Squidding is great fun for the whole family, and is enjoyed by many fishermen from novices to experts, there is something addictive about the way squid hit a jig, and the split second when you realise you’ve hooked a hungry calamari and not just another patch of weed!In this guide we’ll be looking at the best tips for catching landbased calamari, so grab your egi rod and pack your favourite jigs as we look into this rewarding style of fishing.
WHERE TO FIND SQUID
Calamari are aggressive hunters, and prefer to ambush their prey when possible, they will wait amongst weed beds, reefy structure and dark patches of water for unwary prey to pass them by.There are two reasons squid do this, one is to allow them to get the drop on their prey, and the second is to stay hidden from predators, squid are sought after by pretty much everything that swims and flies around our oceans! They are delicious, easy enough to find and come naturally boneless, what’s not to love? Seals in particular are always on the lookout for squid, if you see seals feeding at your pier, I recommend changing piers, you may still catch squid but your odds are dramatically lower, and there’s a chance your catch will be stolen right in front of you.
When looking for likely squid habitat, look for dense weed patches, broken ground such as where weed/sand meet, and heavy structure, squid frequent pier pylons, wrecks, and reefs, as these areas allow them to dart in and out of cover to feed. If you’re scouting out your local pier for squid fishing, pay attention to where the pier’s lights are located, calamari will come close to the light during darkness as it draws small baitfish for them, piers and structures with light fixtures are usually a safe bet for night time squid fishing, provided the underwater structure is suitable. Beaches and rocky areas are also great for squid fishing, jump on to Google Maps and look at the water from satellite view, if you see dark patches and weed beds, give the location a crack! Some of the best squid fishing spots are ones found through scouting and kept well hidden.
Similar to many species of fish,squid are highly active during periods of low light, although catchable all day, they are especially active during sunrise and sun set, with night fishing always being a productive method. Depending on the location, tide time is also important, it is often a high tide that will draw squid, but whether they feed on the run-in, run-out or slack tide will depend on where you’re fishing. I suggest trying different times of the day, tide times and even seasons,different locations will fish better during different circumstances, make sure you make a note of when the catch rate seems the highest. As for seasons, squid will feed all year round, but again, different seasons may produce better results at your local.
TACKLE AND JIGS
Squidding tackle is unique, it is often light like lure tackle, but boasts a solid cast weight for larger jigs,and heavier leader is often used depending on structure to prevent jig loss. A general purpose lure/plastics rod will do the trick, however a specialised squidding/egi rod is often preferred, the Rovex Squid Specialist is one such rod that is light, solid, great for jigs of all sizes and fantastic for jig retrieves, this rod is surprisingly affordable for the quality of the rod, and is my recommendation for anyone wanting to start serious squidding without breaking the bank. Match this up with a 2500 size reel and quality line and you’re ready to go, for line I like to use 4kg Black Magic SSP as it is marked with bite indicators lines, and is unparalleled in terms of casting and lure response, two very important requirements for squidding, leader can be 10-15lb fluorocarbon depending on structure, again, Black Magic is the way to go here.
As for jigs, this really depends on location, lighting, time of day, size of squid and structure, as a general rule of thumb, dark red and black jigs are usually fantastic all-rounders, with squid having exceptional eyesight, they will spot the strong silhouette from these colours all day and all night, experiment with different colours, but always keep a dark red or black jig in the tackle box as a go-to. Jigs range from $2.50 up to $50+ in my experience, squid will hit most jigs, there is a noticeable difference in a $2.50 jig to a $20 jig but unless you are a hardcore squid fisherman, there is no need to spend more than $20 on your jigs. My favourite jig are the Black Magic Squid Snatchers, which usually won’t cost anymore than $15, they are exceptional value for money and come in a variety of colours and sizes, Black Red in size 3.0 is my go-to jig and never fails to produce for me.
If your jig is moving, you’ll catch squid, there are ways to produce more effective retrieves, such as aggressive jigging, timed pauses and alternating retrieves, I personally stick to a basic flick and wait for 2-3 seconds, and repeat, the timing will need to be adjusted depending on the depth you’re fishing. What’s important is that your jig maintains position just above the weed/structure, and darts occasionally to grab attention from observant squid, if you notice squid following your jig but not striking, try a smaller jig, start with a 3.0 and move up to a 3.5 or down to a 2.5 if necessary, make sure you keep slack in your line to allow for natural movement of the jig, and pay attention for sudden jerks or slow pulls on the line indicating a strike. Keep your jig in the strike zone as much as possible, and change colours or sizes if you’re producing no results.
Following these steps will help you improve your squid fishing, if you are new to squidding, good luck and hopefully this guide helps you catch your first few squid. If you’re an experienced angler, I hope you learnt something new to help improve your catch rate!