Hi and welcome to my site.

My name is Matt, and fishing is a big part of my life. I started fishing with my father when I was around 8 years old and it was something that we were able to do together for many years. Growing up in Gunnedah in the north west of NSW meant my initial focus was on freshwater fish. This meant using worms, shrimps, yabbies and various grubs to fish for yellowbelly (or callop as they were often called locally), catfish (or jewfish as they were known locally) and cod. Our local water was the Namoi River and just upstream we had a decent impoundment in Lake Keepit. From time to time we had a holiday over to the coast to places like Forster, Laurieton and Yamba and naturally I started to get really excited about fishing.

When we weren't fishing, which was a lot of the time, we spent a lot of time reading fishing magazines and books. I must have read Roughley's "Fish and Fisheries of Australia" from cover to cover. It had beautiful hand drawn pictures of most of the fish you would catch in NSW waters and it really captured my imagination. Modern Fishing was the magazine of choice and we spent hours poring over the contents, particularly the advice columns written by Dick Lewers, it was a memorable time. I used to tell my dad that one day I would have an article published in a fishing magazine and he would laugh like hell, not in a mocking way, more in a way that he thought that would be just about the best thing ever.

After returning to Sydney from a round Australia trip in 2000, I felt inspired to get started on a fishing article for publication. When it came to it, I realised that I didn't really know where to start with the writing and even less about how to get a photo that may get published. I decided to enrol myself in a sports photojournalism course and once half way through decided that I had what it took to get published. Fortunately I had a fishing buddy at the time that had already been published, and he knew the editor at Fishing World, Jim Harwell. I made contact and Jim kindly sent me the contributor guidelines and his best wishes. A short time later I sent my first article, accompanied by a set of slides and waited for what I thought would be my first polite rejection letter. Instead, that first article was published. "Bream on bread" was the title, Craig Lowndes was on the cover, and my little article looked great in what was the winter 2002 edition. When I asked Jim why it was published so quickly, the answer came back that it was relevant to a large number of the readership, it didn't require much editing, the photos were good enough and it fitted the format of the magazine.

It was hugely satisfying to be published and I went on to write more articles, all aimed at the everyday fishermen, about bait gathering, rock fishing and fishing from small boats around the Sydney area. In 2003 my first son was born, a fishermen in waiting, and a joy in all respects, but with little enough time for fishing, the writing had to be put on the backburner. The writing is relatively easy, but getting quality photos takes time, so I hung up the typing fingers and my entry level Nikon.

A bit of time has passed since then. Digital photography has made my Nikon film camera obsolete, kingfish traps are no more, and amazingly the fishing in the harbour is better than it was 20 odd years ago when I first started fishing it. I have two sons now, the oldest loves his fishing and the younger is just starting. There is more time for fishing and a little for writing, but it is still difficult to get time to put together a full article for publication.

So maybe I can still write, maybe a website is the answer! Anyway that's my story, and how I came to start a website. I hope that you find some useful information within.

Matt McHugh

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