[ ‘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
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.
TO CATCH A SQUID.
EQUIPMENT…..FROM THE SHORE.
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.
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
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
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.
WHERE AND WHEN.
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.
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.