As some of you may have noticed I am the new RO for that particularly salubrious but slightly run down part of the Metropolis. As this is where I live with my half Italian partner; who due to this dual nationality makes the lovely Julie, always permanently furious about one thing or another! Especially with me when in her words ‘you’re not disappearing off to that fishing/Jolly again’ (this has been edited for the sake of children reading this missive).

Anyway, a bit about me would be in order I guess. I caught my first fish, a Bleak, on the Thames at Windsor when I was about 10 years old. And like most of us have developed a lifelong obsession and passion for all things angling.

Moving on, I met my first Barbel at about 14 years old fishing in a fur and feather match with the Bermondsey and District Angling Club (do these still happen I wonder?). On a flooded River Thames again at Windsor, it weighed 5lb 2oz in old money. Tactics being homemade swim feeder one of the older blokes showed me how to make fished in a slack under a bush and a lot of luck. Bit like I do now really but with a swim feeder that costs an arm and leg.

Been a passionate Barbel angler from then on I guess. Fishing most if not all rivers that contain or even rumoured to contain our friends.

I was a member of the Association of Barbel Enthusiasts back in the day and met such fine people as Steve Pope, Steve Smith, John Founds, Don, Gordon and the wonderful Fred through the ABE. When this morphed into the Barbel Society I helped run the South London lot. We had about 30 members if memory serves, having ‘fish ins’ (it was the 90s) on the Kennet and middle Severn at Hampton Load (does anyone remember Rob, his missis and old mum who ran the Lion Inn?) The three most gloriously miserable people on Gods good earth. We also ‘organised’ some talks; one memorable one was in a pub in Peckham the Nuns Head where Fred and Trefor West entertained. And as I said to Bobby, God only knows what they made of it as it was full of smoke, legal and illegal and Stella’d up Millwall supporters; Steve was there as well if I remember rightly.

So enough of me, and on to BS business. I intend to organise an initial meeting early in the New Year to get things rolling. If anyone would like to get involved or have any suggestions for a get together give me a call or initially contact me via the FB pages.

Regards, Steve.

Stephen Choney
South London Regional Organiser