State-wide FADS trial program


Working in conjunction with local fishing clubs, Recfishwest continues to develop and deploy a network of fish aggregating devices (FADs) off the coast of the Perth and WA regional centres as part of a three-year trial program.

This season, we’re excited to welcome aboard FADs fishing partners Richter Lures and Madfish Gear.

Now that we’re in the final year of the three-year trial, Recfishwest is evaluating potential funding models to keep providing the network of FADs, once the trial concludes.

By the end of the three-year trial, it is critically important that we have plenty of video and photographic evidence showing the FADs’ fishing success.

Luke Ryan, of Tackle West, is fanatic about the metro FADs.

Eddie Shepherd with a superb dolphinfish caught off the metro FADs

Eddie Shepherd with a superb dolphinfish caught off the metro FADs!

Recfishwest Operations Officer Mike Minutillo was hands on getting the metro FADs in the water in November, 2020.

Say cheese! A cracking photo of Beau Suladra with dolphinfish at the metro FADs. Picture: Cody Suladra

Recfishwest FADs Coordinator Matthew Gillett rigging the metro FADs prior to their deployment in November 2019.

Recfishwest's Matt Gillett rigging the metro FADs prior to their deployment in November, 2019.

Joel Borgers with a bull dolphinfish from Recfishwest metro FADs #5. Picture: Kurt Wilson

Our State-wide FADs trial has unlocked new sportfishing opportunities. Picture: Kurt Wilson

Funded by recfishing licence fees through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund, the trial began in November 2019 when six FADs were deployed off Perth to complement Perth Game Fishing Club’s (PGFC) existing and successful FADs.

In the program’s first year FADs were also deployed off Albany and Cape Naturaliste to great effect with dolphinfish and tuna varieties among the regular catches at both locations.

Albany and Cape Naturaliste’s respective FADs are scheduled to be back in the water by early December 2020, with new FADs due to be deployed off Geraldton soon and also FADs off Rockingham in partnership with Mangles Bay Fishing Club.

The State-wide FADs trial’s first year also saw FADs deployed off Exmouth and Broome, each producing terrific results.

This is exactly how we believe recreational fishing funds should be spent – to create great fishing opportunities for which there is high demand and support within the recfishing community.

The Broome FADs, which were deployed in June 2020, marked the most trailblazing deployment of the trial’s first year, with the devices based in relatively shallow water.

The FAD closest to shore proved a hit among small boat owners because it was easily accessible to fishers in all boat sizes, including tinnies, and provided great fishing for cobia.

The FADs further out held large amounts of baitfish, in turn attracted plenty of pelagics including dolphinfish, while small marlin and the occasional sailfish were also encountered nearby the devices.