Matt Tripet & The Fly Program

We caught up with fishing and mental health expert, Matt Tripet, this week to chat about life, fishing and his efforts with getting men to speak out when they need help.

Matt was getting set up for a full weekend retreat with The Fly Program and we managed to grab him for a 7am chat before the event kicked off - he's that kind of a guy who will make the extra effort to help someone out.


The Fly Program Group

The Fly Program is designed to get men into the outdoors and start them talking about things men don't normally talk about. All too often Kiwi and Aussie blokes are more than satisfied to just keep everything to themselves, keep it bottled up, and consequently, their mental health suffers. 

Matt believes - and has seen the proof - in the benefits the outdoors have on men's mental health. Be you builder or barrister, the outdoors connects men. Standing alongside someone in a river, catching a fish with a fly you just made, breaks down barriers. It breaks down the walls the men create for themselves and allows them to be vulnerable.

We asked Matt what he means by being vulnerable. He said that vulnerability is the building block to being strong. Being able to accept that there is something wrong, being able to recognise that 'hey, I'm not ok' and being able to ask for help. Men's help-seeking strategies are poor. Being in the outdoors has been clinically proven as a means to allow men to break down barriers and talk.

Matt began the journey to start The Fly Program when he lost his brother-in-law to suicide. It was an event that rocked his entire family and motivated him to take action. That action was to ask for help, exactly what The Fly Program promotes and has delivered to thousands of Australian men since its inception in 2014.


Manic Tackle Project Manager, Rene Vaz, has been friends with Matt for many years and was eager to support this cause, and when Simms approached him for subjects for their 'Fish it well' video series, Matt was the first choice. 

This film enabled Matt to experience the full gratitude and deep personal connection he has to his family and fishing. He also felt extremely privileged to be part of the production and us here at Manic Tackle Project were just as honoured to be able to experience a small glimpse of Tripet family life too.

Matt was always in the outdoors growing up and when he was twelve decided that fly fishing was something he wanted to do. Having taught himself the basics he moved to guiding and instructing. After a teaching degree and high-level rugby career had lost their flame, an opportunity - and a lifestyle change - allowed him and his wife to move to the Snowy Mountains to build the summer program at a predominantly winter-focused resort. Six years of guiding at a high-end resort positioned him as one of the top guides for the region.

It eventually became the ideal location for The Fly Program to allow men the space to have the experiences they need to work on their mental health. Matt is an extremely passionate person for the health of others. Hardships happen for everyone. His advice is that you have to understand that everyone has a story. Everyone is struggling with something. Just like you might be. The key is to be aware and acknowledge it. Be aware, accept that there are problems in life, but ask for help with them, especially if you are not in a position to manage them.

Overall, Matt says it's good to work hard on relationships and don't expect instant gratification. Working hard on your relationships is a good thing, because hard is normal. And it circles back to vulnerability - in relationships too. 

The Fly Program Founder Matt Tripet

The Fly Program continues to grow and has programs in Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales, with plans to expand to New Zealand. Along with the traditional freshwater stuff, more warmer salty locations are in the plans for future retreats.

The setting that nature offers men an opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder is an incredible gift that anyone can take advantage of, and if you add in the knowledge of fly fishing to that, then you are on to a true winner, one that will get a result. If you've got skills or knowledge in fly fishing, Matt insists that you share those skills. You might just find that the clarity that comes with being on the river with someone may give them the opportunity to be vulnerable. It may even give you that chance too.

To find out more about The Fly Program, please visit


Drew Thompson is in charge of herding cats at Manic Tackle Project. When they are all in order he can be found sorting out marketing matters or simply ensuring the coffee machine is clean and ready for the next user.