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The iconic Spangled Emperor!

This article is written by Ben Svenson from Northern Australia – giving us some great tips to for catching Spango’s

 It’s a fish sought after by many anglers in Australia’s northern reaches. With its golden snout and turquoise blue markings, it truly is a very special fish to catch. They are some of toughest and roughest fighters you’ll come acrossThey will do just about anything to lose you, such as running you into a lump of coral or even into an oyster stack! Read carefully as I hope to help you target these brutes. 

First off when fishing for Spango’s as I like to call them. if you’re fishing off the beach, you’ll need a 9ft rod rated to about 9 to 15 kg. This length will allow you to manoeuvre a Spangled Emperor around sharp and hazardous reef. If fishing from a boat, a 6 to 7 ft rod would be perfect with a 5000 to 8000 sized reel. Spool them up with braid, either as light as 20-pound braid or as heavy as 50-pound braid if you really want to stop them in their tracks. The mono leader should be lengthy and no less than 40-pound Black Magic Fluorocarbon leader and a 4/0 Black Magic KLT® hook should be sufficient.

Rigging for Spango’s is so simple. I personally like to use a running sinker rig. The key is to have as light a sinker as the conditions will allow. I find if you have an offshore wind behind you, it works remarkably well to have no sinker at all. This makes the bait look very natural in the water column.

Bait for Spango’s

Well you really cant go past fresh squid if you are fishing from a boat. It is like an aphrodisiac to them and I like to use it in strips. Using about a third of a squid, the key is to penetrate the cut piece twice. It is of utmost importance that the barb remains visible. If the barb is embedded in the bait, you won’t be catching many fish. If fishing for Spangled Emperor land based, I prefer a much hardier bait. Mullet is ideal off the beach. Cut it into thirds and thread the hook through once. I find the tail and head are irresistible to massive Spangled Emperor. 

When trying to find spots to target Spango’s from land, I tend to look for areas with a rubbly bottom and some defining structure. That could be a stack of oysters or a coral bombie. For some reason they tend to favour this sort of ground. When fishing this terrain, one thing you should consider is what direction the current is flowing. If there is structure such as a coral bombie or oyster encrusted rock, make sure you cast up current of the structure. Sometimes they are just sitting behind waiting to ambush your bait. Your drag should be set hard. Otherwise they will quickly bust you off on sharp ground if you are not concentrating. I have lost far too many monsters from having it in free spool in a rod holder.  

When you target Spangled Emperor from a boat. Look for similar structure as you do on land. The difference is If you are in shallow water like I normally am – around 2m in depth – I like to position the boat 30 to 50m up current of the structure. I then start a burley trail that goes down the current towards the structure you are fishing. If you cast your bait 20m out the back of the boat, you will draw the bigger fish out of the structure.  

I hope this gives you a fair insight into how to target Spangled Emperor. They are exciting as any fish you can catch I shallow water. I can guarantee if you follow these tips, I have given you. You will be landing one in no time.