A long way from Iraq
Written by The Advocate   
Friday, 08 April 2005 06:32
Brad Brown and Andy Green are accustomed to wind.? So is Larry Stinson.? For different reasons.


Brown and Green are majors in the U.S. Army and since early March 2004 the wind in Iraq came with sand, lots of sand.


They were with Stinson fighting wind Wednesday: That's all they were fighting.

Before leaving the Cajun Fishing Adventures lodge at sunrise Wednesday, Stinson told the 1st Cavalry veterans that three straight days of wind would cripple their chances of catching redfish and speckled trout.

"It muddies the water. We have shallow water around here and that's going to cut down on the places where we can catch fish," CFA charter skipper Stinson told the two officers.

Brown, a slightly built man, and Brown, stocky and broad-shouldered, said it didn't matter.

"We're going to catch fish," Brown said resolutely.

"No question," Green followed.

A half-hour later, Brown brought his first-ever speckled trout into the Skeeter bay boat.

"Now we know we don't have to take any of that guff from the guys. We're going to catch fish," he said.

By mid-morning, and before violent weather chased the three from a lake southwest of Buras and back to the landing, there were a handful of trout and that many redfish in the ice chest.

There were at least as many undersized reds and specks returned to the water.

The two were part of a 25-man contingent from the 1st Cavalry invited by CFA boss Ryan Lambert for a day's fishing.

"It's something we can do for them, after they've done so much for us," Lambert said.

About 10 a.m. Wednesday, Stinson apologized, citing the conditions and told them the landing and the lodge were better places to be than on the water after receiving news that the area was under a tornado warning.

Green said catching fish wasn't the best part of the trip from Fort Hood, Texas, the home of the 1st Cavalry. Green is a battalion executive officer and spent the last two weeks there reacquainting with family, debriefing, cleaning equipment and decompressing from a year-long deployment in Iraq.

Green is a fisherman. Back in Washington, his home state, he grew up going for salmon.

"There were times we went out and caught nothing, absolutely nothing, and to come here and catch a few fish is better than some of the days I remember back home," he said. "Besides, this is about something more than fishing. It's about Brad and I getting to spend time with our men away from all that over there, all the pressure we had to deal with on a daily basis."

Brown, a battalion S3/Operations Officer, didn't linger on the months at Camp War Eagle near Sadr City, Iraq, northeast of Baghdad.

"I want the fish to do my talking," he said. "With what we're catching here, we won't have to stand second to the other guys. This day is about catching fish and enjoying a day in Louisiana."

Brown said he's new to the outdoors game, that his dad, a lawyer didn't hunt or fish.

"I got into this in the last few years. I was stationed a Fort Leavenworth (Kansas) and they allow us to hunt there, other posts, too, but that's where I learned how to bow hunt for deer.

"We fished there, too, and fishing and hunting are part of what I do now," Green said.

Yet, the fish Brown and Green home didn't measure up to the kind of action Jeff Theim and Les Walton had Wednesday.

Walton's from Hattiesburg, Miss., and has logged days on days catching speckled trout and redfish. He knew the game.

Theim, a sergeant first class in rank, was a rookie.

"I'm from Wisconsin and all I've ever done is fish freshwater lakes. This is new to me. I've seen Louisiana fishing on ESPN in big boats in deep water and didn't know what to expect from this trip," Theim said.

Theim and Walter latched into nine giant redfish longer than 27 inches and had to release most of them to the water.

"I really came on this trip with no expectations that I could ever catch fish like that. I came because I know about the hospitality and just to go fishing, but to catch fish like that, well, I was pleasantly surprised," Theim continued. "I certainly didn't expect to catch fish like that in water that shallow.

"That was a real thrill."

Waiting for the weather to clear, Stinson told Brown and Green that they were welcomed to return any time, but to come when the winds had calmed.

"All we need is a night when the wind doesn't blow. That's when the water clears up and we catch fish," Stinson said.

"Clear water means lots of fish, and that's what I want you to do when you come back."

"And, we will, with our wives," Green said.

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