Emperor, Red Throat

(Lethrinus chrysostomus)

Commonly referred to as Red throats!

Red throat emperor are an abundant offshore species that are often encountered whilst fishing for other more desirable demersal species such as coral trout etc. As their name of red throat suggests they have a distinctively red throat which makes this species highly recognisable.

Distribution

Red throat emperor can be located from as far south as Jurien Bay up through the magnificent Kimberley region throughout Western Australia and are also found in good numbers in Queensland and the Northern Territory. They generally frequent water depths of around 5 – 50 meters.

Growth

Red throat emperor grow to around 6kg in weight and reach sexual maturity at around 30cm in length although a typical sized Blue lined emperor is around 45cm in most locations.

Habitat

Red throat emperor are found in shallow reef, sand and mud areas with water depths ranging from 5 – 50 meters. Smaller, juvenile fish are generally encountered in estuary systems and shallow weed beds.

Identification

Red throat emperor are a beautifully marked emperor species with bright red inner mouths making them very recognisable to most. They are often light cream to brown in body colouration with darker fins and  markings present throughout.

Taste rating

  • Sixty Taste Rating
    60%

Great fish to bake, steam, or pan fry whole.

Sport rating

  • Sixty Sport Rating
    60%

Red throat emperor can be dirty fighters amongst shallow coral but are typically quite manageable on most rod and reel combos.

Tackle requirements

Light to medium spin or overhead tackle is well suited to targeting most of the smaller emperor from shore or from boat with light braided, gel spun or nylon lines with a breaking strain of 20 – 30lb proving ideal. 40 – 80lb fluoro carbon leaders should be attached to bright braided or gel spun lines to prevent fish from seeing the line and also to help prevent chafe offs on rough structures, teeth and jaws. Medium bottom fishing or jigging outfits in either spin or overhead styles are more typically suited for fishing deeper water to 50 meters.

Recommended baits, lures and rigs

Most standard bottom fishing baits such as cut fish strips, squid and octopus will suffice for most emperor situations with lures such as soft plastics, metals and sub surface stick baits also proving deadly on this species in shallow waters. Paternoster or drift baiting rigs made from 80 – 120lb nylon are normally used to target blue lined emperor in deeper waters to 50 meters.

Handy hints and tips

Using smaller, circle styled hooks will account for a much better hook up rate when targeting tricky species with smaller mouths.  “You can catch big fish on small hooks but not small fish on big hooks!”

Preferred fishing times and tides

Rising or full tides are best suited for targeting red throat emperor around most areas although some deep water locations will also produce good numbers of fish during low and falling tides. New moon phases are also preferable for most fish species.

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