WHEN Matt Loraine caught the biggest fish of his life, he knew that his best friend Karl Law would be over the moon.
But sadly 34-year-old Karl, from Fareham, went missing on November 15 while on a stag do in Prague – his body was found three weeks later in the river of the Czech capital.
Matt had arranged to go on a fishing trip with Karl, who worked in the building trade and had a three-year-old son, when he got back from the trip.
But stricken with grief, Matt had been unable to pick up his rod until three weeks ago when he starting talking about his loss with his friend Joe Spencer.
Joe, 24, encouraged Matt to go bass fishing and the pair have had great success since – catching a two-pounder, four-pounder, and then finally landing a whopping eight-pounder on Saturday, June 6, off Eastney beach, in just three trips.
Matt, 40, said: ‘I said “come on Karl, let’s have a big one”. I picked up my rod and it immediately bent in half.
‘I caught the fish of my life. It was amazing. It was one of the happiest times of my life.’
Matt, who is dedicating the fish to Karl, met Karl 17 years ago when he was a DJ and the pair became instant friends. As they got older, they swapped clubbing for fishing.
Matt, from Rugby Road, Southsea, said: ‘We just clicked. We were best friends.
‘The reason why there was so much support when he went missing was because he was such a lovely guy. He always had a smile on his face. That’s why everyone pulled together.’
I caught the fish of my life. It was amazing. It was one of the happiest times of my life.Matt Loraine, 40, from Southsea
A huge search was launched for Karl by his friends and family and Matt even flew to Prague to scour the streets.
Matt said: ‘I’d still be there now if we had not found him. The good thing is that we brought him home. The worst thing would’ve been not knowing.’