Fish Species Of North Queensland
With all the confusion surrounding the specific names and variety of our tropical reef fish, Grant’s Fishes of Australia best clarifies the issue thus:
“It has been known as a Red Emperor for decades before I started
fishing for it; and the Red Emperor it remains. This fish is one of
the true prizes of Australian tropical seas.”
Red Emperor will give the angler a great work out, fighting all the way to the boat, but nothing will prepare you for the sight of this brilliantly marked specimen as it shimmies towards the surface in the crystal clear water. A very handsome fish, the prime adults frequent the deeper waters and channels during the cooler months from May to September and can reach a credible 40+ pounds (20 kg).
Glowing salmon pink to red, its pink fins tipped in bright crimson or red, and three distinctive darker red bands sweeping up its face, pectoral fin to back and down again to the anal area. In keeping with its magnificent appearance, its eating qualities are no less legendary.
Reds will usually congregate in large schools of similar sized fish, and once anglers have been hooked up to several fish, the school can be kept in the vicinity by the fishing activity. More commonly caught at night, charter operators in the know have secret locations where these prized fish can be caught during daylight hours, jealously guarding there whereabouts.
Heavy hand lining techniques or jigging rods are suitable and the standard dropper rig preferred, fresh fish or squid baits work best and hook sizes matched to the target fish. Excellent eating qualities, and quick bleeding and icing down will preserve them at their best until back on land. Size and bag limits do apply.