By Jesse Rotin
I don’t think you could find a more accessible and enjoyable inshore species than squid, considering they can be taken year-round, the opportunities to find them are endless and best of all, they make a delicious meal.
Although squid are among some of the most intelligent creatures, they do have their weaknesses or habits, which after some thought can be broken down and taken on a regular basis. Shore-based fishing in my opinion, is the most rewarding method to catch squid and although it does set some challenges at times, it requires minimal preparation and opens the door to so many accessible locations.
Location, Location, Location
Squid and reef go hand in hand and it’s not hard to see why. Reefs provide shelter, a place to spawn but probably most importantly to these short-lived eating machines, food. Most land-based locations have some sort of growth dwelling beneath the surface, whether that be rocks, pylons, grass beds or just simply, a rubbly bottom. Clear water and calm conditions are vital on your explorations for squid, so it pays to hunt around areas which are protected from wind.
Because filling the stomach is so high on a squid’s agenda, they’ll follow their prey wherever it may go and frequently show up in open areas with no reef at all, especially after dark. The baitfish and crustaceans squid pursue often seek refuge under artificial light, so dialing in on locations with lights, particularly those which overhang the water, will increase your chances. Squid are inquisitive critters and have a habit of sneaking up out of nowhere, so keep your eyes peeled at all times.
- jetties, piers and wharves
- rock spits, break-walls and harbours
- boat ramps
Time It Right
Squid are masters of disguise and just like a chameleon have the ability to alter their complexions to blend into their surroundings by adjusting pigments sacs beneath their skin called chromatophores. Adapting to the environment helps these stealthy hunters stalk their prey unnoticed, making them available targets at any time of the day. However, most of the action from the shore seems to take place around the low light periods. Squid possess some of the best eyesight going around and use their large camera lens like eyes to feed under the cover of darkness. In these darker parts of the day squid will venture closer to the shore in search of prey. This behaviour not only makes their target more vulnerable but also brings them into close proximity of any land-based anglers and their jig.
Squid can be taken at any stage of the tide but it’s certainly beneficial for anglers to aim their focus around the high tide cycle, as it enables squid to move up into the shallowest of depths and generally produces an influx of clean seawater.
Pack light and be mobile, remember covering ground is crucial in finding productive areas. I like to take a shoulder bag packed with jigs spanning a range of colours and sizes, some spare leader plus a few tools and that will be more than enough for a session of eging. Size 2.5-3 jigs are perfect to start off with but chop and change to suit your location and conditions. Generally, the shallower the water, the smaller the jig and vice versa; now this isn’t gospel but can be something to consider. In addition to this, if a squid is in sight but not convinced then opting for a smaller jig can be just enough to entice them to take the offering. Long casts aid in reaching deeper water but never underestimate the water around you and as I mentioned earlier, squid could be right under your nose. Everyone has their favourite retrieves when it comes to squidding and to be honest, as long as you give the jig time to sink down and impart action, then you can’t go wrong.
My Squid Fishing Outfit
- Emeraldas V 8.3ML/Emeraldas Air FC LT 2500
- J-Braid Grand Multi 10lb mainline/ J-Thread Fluorocarbon 10lb leader.
- Emeraldas Nude Squid Jigs 1.8-3-5
- Daiwa Shoulder Pouch
- Headlamp (low light periods)
- Quality Polaroid Sunglasses (day time periods)
- Landing net or Squid Gaff (Optional)
Researching potential spots beforehand using either Google or Google Earth can make a world of difference. Google Earth offers satellite views from above on what’s below, for example weed-beds and rocks. Reading stories online about other anglers’ experiences could also shed some valuable insights on how best to approach the desired location.