Club News, Our Waters



As many of you know over the last year YSAA has been trying to collate as much information on the club and its history.

I (Graham Bugler) have recently been in touch with Mr Les Shirley who is now 81, Les was the secretary of the original Sherborne Angling Association which he believes was founded in 1960.  Les has kindly been providing us with his memories of Sherborne AA and when it merged with Yeovil Angling Association to become the Yeovil and Sherborne Angling Association as we know it today.  Les said “I will do my best to give you an accurate account, but as most of this happened over 60 years ago and l am now 81 obviously cannot guarantee total accuracy. My period of office l believe was from approximately 1960 to 1979 when l resigned due to leaving the area.”

Below are the edited emails between us, where based on my recollections I think there are some errors I have added in brackets what I believe to be correct, my late uncle George Abbot was a founding Chairman of the Sherborne Angling Association so from an early age I was involved in the club in one form or another.

Hi Graham

I believe the club was formed in approximately 1988/89 (I think this was supposed to say 1978/79)  and known as (Yeovil and) Sherborne Angling Association. The conception of the idea was by a guy called Doug Theobald, I believe his son Fred still lives in Sherborne and would appear to be a valued member of the community.

A meeting was held in the Wessex Club (this was a club for the Wessex Electricity Board employees later to become the Southern Electricity Board located in Park Road Yeovil now a restaurant called Castello) to see if this was feasible and the attendance was far better than expected. One of the front runners was always going to be your uncle George and he agreed to take on the chairmanship. I agreed to be secretary, l can’t remember who initially was treasurer but the position became vacant after a couple of years and the secretary’s job was combined with the treasurer. The committee member’s l remember at that time were :— Chairman George Abbott, Secretary Les Shirley, other committee members were Tom Bailey, Charlie Maidment, Dick and Maurice Wheedon, Tony Garrett and Tony (Tom) Alden, Dennis Vallard was Water Bailiff ( There was also a Rose South and Alfie Miles who wrote an article in the Western Gazette that I can remember). There was also a master from Sherborne boy’s school and l cannot recall his name but he was a useful fly fisherman. Sadly l suppose that most of these lovely fellows have now passed away. I will give you my thoughts on club waters and the amalgamation of the Yeovil club when l can get some info together, unfortunately l have absolutely nothing in writing, it’s all in the memory which is not bad but could be better, Just a few more lines which may help on the club waters as l knew them before the amalgamation.


The original logo and badge of the merged Yeovil and Sherborne Angling Association


 One of the problems l felt we had after the formation of the club was the lack of some decent water, for the small percentage of fly fishermen it wasn’t so much of a problem as Sutton Bingham was readily available as well as the Dorset chalk streams which were fishable on a day ticket. The Yeo was always available from Purlieu down to the old mill at the bottom of Mill lane. The best fishing to be had was what we knew as the Marty Yard (I always knew it as the waterfall) which was a pool between the lake outflow and the New Road Bridge especially when some tench got out of the lake, good pike there as well. But it was private and you had to look out for Mrs Digby’s dogs.

It was agreed that we would stock the Yeo with a small number of Brown Trout at various locations and amazingly these did quite well, not only did some of them get to 2/3lbs but they actually bred, l think flooding, fishing and pollution eventually put paid to them, DC Engineering ( Later Wincanton Engineering and now where Sainsbury’s is located) and Chaffey’s farm were the main offenders. We had Silver Lake for a while but as you know the silt was always a problem, but there was always water coming in, in those days. Chairman George found us a small pond in the hillside at Sutton Montis which we stocked with tench, he also found a similar pond at the top of Marston road on the right hand side before the White Post, which to me looked distinctly like a bomb crater and tench were stocked there( Its near to Pearce Seeds,  I can remember this pond it sadly one hot summer it dried up and was filled in). As already mentioned the best of all these little ponds was without doubt Upton Noble ( I remember this well it was located the other side of Bruton but was great fishing for Crucians and one year recall when they drained the lake and many anglers were using nets to catch the fish, lots of tench which were put into tin baths and taken to Upton Noble lake in the back of my uncles truck) , full of those lovely little Crucians. The best move we made was to join the Somerset Federation of waters and this opened up good bream haunts like Muchenley and Yeo Corner and where we also had the odd match.

I cannot think of any other water we had at the time but l am struggling a little now and may have made the odd omission? The next and final information will be what l can remember about the amalgamation, which isn’t much but l will do my best.

Tight lines.

Regards Les

YSAA would like to thank Les for the his insight into the history of the club