A ripper bait that’s even better on the plate. Squid fishing has well and truly taken Australia by storm, with Fishos right around the country getting stuck into some 8-legged fishing action. Also known as ‘Egi’ fishing, chasing these weird and wonderful critters is a fun yet challenging way to spend a few hours on the water that comes with plenty of perks - they taste great, are one of the best baits around and look unreal in front of a camera. It’s a win-win-win, right? Squid fishing has absolutely exploded over the past few years and is only getting bigger with Squid Jigs, Egi rods and reels now taking up prime real estate in many BCF stores around Oz.
If you’ve ever thought about casting a jig at an inker or two, it’s time to have a crack. With the right gear and a bit of know-how, relying on the local fish n’ chips joint to tame your calamari hunger will be a problem of the past. The BCFing Experts have put everything we know about these critters into this all-in-one guide that is sure to get you kraken!
Where are Squid Found?
Squid are a coastal dwelling creature that froth on clean ocean water and a constant food supply. We’re lucky enough to have a widespread abundance of these suckers right around the country, from southern green eye calamari down south to feisty Tigers in the north. And while they do have their differences, squid hunting grounds remain pretty bang on from state to state. When on the prowl for a likely spot, look for sandy areas with plenty of underwater structure, preferably kelp beds, seagrasses, and weedy patches. Squid love to seek refuge in these pockets of underwater structure, and they also serve as prime ambush points to hunt passing prey. Certain depths may be better at different times, but as a general squid fishing rule, prime habitat is all about that magic mix of sand and structure. Find yourself a zone with these two features and you’re well on your way to a session for the memory banks.
How to Catch Squid?
Without a doubt, squid jigging is by far the most effective way to bag yourself a feed of tasty calamari. Whether you’re chasing them with the sun shining down or under the cover of darkness, it’s an easy fishing style that even the little tackers will love. Simply cast your jig out, let it hit the bottom, give it a couple of flicks and repeat the process. Squid jigs feature a slower-than-average sink rate so don’t worry if it’s taking a while for your jig to hit the deck, and in most cases, this hang time is when a willing squid will dial in for a crack. If you suspect you’ve hooked an inker, slowly lift your rod and let the jig do the rest - it’s that easy! You’ll know pretty quickly by those tell-tale, addictive squid pulses transmitting through your line and rod. And when you’ve hooked up to a squid, always keep a close eye out for any of his mates following behind. It’s a common sight, and nine times out of ten these curious pals can be caught by simply dropping down another jig. A quickfire way to double or triple your catch within a matter of seconds!
If you’re a little more old school and don’t fancy working an artificial jig, the humble squid spike is still a reliable way to catch a few squid. Simply slide on a pilchard, herring or yellowtail, lob it out and wait for a squid to ‘take the bait’. We’d recommend setting your squid spike (aka squid jag) under a float to give your bait of choice the best presentation underwater.
How to choose a Squid Jig?
At first glance, choosing a squid jig can be a very daunting affair. Jig sizes, colour patterns, cloths, foils, and flashes- where do you begin?! While there certainly is some science behind squid jig selection, we think it’s best to adopt a simpler approach if you’re new to the game. Just like any other lure, it’s the Fisho behind the rod that will get the job done!
As a general rule, stick to natural colours on bright sunny days, and go for more vibrant squid jigs in low light and overcast conditions. It’s important to remember that each day is different, and you never know what jig colour the suckers will be honing in on. Yesterday it was your favourite pink jig, today they’re hitting anything, and tomorrow you won’t get a touch- welcome to the world of squid fishing. For this reason, it’s best to come prepared with a range of colours and keep mixing it up until you find what jig is working best on the day.
Squid jig sizes range from 1.8-4.0 and the same lure fishing principle applies - find a jig that matches the bait size and you’ll be on your way to hooking a few squid. It’s also important to note that the bigger the jig size, the quicker the sink rate. If you’re jigging in water that’s deeper than a few metres, go for a larger jig around 3.0-4.0, this will get into the strike zone quicker and stand out in the darker environment. For shallower water and times when the squid are proving tricky to catch, smaller jigs between 1.8-2.5 are the way to go.
