Fishing The South East Queensland FAD's.

Posted by TackleWorld Kawana on

Hi, My Name is Thomas Mewes and I am part of the Pro Staff team here at Tackle World Kawana Waters. 

With the warmer water, the pelagic species have all started to arrive to the Sunshine Coast, and the local fisheries in South East Queensland have made it even easier for you keen anglers to get stuck into these super exciting fish. The fisheries have deployed 10 FAD’s in South East Queensland, from Double Island point all the way through to the Gold Coast.

What are FAD’s: FAD’s are known as ‘Fish Aggregating Device’ which are human made structures, they are most commonly a bright yellow cone shaped buoy which are anchored to the sea floor, with an acoustic receiver. This acoustic receiver is used as a tracking device for tagged fish, which gives fisheries accurate information on the movements of these fish. The FAD also provides cover for fish in open water, but the fish are attracted to the device for multiple reasons. Smaller bait fish are attracted to the FAD because it provides them with a source of protection in such an open environment. The pelagic fish then are attracted to the FAD due to the high number of bait fish that they are able to feed on. Due to the large number of bait fish that are attracted to the FAD, pelagic species find this as opportunity to feed on the bait fish. Other fish species are then attracted to the area to investigate, therefore this creates a mini eco-system for fish species to surround and survive on. This creates an on-going effect which attracts more and more fish, creating a bigger eco-system around the FAD.

What fish to find and how to catch them: FAD’s most commonly attract pelagic species. Pelagic species such as, Mackerel, Tuna, King fish, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, and many more. Mahi Mahi are one of the most common fish found on these FAD’s and are known as one of the most perfect sport fish. With their rapid growth rate, aggressive hard hits, and exciting aerial acrobatics once hooked, can leave you with a memory to last a life time. Yet all of these pelagic species will put up a great fight, and will supply plenty of excitement, and many of them are even quality table fish. All of these pelagic species can be caught in a similar way. Trolling and casting lures or drift fishing with dead or live baits is most effective. Skirted lures and diving hard body lures are very effective for these species of pelagic fish. Troll your lures around the FAD trying different depths and speeds until you find where the fish are schooling. Casting stick baits (floating or sinking) and metal slugs at FAD’s is also a very effective way to entice the fish into striking your lure. Cast your stick baits and slugs towards the FAD and let them sink to the desired depth then a rapid retrieve back to the boat will entice a reaction strike. It is also very common for anglers to be able to sight cast fish that are holding around the FAD. Drift fishing the FAD is also a very effective way to catch these pelagics. Slow sinking dead baits such as; pilchards, gar, slimy mackerel, yakkas and herring has provided great success for many anglers. Live baits is one of the most effective style of bait fishing you can use around the FAD’s. Using a bait jig is the quickest most effective way to collect a healthy number of live baits. Yakkas, slimy mackerel and herring are the best live baits to use. The best way to keep live baits healthy while on the hook is pinned with a 5/0 or 6/0 circle hook through the top mouth allows them to swim freely and stay alive for much longer. To get the best results out of this style of fishing, fish your baits as light as possible and with smaller sized hooks and smaller sized sinkers to make the bait as natural as possible. Slow sinking dead and live baits close to the FAD is an effective method if the bite is slow, it allows the fish to feed on a natural bait if they are a bit timid of lures.

Where these FAD’s are located: These 10 FAD’s have been placed from Double Island point through to the Gold Coast. This table is the current locations, as of 29th of January, 2020, provided by the QLD fisheries but may be subject to change. If in doubt, check on the fisheries website or the local Coast Guard.



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



FAD 2:

Gold Coast 50s

27° 55.790'S


153° 45.198'E


16 to Gold Coast Seaway



FAD 3:

Gold Coast 36s


27° 48.408'S


153° 37.472'E

12 to Gold Coast Seaway



FAD 4: Stradbroke offshore

27° 17.029'S


153° 37.672'E


9.5 to South Passage Bar



FAD 5:

Moreton offshore

27° 05.797'S

153° 34.177'E


14 to Comboyuro Point



FAD 6:

Bribie offshore

26° 55.735'S


153° 31.775'E


12 to Comboyuro Point



FAD 7: Mooloolaba 10nm

26° 35.908'S


153° 19.686'E


10 to Mooloolaba



FAD 8: Mooloolaba east

26° 32.149'S

153° 34.429'E


26 to Mooloolaba



FAD 9:



26° 19.868'S


153° 19.284'E


14 to Noosa



FAD 10:

Double Island offshore

25° 53.075'S


153° 21.907'E


16 to Wide Bay Bar




I hope this information on FAD’s helps your success when targeting these pelagic fish in South East Queensland. If you are chasing any more information or want to know more, feel free to drop in and see the friendly team here at Tackle World Kawana, or give us a call.

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