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FAD advice.

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Hi Raiders,

With the news that the fads have been deployed around Sydney and I now have a boat capable of getting me to and from their in one piece, I'm after some general advice about fishing techniques for mahi mahi and more importantly, some tips about etiquette when fishing the fad.

Thanks.

Winston.

 

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only fished the fads once and we had it to ourselves, we were trolling past it and catching small mahi on xmas trees.

i think when theres lots of people fishing it you jump in line and take turns drifting past and casting (could be wrong)

maybe head out and see what they do.

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If there are boats already drifting when you get there- dont start trolling through, head up current and drift down on the FAD, chuck lures , dead baits , live bait in that order- most days the dollies will start the day eating anything and get a bit more refined as the day goes on - having said that the last couple of years I have done really well on floating stick baits , even outfishing the live baits some days. If you want to get fish for sure be the first boat on the FAD BEFORE SUN UP! Even better see if you can find someones private FAD out wider or hit the fish trap fields on some of the reefs off Longie or the waverider- all have less boats and more /better fish. 

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Great advice.

I'm also going to be going to the FAD for the first time 

So appreciate the advice

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If you are going to the FAD for the first time you are probably happy to catch any dolphin fish that you can rather than trying to ween out only the larger ones. This is a good thing. I would try to get livies to take with you and try to be at the FAD for dawn. I think statistically slimies are better than yakkas but you will take whatever you can get. Small yakkas are better than big ones if you have options. I would take 3 outfits even if fishing solo.

Gear

Outfit 1 - light-medium rod 12-20lb line (braid or mono) that can cast an unweighted pilchard easliy. Baitrunners are very handy if you own one. I would fish a leader on this of about 20-30lb that had 2 circle hooks on it (about size 6/0 gamakatsu octopus circles is what i use). The bottom hook is tied to the end of the line, the top one just slides freely on the leader so it rests on the bottom hook when there is no bait on. Bottom hook goes in and out through the head of the pilchard with the the pilchard facing away from the rod, top hook goes in and out of the pilchard 1/3 from the tail, two half hitches around the tail. 

Outfit 2 - medium to heavy outfit 20-50lb line (braid or mono), baitrunner is good because they are easy to cast and have free spool option but anything will do. Rig is one live bait hook or inline circle hook 6/0 to 9/0 depending on the size of the livie. Livie is pinned with the hook sideways through the nostrils or bridled through the eye socket with either a rubber band or some dacron.

Outfit 3 - light-medium rod similar to outfit 1, can even be outfit 1. Something suitable for spinnig for salmon or tailor. This is for casting lures ranging from 10gram-65gram metals, small to medium poppers and stickbaits and plastics. Have all of you lures ready, a snaplock clip is handy for changing lures quickly but it will need to be a good quality one and up to task.

Method

Slow the boat down as you approach the FAD and drive slowly and quietly when near it as sometimes the fish do spook. Figure out which way the drift is going, most likely north to south. Cut up a few handfuls of pilchard cubes and have them ready in a bucket, have all of your 3 outfits rigged, baited and ready. Drive wide and around the fad, not over or next to it, about 100m up drift from the FAD so you will drift past the side of it. Start throwing a couple of cubes over the side to start a little trail and send out the livie so he will be out the side of the boat closest to the FAD when you drift past it. As you pass the FAD throw a handful of cubes at it and cast the pilchard into the handful of cubes and have bail arm open, free spool, baitrunner, on. They often grab and drop the bait so you dont want it to tear off. When the line is running out just flip the bail arm over and steadily wind and the hook will go in. Just cast the lures around while you are doing all of this.

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Great advice there Captain Spanner.

The dollies will respond to pilchard cubes in the trail and pretty soon you will know what class of fish you are dealing with in and around the FADs.

The Sydney Harbour fad can be a little tricky to fish sometimes as the currents pick up. I think the Botany FAD is a better bet at these times.

Cheers and get out there early at the change of tide if possible perhaps when the water temp gets up a little too if you want to improve your chances.

Jim

 

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3 minutes ago, fragmeister said:

Great advice there Captain Spanner.

The dollies will respond to pilchard cubes in the trail and pretty soon you will know what class of fish you are dealing with in and around the FADs.

The Sydney Harbour fad can be a little tricky to fish sometimes as the currents pick up. I think the Botany FAD is a better bet at these times.

Cheers and get out there early at the change of tide if possible perhaps when the water temp gets up a little too if you want to improve your chances.

Jim

 

Thanks Jim, 

As Jim says the warmer water is better. I would put in more effort if the water is anything over 22 degrees and a nice blue colour. You will catch them in colder water but if it is under 21 and a bit green or dirty i probably wouldn't persist with as much hope. Also keep an eye out for anything at all that floats on the way to and from the FADs eg logs, coconuts, crates, fishtrap floats, even an old helium balloon that is having a rest on the water, especially if the water is blue and over 22deg.

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Thanks for the great advice, I got a lot more and greater detail than I expected.

I am thinking of doing a no stress, day time run to get an idea of fuel burn and time required to get their and back and if there is no boats out their, maybe a few pratice drifts.

Is it worth trolling any lures on the way back in?

Thanks. 

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If you are going to drive that far just go for it. Have  a quick look for live baits on the way there but at least take one or two blocks of pilchards with you. I would drive straight there and troll home if you want, but i would still focus trolling time on likely areas. If the water looks good out there i would do a few hot laps of the FAD area and look for current lines on the way home. Depending on how calm it is it might take you 2 to 3 times as long to troll home as it took you to race there. If you just want to catch a fish trolling i would focus your trolling time in the general area within a mile or two of the FAD focussing on current lines (smooth and rough patches of water and changes in colour are the easiest way to identify them. They often look like a slick). If there are no fish there i would pull the lures in and race back to another FAD, fish trap or to the heads and troll for bonito.

As  you approach the FAD you will often see small dollies free jumping if they are there. You should also try to see them in the water as you drift past it. They will probably be an electric blue colour in the water.

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I would wait a while, water is still not warm enough close in (Sydney FADS are in too close IMHO) and they need time after deployment to build up a bit of crap on them

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