I am a freelance writer and photographer from Sydney who has now had five books published on fishing. I also write for the Fishing Monthly Group and Australian Fishing Network.
I also like to travel and experience new things to do.
I am pretty sure that I was born with fishing in my blood. Not only did I start fishing from a very tiny age (about 3 to 4 years old), my father and uncles fished, my grandparents fished, my father and mother-in-law fished and even my wife Leanne fishes a bit.
I have been involved with fishing for a very long time, so it was inevitable that I got into photographing and writing about my fishing exploits from all over the world. I feel that I am extremely lucky and blessed that I get to go fishing and catch fish, and then be able to take photos of them (keep a few for a feed and release a lot of them) and then get paid to write about it.
At my daughter's engagement party I mentioned to Andrew (my future son-in-law) that I was thinking of flying down to go fishing for a couple of days with a fishing charter for snapper before March, as I was given a Jet star flight voucher that I had used up before the middle of March 2015.
After working out that I would have to drive to Sydney airport and leave my car at the paid parking station, hire a car for the few days while down there as where I intended to go was about forty minutes south of Melbourne, accomodation cost for just me and even though I had a $200 flight voucher I would have to add about another $100 to it for the extra luggage (rods and reels). It worked out to be a fair bit.
Andrew suggested that we drive down together early in the New Year as he didn't have much work booked up for January. Not a bad Idea I thought. It wasn't long before we had another driver for our road trip to fish for snapper in Port Phillip Bay. Dennis, my sister-in-laws partner had a window in January of four days where he could come along. Great, I thought. Now we have three people to share the driving down and back to the Mornington Peninsular and back.
So it was back onto the computer to surf the net to look for who we were going to go out with. After a quick phone call to my editor at Australian Fishing Network I found out that there were so many fishing charters to pick from. I came across an outfit called Reel Time Fishing Charters who operates on Port Phillip Bay and Western Port in Victoria for Snapper, King George Whiting, Leatherjackets, gummy sharks, Bluefin tuna and squid.
After Googeling Where Is, we found out it was going to take around nine and a half hours to get there. So we thought? It took us just over eleven hours to get down on the Monday. This included three changes of driver and lunch at Albury.
The accommodation that I had booked was at Safety Beach Sojourn near Martha Cove and we only had to travel about five hundred metres as the crow flies to get to the ramp so that Matt and Matt from Reeltime Fishing Charters could pick us up.
When Matt Cini arrived at the ramp in his custom designed and just recently completed in 2013, brand 8.5m aluminium Nomad 2.9m wide Centre Cab boat powered by twin Mercury Verado 200hp four stroke outboards I was very impressed. But there was another thing that caught my eye. The boat looked like a porcupine. Now I take a few rods out with me when I go fishing, but I had never seen so many rods (there were 40) on one boat and there was only going to be five, plus the two crew onboard for the morning.
Matt Cini explained to me that the forecast for the morning was medium NE winds increasing up to 30 km, with a slight hint of rain. As we headed out through the channel of Martha Cove the wind was only blowing at about 15 km, but it was decided that we would not go out to the wide grounds (about 12 to 15 km off the shore and around 20 metres deep) to chase snapper as stated earlier it was predicted to come up nasty mid morning. Instead we headed down south to the King George Whiting grounds that were about 2 to 3 km offshore and in about 9 to 11 metres of water.
It didn't take long to get to the whiting grounds, anchor up, lay out a berley trail, cast out seven of the millions of rods onboard. I would say it only took around five minutes before the first of many King George Whiting came onboard.
Now in NSW, we mainly catch sand whiting that have a legal size of 27cm and if we get ones around the 40cm mark we have got a great fish. The first whiting that came onboard was 40cm long and they just got bigger from there. From memory the longest was 50cm, and they are known to grow to 60cm.
Day two saw us back at the ramp again in Martha Cove waiting to be picked up again by Matt and Matt from Reel Time Fishing Charters. The only thing different from the day before was the wind was already up, but there was not rain insight. So it was off to the whiting grounds again. It was a bit of a shame not been able to go a get a few snapper, but safety always comes first when boating and who cares if you are catching 50cm plus whiting every third cast.
Andrew and Dennis are all smile when it comes to 40cm plus whiting
While we were down at Safety Bay, we had a bit of spare time on our hands thanks to the wind that could blow a dog off its chain, we did a little bit of driving along the Mornington Peninsular to see what else was on offer.
Some of the places that would be worth a look at if you ever go down that way are as follows:
Matt Cini, affectionately nicknamed 'Genie' because of his sixth sense for finding and catching Victoria's most sought after species of fish day after day, is owner and operator of Reel Time Fishing Charters. Matt has a love of fishing was instilled at a young age. Much the same as me. He has mastered his fishing skills while the bays of Melbourne for snapper, gummy sharks, squid & King George whiting and more recently in the Southern Ocean of Portland where he has made his mark on the Bluefin Tuna scene in a big way with plenty of trophy fish caught in the last few years.
If you are ever down on the Mornington Peninsular and you don't have a boat and you are looking for a REEL GOOD TIME, you should call Matt Cini from Reel Time Fishing Charters and book a day out on the water with him chasing either King George Whiting, Leatherjackets, gummy sharks, Bluefin tuna, squid and those big snapper that we couldn't get to.