Rene Vaz - Managing Director

The Big Boss Rene, since the age of 19 has been highly involved (obsessed!?) in the NZ fly fishing and tackle industry. Rene is a past New Zealand Fly Fishing Champion and NZ team member, he is an FFF and STANIC Fly Casting Instructor, holds an Masters Degree with Honours in Fisheries Biology and Management and has worked for and advised a number of tackle companies throughout the globe. Basically Rene lives and breathes fly fishing.

Along with his wife Susan, Rene started Manic Tackle Project in 2008 from their garage at home and after a few years of hard work, late nights, large glasses of wine and some great customers they have successfully grown the company into Australasias largest and most respected fly fishing distributor.  

On working in this industry " Who would have thought a misspent youth of playing with fishing gear in your room as a kid could turn into a career....."

BEVVY OF CHOICE: The way to this man's heart is via a nice Barossa Shiraz. Honourable mentions also go to a nice Pinot Noir or a classy scotch. Basically anything above 10% ABV and it's mission accomplished.


Gus Lapin - Australian Account Manager

Gus Lapin is our main man in Oz, he's more than very good at everything he does and is a top bloke in general. A certified casting instructor? Tick. Ties one hell of a fly? Tick. Handy with a camera? Tick. Nailing smoked brisket on the regular? Tick. Should have gone pro in the AFL? Tick.

Can't play cricket for shit though.

BEVVY OF CHOICE: If there's a sixer of green demons in the fridge and Gus is around then they're in trouble. And of course Gus can play cricket, the man is 95% VB.


Kyle Adams - NZ Account Manager

Without a doubt Kyle is the second best looking person in the fly fishing industry, worldwide. And when he’s rocking his Movember stashe he really gives that number one spot a good nudge. Kyle is based in the hub of Naki Hardcore and is our roaming account manager that spends a heap of time in the stores both getting the Manic product out there but also upskilling the staff into better fisherpeople. Kyle is a singlehand spey wizz having recently taken over the mantle of “The Tongariro Roll Cast Guy” for NZ, so if you bump into him on the river make sure to get a quick demonstration, it’ll blow your mind. Or just simply just stand there and stare at him. Gorgeous.

BEVVY OF CHOICE: A cheeky crafty tickles this mans fancy.


Karsten Neben - Marketing Manager

Karsten was born in Germany, but swapped his lederhosen for stubbies when he was 8 and moved to Australia with his family. Karsten has a wealth of experience in the fishing industry, and an undeniable passion for fly fishing and fly tying. We found Karsten in Melbourne, dipping feathers in dye and packaging tungsten beads (he managed one of the Australasia’s largest fly tying distributors). He’s now joined the Manic sales team and with a fondness for craft beer and good food, he’s fit right in.

BEVVY OF CHOICE: While Karsten loves to sip and consider his way through a one off mini micro brewed 17.4% Cucumber Sour Mega I.P.A.P.A Pilslagerenbraunoir we also know the man has a penchant for the good old Negroni. Pure class this man.


Ben Munro - Operations Manager

Ben is our Operations Manager which basically means he’s the guy that gets all of the good gear into the country and out to the stores, and without him Manic wouldn’t exist. He’s also famous for pioneering a new fish fighting technique for dealing with big kingfish in small vessels, ask him to show you if you ever catch up with him. Ben loves to spend time behind the vice and even more time behind the wheel day tripping to the central north island to get his fly fishing fix. He wins the award for “Manic’s Nicest Guy” and is a great human to have leading the warehouse team.

BEVVY OF CHOICE: His calm demeanour belies the fact that this man loves himself a Woody or two, but without the associated brawling and grevious bodily harm charges.


Chris Sharland – Content Manager

Coming from a background in the magazine publishing world and having worked in sales and marketing in the outdoor industry, Chris joined us mid 2013 as marketing manager through until 2019. Seeing nothing but blue skies ahead for 2020 he decided it was time to strike out on his own and start his own content marketing company for the outdoors industry, so perhaps timing isn't his strong suit. We've retained Chris' services for all things content and nerdy that we can't be bothered with so it's safe to say he's part of the furniture now.

Chris loves all things outdoors including fly fishing (obviously), hunting, skateboarding, landbased saltwater fishing, snowboarding, mounting biking, surfing and golf as well as undergoing further acquisitions of additional hobbies, hence why he is broke but the perfect guy to focus his passion and energy into telling the stories of our products.

BEVVY OF CHOICE: The man cannot say no to a whisky sour or ten and reads a wine list like it's the latest Stephen King novel.


James Gibbons - Operations Specialist

James has a solid background in operations, previously working for another well-known tackle distributor. While he is relatively new to the fly fishing scene, his abilities with conventional tackle are not to be underestimated. He has become a strict enforcer of Friday afternoon hydration, making sure that everyone is well prepared for the weekend ahead.

BEVVY OF CHOICE: No salty sea dog would be worth his, well, salt without developing a taste for the real fisherman's friend, rum. But there's no Do-Da Coruba or Black Heart bogan antics here, Jame's taste in rum is more 50ft yacht than 12ft tinny.


Wayne Barnes - Operations Specialist

Wayne is a long time Manic Mate, having fly fished up and down the country for number of years. When presented with the opportunity to work at Manic, he jumped at it - although working in the fly fishers equivalent of a candy store has him a little worried! Mostly though, Wayne is stoked to be on board and we’re stoked to have him.

BEVVY OF CHOICE: Speights, the official beverage of the couch burning future politicians of New Zealand. Why Wayne? Why? I guess it's not as bad as Waikato or VB, just putting that one out there to throw the cat amongst the pigeons.


Chris Dore - South Island Legend & Technical King

Chris Dore is our man in the South Island and a human fly fishing encyclopaedia, or to put it in modern terms, he's basically google. You'll see Chris' fingerprints on a huge amount of Manic content, especially the instructional stuff and has been with us since day dot. In his other life he's pretty much NZ's best fly fishing guide and if you want to catch some fish and learn a thing or ten then a day or two with Chris is money very well spent,

On working for Manic, Chris says "I work for Manic? Ah ok, sounds good! I need to keep better track of the amount of jobs I have."

BEVVY OF CHOICE: Central Otago Pinot all the way, anything from Marlborough or the Wairarapa would just offend him.


Sherry Zhang – Financial Accounts Executive

Sherry is all things finance here at Manic and is our Financial Accounts Executive.  Originally from China, Sherry immigrated to NZ and studied to achieve her Bachelor of Business and has worked in various accounting positions.  As per above Sherry is all things finance and loves numbers, reconciliations and basically everything that we all cant get our heads around.  Hence she is perfect for the job.

Sherry enjoys travel, sci-fi movies and karaoke and loves spending time with her family.  She enjoys working for Manic as “ I feel valued and the flexible working environment allows me to have enough time to take care of my family”

BEVVY OF CHOICE: We assume it's water but most likely it's straight vodka. There's no way she can tolerate this bunch of idiots everyday without having a little something something to soften the edges.