Welcome to the Warmies Fishing Guide. The Warmies also is known as the hotties is located beyond the west gate bridge behind the popular kid’s attraction Scienceworks in Spotswood. It’s a well-known fishing destination part of the Yarra River which feeds water from the entrance of Port Phillip Bay. Warmies gets its iconic name from the local Newport power station that runs annually flushing warm water directly into the inlet heating up the temperature of the surrounding water. When this happens it attracts good size pelagic fish in big numbers such as tailor and salmon. During these times it’s not uncommon to see rows of anglers standing side by side keen to get into the action. When the power station is running you can almost catch fish after fish quite effortlessly with bait and lures.
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We had one fishing occasion last year during winter when the pump was running catching at least 50 tailor and salmon within a short fishing session. It’s a challenging fishing destination with lots of snags but offers a large range of fish species that can be caught all year round with multiple techniques. Sometimes the Warmies can deliver a prized size mulloway or snapper which makes it a very worth fishing destination.
Check out this video of us targeting big bream opposite the Warmies in front of the West gate Bridge
Things to do The Warmies or Hotties
Located in Newport is Scienceworks which is a very popular destination for families, particularly during school holidays. There is also the Punt ferry service which operates daily and transfers cyclists from one side of the Yarra River to the other. This is an OK location to take the kids. There are walking and cycling tracks. There is plenty of open grasslands to run around on. Just be careful near the rocks which are quite slippery. Do keep an eye on the kids and my young kids have caught jellyfish and blue ring octopus from this location when fishing.
Fishing the Warmies or Hotties
The Warmies offers seasonal fish species such as tailor, snapper ( pinkies ), flathead, Snook, Australian salmon, mullet, mulloway, bream, Gummy Sharks, trevally, whiting. When fishing at the Warmies with bait we suggest using pilchards, raw chicken, squid, maggots, scrub worms, and mullet which are all good options. A paternoster rig works well with sinker options to suit your desired casting distance. In winter when the pumps are running pelagic species such as salmon and tailor come through in big numbers during these times small slugs and metal lures will also work well. You can cast them far and retrieve them at a medium to fast pace. Soft plastics also work really well in this area if you can avoid getting snagged. Soft plastics work really well on flathead, pinkies, bream salmon and other species.
The choice of lures is almost endless to make things easier we created a detailed video on the best lures and how to use them.
For gear selection, it’s a little bit of a mixed bag fishing at the Warmies. One day you’ll catch bream the next day maybe a big snapper or Mulloway. So it really depends on what you’re fish species targeting. If you’re targeting species such as pinkies, bream, mullet and flathead then a light rod setup is best. We would suggest a 2–4-kilo capacity rod coupled with a 2000-3000 reel. Something nice and sensitive to feel the bites and inquiries. If you targeting bigger fish including snapper, mulloway or Gummy Sharks then you’ll want a heavier fishing outfit. You might start with a 7 or 8 foot 4-7 kilo fishing rod coupled with a 4000 size reel spooled with a 12-20 pound line keep moving up to a 10-12 foot rod if you feel you need longer casting distance. If you plan on casting metal lures for tailor and salmon then we would recommend a 9 or 10-foot rod in a 6-10 kilo class coupled with a 3000 size reel. Spooled with 10-14 pound braid and equivalent leader is ideal. The peak hype of fishing the Warmies is those few days of the year when the pumps are turned on. This creates a mass of warm water which brings in salmon and tailor in big numbers. This is where you are likely to see anglers standing side by side in masses trying to get into the action.
In general, the Warmies is a good place to fish in the early morning at high tide. We just seem to catch more fish in those conditions. You get a big run of pinkies between January and March. You also get a big run of Salmon between June and August. If you’re brave enough to fish through the night then you’re a decent chance to catch a mulloway.
Baits Port Melbourne
- blue bait
- silver whiting
- raw chicken strips
Lures and soft plastics for Port Melbourne
- Daiwa Baitjunkie 5 inch jerk shads
- Berkley gulp turtleback worm
- Savage Gear Fat Curl tails
- Daiwa Bautjunkie 4 inch grubs
- Zman slim Swimz
- Berkley powerbait grub
- Gulp 3-inch minnow
- Daiwa Bait Junkie paddle tail minnow
- Zman grubZ
- eco gear ZX40
- Daiwa Double Clutch
- EcoGear SX40
- Squidges biotough grub
- Zman StreakZ
- Munroes 3.75 inch paddle tails
- Kietech swim impact fat
- Zerek fish trap
- Samaki Vibelicious
Tips for fishing the warmies
Soft plastics such as grubs, minnows imitations, and paddle tails work really well here. Flathead and Pinkie Snapper respond really well to these. When chasing snapper upgrade to larger jerk shads in 4 or 5 inches. If you can find a school of snapper on your sounder then these will work really well jigged off the bottom whilst drifting over them. There are many bait options and you will need to choose a suitable bait for the fish species that you targeting. We have had success using pilchards, silver whiting, squid, garfish, salmon, scad, bonito, raw chicken, mullet, pippis, and prawns. Often using a berley pot at the back of your boat full of pilchards, pellets, and oil is a great way to encourage fish to your boat.
