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Training & Education Command (TECOM)

United States Marine Corps

Company M drill instructor trains recruits, catches fish

By Lance Cpl. Rebecca A. Lamont | | March 15, 2010

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Beginning at age 7, he started learning the ins and outs of fly-fishing from his grandfather. Years later, he’d found himself spending every day on the Gunnison River, in Colo., and was embedded with a deep love for the sport, building many fond memories.

“My grandfather taught me everything I know about fly-fishing,” said Staff Sgt. David R. Brewer, drill instructor, Platoon 3263, Company M.

Fly-fishing, often said to be an existential exercise requiring precise technique, is distinct from regular fishing because the individual stands in a river with waders and uses an artificial bug as bait, using an ancient angling method.

“It gives me an adrenaline rush,” said Brewer. “You don’t know when the fish will jump out, and then it becomes a fight.”

The Gunnison River is Brewer’s favorite place to fish because it’s in a canyon, the water is incredibly clear, it’s a very peaceful and few people know about it.

“I’d fish with my grandfather and usually my two younger brothers as well,” said Brewer. “We are all best friends.”

Brewer remembers his grandfather would always carry Oreo cookies with them on their fishing trips, and would always say to his grandsons, “Eat a cookie, catch a fish.”          “One day my brothers and I were making fun of my grandfather, telling him he wasn’t going to catch anything that day,” said Brewer. “Well then he put an Oreo in his mouth and casted his fly 15 feet ahead.”

Within a minute, his grandfather reeled in an 11-pound brown trout, which is a large-sized fish to catch in a river, said Brewer.

And his grandfather had the last laugh.

More recently, Brewer’s grandfather was celebrating his birthday with his son and Brewer, on a charter in San Diego. Although he didn’t keep his catch, Brewer’s grandfather caught a 350-pound hammerhead shark.

“He put him back. It’s all about the thrill,” said Brewer. “Besides, what is someone going to do with 350 pounds of meat?”

Brewer had a fish story worthy of telling for years when he caught a 14-pound rainbow trout on the Colorado River, in Glenwood Springs, Colo.

“My brother and I were fishing one day and I was standing on a rock in the center of the river,” said Brewer.

Unexpectedly, a fish grabbed his fly and unraveled all the line off his reel.

“I had to get off my rock and follow him,” said Brewer. “He dragged me into a strong currant and the water was up to my neck, so I had to hop on another rock.”

But then he slipped.

“All my gear went down river and I had to swim at this point,” said Brewer. “But I never let go of that fishing pole.”

Two hours later, Brewer finally won the fight, but with a price. Although he lost all of his fishing gear, it was well worth catching that rainbow trout, he said.

“I don’t eat fish, I just snap a picture and let it go,” said Brewer. “It’s just for the experience and the competition between my brothers on who can catch the biggest fish, that’s all.”

It’s also a good time on the river and nice bonding with family, he said.

Next week, after his company graduates, Brewer will be home on leave in Colorado fishing with his brothers, he said.

Brewer and his grandfather plan to eventually go fly-fishing for salmon in Alaska, because there is said to be 50-pound salmon there. He looks forward to the challenging fight the big fish will bring, he said.

“I’m going to be catching big fish for the rest of my life—I guarantee it,” said Brewer.


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