Lutjanus johnii, commonly known as John’s snapper or golden snapper, is a marine fish native to the western Pacific and Indian Oceans, from East Africa to Fiji and Australia. In Queensland, Northern Territory and other parts of Australia it is perhaps known more commonly as Fingermark bream, and is arguably one of the best estuary eating fish. The former name (‘Golden snapper’) is generally used when the fish is in much larger sizes, with juveniles and young adults usually referred to as the latter (‘Fingermark’). It has a remarkably slow growth rate, so release is encouraged and bag limits apply. It can grow to approximately 8 kg in weight although 10 kg fish have been recorded off the coast of Cairns, though even a small individual will provide a substantial fight.
Fingermark encounters often occur when targeting other species such as barramundi, and can be distinguished by their golden-brown to reddish skin tint and dark ‘fingermark’ beneath the dorsal fin – colourations both lost as the species dies once taken from the water or grows in size. Colourations are extremely prominent in juvenile fish. They are members of the Lutjanus genus of snappers, which also includes mangrove jack and other well-known table species.