Check out our full-length video on the best soft plastics and lures for Port Phillip Bay
Targeting Tailor at the warmies
Tailor is an aggressive predatory fish with sharp teeth that fight hard. They have a similar profile to a salmon and leap out of the water when hooked. They school up in big numbers hunting baitfish in packs and breaking water often a sign that there feeding. You can catch them trolling, casting lures or bait fishing from the banks or surf. Small metal slugs, curl tail soft plastics, paddle tail soft plastics are great choices. So is full pilchard mullet, blue bait and garfish. Either on a single hook, ganged hooks and even on light wire trace if there cutting through your leaders.
Picking a suitable outfit for tailor can be tricky as they have sharp teeth and can shred your leaders with ease. When fishing in estuary systems we would typically use a 7-foot rod in a 2-4, 3-5 or 4-6 kilo class, paired with a 2500 or 3000 reel spooled with 6-8-pound braid and slightly stronger leader. If your targeting them in the surf then a long casting surf rod spooled with 14-20 pound braid and equivalent leader would be suitable. Handle carefully they have sharp teeth that can do some damage. If you’re getting hook-ups but dropping a lot of fish then consider using a stronger leader or light wire trace.
Targeting Snapper at the warmies
We encourage you to read our detailed guide on how to catch snapper. Snapper season locally starts around October and finishes after March. The big reds migrate inshore during this time of year because water temperatures have increased providing ideal spawning conditions. With dawn and dusk are generally considered the best times to be on the water. The most common snapper rods are 7 foot 6 inches in length with a weight class of 4-7 kilos paired with a 4000 or 5000 size reel spooled with 15-30 pound braid or mono and 40 pound leader. You can choose to fish lighter or heavier. Recommended bait options include pilchards either full or half, silver whiting, squid, garfish, mackerel and mullet. The best soft plastics are large jerk shads, whip baits, curl tails or paddle tails. Most between 4 and 7 inches in size generally coupled with a ½ or ¼ ounce jig head. Some good options include Savage Gear Fat Curl Tails, Daiwa Bait Junkie Jerk shads & Berkley 7 inch turtleback worm, Zman curl tails.
Targeting Flathead at the warmies
We encourage you to read our detailed guide on How to catch Flathead. Flathead is a year-round prospect that can be caught at any time of the day. They are an ambush predator that waits in disguise for smaller fish to swim by for an easy feed. This highlights the importance of keeping your baits and soft plastics towards the bottom. If fishing from a boat or kayak we would recommend drifting around the sandy flats until you find a good patch of them. Also, keep an eye for depth drop-offs which is a great location for an ambush predator to be waiting. We recommend targeting flathead with a 7 foot 2–4 or 3-5 kilo fishing rod paired with a 2500 or 3000 size reel spooled with 8-12lb braid and equivalent leader. You can go lighter, but flathead has bristly teeth that can compromise your fishing line.
Flathead is not fussy and will happily have a go at many various soft plastics and lures. We would highly recommend reading our detailed guide on the best lures and soft plastics to catch flathead. Top choices include worm and yabby imitations, paddle tail soft plastic, curl tail soft plastics, deep diving hard body lures, vibes, swimbaits, and blades. If you are targeting flathead with bait, we recommend using a paternoster rig or running sinker rig. Use a small ball sinker to swivel, then 50cm of 8-12 leader to a size 6 long shank hook. Good baits choices include pilchards, mussels, squid, chicken, whitebait, Pipis, blue bait and prawns.
Targeting Bream at the warmies
This is a great location to target bream with lures and soft plastics. The options available are almost endless so make sure you read our guide on the best lures to catch bream. Recommended options include crab imitation, shallow diving cranks, paddle tail soft plastics, curl tail soft plastics, minnow imitations, vibes, and blades. Also, try your luck with surface lures which is an exciting form of fishing with light gear. Bream is all about finesse fishing so you will need an ultralight spin outfit. We recommend a 7-foot rod in a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo class, paired with a 1000, 2000 or 2500 reel spooled with 2-6-pound braid and equivalent leader. There are so many amazing bream outfits on the market and budgets vary greatly depending on your skill level and spending habits.
Bream reside within the structure such as jetty pylons and stumps. Enticing them away from the structure onto your lure will take some time to master. Remember to work your lures and plastics slowly and mix up the retrieval techniques. If you are targeting bream with bait then we would highly recommend sandworms, maggots, scrub worms, mussels, yabbies, & chicken. A 2-4 kilo class rod paired with a 2500 size reel would be a great option spooled with 6-pound line. We would encourage you to read our detailed guide on Bait fishing for Bream.
