Lethrinus laticaudis

Northern WA, Southern QLD, Northern QLD, NT
Bay, Ocean, Offshore, Reef, Estuary, Structure

Grassy Emperor is also known as Sea Bream, Grass Sweetlip, Grass Emperor, Blue Spot Emperor, Grey Sweetlip, Blue Lined Emperor, Sea Bream, Snapper Bream, Red Finned Emperor, Brown Sweetlip and Coral Bream.

The Grassy Emperor species is native to the western Pacific Ocean. They can be found at depths ranging from 5-35m. The juveniles can often be found in grassy sea beds and also in mangrove swamps. Grassy Emperors are an extremely popular sports game fish.


With so many species of Emperors, it can be difficult to differentiate them. Make sure you know your state’s fishing regulations because a number of states have restrictions in place.

Grassy Emperors are a brown-grey color and are distinguished by their brown blotches and streaks. You know you have a Grassy Emperor when you see olive cheeks with white speckles and fine blue lines radiating from their eyes. The pectoral fins have a blue tinge, while all other fins have a pink tinge. They also have brown bars on the sides which fade soon after death.

The species can be distinguished from other Emperors by the blue spots on the cheeks, hence, the name Blue Spot Emperor, compared to blue bars on the Spangled Emperor. The Grassy Emperor also has a whitish bar behind the eye to the edge of gill cover.


Grassy Emperors are a pure marine fish found on the continental shelf, especially around coral reefs, in tropical waters.

The juveniles are frequently found in larger estuaries where you find established seagrass meadows but are not normally considered a target species. Tin Can Bay in Queensland is an excellent fishing spot for Grassy Emperor. Larger sizes are more commonly caught on offshore reefs where other species of Emperors inhabit.

They are mainly caught off the northern coast of Australia by trawls traps and lines. The range extends from Ningaloo Reef near Exmouth in Western Australia and tropical waters all they way around the northern coast of Australia down to southern Queensland.


Grassy Emperor are the most commonly found fish of the Emperor family. They are found throughout the coast of Queensland. While the juveniles are found in mangroves and grassy seabeds, the mature fish migrate to inhabit coral reefs, ledges, rocks and weed beds. When fishing for Grassy Emperor, it is important to remember these fish spend most of their time on the bottom.

The larger fish are most commonly found in more shallow waters. Grassy Emperor respond well to both bait and lures.

When fishing with artificials, snapper lure outfits work very well and you’ll need a 3000 size reel that can handle 20lb braid. If you are struggling to find a lure that works out on the reef.

Standard reef fishing rigs will catch Grassy Emperors. As for fresh bait, either fish flesh, squid or octopus are good options. When bait fishing, the best technique is as simple as dropping down some tasty fresh pilchard or squid strip. A two-hook snell rig is highly recommended when bait fishing. Fresh baits that work well include large prawns, tuna and mullet fillets, squid, fish flesh, octopus and Yellowtail fillets.

On the table, Grassy Emperors are considered outstanding by even the most fussiest of fish diners.