AFTER spending more than a decade climbing the ranks of Rio Tinto, Weipa’s Chas Reinhardt has walked away from mining to launch his own apparel brand.
And while he might end up back as a FIFO worker, Chas hopes his new brand Fishbrain will keep him busy for the foreseeable future.
Along with his wife Maddison, who has been the long-serving manager of the Weipa Servicentre, Chas will have a stall at the Weipa Fishing Classic in what will be a farewell to the community.
“I’d always wanted to do some kind of apparel or brand, although not necessarily fishing,” Chas told Cape York Weekly.
“Fishbrain came about from a saying I developed with my mates.
“If the fish weren’t biting and we were out just talking rubbish, I’d say we all had fish-brain.
“I first named my boat after it and then the apparel brand.”
His website went live in April and Fishbrain has started to gain some traction on Instagram and throughout the Australian fishing community.
“We’ve got a few ambassadors around the place but originally it was just friends and family who were buying the gear,” Chas said.
“Then when we told Weipa about it we saw some local orders, but definitely from a lot of people that Maddi or I didn’t know.
“The highlight, though, was seeing orders come in from other parts of Australia that we had no connection to.”
Shirts, hats and stickers will be available at a unique-looking stall at the Classic, with more stock to buy through Fishbrain’s website.
“This is our goodbye to Weipa as we’re moving to Townsville,” said Chas.
“We leave with fond memories but we are going somewhere that is close to friends and family.”
Chas said he didn’t know what the immediate future held, but hoped that Fishbrain would be a profitable enterprise.
“I’m realistic in that I might have to work FIFO in the mines but we’re going to give it a go. I might just work in a place like Tackleworld down there to get a lay of the land to see how the retail business works,” he said.
The Aussie Rules and motocross fan said he also had plans to give back to the community through a mentorship program.
“I haven’t been that involved in clubs or volunteering in Weipa and I’d like to do some time giving back to the community,” he said.
“I’d love to teach kids to fish, maybe for those who don’t have parents or the funds.
“Something like that would be pretty cool.”
You can catch Chas and Maddie at the Weipa Fishing Classic this weekend or find their online store at fishbrainaustralia.au