Check out our detailed video guide on the best lures to use in this area to target bream
Targeting Snook at the warmies
These toothy critters are fun to catch on light spinning gear. You will find them in shallow weedy waters often a bycatch for those targeting snapper, whiting and flathead. You can catch snook with staple baits such as pilchard, prawn, and squid. However, Snook loves natural-looking soft plastics retrieved at a medium pace including minnows, paddle tails, and grubs. Add scent to the soft plastics really seems to help. Snook also respond well to shallow and mid diving hard body lures in shiny colours retrieved at a medium pace. Metal slugs and blades trolled slowly also work very well. Do handle snook with care as they have razor-sharp teeth. Despite their sharp teeth it’s still best to target them with light gear that you would generally use for pinkies and flathead. We recommend a 2-4 or 3-5 kilo spin rod paired with a 2500 size reel, spooled with 8-12 pound line and leader.
Check out this video of a crazy snook session when kayak fishing.
Targeting Mulloway at the warmies
Mulloway AKA Jewfish are a prized catch that sits on the top of many Victorian anglers bucket list. A stunning fish with a large mouth and distinctive silver or bronze colour. Patience and dedication are required to catch the elusive Mulloway which can reach up to 1.8 meters and 60 kilos. The minimum legal size is 60cm with a daily bag limit of 5 over legal size. Live baits are a top choice when targeting mulloways such as mullet, salmon, and whiting. Pinning them behind the neck to allow the bait to swim freely. Other staple dead baits can include pilchard, trevally, garfish, prawns, chicken & squid. A running sinker rig to a single 5/0 – 8/0 hook or a double snelled hook to present the bait nicely. Soft plastics between 80mm and 100mm are also a great option. Good options include flick baits, shads, paddle tails and grubz. You can also purchase pre-made rigs and swimbaits which are designed to imitate a fish in its surroundings such as a mullet.
Choosing a Mulloway outfit Recommended gear to target Mulloway 6-10, 10-15 or 12-24 kilo rod paired with a 4000-8000 spin reel spooled with 20-50 pound line and equivalent leader. Mulloway resides near river mouth entrances. They are often caught near structure such as bridges and pylons. Try to present your baits and lures as natural as possible or use live baits. Mulloway can be caught at any time of the day, but are most active at the night, during peak tides and moon phases. We have found that lures are quite productive during the day and bait more productive at night.
Targeting Gummy Shark at the warmies
We would recommend targeting gummy sharks with a 7 foot 8-15 kilo rod paired with a 4000 to 6000 size reel spooled with 20 to 40 pound line. Finished with a strong leader ranging from 40lb through to 60 pounds. Ideal rigs include a running sinker rig single or double snelled rig or a paternoster rig. You can use an Ezi rig attaching a sinker to the clip and then tying on a pre-made double snelled rig. Octopus or circle hooks from 5/0 to 7/0 are preferred for presenting chunks of salmon, trevally, squid, mackerel, Eel, mullet, pilchard, yakka’s, & garfish.
Targeting Salmon at the warmies
Winter is a great time to target salmon as they’re active and schooling up in big numbers. Salmon is a powerful sports fish that punches well above its weight. When hooked they produce strong bursts of speed, powerful runs, and vigorous head shakes. Do keep an eye out for gutters which are patches of deeper water that Salmon will swim through in schools. These can be identified by the darker colour of the water. When bait fishing pick a surf rod between 12-15 feet in length which allows for long casts with heavy sinkers and to keep your lines high above the crashing surf. These will be 6-10 kilo class. We recommend a Paternoster rig with a star sinker. Giving you 2 baits at different heights. You could also attach a surf popper above. Port Phillip Bay Fishing Guide
When lure fishing first consider what weight lures you are likely to be casting. We would recommend rods between 9-12 feet in length in 5-10 kilo class paired with a 3000 size reel spooled with 15-pound braid. Good lure options include Savage Gear Missile, Halco twisty, Ecogear Teibo, JM Gilles pilchard baitfish, Rapala X-Rap SXR, Lazer spoons, Zman slim swimz, trick swimz, Halco laser pro
Targeting mullet at the warmies
This is a great location to mullet a bread and butter species that school up in big numbers. They are fun to catch on light spinning gear and a great fish species to introduce beginners to fishing. Mullet respond well to berley, so berley an isolated area with a mix of bread, tuna oil and chook pellets. Good baits include bread, dough, live maggots, pilchard, and prawns. remember that Mullet have small mouth so remember to cut these baits up into small pieces. You can also use soft plastics small minnow and grub style soft plastic with a slow constant retrieve. Scents such as S-Factor or Procure certainly helps. Most mullet are quite small therefore a 7-foot rod in a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo class, paired with a 1000, 2000 or 2500 reel spooled with 2-6-pound braid and equivalent leader.
Here are some helpful tips on catching Mullet with soft plastics.
Images of fish supplied VFA and DEPI. All other images and videos shown on The Warmies Fishing Guide are Fishing Mad originals.
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The biggest hazards you will face fishing in this area will be snags. So many casts will get stuck amongst rock and debris making it a frustrating place to fish at times. So make sure you have plenty of spare rigs and lures. Throughout certain parts of the year, the Warmies can be infested with plague proportions of starfish, jellyfish and large rats. I have also caught a few blue ring octopus and scorpionfish which are very venomous. There is always a debate about eating fish from this area and that will be a personal preference. Don’t forget in 2018 there was a chemical spill in Footscray which caught fire and contained asbestos. So always be a little mindful of keeping and catching fire from this area.