FAD fishing buoys will attract larger game fish closer to the Gulf CoastBy John Mullen

March 12, 2019 – Orange Beach, AL - (OBA®) – A project Okaloosa County Commissioner Kelly Windes has been working on for years is about to bring a new fishing feature to the waters off of the Florida panhandle.

“Wahoo, dolphin, tuna, sailfish, white marlin, blue marlin, swordfish,” Windes said. “All the offshore fish. Blackfin tuna, they ought to just clog up with them. I’m hoping there’ll be some yellow fin’s as well.”

Kelly Windes, Okaloosa County CommissionerIn a project funded mainly by the Tourist Development Council of Okaloosa County with some help from neighboring Bay and Santa Rosa counties, eight fish aggregating devices will be deployed to help attract those species closer to shore.

“Hopefully it will take a little bit of the pressure off of the bottom reef fish that we’ve been hitting so hard for years,” Windes said. “It’ll give the private boats and the charter boats a little certainty on the offshore circuit where they have something to fish for rather than just going in blind all the time. It’s going to be a good little boost.”

It has been about a long process with all the agencies who had to bless the project before the structures would be allowed in the Gulf.

“We’ve been working about seven years getting this project OK’d and permitted by all the various agencies,” Windes said. “It’s taken a while but I think It’s going to be a good program. National Marine Fisheries, the Coast Guard, Eglin Air Force Base. We enjoyed the full bureaucracy.”