Christmas comes early for sportfishers with fantastic FADs going in the water

Sportfishers in the southern half of the State are celebrating an early Christmas present by heading out to fish aggregation devices (FADs) which have now been deployed off Perth, Rockingham, Albany — and for the first time, Geraldton!

Due to some logistical challenges, the Cape Naturaliste FADs have yet to be deployed but are rigged and ready to go and should be going in the water in the next couple of weeks.

WATCH: Kurt Wilson and Luke Ryan’s amazing FADs footage from last season!

The latest deployments mark the second phase of an initial three-year State-wide FADs trial program beginning in earnest.

The first year’s deployment proved to be tremendously successful and popular with recfishers getting into some serious sportfishing action for species like dolphinfish, tuna, billfish, cobia and mackerel (the latter three on the Exmouth and Broome FADs).

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

More, better, stronger FADs

Following the success and learnings of the first summer of FADs in Albany and Cape Naturaliste, we were able to invest more in the gear upgrading the floats and rigging for these locations this season.

And, if you’re a Mid West sportfisher, you’re going to want to click on the link below and put the Geraldton FADs’ coordinates in your plotter!

Here you’ll find coordinates for your hotly-anticipated FADs which were deployed late last week and which could already be beginning to hold fish.

Click here for FADs coordinates for Geraldton and the rest of the southern half of the State

Recfishwest FADs coordinator Aaron Moses said the Geraldton FADs’ deployment was the icing on the cake for the launch for the trial’s second year and has been greatly welcomed by fishers in the Mid West region.

“After months of hard work, planning and working closely with Mid West fishers, we’re proud to confirm the FADs program has officially been extended to Geraldton,” Aaron said.

“Four devices have been deployed, with one based between the Abrolhos Islands and mainland to unlock new and accessible sportfishing opportunities closer to shore, while the other three FADs are based behind the islands.

“Similar to what we’ve seen at the metro FADs, we anticipate good numbers of dolphinfish and the odd tuna are expected to be caught at the Geraldton device closest to shore.

Recfishwest’s Aaron Moses and Mike Minutillo braved big swells to help deploy the Gero FADs.

“However, the three devices based further out behind the Abrolhos are a relative unknown. From billfish, to wahoo and yellowfin tuna – we’re expecting the trial’s newest location to attract plenty of big pelagics.”

Straight from the fish’s mouth

“After seeing all of the great catches at the other FADs locations across WA, we’re super-keen to get stuck into the fishing action at FADs all of our own,” Geraldton Sports Centre’s Michael Triantopoulos told Recfishwest.

Recfishwest anticipates this three-year trial will be the launchpad for a permanent FADs program in WA – but needs to show the success of the trial to build future support for the program.

“So, keep sending photos of your FADs catches to or tagging @recfishwest and #recfishwest on social media, to help us make it a reality,” Aaron said.

“Photographic evidence helps us evaluate each of the FADs locations and we want to keep collecting as much evidence as we can to further the program beyond the trial’s conclusion in 2022.

“The FADs program continues to be a great illustration of how funds generated from your recfishing licence fees can be spent to make fishing better.”

How good would it be if wahoo show up on the Gero FADs out of the back of the Abrolhos!?