FADS: Info and GPS locations of FADS in Western Australia

A FAD is an abbreviation for a Fish Aggregating Device (FAD).  There are several FADs deployed across the state of Western Australia stretching from Broome all the way down the coast to Albany.

What is a FAD?

A FAD is a floating device that is deployed in chosen areas to attract game fishing species, or what can be known as pelagic species.  FADs are usually deployed during the summer months in locations are known to be inhabited by pelagics.

There are a few different types of FADs used around Australia, however, ones in Western Australia are usually anchored to the ocean floor whilst floating on the surface in a set location.

Over time these devices trigger curiosity for pelagics in the error whilst also providing shelter for baitfish seeking cover.  The baitfish and the curiosity of the device attract pelagics to congregate around the FAD.

Depending on the FAD locations you often find small species of pelagics closer to the FADs with the larger species cruising out wider.

What fish can you catch near a FAD?

FADs attract pelagic fish species such as Dolphin fish (Mahi Mahi), Tuna, Kingfish, Spanish Mackerel, Wahoo, and different types of Billfish such as Marlin or Sailfish.

FAD locations in WA

There are several FADs located within Western Australia.  These FAD locations are:

  • Broome
  • Exmouth
  • Cape Naturaliste (Near Dunsborough)
  • Geraldton
  • Rockingham
  • Perth and Rottnest Island

Visit the RecfishWest FAD location page for information on current FAD locations within Western Australia.

Note, not all FADs are deployed, or they may have broken free of their anchor, hence be sure to check the “Status” of each FAD which will show one of the following;

  • In Position (Meaning it’s been deployed – head out there and fish it)
  • Not Currently Deployed (Currently land-bound)
  • Broken Free (Floating freely somewhere out to sea!)

How to fish a FAD?

If you’re keen to head out to fish the FADs though haven’t been out there before, here are a few helpful tips on how to approach and fish the FAD to get the most out of your FAD fishing experience.

1. Decide on your FAD fishing method

Before approaching the FAD first decide on what fishing method you’re going to use.  You may like to consider trolling lures, drifting and casting lures, bait fishing, or even spearfishing.

2. Approach the FAD

Once you’re ready it’s time to approach the FAD.  First get an understanding of the current and drift direction around the FAD and if there are any boats around you.  Once you know this you can position yourself approx 200m up-current from the FAD and either troll towards the FAD, or drift down past the FAD accordingly.

3. Aim for the strike zone and not the FAD

The strike zone of the FAD is said to be a 100m radius of the FAD hence you don’t need to be right on it and just within the strike zone to have a good chance of hooking up.

4. Turn and return

Once you are a couple of hundred metres past the FAD and have existed the strike zone head back up-current by taking a wide turn and positioning yourself to repeat the process.  If you are drifting you’ll find that after a few drifts the current direction will become more evident, allowing you to be more accurate with your drift direction.

Other things to consider

1. Use a Sea Anchor

Out wide the currents and winds can be quite strong which can drastically reduce your time in the “strike zone” of the FAD.  If this is the case and your drift is too fast try deploying a sea anchor to slow your drift giving you more time within the “strike zone” of the FAD.

2. Never tie your boat to a FAD!

The anchor and mooring gear attached to a FAD is purely designed to support the weight and the FAD itself and the line.  Tying off on the FAD could not only damage it but the extra weight may cause it to break off its mooring.

3. Be Patient

In the ideal circumstances, only one vessel should be within the strike zone of the FAD.  Therefore if there is more than 1 boat around the FAD wait patiently for them to exit the strike zone before approaching.

4. Live bait works a treat!

yellow tail live bait for fishing
If you can get them, yellow tail make a great live bait

I’ve found my success rates when fishing at the FADs to be much higher when I use live bait.  Especially when the Dolphinfish go off the bite which can often occur when there are several boats are cruising around the FADs.

5. The earlier the better

Clock early for fishing
Set the alarm clock nice and early…

When I’m heading out to fish the FADs off Perth, I’m a true believer in the earlier you can head out the better.  Although the FADS are located far out to sea it’s amazing how many boats can be congregated around a FAD so make sure to set the alarm early!

Scroll to Top