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Charlie Brewer

Charlie Brewer grew up in the small southern middle Tennessee town of Lawrenceburg. He was born May 16, 1920. He spent most of his youth around Lawrence County and neighboring Wayne County, were his father was raised. This area has a plentiful supply of creeks, small lakes, and ponds. Charlie learn to fish with his father Lon Brewer in the streams of Wayne County. Later he walked or road a bicycle to local fishing streams. He developed a desire to fish at an early age. His family lived part of the year in Florida during his early years but mostly in Tennessee. While in Florida Charlie would ride his bicycle with fishing gear attached to near by lakes and to the Ocean.

Other interest during his youth was a paper route that allowed him to earn a little money for buying a $5 car with wood spoked wheels and a rumble seat. This car allowed a little more extended range in the 1930s. A trip was measured by the number of flat tires so the fishing area was mostly confined to Lawrence and Wayne Counties. Charlie also had a lot of interest in ham radio. He built his own set, mostly from items found in junk yards, and talked to the whole world using Morse code from his home. This hobby would later take him to distant fishing grounds. Charlie's great uncle Mr. Thomas Heyer lived across the street. He had a wood working shop where he made a wooden boat and paddle as a present. This was Charlie's first boat which allowed him to reach areas that were once difficult to approach. High School graduation came in 1941. Charlie Brewer joined the US Navy during the summer months. His ham radio experience lead him to the Navy classification of RadioMan. He taught others what he had learned as a teenager. War came in December. Charlie Brewer was sent to Pearl Harbor shortly after the attack. One of his jobs was to dive down into sunken ships and retrieve radio equipment. The next assignment was to Palmyra Island in the south Pacific. The first thing he did before leaving was to purchase a heavy duty rod and reel for fishing. He was transferred to the small island and was attached to the crew of sea planes as a RadioMan. The island paradise was not too exciting when not flying. Extra activities for the men were limited and plan ole boredom was a problem except for fishing. Charlie noticed many times that schooling fish where just off shore and trashing the surface. He talked with the captain about obtaining a boat to reach the school. Permission was granted. Charlie and the coxswain took the boat to the schooling area. The new heavy duty rod and reel purchased in Honolulu was rigged with a trolling lure with bright colored cloth trailers. A strike was made and the fight was on. However the fish won. The new rod and reel was no match for whatever fish was in the school. Charlie Brewer was not to give up. He had the machine shop make a very large hook. He obtained some rope. Another trip was made to the schooling area. A jig was trolled until another strike started the battle. This time it took both Charlie Brewer and the person driving the boat to handle the rope and fight the fish. They succeeded after a long fight and pulled in a 100 pound tuna. They trolled again and had their second fight with another 100 pound tuna. This was enough. They returned to the island and the tunas were prepared for a feast.

Charlie Brewer went back home to Lawrenceburg after the war. He became a radio repair man. Then shortly there after he started his own business in the late 1940s as a Radio and Television sales and repair. He was the first to sale televisions in this southern town. All his friends had returned home and started families. The men would talk fishing and plan fishing trips. This seem to be the main activity of this time period. Many neighborhood family get togethers were done on a regular bases in back yards where fish fries would take place. The men and boys gathered to here tales of the big one that got away and many other real and exaggerate fishing tales. Charlie Brewer was probably the most active fisherman. He studied fishing, went fishing, experimented with all the lures of the day, and tried everything to increase his friends and his own fishing enjoyment. Charlie had purchased a fishing boat with a small Mercury motor. This was a wooden boat with wooden ribs. The boat had long oars attached. Each night before a fishing trip water was put into the boat. This would swell the wood and reduce leaks while on the lake. Many fish and many fishing stories came from this time period of the late 1940s and the 1950s. Wilson lake, Wheeler Lake, and Picwick lake in north Alabama were fished. Many other areas along Kentucky lake in Tennessee were favorite places also. No boat ramps were at these lakes in the 1950s. Only gravel roads lead to the waters edge. The number of sport fisherman on the lakes was very small compared to the present time. A lot of commercial fisherman dragging for mussels and laying lines for cat fish were seen on the lakes. Fishing was good. Charlie used Hedon lures like the river runt. Also other large lures like the Dalton Special, Nippi Dee Dee, Chub Minnow, Hell Benders, and spoon with pork were used. The rods were stiff casting outfits with black nylon line. Charlie progressed up to an alumi craft boat in the late 1950s with a little larger motor. This help extend the range while searching for bass. Many more sport fisherman joined the ranks in the 1960s. The commercial fishing was decreasing as sport fishing grew. Fishing became tougher but Charlie Brewer was always ready to experiment and try new methods to stay on top of the sport. Charlie along with other fishing buddies would sit in the back yard on long summer nights talking about fishing and whittling lures to try on the lakes and rivers. There was no air conditioning in those days.

