The other day, Warrnambool friend Matt and I were comparing recent trips to the mountain rivers, when he mentioned that the fishing locally had been ‘goin’ off.’ According to Matt, several local estuaries had been producing plenty of bream and even mulloway, and the really good news was the mighty Hopkins was fishing well again.
That was good enough for Max and I, so we scrambled together a day on the Hopkins yesterday. The forecast wasn’t ideal with strong cold front promised for midday, but sometimes you just have to go fishing when you can!
Matt’s report matched the fishing. We caught bream wherever we fished along the upper estuary (all shore-based) and we missed a couple down towards the mouth, which is presently closed. The action was best in the calmer, brighter weather before the front hit, but we continued to catch fish through the afternoon rain and gales. A stack of flies (Hammerheads, Woolly Buggers and Vampires) caught fish with weight (depending on depth) and ‘snag-proofness’ seemingly more important than colour, although black or red both worked fine. We landed 10 bream, mostly in the 30 to 40 cm range, and missed way more than we should have! Sink tip or intermediate lines gave better connection and more hook-ups, especially in the windy/ choppy conditions during the afternoon. Tap-tap-tap-stop retrieves were good too.
Appropriately, our good friend Muz Wilson was able to join us for a few hours. Muz gave me lots of good bream fishing advice on the Hopkins several years ago, so it was nice to show him that the apprentice remembered a few of his tips!