Bembridge Angling Club is the largest boat angling club on the Isle of Wight and has the aim of providing affordable boat angling for the average to less well off angler. We have a total membership of adults plus wives and juniors of around 150.
The club does not employ any staff and it relies instead on the voluntary efforts of its members.
Starting in January each year the club hires a crane to lift a number of boats onto our parking area on the Quay for a bottom scrub and a new coat of antifouling. Normally three groups of boats are lifted out for four week periods, giving skippers a chance to also do a few other jobs that are inconvenient to do while afloat.
Car parking in our compound is restricted to members’ cars only, due to insurance & safety issues and is on a first come basis (no reserved parking). Considerate & efficient parking is requested at all times. Consideration for our neighbors is also requested by way of keeping noise to a minimum especially very early mornings & late evening times. During boat maintenance periods, members not actively engaged in maintenance are requested to park elsewhere.
Keys for the compound & club may be obtained from the club membership secretary or club general secretary on payment of a small deposit. Membership secretary can be contacted via his contact details on the membership renewal forms & the general secretary can be contacted via his contact details that are included at the top of each personal newsletter sent out by BAC. Alternatively, either can be contacted via a message from this site using contact details under the page "Committee & Contact Us".
The club has a large selection of impressive trophies and shields to be won annually, mainly for the best specimen of each of a variety of species but also a number for other things like most Tope caught, heaviest Ray, winner of each fixed date competition and so forth. We have formalised a set of “Fishing Rules” based on those of the Angling Trust with some of our own amendments. These are available to view on line via the downloads in the top right hand corner of the home page or in the club house. We accept both boat & shore captures that conform to club fishing rules. We now hold our annual presentation of club trophies in the Club House, usually with some form of light refreshment laid on free of charge to attendees.
The club’s extensive list of record fish is very impressive and currently includes the British record for Eagle Ray. This is part of a remarkable story in so far as there have only been (as far as we are aware) three ratified British records for this species of which two have been captured on boats skippered by club chairman Ross Staplehurst. The initial record was captured from a deep hole mark east of the Nab tower & was subsequently broken, some years later, from a mainland based boat fishing the same area. The current record of 102 lbs was taken by veteran club member Ray Lewis, fishing from Ross's boat on a mark west of St Catherines Point.
Thresher Sharks in excess of the British record have also occasionally been captured locally but all have been returned alive.
All members are encouraged to serve on the committee at some stage and to assist, when the need arises, with working parties for any tasks that need willing hands.
Newsletters are sent to members each quarter with news and information on club activities and events. Members can opt to receive these electronically or to have the secretary send them by post to the member's last advised address. (Please remember to advise the membership secretary of any change of address.)
A few members often gather at the clubhouse most mornings for a chat, hot drink & a game of pool. There is strictly no smoking inside the clubhouse. Refreshments are available for a ridiculously small cost so please do come along and join us (in a smoke free environment.)
We used to occasionally have a talk or film show in the clubhouse on subjects relating to angling, boating or the marine environment but there has been little support for this of late. However that is not to say we would not have them in future if there was renewed interest .
Non-members wishing to be considered for membership would normally be expected to apply via, and with the support of, an existing member using the club's membership application form available to download from the club’s web site or directly from the club. Anyone wishing to join who does not know an existing member is recommended to attend the club house one morning or the weigh in after any competition & make themselves known to any committee member. Applications will, however, be considered from those not able to obtain recommendation from a current member. All applications are placed before the full committee for approval and the club reserves the right to decline any application without explanation. Membership does not commence until approval is granted.
A Brief History of Bembridge Angling Club
The very beginnings of Bembridge Angling Club are believed to be around 1960 with a boat moored near the lifeboat station but the first documented reference to the start of its current format was about 1963.
Reference to early club records show that there was then considerable interest in beach competition fishing with familiar names regularly appearing such as Mike Trickett (club Secretary) , Ron Dodd & Joaquim Filipe. The first recorded club competition was held in September 1963 from the local beach as per the following image. It attracted entries from 19 men, 4 ladies & 10 juniors. Even in those days the secretary was commenting about poor catches.
The first club competition from boats is recorded as having been held in May 1964
A report of the club’s first AGM, in November 1964, showed a total membership of 40 men, ladies & juniors.
Mr A F Jones was then the chairman & M Trickett secretary.
It was reported that 2 members were having “Bass” boats built and that a Mr Ray Raymond had presented a 20ft (6m) long motor boat to the club for the use of members.
Reference was also made to ongoing land negotiations, presumably for a clubhouse.
June 6th 1965 saw the first of what was to become a long run of annual open Bream (boat) competitions. This first running had a replica of Bembridge Ledge Buoy as a trophy plus the princely sum of £15 up for first place.
There was a very large entry of 299 anglers from all over the south of England and it proved to be a great success.
It is recorded that the winner was a mainland angler, Mr S A Papworth with 32lbs 14 ozs and that Bream were sufficiently plentifull that many anglers with only 4 Bream did not bother to weigh in. (These were the days before we became enlightened to the need for conservation and we adopted catch & release for the vast majority of current captures.) It was also recorded that as well as lots of Pout there were also several Codling caught.
A log book entry for July 1965 makes a very interesting reference to a dinghy having been built for the club by the boys of Ryde County Secondary School to a design of Mike Trickett’s, it being the fourth such that they had built using double diagonal 1/8 inch (3.2mm) thick ply.
At some point a group of members, including Hugh Rackett, Ron Green & Don Cleasby, gained permission from the harbour owners to lay 6 moorings within the harbour.
1974 sees the first mention of Porbeagle sharks being captured by members in Island waters, with several new Island records being set. Ron Green, Don Gleasby, John Rackett, Robert Smith, Mark Smith, Brian Smith & Ross Staplehurst (current chairman) were all reported to be getting in on the action.
The notes of the 1976 AGM make reference to the club still looking to purchase land in the village on which to build its own clubhouse.
At this time it was reported that membership had risen to over 70 and it had 20 moorings available to let to members.
The then Club President Frank Borley had relinquished his position as he was returning to the mainland.
At some point the club gained permission to use an existing old tin hut on the then vacant North Quay in the harbour, then in 1982 the club gained permission to build its own purpose clubhouse on a leased section of North Quay to replace the tin hut. It was built by the members themselves and was funded by a loan from a benefactor in addition to a grant from the Sports Council.
Over the ensuing years, the membership gradually lost interest in beach competitions and now the club only holds them from boats.
The club once had a thriving junior section which benifited from club members donating the occasional free trip so that they could have competitions afloat. Unfortunately the lure of computer games etc has resulted in a highly diminished number of junior members (who enjoy free membership) to the extent that it is no longer viable to hold events specifically for them.
Club rules have been significantly expanded over recent years, mainly to give some certainty to decisions having to be made.
Current fishing rules may be found under downloads on the home page with mooring rules being located by way of the option in the main menu.
Merely for interest, the following is a set of early historic club rules from our archives but these are not to be taken as being definitive any longer :-