The rubber worm was first seen by Charlie advertised in a magazine. He was intrigued enough to order some. A new direction of experimentation had started. Charlie found that these rubber worms which were 10" and 12" worked very good in local waters. His friends had to be convinced that this type approach would work at all. They were shown with success. Charlie then experiment by cutting the worms and melting them back together to various different sizes. Always looking for a better way to catch more fish and have fun.

One day Charlie saw some boys walking down the road with their fishing gear and a string of fish. He stop them and ask how they caught those. It was a nice string. The boys had light rods, line, and small lures. This was not the way men fished but there must be something to it. Charlie decide to take what the boys had told him and try experimenting with light tackle. His first light tackle rod was a fly fishing rod cut down in size. Charlie watched minnows, in clear water, move through the water in a smooth way with no action. They were just sliding through the water with ease. Then an idea came to him. He knew that live bait was usually best. He needed to imitate live bait as close as possible. Watching the minnows, the rubber worms, and the methods the boys were using lead to a new method of fishing. Charlie cut the worms down to the size bait that most fish seem to eat. Then he worked with hook and head designs to fit this new way of fishing. He wanted a method that would imitate nature. He wanted the lure to slide through the water with very little action like the minnows. He needed to vary the depth and speed of retrieval. He designed and experimented until everything was in balance. Charlie designed, made, and modified a jig head to work with this type fishing. The head was flat with the hook exposed. This design kept the hook turned upward and allowed the rubber worm to slide through the water. The size of the rubber worm was adjusted downward to 4". This seem to be the right size. This method of fishing was called "Slider Fishing". This was completely different from conventional methods at the time but it proved to be a way to increase fish catches especially during tough conditions. Also, this method was easy to fish. It was a "Do Nothing Method". No extra action was necessary. Just fish this lure in a way to imitate nature.

Charlie Brewer had proven to himself that this method was a true means to catch more fish. He decided to start a lure company. He call the company "CRAZY HEAD LURE COMPANY" because of the unique and crazy looking head design. The company was literally started on the kitchen table. Now Charlie had to educate and promote this new technique. He was always putting the fisherman first. Education, demonstrations, and talking about HOW TO slider fish was an obsession. Charlie travel areas out from his home talking to anyone who would listen. He sent samples with instructions to many people. A first bit of luck came when Billy Westmoreland was fishing with Jerry Mckinnis on Dale Hollow lake. They had fished with almost no results when Billy decided to use these samples sent to him. Their fishing trip became a success. Charlie was contacted and later joined the two. He showed them the technique and then operated the camera while the two produced a TV show. This support opened more opportunities.

Fishing Facts opened an opportunity for Charlie Brewer. George Pazik responded to a letter Charlie had sent to him and ask if he would write an article about a 7 pound 2 ounce smallmouth that was caught on a southern lake. Charlie Brewer had no experience writing but he set down and wrote the story in his own words; just like talking to a fishing buddy. The methods and techniques used were describe in detail in order to teach other fisherman how to do the same thing. Slider Fishing does not require the lures his company manufactured as was told many times in articles. Any small light tackle system could be used with the same results. Charlie always said that there is no magic lure. It’s the technique or method used. The size, weight, and the way the lure is presented that makes the difference. Continued promotion and education secured the position of "Slider Fishing" as a technique for catching more fish. Charlie Brewer wrote many articles for fishing facts and a large majority of other fishing magazine during the 1970s and on into the 1980s. He travel across the country doing seminars, TV shows, store promotions, and field testing. His "Slider Technique" proved itself throughout the United States, Canada, Japan, South Africa, Mexico, Italy, and many other places. Charlie was chosen as one of the "Living Legends of American Sportfishing" in 1986. Slider worms, heads, products, books, pamphlets, and videos have been sent all over the world. Friends from Japan have visited several times just to go fishing and talk about the Slider Fishing. The name of the company was changed to "Charlie Brewer's Slider Company Inc." in 1984 due to a higher recognition of Charlie Brewer and Slider. The company has continued to grow while staying with its approach to fishing. Small soft plastic lures, light lines, and easy "Do Nothing" methods which describe Slider Fishing and Charlie Brewer's Slider Company. Charlie went into retirement in 1984. However, his life time of fishing has continued. Experimenting, promoting, educating, and enjoying fishing is still his passion. The company remains a family business and continues to innovate through the efforts of Charlie Brewer and the experience he has passed on to others.
 
by Charlie Brewer Jr.

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