by Paul Lennon •
Squid are an extremely popular target all around the coast of Australia, and it’s easy to see why as they are great fun to catch, fantastic on the plate and a top bait.
Often referred to as ‘egiing’ by enthusiasts, fishing for squid has really boomed in Australia over the past decade. These days, entire walls of some tackle stores are filled to the brim with squid jigs of every size, shape and colour combination imaginable, as well as scents and special tools for killing and cleaning. There are also ranges of squid fishing rods and reels designed solely for targeting squid, and even braided lines just for squid.
Expanding even further, much of what we see on the walls here is still only a small portion of what’s actually out there and what’s coming, especially from the squid fanatical Japanese market, which is constantly coming up with new and exciting technology for the world of squidding.
With all this going on, it’s easy to get lost and confused in the squidding world and forgot the basics fundamentals that make up the bulk of squid fishing success.
Perhaps the most important choice to make is what size jig you be should using. The depth you’re fishing should determine this, and to a lesser extent, the size of the squid you’re targeting. The larger the jig will usually mean it’s heavier and sinks quicker.
Squid jigs come in a variety of sizes starting from around 1.5 up to a 6.0. Smaller jigs from 1.5-2.0 will sink pretty slow and work well in shallow water less then 1m in depth. I use this size jigs when fishing the shallows at nighttime under around areas that are illuminated by a nearby light. Baitfish are attracted to these sorts of places and squid will move right against the shoreline to feed on them. You can also use these smaller jigs on a paternoster rig when fishing deeper water to get them down. This is sometimes a good idea when there are smaller squid around that are reluctant to hit the bigger jigs, or when you’re in areas where arrow squid are the main target.
Size 2.5 jigs are my favourite size to use when casting in waters less than 5m over seagrass beds, which will typically be the best areas to find squid inside estuary.
For deeper environments you could again drift with a paternoster rig or up your jig size to a 3.0
The 3.0-4.0 jigs are best suited for those fishing ocean rocks or boat fishing offshore around the protected bays and coves with kelpy bottoms where big squid like to hang.
The 4.5 and larger size jigs are good for getting down to deeper offshore reefs in less then 30m of water, where extra large calamari can sometimes congregate, and there is always the chance of picking up a monster cuttlefish when fishing theses parts too.
While you could go all out and use a dedicated squid outfit, you probably won’t see the benefits unless you are very serious about your squidding. A 2-5kg 7ft graphite rod and 2500 size reel spooled with 6lb braid will certainly still do the job and cover you for just about any form of squid fishing you do, with the exception of the big jigs over 4.0. Also, if you’re land-based fishing the ocean rocks, you should up your rod length to a stick around 8-9ft.
I like to use about 1m of 12lb Black Magic Pink Leader on my squid jigs. While some might call this overkill, it will save your jig if you get a tip wrap mid-cast, as it won’t bust off and fly into the drink.
There are so many jigs on the market these days, and they range from dirt cheap to $40 a pop, but the best value for money quality jigs around that I’ve come across are the Black Magic Squid Snatcher range. They represent excellent value for money, with a great colour range for sizes 2.0-4.0, which virtually covers everything you’re ever going to need.
When it comes to colour choice, everyone has their favourites, but I like to use natural baitfish patterns when the sun’s out and the waters clear. Pinks, oranges, greens, and whites that have a bit of lumo are better for late afternoon or early morning. The new colour ‘fire glow’ in the Black Magic Squid Snatchers has been my go-to of late and out-fishing everything else.
Black also has its place and is an excellent choice when fishing on a moon lit night or around areas of water that are lit up in the evening.
Most of the time squid will be located in the bottom two thirds of the water column, so it’s important you make sure you’re letting the lure sink and stay in this zone as long as possible. Once it’s in the zone, a double flick of the rod tip to give it some action on the retrieve will help attract squid to your jig. Try not to allow too much slack line in your retrieve, as squid jigs have no barbs, meaning unless there is resistance pulling the other way a squid can easily push forward and disconnect itself from the jig. Another tip is to have your drag set quite loose, as the heaver drag can often rip the tentacles of a squid clean off.