Gold Coast Fads – Fish Aggregating Devices
Fish aggregating devices (FADs) are man made structures that are anchored offshore in order to attract migratory fish. Usually in the form of a bouy attached to a rope or chain. These devices attract both bait fish and bigger pelagic species seeking food and shelter. Having schools of fish congregate around these fads makes them easier to find and catch, so you can enjoy a great fishing experience.
Fisheries have deployed several fads off the Gold Coast. These locations were identified through consultation with industry stakeholders. (taking into consideration environmental, shipping channel and commercial fishing locations).
Fish species attracted to Gold Coast FADs
Most of the fish that are drawn in to the FADs are seasonal migratory pelagic species. These fish travel along the coast in the warm waters created by the East Australian Current. The most common species attracted to these devices is Mahi mahi. However other species like wahoo, tuna, cobia and mackerel are also known to visit offshore fads on their coastal journeys.
How to Fish the Fads
First and foremost. Do NOT moor your boat to the FAD. You risk damage the fad or its mooring. Not to mention that if you are caught by the relevant authorities, you will receive a hefty fine.
Generally speaking you are best to work out the angle of drift, taking into account wind and current. Ideally you want to position your boat in a manner that you will drift past it. However you don’t want get too close and spook the fish. just close enough to be able to land your bait and lure close to it.
Anchoring close to it, is theoretically possible if you have good seamanship skills. However i would advise against it. In the event your anchor drags you could end up tangle with the fad. This will result in the loss of your anchor and damage to these valuable fishing resources.
If you have an electric motor with spot lock, you have the best of both worlds and will be able to fish the fad without continually having to re position the boat.
Casting Lures and Baits at Gold Coast Fads
The main target species at most Gold coast fads is Mahi mahi. These fast growing acrobats can be finnicky and easily spooked. Lighter gear around 8-15kg is ideal. If you can get them smaller sized live yakkas or slimys are the gun bait.
Pilchards either whole or cut into smaller pieces will also get devoured if the fish are feeding. As for lures, small metal slugs, soft plastics or small hard bodies all work on certain days. often fish will follow but not strike. Mix up your retrieval rate and action, and don’t be afraid to keep trying different lures. Some days persistence pays off.
Trolling past the fads can also be an effective method to catch its local residents. Again the key is not to spook the fish. Pass with your boat at least 15-20 metres away. if the fish are there you will often be able to see them lurking just below the bouy. Once you have passed the bouy turn in so your lures drag past it closer. Sometimes several passes will be required to get a strike, other days you will get 1 or more on the first pass. Smaller skirts or jet heads work best.
Be Polite and Courteous
Fads can be very popular spots. Too many boats will spook the fish and no one will catch the fish. If there is more than 2 or 3 boats working a fad. Move on and try another one or come back later.
Fishing Charters to Fish the Fads
A good reliable seaworthy boat is the only way to get out to the fads. If you want to fish the fads but dont have a suitable boat or the confidence to head out wide. Why not gather up your friends and family for a full day fishing charter out to the wider grounds. Our Deep sea fishing charters work both the fads and the deeper 36 and 50 fathom reefs. For more information visit our full day charter page.
Gold Coast Fads GPS Marks
|FAD location||Latitude (DDM)||Longitude (DDM)||Distance from nearest access point (nm)||Depth of water (m)|
|FAD 1: Gold Coast 24s||27° 59.268’S||153° 31.747’E||6 to Gold Coast Seaway||46|
|FAD 2: Gold Coast 50s||27° 55.790’S||153° 45.198’E||16 to Gold Coast Seaway||85|
|FAD 3: Gold Coast 36s||27° 48.408’S||153° 37.472’E||12 to Gold Coast Seaway||68|
|FAD 11: Gold Coast 36s||28° 02.980’S||153° 39.395’E||14 from Gold Coast seaway||65|
|FAD 12: Gold Coast 36s||27° 56.040’S||153° 38.331’E||11 from Gold Coast seaway||64|
|FAD 12B: Gold Coast 36s||27° 55.462’S||153° 37.571’E||11 from Gold Coast seaway||64|
|FAD 12C: Gold Coast 36s||27° 55.029’S||153° 38.267’E||11 from Gold Coast seaway||64|
|FAD 13: Gold Coast 50s||27° 44.368’S||153° 44.314’E||20 from Gold Coast Seaway||86|
|FAD 14: Gold Coast 36s||27° 41.278’S||153° 36.832’E||18 from Gold Coast Seaway||66|