The Red Emperor is considered one of the best eating saltwater fish in Australia. Red Emperor are also known as Government Bream and Red Kelp.
Red Emperor can reach 22kg and over 1m in length.
HOW TO IDENTIFY EMPEROR, RED
Red Emperor are closely related to Mangrove Jack and Red Bass than any of the emperor species. Juveniles and young adults are distinguished from more mature fish by 3 dark red vertical bands and are therefore often called Government Bream.
As they become more mature with age and over 13kg, they become pinkish/red all over and the banding becomes less apparent. The reddish fins have a narrow edged with white tips. The cheeks of the Red Emperor are scaled with a obvious deep notch in the lower edge of the inner cheekbone.
WHERE TO CATCH EMPEROR, RED
Red Emperors inhabit marine waters in depths of 10-40m. The juveniles are found in shallower waters while the mature fish inhabit deeper inshore waters, especially in areas of rock and coral reefs and nearby sandy areas. Red Emperors are mainly found off the coast of Western Australia from Shark Bay, around the coast of the Northern Territory to Moreton Bay in southern Queensland.
HOW TO CATCH EMPEROR, RED
Red Emperors are not considered an easy fish to catch by any means. Red Emperor are normally caught on offshore reefs from South-East Queensland all the way around to the coast of Western Australia. Red Emperor prefer moving water in channels near deeper reefs and therefore, they can be taken on drifts between reef patches in what appears open ground.
The most successful anglers use heavy outfits and large baits for targeting Red Emperors. It is important to remember that Red Emperors don’t always rise to a bait and so patience when chasing this fish is required. Experts say that one should not try to overpower a Red Emperor, which can also lead to losing your catch to other predators.
Red Emperor generally form schools of similar sized fish and are taken on large fleshy fillets, including mullet, tuna, scads or Pilchard or squid, cuttlefish and octopus.
The bigger mature fish can always be found around deeper isolated structures. This includes anywhere there is a rubble bottom. It is important to make sure you get your bait to the bottom with a heavy sinker. You should be using heavier gear in the form of a dropper rig with a set of ganged hooks.