Spangled Emperor (Lethrinus nebulosus)

Spangled Emperor

  • Size 4.5 - 6.5 kg (9 lb 14 oz - 14 lb 5 oz)
  • Food Value Excellent
  • Game Qualities Good
  • Habitats Reef, Inshore, Nearshore, Offshore
These colorful reef-lovers are a staple of fishing trips and dinner plates all across the Indo-Pacific. They’ve picked up a variety of names to match their wide range, including Yellow Sweetlip, Yellow Emperor, Green Snapper, Northwest Snapper, Sand Bream, and Spanglie. In Arabic, they are known as Shaari. Whatever you call them, Spangled Emperor makes for a fun fight and a great meal. 

How Big?

Depending on where you’re fishing, your average Spanglie will weigh around 4.5 - 6.5 kg (9 lb 14 oz -to 14 lb 5 oz). They can get much bigger than that, though. The IGFA all-tackle record for Spangled Emperor weighed in at a staggering 9.45 kg (20 lb 13 oz) when it was brought ashore in the town of Muroto, Japan back in 2002.
Happy woman holding Spangled Emperor
 
A happy angler with her Spangled Emperor caught in Western Australia

When and Where

You can enjoy a day of Spangled Emperor fishing from East Africa to the south of Japan and from Australia and New Caledonia to the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. They live around reefs anywhere from 30 - 200 m (98 - 656’) down. Rough corals are their favorite haunts, especially when they have gravelly or sandy bottom nearby. Juvenile fish also show up inshore around mangroves and seagrasses. Spanglies aren’t migratory and can be caught year-round, although local restrictions may apply.

How to Catch Spangled Emperor

The easiest way to fish for Spangled Emperor is with bottom rigs and cut strips of fish, squid, or octopus. You don’t need anything fancy if you’re just looking for dinner. You can have some real fun taking them in shallower spots with light tackle and lures, though. Soft plastics, metals, plugs, and stickbaits are all effective options. Spanglies strike hard and show some real strength as they make for the corals in sharp bursts.

Good to eat?

Absolutely! They’re a popular meal in Australia and the Persian Gulf and are enjoyed throughout their native range. They have a white, moist, firm flesh with a deliciously mild taste. Bake or steam them whole, or fillet them and cook them any way you want. You can’t go wrong with Spangled Emperor unless you burn them!

Fish Species Similar to Spangled Emperor

Snapper (Red Emperor)

Sweetlip Emperor


Top Spangled Emperor Fishing Charters