Rob Pember gets away to the water as much as he can.
Rob Pember gets away to the water as much as he can. Contributed

Red emperor heaven the place to be

MY SPECIAL PLACE: If you are lucky enough to be a fisherman who owns or knows someone with a boat, living in Gladstone is near utopia.

The Capricorn Bunker Group is Rob Pember's idea of nirvana.

In particular, Sykes Reef, on the eastern side of Heron Island, Mr Pember says.

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"There are plenty of ledges, drop-offs and caves," he said.

"It's the perfect habitat for my favourite fish - red emperor."


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He is a diehard fisherman, and Mr Pember tries to escape to the water as often as he can.

Because of the two-and-a-half hour trip to Sykes Reef, he only heads out when he has a few days to spare.

"I head out as much as I can," he said. "Weather permitting I'll always try and go for at least one night.

"It's just too far to not do an overnighter."

Having lived in Gladstone for 18 months, Mr Pember has established an array of secret spots, not that he was willing to disclose all of them.

But he doesn't mind admitting that he is as good at cooking seafood as he is with reeling in an almighty catch.

"I'm definitely a good cook when it comes to the fish I catch," he said.

"Whether it's crumbed, battered, steamed or grilled - I'll do it all.

"I love living up here. We are very lucky to have so many beautiful eating fish right on our doorstep."

Mr Pember, who embarked on his latest fishing trip bright and early this morning, says a 14.4kg red emperor is with doubt the best catch he has ever landed while fishing offshore from Gladstone.

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