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Happiness on the Hoppies
  |  First Published: February 2016



The Hopkins River is located in South West Victoria and is ever so popular to local anglers and tourists. The two main drawcard species that bring anglers here are the bream and estuary perch, but there’s always the chance of tangling with the elusive mulloway. The fishing can be hot and cold, but with good boat and launching facilities and plenty of bank side access, it is the perfect river to fish for all levels of expertise.

PRIME TIME

The Hopkins is an all year round fishery, and this is what makes it such a popular location for all to fish. In times of drought or flood, an angler can always hit the water, put a plan together and rustle up at least a few fish.

THE GEAR

Like most estuary fishing, a light graphite spin rod with a 2000 size reel is best when chasing bream and perch. This type of outfit spooled with light braid will be more than enough for pretty much any species in the system, including mulloway, which are often encountered at a manageable size.

THE RIG

Light leaders for spooky fish is the key when lure fishing for bream and perch. Bait anglers do really well with a light running sinker rig, and as there is little tidal flow, the lighter the sinker or jighead you can get away with, the better and more successful you will be.

BAIT AND LURES

The key to a successful session on the river is fresh bait. Podworm, crabs, shrimp, or live fresh water yabbies are abundant in the river itself and should be you first options.

If lure fishing, use a variety of small soft plastics, deep and shallow diving hardbodies and, of course, in the colder months, vibes and blades for when those fish are schooling down deep.

BEST METHOD

When targeting bream and perch in the winter months then a quality sounder is essential. Locating schooled up fish in open water and casting small blades to the fish is by far one of the best methods and most enjoyable ways to spend time on the water.

MOTHER NATURE

There are a lot of fish in the ‘Hoppies’, big and small. There is an abundance of small undersized bream, perch and salmon, so remember to keep up to date with the latest rules and regulations. Not only can this prevent a fine but it also keeps the stock levels of fish in shape for years to come.

HOT TIP

Keep an eye on your sounder, especially around the Bay of Biscay and a little bit further up, as there are underwater reefs full of coral, which make excellent fish holding structure. They can also be the difference between landing fish and losing fish, let alone doing damage to your boat, so it pays to approach with caution.

On calm still mornings, if the fish are on the go and feeding, you can actually hear them chewing on the coral under the water through the hull of the boat!

So if you haven’t made the trip to the Hoppies, make sure you add it to your bucket list and experience the diversity and unique fishing that this great river has to offer.

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