Captain Brian

Coming from a military family, I was raised in South Carolina, Tennessee, and Upstate New York, and was used to being on the move at a young age. I loved watching my dad, a Navy Chief and skilled mechanic, hanging out in the garage with him while he worked on cars, beginning a lifelong quest for understanding physics and how things worked on a mechanical level. On the weekends, he’d take me fishing for bass on the local lakes, sparking an interest in being on the water that grew to near-addiction. Many days I would jump off the school bus and right onto my bike to go fishing at a nearby pond until dusk. At one point, my dad gave me a fly rod and taught me to cast in the yard, and once I had it down, it was hard to choose to fish any other way.

After high school and a year of college, knowing the two jobs I was working and Upstate New York weren’t for me anymore, I decided to enlist in the Marine Corps in 2004. My family was shocked and fearful with the choice, but also very supportive. Once through boot camp and secondary training, I got to know the Marines’ largest and heaviest lifting helicopter, the CH-53E (Echo) Super Stallion. As a Flightline mechanic, I spent thousands of hours maintaining the 14 to 16 active birds along with the 60+ Marines in my shop. Eventually I had become qualified as a quality assurance representative, testing and troubleshooting the many systems we were responsible for. Over the course of my enlistment, I was deployed to Iraq twice and had worked my way up to the rank of Sergeant. In the fall of 2009, freshly released from active duty, I moved to Portland and went straight back to school, studying Mechanical Engineering again with a new sense of motivation. As I had known for a while, Oregon is situated in a gorgeous landscape covered in rivers, streams, and lakes with a wide variety of fishing opportunities, and I didn’t wait to get out exploring. At first, the coastal trout fishing kept me eagerly searching new water, escaping the city and busy mind I had. One memorable evening, I hooked a much larger fish, which promptly jumped higher than any fish I’d ever seen, the visualization of the fly coming free midflight seared into my brain, and poured fuel to flame as I began to learn about the steelhead.

Flyfishing for steelhead became the medicine I was searching for, and although the time between fish encounters was greater, the adventure and peaceful river time in between helped sooth my soul. My dreams shifted, and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out a way to spend more time near the water, but the idea of riverfront property felt a bit anchoring. As the seasons went by, I’d daydreamed of a woman to share the solitude with.

In the fall of 2016 my dad flew to Portland for a week of guided flyfishing with me on the Deschutes River, camping upriver many miles and motoring around on jet boats, chasing the elusive steelhead. When we arrived at camp, we were introduced to the amazingly lovely Chef Lauren, whom I was instantly smitten with but too shy to even ask for her phone number. On the ride home, my dad gave me hell about it, “two ships passing in the night” and all, but, to my fantastic joy, by the time we got home Lauren had reached out to me! We met up downtown, discussing the sailing trip she was about to embark on for four months, leaving with huge smiles and vowing to stay in touch. That long, cold winter passed slowly, but throughout, Lauren would send photos and stories of the sailboat life, something I always invisioned as a rich man’s retirement plan, and made it obvious to me that this was where I belonged.