Trev is as conscientious a bailiff as you could wish to find, he does his regular rounds of Cowpat Lake, day in day out and year round. His trusty, trademark shotgun is with him always.
As well as exercising his usual deterrent effect on potential intruders, Trev likes to take his time a bit, check the place over, and take time to chat to the regular clientele round the lake. A bit like the community policeman, he makes it his business to get to know everybody and gain bits of intelligence as to what might be going on in the area. Thus they report to him things he needs to know. Since he has a regular farm job, doing regular patrols, early doors and early evening are quite literally all in a day’s work for him.
As well as information, Piddlebridge AC members naturally take the opportunity to chat about other things, including of course their close encounters with the fishy inhabitants of the lake. And not unnaturally many of these encounters become somewhat embellished in the telling. And why not? Where would we be without tales which are progressively enhanced the more they are told? Everyone knows for example that fish which get away are the biggest, and the more the story of their escape is repeated, the more weight they seem to put on. To exaggerate and dramatise such events is only human nature after all. A tall tale is just one of the many pleasant by-products of our great sport. And a pinch of salt improves them no end, as our hero well knows.
One such story, as unforgettable as it is far-fetched, relates to the capture of a large carp at Cowpat as told to Trev one fine July Saturday morning. It seems that the captor, Jim Dupp, hooked the fish the previous evening and finally got it on the bank early the following morning. Now I should explain that Jim is noted among the clientele at Cowpat for two things: one is a total lack of modesty about the fish he captures; the other is a distinct tendency towards the dramatic. And like many, he is inclined to exaggerate. And of course when he does so, he does so at length.
As if that little list of faults was not enough, Jim is a compulsive second-guesser and knowall. This has earned him the nickname ‘Clue’ among his fellow members…Clue Dupp – geddit??! (I have tried, by the way to do the virtually impossible and reproduce in writing the way Jim speaks, some would say rambles on. If you have difficulty with this, just read it out loud…)
Here is the rather one-sided conversation Trev had with Jim at the time:
‘Allo JIm not seen yer for a good while…mornin’ Trev that’s right bin away on holiday with the missis in Majorca…alright for some Jim my lad innit collecting your nice suntan while the rest of us slave away here eh anyways owzit bin today so far then JIm?…to be honest with you Trev it’s not so much today as yesterday that’s when I got here see my shirt and socks drying off in the tree over there well that’s because I went for a bit of a swim a couple of hours ago missed a real treat you did Trev an’ no mistake…well now JIm none of this iz making much sense izzit… all this about yesterday and going for a swim howzabout you begin again at the beginning mate??’
‘…well Trev I arrived here at Cowpat yesterday evening about seven see just for a couple of hours after work that was the plan and about eight I see a swirl round me surface boilie and then away went the line like greased lightning it was and I hit into something really big couldn’t stop it just ploughed on and on in a dead straight line sparks flying off the old sent a pin there woz panicking I woz, sweat pouring off me couldn’t do a thing with it, off it went no stopping it there wasn’t even with this twelve pound bray kings train stuff I’ve got straight towards the big lily bed over there straight in it went nothing I could do to stop it…
…with it so far Jim, so owd’dya cope with that little lot then? ‘
‘…well Trev I just put a load of pressure on nothing ‘appened ‘cept that the fish woz still on still there he woz every so often I feel a big thump on the rod tip anyway this goes on for an hour or so and beginning to get dark it woz but no way Trev woz I going to give up and go home just like that? So I gives the wife a ring to say busy playing a big fish see you just don’t know when suit yerself she sez just remember our meal out tomorrow evening…anyway Trev soon cracked it I did, put the rod on the rests set real low see then wowned up tight to the fish put the drag on max then put the check on then just lay down with the reel next to me ‘ead that way if the fish was to free itself and move off I’d get woken by the check and it did ‘bout 5 ay em away it goes screaming down my ear’ole better than any ‘larmclock it woz and I swung into action in a flash playing him again lily stalks and bits flying everywhere there woz. ‘
‘…anyhow Trev that fish probably had more sleep than I did last night ‘coz he really went for it and before you could say I zak wolten he woz in the stalks at the other end of the lake thrashing around and solidly stuck so I thinks better not mucka round just grabbed the net kept the rod up with a tight line and got in not too deep there it ain’t then felt down the line and got the net under him ‘kinell Trev look at this selfie I took put it on fay spook when I get ‘ome thirty two he went an’ two ounces dead wota specimen eh Trev…’
‘…anyway Trev reckon I’ll head off home now could do with a proper meal and a proper lie down after all that excitement…battlin’ big fish all inadaze work though it is for me, or more like niteswurk innit ha ha…seenit dunnit orl now ain’t I ha ha…vaniceday Trev see yer soon Trev mate…’
As you see, Trev was, just for once in his career, hardly able to get a word in edgeways. Not that he really wanted to; sometimes it is better just to leave people like Jim –as they tend to be totally harmless anyway – to carry on in their own little world.
Trev is of course just as adept at estimating the weights of fish as Eric is at exaggerating them, particularly when there are a pair of hands and a human torso for reference. He put this particularly fine specimen of mirror carp at around twenty-two – three pounds. And judging by the noticeable mark near its tail, probably foul-hooked…so it would have been virtually unstoppable, wouldn’t it?
And Trev’s knowledge of the water told him that absolutely nobody could wade into the shallow end of the lake, as Jim had claimed to have done, and get out again unaided. The bottom consisted largely of leaf mould, which had accumulated over many years. One over-enthusiastic member had once, in the course of a maintenance session, boldly splodged into the area wearing thigh waders to do a bit of weed and lily removal, and had quickly found himself immobile and panicking, the mud and rotten leaves coming almost a foot up his waders, and the water slopping in over the wader tops. Rescuing him from the mire had been a difficult business involving the use of strong ropes and sheer brute manpower. Somehow the unfortunate man had managed to free himself from his waders, which remained firmly implanted there as a monument to human folly, and then been dragged spluttering and gurgling his way to the bank.
And of course there was the simple fact that another club member called at Trev’s place on his way back home the evening before at around nine for a brief chat and to report a mink sighting and mentioned in passing that there was nobody left fishing at Cowpat when he packed up– all in a day’s work indeed!
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