The La Niña weather cycle may have brought rain and floods to the east coast and inland of Australia, but it has also brought the return of the best tuna season to Flinders Island and the east coast of Tasmania for many years.
Warm water around 20C inshore and 22C offshore saw the striped tuna move in onto the beach on the east side of Flinders Island.
From around 90m of depth offshore, the albacore are prolific and easy to catch.
School yellowfin are in with the albacore and early March will see the arrival of the larger yellowfin and striped marlin.
After some 25 years of fishing the continental slope east of Flinders, my observation is that there seems to be a very distinct correlation between wetter years and warm water and the movement of pelagic fish further south.
Inshore the fishing has proceeded well into the usual summer run of snapper, school sharks and gummy shark with one inconvenience: seven-gill sharks have moved into the shallows of the east side of the island.
This happens to some extent every year and is part of the breeding cycle.
However this year, they are in plague proportions by day and night, making catching anything else difficult.
One day in February we released 16 seven-gill sharks to 110kg in a 2-hour daytime session and had up to three at a time free-swimming around the boat. This was without even starting a berley trail!
Hopefully they will thin out shortly and return to whence they came.
Reports from those fishing the beaches and North East River are good with salmon and flathead in good numbers and seven-gill shark encounters for those fishing at night.
All in all Flinders Island is enjoying a superb fishing season and this should continue well into May.
James Luddington operates the Strait Lady on Flinders Island and is the islands most experienced skipper for a wide variety of fishing experiences. James can be contacted through www.flindersisland.com.au/fishingtours.Reads: 662