State-wide FADS trial program

Overview

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.

We’re excited to welcome aboard FADs fishing partners Richter Lures and Madfish Gear.

Given photographic evidence of the FADs fishing success will help ensure the program continues into the future, the Richter and Madfish crew on board sponsoring the photo competition.

So, get out there and send your FADs fishing photos to Recfishwest’s Zach Relph to take part in the Richter/Madfish FADs Photo Comp for a chance to win awesome monthly Richter and Madfish prizes!

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.

The Cape Naturaliste FADs gave Peter Johnston with his very first dolphinfish.

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

SW Skeletal owner Matt Durell hooked-up at the Cape Naturaliste FADs.

How's this bull mahi mahi from metro waters!?

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

Eddie Shepherd with a superb dolphinfish caught off the metro FADs

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

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.

The second year of the trial saw the addition of FADs deployed off Geraldton and also 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.