What gear will I need?
Ask any Egi angler and they’ll tell you there’s no better rush than coming up tight to the pulses of a fired-up squid. And while you won’t be on the receiving end of any line burning runs or snapper-esque headshakes, a reasonable sized squid can still pull some string! Rest assured, what’s left behind in the fighting department is certainly made up for on the dinner plate. Did someone say salt and pepper squid? Fighting prowess aside, there’s still a few things to consider when sorting out your Egi gear. Firstly, gearing up for squid can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. We’re all guilty of spending a bit too much coin on fishing gear, and while you certainly can go large with your squid gear, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with keeping it basic. A nice, crisp graphite rod in the 2-4kg or 3-5kg line class paired up on a 2500-3000 reel with suitable braid and leader (we’d recommend 10-14lb) is all you need to catch a few inkers. Most fishos will already have a set up like this lying about at home- your go to flatty flick stick or estuary set up will in most cases double up as a gun squidding combo.
If you want to get a bit more serious (without burning a hole in your wallet), there’s a range of pre-assembled, ready-to-go spinning combos specifically made for chasing squid. Most of these combos are between 7-8ft with a 3-6kg line class- perfect for general purpose squid jigging off the boat or shore. All that’s needed is some line, leader, and a handful of jigs, and you’re ready to get into them. For chasing squid without spending the extra quid, the good old squid fishing combo is an absolute no brainer.
And then there’s the technical Egi gear. Blinged up reels, high-performance spinning rods and PE braided lines - kit yourself out with this gear and the inkers won’t stand a chance! Make no mistake, this gear has been made to give you the best possible chance on the water. The beauty of going down this road is that you’re buying fishing gear that perfectly meets your squidding needs. If you’re a shore-based fisho who needs that extra casting distance, Egi rods between 8-9ft are a mint choice. For more general-purpose squid jigging from the boat or shore, it’s best to opt for a rod in the 7 - 8ft length bracket. Pair this rod up with an Egi spinning reel and the results will simply be ink-redible. These reels are super lightweight, look a million bucks, and perfectly balance on longer Egi spinning rods. Check out our extended range of squid fishing rods and reels to find something right up your alley.
So, you’ve got all the essential squid jigging gear sorted. Before you start firing those jigs into the horizon, check out this list of handy extras that will make your squid fishing journey a whole lot easier:
- Squid Jig Wallet: These handy cases are purpose built for squid jigs and store all your colours and sizes in a neat and organised way. It’s best to grab one of these before your jig collection gets out of control. This ripper Daiwa Emeraldas squid jig wallet is double sided and can hold up to 20 jigs!
- Landing net: There’s nothing worse than dropping a donkey squid at the tail end of the fight, and with a decent net you’ll be putting twice as many squid into the boat.
- Polarised Sunglasses: As mentioned, finding good water is the key to squidding success. A quality pair of specs will cut out sun glare and help you locate quality squid grounds with ease. Most importantly, they will keep your eyes in good shape for years to come.
- EGI Scent: Give your jig that extra one percent with a spray of formulated EGI scent. It’s often the difference between coming home with your tail between your legs or a bucket full of squid!
- Knife: Whether it’s for bait or the plate, a sharp knife is critical to prepare your squid in the best possible way. A quality knife will let you slice squid strips and finely chop calamari rings with absolute ease. Shop the range of fishing knives here.
- Salt and pepper: There’s a hundred and one ways to cook these tasty morsels but it’s hard to beat a feed of salt and pepper squid. Quick and easy to whip up as quick meal, entrée or the main course. A must have? You bet.
It’s no wonder why Aussie fishos have fallen in love with chasing Billy the squid. From casting a squid jig across clean coastal water to hearing your calamari rings pop on the pan, from start to finish, this is a style of fishing you can’t help but enjoy. No rocket science involved - find a likely spot, grab yourself some gear, and forget about having to buy squid from the local fish monger ever again.