Squid Fishing — Complete Beginners Guide

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Squid fishing is a great way for beginners and experienced anglers to relax, unwind and have fun with family and friends. It’s also a very lucrative business that you can turn into your full-time career if you’re willing to put in the effort!

If you love the idea of fishing for squid but are not sure where to start and what gear to buy, this guide is for you.

We’ll walk you through everything a beginner needs to know, from choosing the right equipment to preparing your bait. We’ll discuss where and when it’s best to go out to catch squid, as well as some of our favorite spots in the world.

By the time you’re done reading this guide, you’ll have all the information you need to get started right away!

Fishing Gear You’ll Need

It should be noted that you need a fishing rod, not a fishing pole. But how are they different? Fishing poles are constructed of natural materials from wood, cane, reed, and bamboo.

On the other hand, fishing rods are made of standard materials such as fiberglass, kevlar, and graphite. Rods, which are much more common among anglers nowadays, are what you’ll need. 

Almost any rod and reel will suffice. But consider a lighter, longer one since you want to feel even the tiniest changes while fishing.

Successful squidders utilize anywhere from 6- to 20-pound lines, but the more delicate line offers the highest odds of success.

squid fishing
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What Bait Is Best For Catching Squid

Squids have unique feeding habits, which necessitate the use of specialized bait. The goal is to draw their attention to the illuminated region in the water.

Nearly all lures are either bright or have something incorporated in them that illuminates.

Squid Jig

The most common form of bait is a squid jig. It is constructed of colored, semi-transparent plastic. Blue, pink, green, red, orange, amber, and transparent are common hues.

It has a fish-like body that is lighted to attract their attention, as well as one or two rows of sharp points that allow them to be reeled in when they bite.

Squid lures in 2.5, 3.0, and 3.5 sizes are popular. The number represents how fast they will plunge through the water per second.

All varieties of squid jigs will do, but different colors will perform better than others on particular days. It is advisable to include a selection of squid jigs in your tackle box to test until you discover one that works for you.

Live Bait

If you don’t want to invest in a jig or prefer live swimmers, fish using small squid or other popular baitfish, such as live minnows (better yet, bring a whole minnow bucket). Live bait is less frequent than jigs but as effective.

When Is the Best Time To Go Squid Fishing

Go fishing during high tide. Squids like deeper water imply that your chances of finding them increase if there is a high tide. If possible, try to fish during a full moon.

Spring and summer are the best times to go fishing. Warm weather increases the probability for you to find squid, so spring, summer, and even early fall are good seasons to go.

Also, squid feeds at night and is drawn to light, so fishing after dark is the simplest.

Where Are The Best Places To Go Squid Fishing

Public piers are ideal for successful anglers. You don’t need a boat to fish. They like to hide from predators among weeds. Therefore the combination of grass and light at a lighted pier is ideal.

If there isn’t a jetty nearby, or if you prefer to go out on the water, you can go boat fishing. Hungry squid hides in the dark margins surrounding areas of lit water, darting into the bright region in search of food such as juvenile herring and other tiny fish. 

Lights should be placed on the bottom or sides of your boat. If you have a larger boat, you may use an underwater one to reflect light to lure the fish by dropping it to the bottom and raising it back up.

Avoid a location where boats or other anglers are already present. Ink stains on decks are a sign that squid has just been captured nearby.

More so, take note of these best times and locations of squid migration.

  • In late May, it is generally first sighted in Neah Bay.
  • From late June until the end of August, squid arrives at City Pier in Port Angeles.
  • Beginning in early September, it emerges along the Edmonds waterfront
  • In late November and December, they are found in Des Moines and Tacoma.
  • In December and January, they are likely to be found across South Puget Sound.
  • They appear next in Elliot Bay and the Seattle coast.
  • It may also be found in nearly all waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound from late May to the following February.

How To Get Started

Squids are those ghost-like streaks in the water, and it’s important to remember their speed. They can swim backward and forward by utilizing their fins.

Squid jigging is one of the least expensive and efficient ways to fish because the equipment is reasonably priced. Discover the right fishing methods below!

  • Attach your jig to the leader. Then, cast it out and let it descend to the desired depth you believe the squid is hanging out. To find them, you’ll need to experiment with different depths.
  • Jerk your lineup two or three times before letting it fall back down. Continue till you reach the summit. Maintain the jig moving in the water at all times.
  • Varying the sink time can assist you in determining where they are hanging out in the water.
  • When you notice a slight change in the action of your gear, instantly jerk upward to set the hook. Then, when reeling to the surface, maintain a constant upward movement of the rod tip. 

Squid lure hooks are barbless, and most of the time, the squid’s tentacles are just twisted in the prongs. Thus any slack in the line will result in the catch being lost.

Consider using a ledger rig which is a collection of hooks suspended from a single rig. Tie two squid lures to the mainline of a rig and connect a tiny sinker to help it reach the appropriate water column. It is ideal for fishing from a jetty or pier because it can sit while you egg another jig.

If you’re not having much luck with jigging, try varying the lure’s weight, size, or color to discover which one makes the most impact. Also, try looking for youtube for videos to practice your fishing technique!

What To Do After Catching Squid

Squid has a defense mechanism in the form of ink. They squirt ink to intruders who go too close. It is an excellent defense in the sea because it produces a cloud that they may flee quickly.

As you reel in the prongs where tentacles are tangled, be prepared for it to spew the black stuff.

To avoid ink, use a net. Before bringing the caught squid aboard your boat, wait till it has completed spewing ink. It probably still has some ink left on its tentacles if it is still puffy when you get it aboard.

But don’t be too concerned about getting ink on your clothing, hands, or boat. It is water-soluble and may be washed away if you act fast before it dries.

Next, fill a bucket large enough to hold the squid caught with water and put it inside. If any ink is left over, it will remain in the container rather than splattering all over your boat.

Also, keep an eye out for bites. They have a parrot-like beak that they utilize to kill their prey and bite at possible predators. After you’ve captured it, don’t let your fingers remain too long near it.

Tips For Successful Squid Fishing Trips 

Here are some tips from a fishing expert, Dave Hansen of yoursaltwaterguide.com, on how to catch your first calamari!

  • If you see many birds settling in the water with no pelicans, squids are likely in the area. Start slowing down your boat. 
  • Watch out for yellow-looking fuzz in the water. That is almost certainly a squid nest.
  • Anchor on the squid bed before night, and turn on your artificial light over the side. 
  • Underwater lights work better than above-water lights.
  • Always be prepared with a net when it starts to get dark at night. They are extremely quick swimmers who move in groups. When they approach your boat, be ready to scoop them.

Final Thoughts

Squid fishing is a great hobby, but getting started is not easy. It can be frustrating and complicated if you don’t know what you are doing. But with the right gear and technique, they are relatively easy to fish and quite tasty! 

So there you have it. You’re ready to go! Get your first squid and have wonderful fresh calamari and squid in marinara sauce!

Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler
Jon Stenstrom is a fishing enthusiast. He has over 25 years of fishing experience, and 6 years of spearfishing experience, and is currently learning how to boat. Jon has his Open Water PADI Certification and FII Freediver Level 1 Certification. Jon has traveled the world to fish and dive, most notably in the Great Barrier Reef, Baja Mexico, Thailand, and Malaysia. More Articles
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