'squids In'

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                                      SQUIDS IN..!

[ ‘Veined squid ‘ ….loligo Vulgaris ]

‘ The harbour lights golden glow shimmer across a mirrored harbour 

still and glass like.The silence broken occassionaly by a distant rogue 

wave running to shore.November’s chill bites to the bone as darkness 

throws an ebony blanket across grey skies,melting day into night.

Under the cover of dusk’s failing light squid come forth from secret 

lairs to ambush,hunt and feast upon small prey fish.’

Squid are sociable creatures often found in great numbers roaming

open waters in search of  succulent food items such as fish,ocassional 

prawns and shrimps and bait fish.Some however are lonesome 

creatures living a solitary life.During the months of October to March

squid prefer  the cooler depths of deeper water ranging from 20-50 

metres,approaching shalllow margins around jetties,piers,sea walls 

and marinas as dusk melts into darkness.

Attracted to those places that are well illuminated at night time,to 

feast upon congregations of  bait fish drawn into the light.

Big pollack,coalfish and double figure cod love a meal of juicy squid, 

swallowed whole in one gulp these greedy fish willl hoover up as 

many as three at a time.Fresh squid sourced from local fish mongers 

and fishermen often outfish frozen bait.

So why not have a go at catching your own ?


Squid have long tapered bodies creamy white in colour and about 

twelve inches long.Large predatory eyes dominate the head which is 

rounded.Unlike other marine species squid eyes have a lens and are 

mammal like.Hunting and prey selection is by sight alone.

Squid have ten arms covered in suckers two are longer than the

others with flattened tips known as tentacles.These long arms are

used for catching food items.

Found in mid to upper water levels dietry items consist of small fish

species with occassional shellfish such as prawns and shrimps.

When danger threatens black ink injected into the water from the 

squid quickly spreads into a large dense cloud masking the squids 

escape from lethal eyes and teeth.

Concealment from predators is essential for survival.Squid have the 

ability to change their skin colour to whatever their immediate 

surroundings are.

Fish species such as pollock,cod and rays predate on squid 

whenever the opportunity arises.Sperm whales too pose a great threat 

diving down deep in search of succulent squid shoals to feast upon.

Squid do not swim as such but propel themselves by sucking water 

into their bodies through two slits.One below each eye.

Water passed over the gills is re-directed out through a syphon

beneath the head.Sharp muscular contractions force a powerful jet of

water from the syphon pushing the squid forward at speed.

To swim slowly squid simply beat their rudders gently.To move 

backward,forward,left or right the squid simply directs the syphon in

the appropriate position.


Having spotted a meal the squid glides gently towards it’s intended

victim head on.With lightning speed the tentacles shoot forward.

Suction pads loaded with tiny barbs hold the victim securely.In the 

same instant the tentacles are withdrawn with the victim wrapped up 

in a tangle of arms as the squid retreats backwards away from the 

point of capture.

Drawn into the mouth or strong beak which is not unlike a parrot’s 

salivary poisons disable the victim which is torn to pieces swallowed 

and digested at a later date.


Weighted lures of wood or plastic moulded into a shrimp like shape

with feather gills and a double row of non barb hooks at the tail end 

are the norm.Colours vary from blue back..green back..flame..

golden shiver..pink head..and shiner.Small light sticks can be

inserted into the bodies of some of these   lures giving as an added

attraction at night.



 A stout 9 foot spinning rod combined with a fixed spool or 

baitcasting multipler reel loaded with 12lbs bs nylon will suffice.A 

swivel and 24” trace of 20lbs bs secured  to the swivel terminating at 

the lure.To act as a shock leader …Takes can be hard.

Various drilled bullit or barrel leads for added distance and fishing at 


A variety of lures covering alternate weight ranges and colours.

For boat fshing jigging with a 12 lb rated boat rod is ideal and light 

enough to feel the squid’s every move.


Jigging for squid or  ‘eging ‘ is a simple affair,sink and draw,straight 

retrieve and jigging at depth with specially designed shrimp like lures 

which range in colour from greens and blues through to reds and  

flourescent pinks.Decorated with feathers at the head end  to 

aid movement and give the illusion of gill plates.

Sink and  Draw.

Shorten the trace length to 20 ” otherwise the lure will entangle with 

the main line every cast and slip either a drilled bullit or barrel 

weight onto the line above the swivel.Select a lure,secure and cast 

into deeper water.

On the retrieve raise and lower the rod tip with a slight pause to 

enable the lure to ‘ flutter ‘ enticingly unaided.

Squid tend to favour mid water for hunting and feeding.

Straight Retrieve

Simple straight forward overhead cast.Fishing the selected lure on a 

long leader of about 26”Allow the bait to sink to mid water and 

retrieve just fast enough to fish the lure at the required depth.As the 

bait wriggles and flutters so it catches the attention of any squid that 

maybe nearbye.


Jigging from a boat entails dropping the lure into the depths down to 

mid water level and simply raising and lowering the rod tip.Some 

weight may be required depending on the state of the tide and depth 

of water being fished.Fish a shorter trace of 20 ” with the weight 

situated above the swivel.


Takes can be solid as the squids tentacles shoot out and envelope the 

lure,and so gentle too that that they are barely noticeable.

Do not strike when a take is felt simply continue winding in gently 

but steadily.Should the squid pull back with any semblance of power 

stop winding,the reel clutch should be pre-set on a light adjustment 

thus allowing a minimum of resistance both on the take and 

recovering line.

When the squid stops pulling resume winding in.

Squid skin is extremely soft and tears easily many are spooked and 

lost through applying too much force.

Fish the lures all the way to the surface or into your feet when shore 

fishing.Squid more often than not follow the bait but can be hesitant 

to strike.Likewise they often attack the lure side on and not from 

underneath failing to ‘ hook ‘ up.


Most frozen squid on the market today are known and sold as 

calamari which should be white in colour any traces of pink 

colouration often means that the bait has been frozen ,thawed and re-

frozen at some point.

A tough durable lasting bait re-frozen squid does not fish as well but 

ideal for tipping combination baits.

Illex or European squid are naturally tinged with pink and fish just as 

well either as a combination or solo as too do British squid which are 

bigger and pure white in colour.


Vast shoals of squid congregate along the length of the Continental 

shelf migrating inshore to breed.Attaining weights of a 1/4 upto 2 

kilos.Maturing within one year,life expectancy is short due to 

continued predation and a natural lifespan that only covers maximum 

of three years .

Found throughout British waters the winter months are favoured for 

fishing.’ Seasons ‘ vary dependant on location and squid can be picked 

up during the summer months dependant upon water temperatures 

which must be on the cool to cold side to entice squid into the region.

Scotland..Moray Firth..Late August-early Dece

Shetland Isles..Late November-Janu


North West Scotland- all year round..December recognised as probably

the best month.

South West Scotland…September-January.

English Channel…Late August-January.

North Sea…August-December

Recognised squid fishing areas would include the Dorset coast where 

squid fishing on a small commercial basis is still undertaken today.

Brighton sea wall turns up squid and cuttlefish to jigged lures and 

over at Weymouth the pleasure and stone piers fish well.



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