Red Emperor is one of the most prized catches on the Barrier Reef and other reefs throughout it tropical habitat.
How To Identify:
Red Emperor is actually a Sea Perch and not a true emperor. They are a stunning fish to catch both in colour and on the table. It would certainly be neck and neck between coral trout and red emperor as the most prized table fare fish in Australia. They have a strong jaws and a large powerful tail. They are salmon pink to pale red with dark red stripes. The stripes are more pronounced in juveniles. There is three main stripes, one running from the eye back to the dorsal fin, one through the pectoral fin area and one slanting back towards the tail. Each scale has a white dot on it which adds to its beauty. Commonly caught between 1-8 kgs but can grow as large as 20 kgs
How To Catch:
Red Emperors are mainly caught with fresh fish pieces or fillets or squid. Larger Reds love live bait fish such as slimy mackerel as well (what large fish in the ocean doesn't love a live slimy!). Since they are mostly found in deeper reefs you need to fish on or near the bottom, and the most popular time to catch Red Emperor, especially the large ones is at night.
Red Emperor is found down the entire Queensland coast from close reefs out to the Great Barrier Reef, (south of Hervey Bay there tends to be a lot of juveniles) round the north of Australia as far as the Abrolhos Islands. They tend to like the deeper coral reefs, especially where there is gravel between structures.