CF: First off, who or what is the Braker Brothers?
Eric: We are actually brothers! We were born in Maryland, and grew up playing outside and still continue to adventure outside together. Braker Brothers, in a way, is us continuing those habits of appreciating the outdoors, 'playing' together as adults - and for the what, we are an outdoor media company! Our mission is to use the power of outdoor storytelling to spark sustainable change. Through films and other pieces of content, as well as working with likeminded brands and individuals, we chase stories that are in line with that mission statement.
Andy: Braker Brothers really came out of two main components: 1) The Outdoors, growing up (and still) being infatuated with nature, outdoor recreation, understanding natural systems and how sustainability works and 2) Media, creating content and making a professional career out of our passion.
CF: Now what's something not everyone would know about you?
Andy: We don’t do Braker Bros full time – it is our passion project right now, but we both have full time job positions that are related in a way. I’m an outdoor rec planner, which as my full-time job sort of makes every component of my life a part outdoor rec–it feels like. My 9-5 is, Braker Brothers projects are, plus any left over time, I’m outdoor "rec-ing" myself, so it is quite literally my life.
Eric: Back on the east coast I work full time for the non-profit, The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.We work throughout the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed in order to improve it for future generations. The Alliance is always looking for upstream solutions that can solve downstream problems.
CF: So you're from Maryland originally - where can we find you guys out fishing in your spare time these days?
Andy: I'm based in Northern Colorado, so fishing mainly there.
Eric: The Chesapeake Bay Watershed is my main waters.
CF: Speaking of fishing, how did you get into Fly Fishing?
Eric: Growing up I was an extremely avid angler – I actually used to fish in bass competitions (conventional/spin rods). I had a friend who had a fly rod who let me try it, and the first fish I landed was a smallmouth bass. It opened up this new world of fishing for me and I never turned back.
Andy: Similar to Eric (you know, being brothers and all) we grew up doing conventional fishing – before Eric became an obsessed tournament bass boy. I didn’t quite take that route, but once Eric got into fly fishing I remember he asked for a fly rod for Christmas, and our parents actually got us each an intro TFO setup. I brought mine with me back to college, just to have even though I didn’t really know how to use it. I went to college on the Chesapeake Bay, and one of my good friends was very knowledgeable and experienced with fly fishing in the bay, he became my mentor and I fell in love with fly fishing for striped bass
Eric: So you are a bass boy.
Andy: I guess so….
CF: Well I have to ask - what's your favorite Cheeky Fly Reel to fish with?
Andy: I'm a fan of Cheeky reels because they've been reliable for me in a wide range of circumstances. They also happen to come in some awesome colors! Considering that most of my fishing involves high alpine trout, my go-to reel is the Launch 325.
Eric: I have fished Cheeky Reels for almost seven years now and don't plan on ever changing! My go to is the Limitless 375 Fly Reel.
CF: So you've both mentioned bass - if you had to pick, what's your favorite fish?
Eric/Andy: Brook Trout! We're sticking with it. It's my favorite species for a number of reasons. The main one though is the places they live. You pretty much only find Brook Trout in places that have the highest level of biodiversity and ecological integrity, and usually the highest level of scenic value. So you’re not only catching this fish that is arguably one of the most beautiful fish, but you’re fishing in beautiful place.
CF: And what upcoming projects can we expect to see out of you guys in the future?
Eric: We've got a few film projects. We have both a film version and a video series version of The Chesapeake Tales, which chronicles a 7 day journey across Chesapeake watershed, getting into a number of different species. These species include some that aren’t always targeted on the fly, but should be checked out and appreciated. The film is a part of IF4, and you can see the full series on YouTube.
As for film projects in the works – my big project that I’ve been working on for over a year is actually outside of the world of fly fishing. It’s a mountain lion film, primarily in the Southwest, and is conservation focused. Can’t share too many details yet but keep an eye out for it!
Andy: Another big venture we’ve recently started is a podcast! Preserve What You Love, presented by Wise River, is a podcast that aligns with what we do with Braker Bro, combining outdoor recreation and conservation. On the show we invite guests who live and work in that realm, who have some sort of outdoor rec passion, people who not only recreate in their given sport or activity but also in the conservation of the resources surrounding that activity. You can find it on Spotify or YouTube.