Sci: Zeus faber
Common Names: In Australia, John dory is the common name
for this fish, although it is occasionally called Peter's fish, Peter's dory or
Description: An unusual looking, scaleless, plate-like fish
with a deep, circular and laterally-compressed body, a big head, huge extendible
mouth, and long, filamentous dorsal fin. John dory exhibit vary from greenish-brown
to olive or grey on the back and are lighter on the flanks and belly, sometimes
with dark patches or even a golden sheen. A large black spot or blotch bordered
by a light edge is prominent on each flank.
Size: John dory commonly weigh between 0.5 and 1.5 kg and
occasionally exceed 2.2 kg. Giants approaching 5 or 6 kg have been reported from
Distribution: John dory are found in cool and temperate
waters all over the world. In Australia they are confined
to the southern half, from about south eastern Queensland
to South Australia, with sporadic appearances in Tasmania
and the south of Western Australia, frequenting bays, harbours
and estuaries, as well as deep reefs out to the edge of
the continental shelf.
Fishing Techniques: Many of the John dory taken by anglers are incidental
captures landed while fishing with live baits for flathead, mulloway or kingfish.
If slightly smaller baits are used, the chance of taking a dory increases. Estuary
and harbour anglers specifically targeting John dory mostly use handlines or light
rods and small live baits, sometimes trimming the tail of the bait with scissors
to slow it down. Over the deeper reefs, John dory take cut-flesh strips and whole
small fish such as pilchards, as well as deep-fished live baits.
Eating Qualities: The John dory is rated as one of our very best table
fish. The flesh is pearly-white, firm and has an extremely fine grain. Once filleted,
there are no bones in the flesh. Because of its quality, the John dory commands
a very high price at market, despite a fair degree of wastage due to the size
of its head.