The History of the Club

Test Valley Angling Club was formed March 1992 as a direct amalgamation of Romsey Angling Club and Michelmersh and Timsbury Angling Society.

All assets of both clubs were passed over to T.V.A.C. as obviously were the funds of each club. At present we have between 700 – 800 members on a yearly basis, and we try to provide a good selection of coarse fishing to our membership.

The Club owns a number of waters including Embley, King and Willow Lakes, Icehouse Pond, Nutsey Lake and others. We rent other waters from riparian owners and enjoy river fishing on the River Test, Stour and others.

Nutsey Lake initially belonged to Romsey Angling Club and was probably formed in the late 60’s early 70’s due to gravel extraction. The water is of very high quality and specimen fish grow to huge sizes in the lake. Whilst all anglers know of the large carp in the lake, it does also produce large crucians, rudd, tench and good quality roach as well as specimen pike.

King and Willow Lakes were dug in the late 60’s early 70’s by M.T.A.S. members. At one time King’s Lake held the national perch record, a fish caught by a lady member. Both lakes are very prolific with small to medium carp, and King’s Lake has large shoals of growing rudd, as well as specimen perch and eels. Willow is more of a mixed fishery, but large perch are known to be in residence.

Embley Lake is a natural water larger than King and Willow Lakes, though fed by the same water course. It is a first class mixed fishery, carp to low 20’s, tench to 7lb, the odd big pike, bream to 5lb, with decent roach and rudd. Embley has recently been stocked with considerable numbers of crucian carp, as in past years it had a big reputation for bags of crucians.

Icehouse Pond is a small water but with a good head of most species of coarse fish. A summer evening for crucian and tench is the name of the game. In the colder months perch come in to their own.

Our rented waters include Marchwood Lake, River Blackwater at Ower and Totton. All these waters contain good quality fish – the rivers are primarily winter fisheries for roach, chub and dace.

Finally, the club has exchange tickets with many local clubs which allow club members to fish the River Stour,  and various other club lakes.

We are proud of the fishing available to our members when one considers club records and see dace of 1lb. ½oz (three of them), carp of 44lb. 8oz, eel 5lb, grayling 3lb 7oz, perch 4lb 14½oz, pike 28lb 4oz, roach 1lb 4oz rudd 1lb 7oz, tench 7lb and bream 7lb 4oz. All of the fish came from club waters.

We have various club matches throughout the year.

It all started on the 15th of December 1897 when eighteen men met at the White Swan at Mansbridge and formed the Southampton Piscatorial Society. As was befitting the late Victorian period all arrangements, rules, events etc. were recorded with meticulous detail and in neat and stylish hand writing. The membership fee was set at 6d per month and meetings were held weekly at the White Swan. For the eighteen members the Clubs income therefore worked out at £5 / 8 Shillings. It’s worth noting that in 1897 the annual average wage for a Labourer was about £50 and a Surgeon earned about £260 per annum. The club was initially involved in course, game and sea fishing. They held an annual “Mullet Cup” in the docks, rented 3 miles of the Dorset Stour at Sturminster Marshall and Shapwick, and North Stoneham Lakes from Mr Willis Flemming at a cost of £5 per annum. (The Flemming Arms is named after him).

Its worth remembering that in 1897, before cars were on the road, a trip to Shapwick would involve a train journey to the station in Sturminster Marshall and a pony and trap ride to lodgings at a local Inn or to the rented room at the White Mill House that the Society rented from Mr Guy for £10 per annum. At this time, Mr Giles who lived at the Temple Lodge at Stoneham was paid £1 / 1s per year to maintain the punts and his wife made sandwiches and tea at 6d per serving.

In 2004, Test valley Angling Club amalgamated with Southampton Piscatorial Society in an attempt to stop this long standing and historical club from disappearing forever. The Committee of T.V.A.C. thought it would be a great shame for the S.P.S. name to disappear and agreed that the merger could take place.

So there it is – match, specimen or pleasure, something for everyone deep in the valleys of the River Test.