Big dolphinfish, wahoo, tuna and even a black marlin sighting, it’s safe to say the metropolitan fish aggregating devices (FADs) are producing unreal fishing action this season.
Only a month after the FADs were deployed off Perth in anticipation for a summer of sportfishing, recfishers including spearfishers are reporting regular catches of quality pelagics.
Being a La Nina year, warmer water temperatures are predicted between Exmouth and Perth and this could enhance the pelagic fishing at the FADs in the southern half of the State.
Wahhooooo, new species
Recfishwest Operations Officer Aaron Moses said the abundance and variety of pelagic species showing up on the FADs this year was further proof positive of how funds generated from WA fishers’ recfishing licence fees can and should be spent to unlock exciting new fishing opportunities.
“As we enter the second year of the three-year State-wide FADs trial, it’s awesome to know the metro FADs are holding baitfish and attracting dolphinfish and tuna species,” he said.
“To have wahoo caught at the FADs off Perth is simply terrific, especially because they weren’t a reported catch from the metro FADs last summer.
“With new species aggregating at the devices, who knows what type of pelagic species will show up next? Imagine if it is a school of yellowfin tuna.”
Spearfishers Darren Aitken and Jacques Louwrens are among those pursuing pelagics at the FADs and enjoyed a pulsating session on New Year’s Eve.
For the duo, it was an unforgettable experience after Jacques speared his first wahoo.
Spotted! Magnificent marlin
However, wahoo are not the only new species patrolling the metro FADs this season – billfish are, too.
This season’s fantastic FADs activity has been highlighted by a black marlin sighting at FAD6 late last month.
Perth spearfisher Mat Murphy was diving for dolphinfish at the device based behind Rottnest Island and couldn’t believe his eyes as he watched the monstrous billfish cruise past.
“The unexpected nature of the marlin sighting proves that you never know what will show up at the FADs,” Aaron said.
An FADtastic summer ahead
Over the past month, Recfishwest has been busy redeploying FADs in the southern half of the State for the summer ahead with the Geraldton, metro, Rockingham and Albany devices now in the water.
For South West fishers, the Cape Naturaliste FADs are rigged and ready to go and should be deployed in the near future – watch this space!
“If you’re fishing the FADs soon, tag @recfishwest and #recfishwest on social media, so we can see what’s biting,” Aaron said.
“Mad-keen fishers Kurt Wilson, Joel Borgers, Luke Ryan and Dylan Skinns have tagged us in their posts of awesome FAD catches – it helps us better monitor each of the locations and see how they’re faring.
“Photographic and video evidence helps us see each of the FADs locations and we want to keep collecting as much evidence as we can to further the program after the trial ends in 2022.”