Commonly referred to as fingermark or goldies!
Also commonly known in larger specimens as golden snapper the fingermark bream or spotted scale sea perch, its correct name, is an aggressive predatory species that will readily take most offerings from lures to fresh baits. Fingermark encounters often come by surprise when targeting other northern species such as Barramundi and Mangrove jack.
Fingermark bream can be located throughout the magnificent Kimberley region throughout W.A. and from northern Queensland up into the top end over east.
Very little is known about the growth rates and breeding cycles of fingermark but some recent studies conducted on the species in the N.T. concluded that they are a species that is slow growing with a maximum length of around 100cm and up to 12kg weight. Most fingermark and golden snapper encountered around Australia would average around 2 – 3kg or 4 – 6kg for the larger goldies, anything over this is considered outstanding.
Fingermark bream prefer warmer northern waters and shallow inshore reefs and estuary systems that offer a variety of cover from reef ledges to tangled mangrove roots and man made structures like wharf and jetty pylons. Water depths of 2 – 35 meters are considered to be ideal for targeting fingermark. Larger specimens referred to as golden snapper can also be located in similar areas although will generally congregate in deeper offshore coastal waters over reef and other under water structures.
Finger mark are dark red/orange in colouration with a dark spot positioned two thirds of the way down their bodies. They have
sharp, solid teeth that are capable of inflicting some serious damage when encountered in larger sizes. They have a very powerful, concave shaped tail.
Fingermark are both great eating and hard fighting.
The larger golden snapper can produce massive amounts of power when hooked around heavy structure!
Light to medium spin and bait caster style outfits are suitable for targeting fingermark bream in shallow estuary systems and off shore reefs. Nylon, braided and gel spun lines are all suitable with more sensitive braided or gel spun lines being preferred by anglers using lures. Lines with breaking strains of around 20 – 30lb are more than sufficient for subduing these smaller specimens. Nylon and fluoro carbon leaders with a breaking strain of between 30 – 50lb are also necessary to prevent bite offs and chafe offs. Larger golden snapper can grow to over 12kg in weight and require much sturdier tackle. Lines with a breaking strain of 6 – 15kg are used in conjunction with casting and trolling outfits capable of handling these heavier line classes. Leader materials of 60 – 100lb are also used to prevent big goldies from breaking free.
Live or dead mullet, squid and prawns are an ideal bait for targeting fingermark bream with larger offerings being more suited for larger golden snapper. Hard bodied and soft plastic lures are also a great method for targeting these fish and have recently proven to be not only more exciting to use but also more effective than bait.
Tighten drags up considerably when chasing these fish as they have an uncanny knack of busting anglers off around sharp underwater obstructions most of the time. When chasing larger golden snapper remember to upgrade all terminal tackle connections!
Fingermark bream prefer rising tides and low light periods such as dawn or dusk but will also actively feed during most stages of the day depending on tidal movement and of course location.