Scott’s Species – Long-nose emperor, the forearm burners

Long-nosed emperor

Lethrinus olivaceus

Eating: 3 stars

ID – Extended snout, mottled blue/grey colouration.

I will never forget my first long-nosed emperor. We were fishing off Ningaloo Reef in around 50m and I had put an unweighted bait out, with a whole mulie on ganged hooks.

I was expecting a Spaniard or other pelagic and instead caught a thumping long-nosed, the first I have ever seen. I took a picture of Andrew Pickard holding it and it became a cover shot for Western Angler. That was a remarkable day, as I subsequently caught a dolphinfish and sailfish on the same outfit, making it something special.

Steve Palumbo had a ball on long-nosed emperor on the Rowley Shoals flats.

It was a long time before I encountered this species again, but a trip to the Rowley Shoals showed just how much fun they can be. The bluewater fishing at the Rowley’s was slow, but we had incredible fun inside the lagoon, where we found big packs of long-nosed that were willing lure takers.

We could often see them in the shallows and they had no qualms chasing down our offerings. One day we were all standing on the gunwales of Steve Palumbo’s boat when we spotted a big school of them right up in the shallows, leading to some frenetic action for the next few minutes. It was some of the best flats fishing I have done.

Andrew Pickard with a good Ningaloo long-nosed emperor.

Like most emperor, long-nosed have brutish strength and fight hard for their size, with those typically dogged surges towards any nearby cover. They also used their broad sides well to make them tough to pull to the boat.

We found they were responsive to most types of lures in the shallows, with sinking stickbaits probably most effective. Soft plastics also worked well. They can also be caught on poppers at times. We didn’t need especially heavy gear for them, but there was lots of structure so we lost a few battles. There were often other bigger fish such as GTs and maori wrasse that would suddenly appear and do us over. A spinning outfit around 7-9kg with some heavier leader was our preferred approach.

Long-nosed would usually be an occasional catch offshore, as with my Ningaloo fish, and would hit baits such as squid and mulies aimed at other bottom fish, or jigs and soft plastics.

There seem to be one or two caught on our annual Mackerel Islands trip each year and often in good sizes. Found from Ningaloo north, long-nosed are known to grow to about 10 kilos, but the ones we caught at the Rowley’s were mainly 3-4kgfish. They are primarily an inshore fish, but do find their way out to 200m of water.

Scott Coghlan used a sinking stickbait to catch this long-nosed emperor at the Rowley Shoals.

Future Focus for Gascoyne Pink Snapper

Pink snapper are the lifeblood of recreational fishing in the Gascoyne. These highly prized fish provide fantastic opportunity for both local and visiting fishers to tussle with a hard fighting, yet accessible sportfish that is also rated highly on the plate.

Managing our states fisheries is an exciting and challenging task

Readers might remember management changes for oceanic pink snapper were implemented last year, which included a snapper spawning closure north of Bernier Island, offshore from Carnarvon as well as a reduction in the allowable catch for the commercial fishing sector.

The community were consulted after a stock assessment indicated a risk to snapper numbers in the region, and agreed that these measures were appropriate to try and recover the snapper stock as quickly as possible. The spawning closure had over 96% support from the community. You can read more about it here.

Managing our states fisheries is an exciting and challenging task that takes place in a dynamic environment affected by many influences. This means that it’s important to constantly check-in on how management changes are affecting both our fish stocks and our fishing experiences.

In the case of Gascoyne pink snapper, Recfishwest recently met with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and representatives from the commercial fishing sector to further develop the recovery plan for the oceanic pink snapper resource in the Gascoyne region.

Recfishwest is proud to continue to work with all stakeholders to refine the recovery strategy in order to rebuild this snapper stock as soon as possible

This work includes reviewing current research and management actions, endorsing appropriate catch levels and timelines for future stock assessments and discussing future management to stimulate the fishery to recover at the desired rate.

Recfishwest is proud to continue to work with all stakeholders to refine the recovery strategy in order to rebuild this snapper stock as soon as possible.

Recreational fishing is an integral part of Carnarvon’s social fabric and local economy, so it’s vitally important that we balance the protection of this valuable resource with the opportunity to visit Carnarvon and fish in other places, or for different species. Through positive community engagement and consultation, this balance was achieved.

If you are planning on travelling to Carnarvon for a fishing trip, it is worth noting that the spawning closure is in effect from the 1st of June – 31st August. This doesn’t affect fishing for other species such as coral trout or red emperor.

Positive community engagement and consultation leads to better protection of these valuable fish

Abrolhos Islands National Park to Improve Tourism and Support Wilderness Fishing Experiences

Recfishwest is encouraged by the latest news from the WA Premier, Colin Barnett, that the iconic Abrolhos Islands are set to become a National Park that will both promote tourism while protecting it’s unique wilderness values and great fishing experiences. It is important to note that the proposed changes only affect the terrestrial portion (land) of the island chain and fishing rules and regulations will remain unchanged.

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland welcomed the announcement, suggesting management changes were needed to meet the challenges of increased public visitation to the islands in recent years.

“It is important that the Abrolhos Islands are actively managed to protect the things visiting fishers value most.”

“There’s always a fear that when management changes are made in highly valued areas, access to quality fishing is jeopardised by competing values. In this case, we are pleased to see the importance of fishing has been recognised by the Premier in the recent announcement.

We look forward to hearing more about this proposal and representing the WA fishing community in what would be a great move toward making an iconic WA location, a well-managed asset for the people of WA.

Recfishwest looks forward to being involved in the discussions that shape what the opportunity may look like.

Or to learn more about fishing at the Abrolhos Islands visit www.ilovefishing.com.au

 

Gascoyne Fish Trap Proposal – Recfishwest Statement

The Department of Fisheries have recently drafted a proposal to trial the use of fish traps between Steep Point and Coral Bay over the next three years.  Recfishwest is currently consulting with recreational fishers in the Gascoyne and note the strong community objection to this proposal.

Recfishwest has already met with local recreational fishers in Carnarvon, who raised their concerns directly with the Department of Fisheries representatives during a community focus group meeting organised by Recfishwest.

Concerns raised by the recreational fishing community include:
– Localised depletion of key species in important recreational fishing areas
– Introduction of traps will likely lead to a change of fishing behaviour as important recreational fishing areas will now become easily fished
– Any decrease in fishing quality will effect fishing based tourism, see a decrease in visitation and adversely impact local businesses
– Heavy traps are likely to damage to sensitive habitats such as coral reef
– There is no evidence to suggest traps will decrease shark predation for which it is claimed to do, allowing fish trapping would be treating the symptom not the cause
– There are concerns over ‘ghost’ fishing of lost traps
– The proposed ‘trial’ allows an unlimited number of traps in an unrestricted area
– The proposed ‘trial’ is unnecessarily long

Recfishwest share many of the concerns raised by worried fishers and Recfishwest will ensure the views of the local community and those who visit the region to enjoy the great fishing it has to offer are reflected in our submission to the Department which will be submitted on the 24th February.

The world class fishing opportunities throughout the Gascoyne are relished by locals and visitors alike and recreational fishing is an important economic contributor to local communities in the Gascoyne.

Recfishwest stands for sustainable, accessible, enjoyable and safe fishing for all West Australians.