This week I am talking about F.A.D.S but no, I am not talking about clothing FADS, fashion FADS or shoe FADS. I am going to talk about Fish Aggregating Devices known as Fad’s.
The fisheries deploy a number of fish aggregating devices from Tweed Heads through to Eden. They are normally deployed in the summer months as they work best when the warm East Australian Currents hit the coast and water temperatures reach 20 degrees Celsius or more. They are maintained through the winter to ensure they are ready for the next season.
Plankton starts to grow on the chain under the buoy and then the life cycle starts. With the plankton and growth creates a hiding area for baitfish, with baitfish comes predatory fish such as mahi mahi, commonly known as dolphin fish. When the dolphin fish are about this also increases your chances of other larger predatory fish such as marlin, although dolphin fish become the most targeted fish around the summer to autumn months for east coast anglers.
FADS are just not floats deployed by fisheries it could be anything floating in the current lines from North to South, a log, a bucket, plastic drum or even large pieces of bubble weed. If you see something floating in the water it is worth investigating.
First and foremost before you start fishing a FAD you need to know where they are located. The NSWDPI have listed on their website the locations of the FADS they have deployed. You will find them on the following link: – http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/recreational/saltwater/fads/map
Enter in the longitude and latitude marks in your GPS, label it and then select GoTo. When you reach your destination, then comes the next step. If the weather is great you can normally see through the water column and look beneath the fad and see electric blue shapes under the water. These are signs of dolphin fish. Technology being as advanced as it is today you can also select side imaging on your sounder and scope out if there are fish underneath the FAD.
Now you have established there are fish on the FAD, now it is time to fish it.
Dolphin fish take a variety of baits, lures and fly’s. You can opt to troll past the FADS with a number of selected lures or live baits but for a more affective way to fish them is to work out which way you will drift. Drive up your drift and line up a drift past them. Sometimes burley also helps so if you drift past the FAD the dolphin fish are likely to start drifting with you if you have a burley trail going.
As you are drifting past you can cast at the buoy and keep going a little bit past. Once you stop getting follows, hits or fish then wind everything in and start your drift again. Be careful not to hook the buoys.
Dolphin fish are one of the fastest growing fish in the ocean; they grow up to 7cm per week and unfortunately due to natural death and human harvest probably only live up to 2 years of age. They are also carnivores; often we have cleaned a fish to find a baby dolphin fish inside the stomach contents. They can grow up to 40kg although more commonly found between 1kg to 16kg in our waters.
With the warm current pushing down from the north at the moment and some breaks in the wind hopefully you can get out amongst them.