Three years ago, all of Keiran Moulton’s fishing tackle was stolen.
Aged just 15, the Suffolk angler could not afford to replace it and was forced to drift away from the sport.
“I was heartbroken and for three years thought ‘what’s the point in getting back into it?’,” he told Carpfeed.
But this summer a change in circumstances has allowed the 18-year-old to rekindle his passion and head down to a forgotten Norfolk day-ticket lake containing perhaps just six carp.
“It’s taken me a long time to be able to afford to replace what gear I had stolen and I still don’t have it all,” he said.
“No bivvy, no trolley or chair. I just lug my cradle, holdall and carryall down to my swim, which isn’t easy.”
The poultry farm manager’s renewed enthusiasm has seen him visit his chosen lake for three months while continuing to slowly rebuild his tackle collection.
“Before I could actually fish, due to not having enough kit for a session, I spent as many hours as I could leading about with a rod and just climbing trees and watching the margins.
“Everyone had ignored this pit and had forgotten about the very few originals that were still swimming around, but I knew that this fish was in here.
“I’d stop by on the way home from work, just to have a walk about to see if the fish would give any signs away about their favoured spots in the lake.”
This month, Keiran had finally gathered enough kit to begin fishing and hit the ground running with three sessions in a week.
“I’d already found my spots and decided my tactics,” said the teenager, “Within a week I’ve caught two of maybe only half a dozen fish, including my target one.
“I’d seen it at times patrolling the margins and sunning itself in the weeds and lilypads. I was just itching to see it grace the bank.”
On a three-hour session after work with pal Tom Eyre, Keiran’s three years of anguish evaporated.
“It was an absolute one-toner and as soon as I lifted the rod we both knew it wasn’t a nuisance fish, which is the most likely thing to catch as there are barely any carp in the lake.
“The fish fought like a demon close in, weeding me up in the margins and at one point I noticed it was a common and maybe a 20-pounder.
“Then its tail came out of the water and I said to Tom ‘oh my god its tail is massive’ and at the point we knew it was a good fish, but we didn’t know that it would be ‘the’ fish.
“When it went in the net we still didn’t know. It wasn’t until I walked out to discover the width across its back and when it tipped the scales to 31lb 14oz.”
Keiran, who fed about 20 to 30 boilies and used a Sticky Krill snowman presentation on a blowback rig, added: “Back in 2015 one of my last sessions before having my tackle stolen brought me a pb of 18lb on the nose, and this fish has smashed it.
“I really hope this inspires fellow anglers who’ve been through the same situation as me to get back to what they love doing the most.
“It is well worth all the heartache when rare moments like this come along.”