State-wide FADs program

FADs program update 2023-2024

As a welcome boost for WA’s sportfishers, funding for the State-wide FADs program has been confirmed for the next three years, after we presented the overwhelming evidence of the success of Recfishwest’s three-year RFIF-funded trial program.

It is fantastic news for medium to large-sized boat fishers who enjoy venturing out to the devices to target hard-fighting pelagics such as dolphinfish, tuna, billfish and wahoo. There have been large numbers (and sizes) of these prized sportfish caught at all FADs locations across WA – keep them coming!

DPIRD also recently announced that the Metro FADs will be deployed towards the end of October, 2023 with the rest of the southern FADs stretching from Albany to Steep Point (a new location!) expected to be in the water by late November, 2023.

An expansion to the FADs network will include 40 FADs in 13 locations around WA, including: Albany, Cape Naturaliste, Mandurah, Rockingham, Perth, Lancelin, Jurien Bay, Geraldton, Steep Point, Exmouth, Dampier, Port Hedland and Broome.

A heads up for Gascoyne and Pilbara fishers, the six combined FADs that were deployed off Exmouth, Dampier and Point Samson have also been retrieved for maintenance prior to the cyclone season.

As for the re-deployment of FADs in our northern regions, more will be soon in the drink off Exmouth and Broome to compliment the FADs that were deployed off Dampier and Point Samson. These deployments are expected to take place around March/April of 2024 and stay in the water until around November so they are in the water during the calmer winter months after the cyclone season passes throughout summer. We’ve been in discussions with fishing clubs and local communities in the Gascoyne, Pilbara and Kimberley regions to pinpoint the best locations for the devices which we will be sharing on our FADs location page (located above) as well as on our Recfishwest app.

To check in on real-time FADs coordinates and updates, make sure you tune in regularly to this page or via our app. Happy FADs fishing!

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

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

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

Eddie Shepherd with a superb dolphinfish caught off the metro FADs

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

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

FADs trial program background

Funded by recfishing licence fees through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund, the trial State-wide FADs program 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.