Brian Skoyles - 'Catch Up' and a 'Wild Night'

I had not fished East Delph Lakes for some time so as I travelled down the A1 it was with a real sense of anticipation. East Delph Fishery is a lovely complex of three lakes near Peterborough and I was joining several friends from the Nutrabaits Team, including son Martyn and fellow Daiwa consultant Alfie Naylor for a mix of fishing and filming.

On arrival I made a bee line to Martyn’s swim, with the Covid lockdowns and restrictions it was the first time in 2020 that we were able to meet up face to distanced face. The other anglers had been there from the previous afternoon and I could tell by the smile on Martyn’s face that things were going well, and a tired looking Alfie confirmed that. Martyn had already had four fish including two twenties and Alfie had been up most of the night filming round the lake as most of the team members had been catching well.

The peg next to Martyn was free so I dropped in there and got organised. There were fish showing in the area and we could have a proper catch up. The afternoon and overnight was lovely we both caught a couple of lovely carp, fed our faces on a superb, fried rice, take away, and generally caught up. We even had time for Martyn to give me a rig demo!

The following day Martyn and Alfie were having to leave early afternoon as they both had work the next day, but myself and three other members of Team Nutrabaits, Richard, Jason and Derek were staying on for another night …. Little did I know what we were letting ourselves in for, it was a night that I will remember for a long, long, time.

With everyone else heading home we moved to our chosen swims, Richard, Jason and Derek on the back lake, myself in the swim vacated by Martyn on the front lake. It felt eerily quiet after the hustle and bustle of the filming etc. but a met office named storm called Francis was about to change all that. Gradually, as the afternoon turned into evening the wind strength increased, and just kept on increasing. The weather app on my phone changed the warning from yellow to amber, and they WERE NOT WRONG!!!

Did the carp care that the beautiful willow trees were taking a battering, that twigs and even branches were being snapped off trees, or that the darkening skies threatened rain, not one bit. On mass, they came out to play!

The next ten hours became a blur of catching fish, flying twigs, cracking branches, drifting debris, total carp fishing mayhem. By the morning, four bedraggled, total cream crackered, carp anglers had caught 32 carp between us, and lost several more due to the conditions, with line tangling on drifting branches etc. In the morning a laughing James Mackay, fishery owner, said I looked like a worn out Worzel Gummidge, and in truth that’s just about how I felt.

Myself I’d had eight takes, landing six, with two immaculate twenties amongst them. All four of us had tales of epic fights with hard fighting carp in storm conditions, we were all shattered, we looked it, we sounded it, but would we have missed it, not a chance.

It had been a wild night, we had some magical memories to look back on, but for now we all had one thing on our minds … Time for some sleep!