Lucky 7 with Brad Sissins

This week, we interview Brad Sissins from Daiwa and shottobits.com.au.  Brad has been a mentor and supporter of lureandfly.com from the beginning, helping us to expand and understand our fishing and photographic potential. 

What’s your name and where are you from?

Bradley Sissins. At present I live in Mosman, Sydney. I grew up in the Victorian High Plains, before moving to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Europe, Asia…… the list goes, just travelled and worked in the fishing industry wherever it took me.

What part do you play in the fishing community today?

I’ve worked in the fishing industry for over 24 years, for the past eight years I have been the Marketing and Product Development manager for Daiwa Australia. My education background is photography and art, as part of my job I do all the product and fishing photography for Daiwa, and a high majority of it is used all over the world.

It’s a massive job! Those who know me know I work a minimum of 12 hours a day and the majority of weekends I’m working somewhere. So anyone who thinks it’s a dream job, it’s not really as by the time I get away from the office I don’t want to fish or even look at fishing gear. Most people who work in the higher management of the fishing industry don’t fish often because of the amount of hours you are required to put into your job, especially working for a Japanese company!

My job is pretty extensive as we don’t out source anything; it’s all done in-house by me, so here’s a brief list of my job details

Promotion of the Daiwa company

Product and lifestyle photography

Text for all products and Daiwa company

Catalogue design

Magazine Ad design for all Daiwa ads

Web Design, I build and maintain Daiwa Australia’s website

Product development

Product cosmetic design

That’s just a few of the main requirements of my job.  I work closely with our Japanese parent company and travel overseas every month, my main travel is to do “field” photography for Daiwa’s huge photo database and to work with  our engineers with new product developments. Many of these developments take many years of work. As an example I was using and testing the new Saltiga reels three years before we released them! And at present I’m working on products for late 2015 release already, so I work many years in advance.

What was it that really got you into fishing and how old were you?

I grew in a farming family so hunting and fishing was in my blood. We had many rivers and streams running through our property and they were riddled with southern blackfish and brown trout. My father was a passionate fly angler and I begun fly fishing when I was 7. Still love it today!

What is your greatest fishing memory?

My first fishing memory was catching blackfish on worms when I was about five years old. But what started my fishing journey was my father teaching me how to flyfish when I was 7 way back in 1977. There was no graphite back then, just glass and cane fly rods. I mastered my technique early and my first trout on fly was on a Yellow Woolly Bugger in the Upper Yarra River above Mc Mahons Ck. That is possibly my greatest memory. I still can see the flash of its white mouth and the stunning red and gold spots when I landed that pretty little fish. That “hooked’ me for life, I was also crazy for photography at that age, so I ended up combining the two to make my career.

But since then there is a list a mile long of fishing memories, here’s a few that I have been fortunate to experience

- Ayu fishing in Japan

- Seabass fishing in northern Japan in minus 17 degrees on a surf beach

- Catching my first brook trout in Argentina

- Snakehead and catfish in southern china

- Sailfish in Taiwan

- catching any fish the first time on fly i.e., albacore, yellow fin tuna, sailfish, murray cod…..the list goes on.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Still doing what I love ….photography and fishing, not sure where in the world I’ll be but I’ll still be doing it.

What’s top of the “bucket list”?

I’ve been lucky and had the opportunities to catch so many species across the world. But any country I go to I would love to catch the local “trout or char’ species there. Japan’s native char’s in the north are on my must do list. Just being in some of the most beautiful alpine countryside is enough, catching a pretty little char is just the added bonus.

But my bucket list is a bit different as I love teaching people how to fish. My biggest kick is to take an angler, let’s say to a trout stream and teach him about trout, where they are, why, what they feed on etc, that gives me more of a buzz than anything. As an example I took Josh trout fishing last year, spent a few days just showing him, why, where and how, that’s more on my bucket list. Teaching someone is more enjoyable for me than catching a fish.

Who do you look up to in the fishing community?

My literary teacher and still idol was David Scholes, he was probably the most influential fly angler Australia has ever known. His book “The Way of an Angler” is the bible of Australian trout anglers. It was written on the waterways I grew up on many years before I was born but the techniques and experiences still remain the same.

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