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Thursday, 14 July 2016

How To Catch Your Own Calamari!

Hello There! it said before covering my gopro with ink!
In my last post, i wrote about chasing sailfish in the east coast of Malaysia and shared some insights on how to land your first Sail. In this post, i will cover fishing for Squid. The best time to fish for Squid actually coincides with the Sailfish season. They are easy to catch and make for good eating but landing them can be a messy affair. 

They are really masters of camouflage.
I use an ultra light rod paired with a 1000 sized (Shimano Size) reel loaded with 6lb braided line that is connected to 15lb Fluorocarbon leader.You don't require a specialized EGI-ing rod because you will be fishing from a boat and you don't have to cast far. If you don't have an ultra light set up just use the tackle that you have for jigging bait fish. For the lures i usually use size 2.5 in Red, Orange and Pink colors. (Green works too, but i've had more hits on Orange personally) 

These guys fight hard. Not found easily on slow currents.
The diagram below shows two methods of rigging up. They are both equally effective but it will be easier to change sinkers (Size 2 -4) with the first illustration. I use about 1 and a half to 2 feet of FC leader from the swivel (Size 2) to the lure.  I use a low drag setting because Cephalopods are very fragile. Too much force and you'll be left with just a tentacle!

God Bless the soul who took time to draw this out!

There are two types of Squid that you will encounter. The most common is the Big Fin Reef squid also known as the "Green Eye" and the Arrow Head Squid, which is a little elusive and requires a little more effort to catch. I personally find that you have to work further up the water column at a faster pace to entice the Arrow Heads. The "Green Eye" however, are always obliging when you are fishing for them.

Green Eye
Arrow Head
What i usually do when we are baiting for Sailfish and there is no bite or if we are jigging for bait fish near a fish aggregation device, is drop my Egi lure in and let it sink to the bottom. The depth around 15-30 meters. (40 meters max) I give it a couple of twitches while reeling and then let it sink back down. I repeat this a few times.  If suddenly, there is a subtle pull and the lines feels heavy, there is a squid on. Set the hook with a simple flick of the wrist, maintain tension and slowly reel the squid up. Be prepared for a couple of dashes from the bigger specimens. Just stay calm and continue reeling. When you see the squid it is time to prepare for the landing.

Just keep calm, maintain the tension and reel when it stops running.
Once the squid surfaces, avoid reeling it too close to the boat or try lifting it into the boat. Squid are capable of squirting ink up to 3 times (sometimes more) when agitated. Wait for your boatman or deckhand to land the squid for you. They have a technique make the squid release all the ink before throwing it into the designated holding container. (If your squid is just squirting water, keep the head above the surface so it is not able to reload more water)

As you can see Orange has served me well.
 If you have to land it yourself, keep the head of the Squid away from you as you grab the leader, use your other hand to hold it firmly just behind the head. Turn the Squid outwards, and insert your index finger into the cavity where the head connects to the body. This will irritate the squid and you will see an expulsion of whatever ink or water it has left. Once this is done, you can throw it into the container. Don't be surprised if you hear them trying to squirt more ink out when in the bucket. To retain freshness, gut them (the deckie will usually do this for you) and keep them in ice. They also make really good sashimi for those who enjoy it.

When the bite is hot, multiple hook ups are common and coolers are filled pretty fast. 

Tackle Summary
Rod: 3-6lb or 4-8lb if you really wanna have some fun
Reel: 1000 Sized Shimano
Line: 6-10lb
Leader: 15-20lb
Swivel: Size 2
Sinker: Size 2-4
Squid Lure: Size 2.5 Orange, Red, Pink, Green

I use a Major Craft Go Emotion 4-8lb paired with a 1000 Sized Shimano Stradic loaded with 6lb PowerPro braided line and 15lb YGK FC leader. Swivels and Sinkers from Surecatch. As for lures, I have tried everything from Yamashita to Shimano to Surecatch. They ALL work. Just a matter of preference and budget.