'Squid can come in small, medium and large sizes. You will need to work out whether you are going to use them for bait or eat them'
Chasing squid back in my very early days was mainly so that I could use them for bait when targeting snapper, kingfish and mulloway. Now days I can’t seem to make up my mind as to whether I am going to use them for bait or eat them.
Squid inhabit reefs and sea grass beds and it is this type environment that provides them with shelter, food and a place to breed. Do you know that squid are one of the fastest growing fish in the ocean and that they may only live for a year? The squid is an ambush predator that uses stealth and camouflage to capture its prey. They will largely feed on small fish and shrimp. As a general rule squid are found in schools which can range in numbers from two to hundreds. The most popular of all of the squid species is the Southern Calamari; this is due mainly to their edible qualities and distribution.
The following is a guide of how to set up to set up, catch and eat squid.
When fishing for squid I look for a reef or a sea grass bed with plenty of weed cover that is in around fifteen feet of water. This depth always seems to hold squid, in my opinion this is due to the distribution of their favoured foods throughout this depth and also the protection this depth provides from the elements and predators. As a general rule you won’t catch squid over bommies but the surrounding waters always prove productive. I seem to find that a flat reef with the odd sand patch and large structures or reefs where large boulders and bommies plateau down to densely vegetated flat reef are perfect squid habitat. Squid will often school on the edge of a reef or grass bed to ambush prey. It’s these locations that often produce the best results.
I have found over the years that a rod that is in that three to six kilo range that has a slow taper will allow for when a squid tries to lunge away from you as you are slowly reeling it in. The slow taper of the rod will absorb these lunges enough so that the sharp needle point barbs will not tear through the squid’s soft flesh. To me it doesn’t seem to matter whether I am using a threadline, side cast or bait caster reel, as long as the line I am using is no greater that six kilo breaking strain.
If you have recently walked into a tackle shop and looked at the squid jig display you will come across so many different sizes, styles, colours and weights of squid jigs. In my tackle box I have 2.0. 2.5, 3.0 and 3.5 in weights and they will be of four different colours, pink, orange, green and neutral. I find that the brighter the day the brighter the squid jig and on a cloudy day or those low light periods I prefer to change to a neutral colour or pull out one of my squid jigs that is well worn and faded.
If I am out in my boat by myself chasing squid I will always use at least two rods, sometime three. If I am using two rods this allows me to have two different colours or sizes of squid jig, while at the same time using two different techniques. My first outfit will have the squid jig rigged on a paternoster style rig above the sinker, where the hook is replaced by a squid jig. This outfit positioned at the rear of the boat on one of my two rod holders and is then lowered to just off the bottom. By setting this up like this it will allow the squid jig to bounce up and down with the movement of the boat.
The second squid jig is tied directly onto the end of the line and cast out in the direction of the drift. The retrieves can be one of three. A slow lift upwards, then allow the jig to slowly sink back down to just off the bottom; a double jig upwards, then stop and then repeat until you are back at the boat and my third retrieve is usual several quick turns of the handle, then allow it to sink to the bottom and allow it to sit for a few seconds on the bottom and then repeat the process.
My son Chris prefers what I call the lazy way of Squiding. He prefers to slowly troll the squid jigs. When I mean slow I mean around one to two knots.
When you come across a school of squid you have generally two options, firstly you can anchor and then cast into the school. This is usually only done if the drift is quite fast. Secondly, if the drift is slow you can continue casting into the school, it is important to remember the location of the school. As soon as the action slows return to where you first encountered the school and continue to drift. If the squid are still there continue this technique till you have your bag limit or if the action tapers off continue on the drift in search of a new school. For this method to work at its optimum you must cast into the wind or tide so that your jig travels over the entire drift path of the boat.
On this web site a few weeks ago Jarrod Day put together a great article with pictures on 'How to clean calamari.' When you get a chance go to following link and have a read.
If you ever get inked by a squid you will need to get it off your skin as soon as possible as it will burn - Gary Brown
The author was not quick enogh to get out of the way of a squid inking - Gary Brown
by Gary Brown
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12:38 PM Mon 17 Jun 2013GMT
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