Squid

UPDATE

Whilst catching squid is not the most difficult thing in the world to do, particularly if they are about in numbers, the introduction of dozens of new and improved squid jags has forced me to part with a few more dollars when shopping for new ones.

It's all about the jags.  I was of the opinion that all squid jags are the same.  They all looked pretty much alike and there was no way I was going to outlay $20 (or more) for a single squid jag when in the bargain bin they were selling what looked like the same thing for $5 each.  Up until very recently I remained stubborn and stuck with the cheapies.  It took a trip off metro Adelaide targeting squid to convince me otherwise.

We were only a few hundred metres from shore.  The water was very clear (essential when after squid), about 2.5m to 3m deep and the bottom was sand and weed (broken bottom).  We had anchored whilst we set up our rods with squid jags.  I had tied on a bright pink, size 3 el-cheapo ($5 special) and was waiting for my son to tie on an expensive blue coloured jag (this one cost a smidge over $20).  It too was a size 3.  While I was waiting, I had a cast.  The jag had sunk about a metre before the line went tight and I felt that familiar pull.  One cast and one squid.  Told ya the cheapies worked.

After boating the squid, we started our drift.  I had only just pulled the anchor when my son hauled another one over.  I hurled out the pink jag.  To cut a long story short, we ended up with our limit of 30 squid after 4 or 5 drifts.  The expensive blue jag slaughtered them, and must have caught at least 20.  I tried a blue cheap one and caught a grand total of one.  I ended up swapping to a green and orange high end jag and got some respect back, bagging half a dozen or so, but by then the damage was done.  My son had just about bagged out.  

This is a pattern that has repeated itself on a few occasions now.  The cheapies will catch squid, but the high end models will catch you more.  It must have something to do with the way they perform in the water - ie sink rates and action etc.  

Another victim of the "high end" squid jag

 A Marion Bay Jetty squid.

When I was a kid, squid were used strictly as bait.  Fishermen used to walk along the jetties and buy them off of kids for the afternoon whiting trip.  It was when I reached my teenage years the squid, or calamari as it's known in the restaurants, became a widely accepted seafood. 

I probably catch more off the rocks now than I do off of jetties, but if I had to pick a jetty I would choose Marion Bay on southern Yorke Peninsula.  Allthough my last attempt fishing here drew a blank, most times it can be relied upon to produce a few.  Ardrossan jetty on the eastern side of the Peninsula I have found to be worthwhile too.

Run in tides seem to be the best and early morning, evening and through the night are the ideal times.  Fishing around the jetty lights at night is still a good option.

The prawn imitation lures are now used almost exclusively, however, I have found that at Marion Bay, traditional jags baited with fish seem to work very well.  At Ardrossan, the lures seem to have the advantage.  I don't know why that is, but it is a pattern that has repeated itself on a number of occasions. 

On Eyre Peninsula, the fishing's even better.  Taylor's Landing in Lincoln National Park is an absolute gem of a spot if you are after squid.  Fishing is done from the rocks and fish baits work very well.  I first fished here about 20 years ago with a couple of friends.  I returned 15 years after that and the squid were still there, and, not 18 months ago, I travelled over there and again caught squid.  Required gear is really only a couple of handlines with baited jags and floats.  The average size of the squid at Taylor's Landing is much bigger than those caught on Yorke Peninsula.

Fishing over weedy, reefy bottom is essential.  Sand is no good as it provides no cover for the squid.  Fishing over small sand patches that are surrounded by weed or reef is Ok though.  You can pick the jetties where squid are likely to be caught by the nature of the seabed and all the ink stains on the planks.

Fishing off the ocean rocks into clear, relatively calm water will also produce squid.

No matter what location, clear water is essential.  Squid hunt by eyesight (as evident by the size of their eyes).

Technique is simplicity itself.  Either cast a lure and slowly retrieve it over the area, or suspend a lure or baited jag under a float, ensuring the lure ot jag drifts at least a foot off the bottom. 

Squid feel like you have hooked a lump of weed, it's just a case of keeping the line tight and winding it in.  When it is landed, be careful as it may not have squirted all it's ink.  It's thick, black ink doesn't smell too good and will stain just about anything.  You can, however, have some fun by pointing the squid in someone else's direction. 

Cleaning squid takes a bit of practice, but the easiest way is to grab hold of it's head and the pen (the transparent "backbone") at the same time and steadily pull the head and pen away from the body.  Most of the guts will come with it (hopefully).  Then it's just a matter of pulling off the skin and cleaning out the "tube" and it will be ready to cut into rings.

Caught off the beach, Cable Bay, Innes National Park.