Bradey, you’ve been working with Fishing the Good Fight for quite some time, what got you interested in the organization?
I met the Founder Jennings of FTGF before the name was even a thing while he was tying at Zuni Street Brewery. I was just starting to set up Fly Tying Nights at Zuni Street Brewery and invited Jennings to one and we became friends. He then talked to me about how he wanted to do more for the community and talked to me about the idea of supporting men's mental health through fly fishing. I looked at him and told him I am all in and anything he needs I will help in any way I can. I started doing photo and video work. The rest is history.
You’re a very experienced angler (and photographer). How did you start fishing?
I got into fly fishing when I tore my ACL going into my senior year of college lacrosse and felt like I lost everything I have ever worked for. While I was laying on the couch and (drinking my sorrows away) my buddy asked me if I wanted to go to the river and fly fish. I had never been and I figured why not. I threw on my knee brace, swim trunks, and hunting boots on. We got to the river and I was sitting on the side of the river listening to the river and found peace that I hadn’t felt before. Fast forward, I got knee surgery and was given a fly rod for Christmas and once I could walk I would go out in the freezing cold and stand in the river to ice my knee and fish. I had no idea what I was doing but I just continued to go until I learned.
Do you have a favorite fishing memory you can share with us?
I don’t think I could pick just one but I can say seeing someone smile and laugh when they catch their first fish is pretty spectacular.
There is a wealth of information when it comes to fly fishing, and sometimes it can be hard to sift through what’s helpful and what’s not. What advice do you have for someone who wants to get into fly fishing but maybe doesn’t quite know where to start?
The best advice I could give is to hire a guide. Getting a guide will allow you to figure out if you like fly fishing and it will help set you up for success when going on your own. Fly Fishing is a big-time and monetary investment but worth it. If you don’t want a guide, reach out to anyone involved in FTGF. Everyone is more than happy to help and is a resource. Follow FTGF on social media as we try to make fishing accessible and teach everyone we can.
You own River Ambassadors Media, a super cool creative agency that focuses on photography/videography and marketing for the outdoor industry. Can you tell us a little bit more about the company?
Yea, River Ambassadors Media was designed to help outdoor companies create realistic content. With an extensive amount of knowledge of the outdoor industry and being an outdoor professional myself, I wanted to bring light to the true lifestyle that guides, and avid adventurers endure. I want to share the outdoors as much with people as to inspire others to get outside. I truly believe that the more people who spend time outdoors the more they care for our resources and want to get involved in maintaining the world around us.
How did you originally get interested in photography and videography? What was the impetus for starting River Ambassadors Media?
I originally got interested in photo and video work when I lost my first job out of college back in 2016. I wanted to fish and film so I just went out and did it on my own. Fast forward to starting River Ambassadors Media, I lost my job and housing during Covid as a Marketing Manager and photo/video work was my side hustle at the time. My parents saw my passion for fishing and what I could do with a camera and told me not to waste the opportunity I was just given. I was encouraged to move into my parents basement and River Ambassadors Media was born.
There’s nothing worse than landing that giant trout and your buddy cutting off the whole top part of your head when he takes your photo. What advice do you have for everyone out there wanting to level up their photography game (probably on a phone) when they’re out on the water?
A lot of the new phone cameras have wide-angle options, I would recommend switching to that to get the whole picture. If you don’t have that or don’t like the way that looks, take a step or two back from the subject to capture the whole picture. Also, Spam that photo button, which helps with things that happen naturally, and then it gives you additional photos to choose from.
As you’ve worked with Fishing The Good Fight over the years, how has your own relationship with mental health shifted?
Mental health has gotten better for me. I not only have an outlet of awesome people I can go to at any moment but I have found a group of people who are all working both individually to better themselves and help others at the same time. There is something very special about Fishing the Good Fight
What do you see as the relationship between being outdoors, or fishing, and mental health?
I believe that there is a very high correlation between mental health and being outside. I know in my heart that the outdoors can change people's lives just as easily as it can save them. It has always helped me with anything I am struggling with and I think it can do it for others as well.
For those out there who might think that they don’t want to get involved with FTGF because they just want to fish, maybe they’re a little uncomfortable with the mental health side of things, what would you say?
I would say don’t be. It really is another family you didn’t know you needed. Most people who have come to our retreats thought they were going to enjoy fishing more than the group sessions but it ended up being the opposite. That in itself speaks numbers.
Finally, what’s playing in your car when you’re driving to go fishing super early in the morning?
I listen to a variety of music but I would have to say, Zach Bryan, Charley Crockett, and Tyler Childers come on the most.