it today.

Here are some of the shots I’ve captured during these past few days, all taken just a few yards or so from where I’m privileged to live now.

And then the sky changed, blue became grey, more snow fell and the temperature plummeted. The trees and surrounding hills took on another guise altogether, here are some more images capturing the slightly different mood,

Before the snow descended upon us all I did manage to get back down to London for a few days and got along to the Hyde Park version of Winter Wonderland.

It has expanded to such a degree that it really is a fantastic day out especially for the youngsters. Some of the rides are as good as you would find at any theme park and if you visit before the evening rush it’s a pretty comfortable experience.

Even took in the Oxford Street lights as our daughter led us on a mystery tour which took in just about all you needed to see under the pretence that it meant we wouldn’t have to be sardines on the tube, and as I’m now a fully paid up member of the country recluse club that was a very important consideration!

We stoppef off for a drink or two in Henry’s on Piccadilly and very nice they were too, then it was back for the X Factor final.

A little disappointed with the result I have to say, Matt is ok but no field of ponies, Rebecca on the other hand is the real deal.

Just as long as they give her the right song and don’t try and turn her into a watered down version of a dozen others she should be the one who ends up as the real winner.

Think Nina Simone, not Mariah Carey!

When I was a teenager and my regular haunts were the Bluesroom, the Cooks Ferry, the Manor House…………even the Tottenham Royal, R and B meant the likes of Otis Redding, Sam and Dave and Stax and even the never to be forgotten Geno Washington and his Ram Jam Band……………happy days.

When I see the likes of those today who have the label hung on them I despair!

Anyway back to Rebecca, I’ll be watching out and will get her album as long as………

While on the subject of television, well fishing is definitely on the back burner, have to say this years Apprentice, Celebrity and Strictly have been the best yet.

Great entertainment, nothing heavy, nothing to tax the braincells, just good old fashioned family shows which brought  a smile to this ol’ boy on these cold nights.


I’ve been looking in on the forums although I very rarely post on them these days and see that Matt Hayes has been the subject of much discussion.

Mostly to do with his rate for guiding.

Now having a personal interest in that very topic and knowing Matt reasonably well I thought I would say my piece.

I remember Matt telling me some time ago that he fixed the price high because he was not really in the market as a guide, being far too busy with other work but would accomodate a small number each season if the demand was there. So basically he was pricing himself out of the every day market. Perhaps in a few years time he may well look at it again if the desire and need is there.

Having fished a number of times with Matt and been with him at Shows and conferences and lending a hand on one or two of his TV shows I will just say that he is a top bloke. Great fun to be with and very unassuming and courteous, especially to fellow anglers who were at times amazed to see him fishing their venues!

I know he now spends a great deal of time out of the country but I hope our paths will cross once more and I get the chance to fish in his company once again.


While down in London I called in on my great pal Fred Crouch.

As always we sat in the front room of his cottage putting the world to rights while making all sorts of plans for the summer, I’m sure some of those best intentions will come to fruition.

Fred will be writing more articles for publishing on here and I am doing my level best to encourage him to maintain his writing output.

Fred’s views on all things barbel  need to be read by as many as possible, although not actively fishing too much these days he is every bit as vital and important to the scene as he has ever been.

I’m looking forward to hearing all what he has to say on the way barbel fishing has evolved and where it is today and where it is going.


While most of us are getting our fishing fix from the screen, books and magazines I thought I would mention a website that is well worth a visit.

I’m sure there can’t be too many who haven’t visited but here it is;

Stewart Bloor’s Angling Journal

Stewart has been updating his fishing diary every Saturday since 2003, he really is one of the first to make good use of this medium.

He describes himself as a passionate, all round, all weather Black Country Angler and he is an excellent writer.

Check it out and add it to your favourites.


On the personal fishing front I have a couple of exciting ventures coming up in the new year which will keep me very busy along with the many guiding days which are already beginning to fill next summer’s diary. Can’t say too much at the moment but I’ll keep you informed as things unfold.

My enthusiasm for all things barbel has never been greater and I’ll be back on the river just as soon as the snow disappears and the temperatures start to rise!


Looking forward to the next Test Match, another tricky one I fear. Still I’m not wavering from my earlier prediction, it will all come down to the Sydney Test and that is where Graeme Swann will write his name in Ashes folklore!


Thats all for this side of Christmas, be back next week for another update and round up of the year.


Have a great Christmas, best wishes to you all,


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