Autumn is a good time to reflect on the summer fishing season and this year with a different weather pattern to the previous few years, yielding some interesting changes.
In general terms we have had warmer than average water temperatures and these have hung on into May with the water offshore still just above 19C in May.
Inshore we have had occasions when strong easterlies and rain stirred up thick sediment in the water off the east coast, and fresh water evident for short periods in Franklin Sound.
Overall the fishing has been good, but the fish in some cases have moved from their expected locations to other habitats.
The best case of this is the yellowtail kingfish, normally to be found close to tidal corners of the outer islands, often in company with schools of Australian salmon.
This year the best of the kings came from isolated deep reefs a little further offshore in 30-50m of water off the east coast of Flinders Island.
Striped tuna obviously enjoyed the conditions as they ran close in to the beaches from early February, right through to the end of April and well into Bass Strait to the north of Flinders Island with large schools working to the west of Craggy Island.
Snapper have been very consistent in Marshall Bay and other sports on the west side, with most of the fish in the 2-4 kg range. Flathead and gummies have also been in good numbers around the island, with a few King George whiting in Franklin Sound.
Whiting fishing on Flinders requires some dedication as the fish come and go, but the rewards are adult whiting to 2kg.
With the still spells of weather encountered in early winter, the fishing focus now turns to the offshore deep water species and striped trumpeter and blue eye trevalla are the main target, usually accompanied by some very edible by-catch.
Gemfish and grenadier run with the trevalla as well as the occasional hapuku, trumpeter, blue morwong and jackass morwong.
With the water cooling, southern bluefin tuna will also be found close to the continental shelf.
The yellowtail kingfish were found in different areas this autumn on Flinders Island.Reads: 1016