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Face of Defense: Drill Instructor Enjoys Fly-fishing

By Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rebecca A. Lamont
Special to American Forces Press Service

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, March 16, 2010 – He started learning the ins and outs of fly-fishing from his grandfather at age 7. Years later, he’d spend every day on the Gunnison River in Colorado.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Marine Corps Staff Sgt. David R. Brewer, a drill instructor at the recruit training center in San Diego, acquired a passion for fly-fishing from his grandfather while growing up in Colorado. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Rebecca A. Lamont
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

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

Fly-fishing differs from other forms of 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,” Brewer said. “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 place and few people know about it.

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

Brewer’s grandfather once showed his grandsons how to catch trout using a cookie.

“One day my brothers and I were making fun of my grandfather, telling him he wasn’t going to catch anything that day,” Brewer recalled. “Well, then he put [a cookie] in his mouth and casted his fly 15 feet ahead.” Within a minute, his grandfather reeled in an 11-pound brown trout -- a large-sized fish to catch in a river -- and his grandfather had the last laugh, Brewer said.

More recently, Brewer’s grandfather celebrated his birthday with his son and Brewer on a deep-sea fishing charter boat 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,” Brewer said. “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,” he said. A fish grabbed his fly and unraveled all the line off his reel.

“I had to get off my rock and follow him,” Brewer said. “He dragged me into a strong current, 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,” he said. “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,” he said. “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.

Brewer will be home on leave soon, fishing with his brothers. He and his grandfather plan to go fly-fishing in Alaska someday, he said, because they look forward to the challenging fight the 50-pound salmon there would bring.

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

(Lance Cpl. Rebecca A. Lamont serves at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.)

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