How To Find And Catch More Squid [Comprehensive Guide]

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Such a beautiful animalWe all love fishing for squid. Often confused with the cuttlefish (which have shorter and fatter tentacles) these cephalopods have become a staple in many people’s diets.

They used to be easy to catch, but unfortunately, they are becoming harder to find. A few tips on how to catch squid are essential these days if you don’t have much experience. Almost as important (if not more so) as having the right equipment.

Talking of equipment, check out The Best Jigs To Catch More Squid for a list of some of the best jigs around and a detailed review of each one.

Believe it or not, if you know where to go, and have the right equipment, catching squid isn’t that hard. You don’t need to have the best rod or reel to catch these tasty morsels. They are often caught with hand lines, small rods, or even a bit of line wrapped around a dry cuttlefish bone. I used to do this as a kid for a ready-made to-use handline.

Through this post, I will be answering some of the most commonly asked questions like;

  1. How do you catch squid?
  2. What’s the best way to catch squid from the rocks?
  3. What kind of bait do squids like to eat?
  4. Where is the best place to fish for squid?
  5. What is the best time to fish for squid?

My first bit of advice, get some local knowledge. Ask around at popular fishing spots. People may not give you their favorite squid spots, but they will give you an idea of where to start. When you learn what to look for, you can find your own.

A closer look

Where is the best place to fish for squid?

Now, if you want to catch a squid, first you have to think like one. Squid are ambush predators, so they like a lot of protection. They love to hide in weedy areas as these offer great cover, while not hindering them when going for the strike. You don’t need to go out far to catch them they are quite commonly caught from the rocks.

You’re not going to find squid in the surf or the shallows of a sandy beach. These places don’t offer cover, and squid prefers calm water. The best habitat is a protected area with plenty of seagrasses and reasonable depth, say off a jetty in a bay or of a rocky groin on the side protected from the open ocean.

Sticking with the idea that squid prefers calm areas, they also don’t seem to be as active when conditions are choppy, windy, the swell is up, or the water is murky.

When I was young, I used to catch them off the jetty. Unfortunately, as it’s a fixed structure, so can everyone else. As I got older, I would take a boat out. I would only need to go out a few hundred meters, to a depth of 4-5 meters. The sort of ground I am looking for is weedy, with sandy patches. They love to sit on the edge of these sandy patches where they are in cover but have a clear view of what is swimming around in front of them.

On the reef

What is the best time to fish for squid?

Squid can be caught at any time of the day, provided you’re fishing on the right ground. To increase your chances, I recommend trying to plan your fishing trip around the high tide. At high tide there have been about six hours of clean ocean water running in, making the water clarity better.

As mentioned before, they don’t like murky water. Also, the water depth is at its highest, so the squid can move back onto the reefs and broken ground close to shore.

Something else to keep in mind is that squid hunt mostly at night. They have huge eyes, allowing them to see when most things others can’t. For this reason, dawn and dusk are great times to target these tasty morsels. Squid can be caught all through the night, but you will need a bright light as this will attract them in, while also making your jig more visible.

Squid can be found all year round, but are especially active during the winter months, as this is when they spawn. During this time of year, they can be found in shallower water than they normally are. Just make sure the water is still quite clear.

What Type Of Bait To Use?

The typical squid jig is meant to look like a prawn or shrimp. Others will look like small fish. A squid jig is the most popular type of bait. They are illuminated to catch their attention and have one or two rows of sharp points that allow them to be reeled in when they bite. These jigs are reusable and will last as long as you don’t lose them on a snag.

The other option is a bait jig. These require a dead bait of some kind. Just remember, the better the bait, the better they will stay on your jig, and the better chance you will catch something. A small fish caught fresh and then used is best as these will be what the squid in the area will be feeding on. Just keep in mind, that something like a pilchard, slimy mackerel, or similar won’t last long.

Squid fishing a night

How Do You Catch Squid?

So, now that you have found the squid, you need to know how to catch them. First, you need a squid jig or bait jig. A squid jig is easier as it doesn’t require you to do any more than tying it on and throwing it in. A bait jig will require you to use a bait fish or similar bait and insert the jig into it. These can work very effectively, but are a bit of a mess around and take time.

Check out one of my other posts at The Best Jigs To Catch More Squid to learn more about some of the best jigs around at the moment.

Fixed Location

Whether you’re using a squid jig or bait jig, the key is to let it sink to the strike zone. This is around a foot to five feet off the bottom. If fishing from a fixed location, a slow retrieve with a jerking motion works best. A pause between winds will let the jig sink back to the strike zone, and continue. Just remember to keep off the bottom, as if you get weed on the jig, you won’t get any hits.

Boat

When fishing from a boat, things become much easier. You can find the best ground where you have the best chances. I never anchor if targeting squid, as they are quite territorial and won’t move far.

Set up a drift where you will go over mostly weed with some sand patches between. If the drift speed is right, you won’t even need to cast and retrieve, instead, let the boat do the work. Then all you need to do is sit back as the squid will catch themselves.

If the drift speed to too slow, your jig may end up in the weed, so a slow retrieve with a few kicks is best. Make sure to allow the jig to sink back down close to the bottom before continuing your retrieve.

From Shore

Fishing for calamari from the rocks is also a great option but does become a little more challenging. A fishing rod is your best friend in this scenario you can cast your squid jig out and away from the rocks. Then, it’s simply a matter of slowly winding it back with a few short kicks to give it action.

You will need to wind a little faster than you normally would, or your jig will end up in the rocks. Remember, keep your rod tip high and add in those kicks.

Best Colour

Gold is considered a pretty much all-around color that can be used in any water clarity and time of day but is said to excel first thing in the morning. Silver is another great option particularly in clear water and at night when using a bright light for illumination. If using a bait jig, be prepared to change the bait regularly as squid will make a mess of them, as well as fish also having a go at it.

Another one for dinner

To Wrap Up

Catching squid can and is great fun. All you need is the will, basic knowledge (which you have now) some basic gear, and somewhere to fish. One last thing I will leave you with before you head out. When you do hook on and get to the surface, be prepared for the ink they will surely squirt out.

Squid have an ink sack that they use as a defense mechanism to get away from predators, so be on your guard. I always leave them in the water till I’m sure all ink sack is empty before pulling them up.

Remember to check out The Best Jigs To Catch More Squid to see and find out about some of the best jigs on the market at the moment.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my post as much as I enjoyed writing it. I love squid fishing, and I know you will too. The only thing better than catching some is eating them. Watch this space for more posts on what to do with them once you have caught them. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below.

As Always

Tight Lines

Tony, creator of Get Reel Fishing

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