Squid fishing is by far one of the fastest growing areas of our sport at the present time. Traditionally, squid were something that you targeted on the way back in from a day’s fishing out wide. Not so these days though, as more and more anglers are chasing squid outright. Gone are the days when a couple of hand casters were the preferred choice of squidders, with most now opting for light spin rods, spooled with braided line. There are even specialist squid rods available on the Australian market these days, and while that may seem a little bit over the top to some, having used one for some time now, I can tell you that they have made a great deal of difference to my squid fishing. Don’t be put off though, as any light rod will have you in the game.
More importance should be placed on the jigs you use, much more so than the rod and reel. The jigs now available in Australia, particularly WA, have been the single biggest factor in the growth of squidding. Squid Jigs used to be 5 for $10 at any tackle store you visited and, while these have their place, it’s the quality Japanese jigs that are doing the real damage. Names such as Yo-Zuri, Yamashita, Harimitsu, Tsuriken and Breaden are all top quality Japanese jigs available at any good tackle outlet. On face value, these don’t look too dissimilar to the cheap jigs, but the proof is in the pudding. Japanese jigs are designed to perfection, with different actions and sink rates available. As a good all-round size, I usually choose a number 3, but my choice will vary depending on the conditions.
As for colour, I’ve caught squid on every colour under the sun. My current favourite is purple, but this changes all the time. There are some great natural patterns available also, so just experiment. You’ll find different colours work better on different days. The hot colour last week may be this week’s disappointment. Keep trying different colours until you find the jig of the day. Assuming you are now armed with a light spin rod and a handful of different jigs, you’re ready to launch your boat at your local ramp. Small boat fisho’s are blessed with some of the best squidding ground being only minutes from some of Perth’s most popular ramps.
When searching for the best ground to find squid, look for depths of anything over 1m, with weed and sand on the bottom. Squid love to hide in amongst weed and sea grass. I find more weed than sand to be better. Almost all of my squidding is done in depths of less than 10m, not because there are less squid out deeper, just that it’s harder to get your jigs down to the bottom in the strike zone. Again, trial and error should find you some good location, and, similar to different jigs working on different days, I’ve gone back to spots that fired the day before, only to find the squid to be quite thin on the ground. It pays to have a few spots up your sleeve. By now you will be well on your way to a successful squidding session, leaving only the final, and perhaps most important, piece of the puzzle.
That piece is technique. Traditionally, most people have just cast squid jigs out the back of a drifting boat, put the rod in a holder and waited. Now this works, and I will usually still do it most days, but since studying Japanese techniques and adopting them in our local waters, my catch rate has soared. While I will attempt to describe it in words, nothing beats watching the technique in action. Unless you’re a frequent visitor to Japan, your best option is to get onto Youtube and search for the word ‘egi’. This is the Japanese word for squid fishing and there are plenty of good quality videos to choose from.
When some mates and I first started watching these clips, we were amazed at the amount of action that was being given to the jigs. Not just any action either. As we watched, we learned that an ultra aggressive twitching / ripping technique was used by every single angler targeting squid. The other thing that stood out was the amount of time they gave the jig to sink. Squid will almost always hit the jig on the drop. This is where jigs with different sink rates really prove their worth. If fishing shallow, clear water, choose a smaller jig with a slow sink rate. This will keep it in front of any waiting squid for a longer period. When fishing deeper areas, use heavier, faster sinking jigs, in order to keep them close to the bottom in the strike zone for longer.
Don’t be scared of ripping your jig too violently. Fast, jerky retrieves work best. The more I’ve fished for squid, the more I’ve realized that you almost can’t give the jig too much action. Squid are quite aggressive feeders and will chase down a jig with vigour. Remember to give it plenty of time to sink, in order for the squid to attack.
To give you some idea of just how aggressive they can be, earlier this year I converted some surface stickbaits into squid lures. Casting them in clear, shallow water, I had squid come right up to the surface and attack the lures without hesitation. Unfortunately hooking them was another matter! The moral of that story though, is that squid are not shy by any definition, so try different techniques until you find one that works on the day.
It pays to use their aggression to your advantage too. Make sure, that when you do hook up, ALWAYS throw another jig in behind the hooked squid. We have been doing this religiously over the last few months and it has been paying off big time. On two separate occasions on the same day, myself and good mate and squidding convert Pete, hooked 5 squid in a row, simply by casting behind a hooked squid. As soon we unhooked one, the jig went straight back out, hooking up almost instantly. Five squid in less than a minute is pretty good fun!
Like all forms of fishing, you will only see results after putting in the required amount of effort. If you’re serious about it, leave the other fishing gear at home and just go squidding. I guarantee it will change the way you think about things. Since targeting them exclusively on certain trips, we have learned much more than we would have had we spent half an hour chasing them here and there. That also includes ways of avoiding the dreaded ink, but I’ll leave that up to you to discover!!