John Dory – Zeus faber
Also called Kuparu
John Dory are frequently caught around the North Island of New Zealand by anglers fishing from wharves and jetties. The piles make excellent hunting grounds for the John Dory which feed almost exclusively on small live fishes which they eat by sucking them into its large extendable mouth. If you are out to catch one of these odd-looking fish a small live-bait is by far the best method. John Dory grows to a maximum size of about 5kg. Amazingly they have the ability to change colour to match their surroundings. Their bodies are flat and slender.
You need alive baits less than 150mm (6inches) long. Just about any species will work fine: spotties, mullet, bullies, and so on. Take a 5/0 hook and pass the barb in and out of the skin of the baitfish just behind the head.
John Dory will also readily take small jigs and soft plastics. As John Dory are stealth hunters you don’t need to wind the reel fast as the Dory is unlikely to chase your lure. John Dory will readily take a mussel bait well tied on to the hook.
They aren’t much of a fighting fish when hooked. They are instead targeted for their eating qualities which are excellent. Their fine delicate flesh makes them one of our very best table fish species.