Fad: An intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived and without basis in the object’s qualities; a craze.
Well, that’s the definition to mainstream America. But fisherman and divers in the Keys are far from mainstream America, in many ways. To us, a fad is a “Fish Attraction Device.” Though after reading the mainstream definition, it’s not that far off describing a “Fish Attraction Device.” They are widely enthusiastic.
I must admit the first time I heard mention of a FAD, I overheard a couple fishermen chatting about one and I envisioned a electronic, technological, advanced, piece of fish attracting equipment! I thought “Wow, these fishermen are very resourceful and go all out to attract fish!”
I went home thinking about how this device could attract fish. Does it send out electronic impulses? Or, maybe it releases some kind of substance that attracts them.
So, there I was, this scuba diving enthusiast kicking around the pub with some charter fishermen and I asked, “Hey how do these electronic FADs really work?” I got some very weird looks, followed by some chuckles. One of the mates leaned over and said, “No my diving buddy, a FAD is anything foreign dumped in the sea that attracts fish.”
It seems my visions of scientists hunched over their computers designing the latest technical FAD was a bit off. I wanted to know more. I mean, I make my living swimming underwater on cool stuff and was excited to see something new. My fishing buddies started explaining that the FADs they fish on not only vary in depths, but vary in size, material and composition. They also said that a lot of the FADs they fish, they don’t even know what they are. In fact they would love to know what some of them are, and will take me out to dive them to figure it out.