Chasing squid is a precursor to many successful fishing trips; they’re an all-time favourite live bait for big kingfish not to mention one of the best baits for mulloway and snapper.
It’s not only the fish that love eating them and I’m often torn between loading them up with hooks or loading them up with salt, pepper and a clutch of bread crumbs!
Squid fishing around Sydney is a simple and relaxing way to unwind for a few hours with our local waters supporting a huge biomass of southern calamari that are relatively straight forward to target with a little know how.
Where to find them
I like to chase squid in the lower reaches of an estuary or inshore in shallow water around 5 to 6 metres deep. A sandy bottom interspersed with ribbon weed, kelp and mixed reef is the perfect location. A decent pair of polarised sunglasses helps with identifying the ideal bottom structure and keeping sight of your jig. You’ll often see squid chase one another to the surface or chasing your jigs so it pays to remain vigilant and keep an eye on your jig during each retrieve.
Time and tide
Those large green hued eyes give away the fact that squid are visual predators so clean, clear water coinciding with the last of the run in tide provides the best chance of success. Dawn and dusk are when squid become most active, capitalising on their vision to hunt while remaining relatively safe under the cloak of low light. The top of the tide in the middle of an overcast day is another ideal time if you want to spend a lazy afternoon chasing squid.
The most common likely reason people don’t catch squid is because they use inferior jigs – it really is that plain and simple and investing in a high quality squid jig will improve your catch rates dramatically.
A jig like Daiwa Emeraldas Rattle makes a clicking sound when ripped through the water, imitating the clicking sound of a fleeing prawn and often out fishing all other jigs by a considerable margin. Colour choice can make huge difference in shallow water. The more natural colours in the Emeraldas Nude range can be dynamite on sunny, clear days while the more vibrant colours or those with a dark, gold hue can work wonders in low light. As with any form of fishing, make sure you have a few different colours on hand and keep changing jigs till you dial into colour preferences that squid have on any given day.
Long casts and light outfits
Casting as far as possible will enable you to cover more ground resulting in a greater chance of a squid sighting your jig. A dedicated squid outfit is ideal however I generally use my Freams 2500 loaded with 10lb braid and coupled with a Black Label V2 701MLXS which is a great all-rounder. Using long leaders helps to minimise the chance of the braid spooking the squid – a couple of metres of 15lb fluorocarbon should suffice. Any lighter and you run the risk of losing your jigs when they get caught up in the weed.
Stick with it
I know many people who will cast a squid jig around for a short while then lose focus and quit before really giving it a chance. Squidding is like fishing, there will be stages of tide and times when the squid are unresponsive with other times seeing them plentiful and attacking jigs with gusto. It pays to have a couple of spots under your sleeve, giving each spot six to ten casts before moving slightly to try again. Persist with it, remember to use good quality jigs and with the tips above plus a little experience will see you cleaning black ink off your clothes before you know it!