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The John Dory

One of the most recognizable fish in our waters is the exotic looking John Dory. With its resplendent dorsal fin that stands up several inches and the distinctive black spot either side, it would be hard to confuse it with any other species.  


It has a very deep body but is slim in profile which it uses when stalking small fish. Although slow moving it can sidle up to other fish, then it employs its very expanding jaws to trap its prey. John dory are not caught on a regular basis but can be sometimes hooked on sidewinders and other lures used for cod and pollack. Breeding time is from June to August.


Surprisingly the British record came from Newhaven in 1977 and stands at an impressive 11lb 14ozs.


Fact File

Latin Name: Zeus faber


Distribution: John Dory are coastal fish, found on the coasts of Africa, South East Asia, New Zealand, Australia, the coasts of Japan, and on the coasts of Europe. They live near the seabed, living in depths from 5 metres (15 ft) to 360 metres (1200 ft). They are normally solitary.


Habitat:  Soft sand and muddy seabeds in depths all of the way down to almost one thousand metre


Size:  up to 600 cm's on Average


Season: Mainly a summer fish when it comes here as the water warms up. Surprisingly common


Staple food: The John Dory is primarily a piscivore; it eats a variety of fish, especially schooling fish such as sardines. Occasionally it eats squid and cuttlefish.


Angling tactics: Caught by accident  - they are solitary fish, poor swimmers and hang around reefs and other ambush areas


Bait Fish strips, articficial lures


British Record:


Boat record  11lb 14ozs

Average Size:  6lb


Caught on boats - they are sometimes caught on piers but are mainly a deeper water fish.



John Dory V2 John Dory - Helford River Oct 24 06 (2)