CALAMARI FOR ALL!
If you keep your eye on the tiger squid, you will be rewarded with fresh Calamari.
I don’t think that there are many anglers out there that wouldn’t love a feed of Calamari. Well wouldn’t it be even better if it was your very own fresh caught squid that you were eating. If this sounds like it would be up your alley, then read on.
On one of my recent trips to the close in reefs off Mooloolaba we had a very slow session on the reef fish, but were lucky enough to make up for this with six large squid. When I say large, I mean that when you are cleaning the hood section out, it covers your whole fist and arm down to your elbow and ends up making enough calamari rings to feed a small army. I have never really been interested in squid fishing until I saw how much line a large tiger squid can pull off your spool as they take the jig. My 5-9kg ATC hard stick was buckled over and the 20lb braid was peeling off my spool as the squid took a dive after taking my jig and feeling the sharp prongs sink into its tentacles. That large tiger squid was cooked up fresh the next day at Calamari rings and boy did it taste sweet.
The species that frequents our sunshine coast waters during the cooler months in good numbers is sepioteuthis lessoniana aka tiger squid or northern calamari. They live on the reefs, rocky bars offshore and around sea grass beds, rock walls and jetties in the rivers.
As for the best times, tides and moons for targeting tiger squid, this is up for much debate. My basic theory is, fish at dawn, dusk or overnight for best results. If you are in a boat with lights on board or on a well light jetty then the new moons is the best. From the boat you should turn every light on to attract the squid to you and put a burley trail of chopped up pilchards to help them find you quicker.
As for squid jigs the cheap $5 predator and $8 Yo-Zuri in 2.5 or 3.0 jigs work very well. I also like the SureCatch stainless squid stem jigs, which are used for rigging whole pilchards. The key with squiding at night is to have a glow in the dart jig or a glow stick rigged about 30 cm above the jig to attract them. Squid will come right up close to you within a rod length following up a bait or jig, but usually they will hang in the shadows, so this is always a proven place to work your jig. If you’re in a boat try jigging underneath it or out the back on the edge of the shadow.
Stem squid jig rigs should be rigged under a float when fishing from a jetty or bank, so that it moves up and down with the winds chop and tide, along with avoiding snags. Squid jig lures can be left in the rod holder while you are bait fishing in offshore waters as they will bob around with the boat or can actively worked over a shallow reef. It doesn’t pay to leave your drag too tight when chasing squid, otherwise the prongs will pull free from the squids skin.
Working a squid jig is no different to working a soft plastic, let it drop to the bottom and lift your rod tip up wards and let it sink again taking up the slack line. Repeat this jigging technique in a vertical and horizontal zig zag for good results.
When you hook a squid, before you bring it to close, try to use your rod to direct its mouth away from you so that all ink that is shot doesn’t end up on you. Have several empty buckets to place the squid after netting them. It doesn’t pay to let them release all of their ink in the water, because this may deter other squid in the area. Clean the squid in the buckets and put them on ice and discard the ink just before you leave that spot.
Best spots to target tigers:
The Mooloolaba rock walls and boat moorings.
The reefs around Old Women Island, the gneerings, currimundi, Murphy’s, Coolum, Sunshine and the 5 mile off Caloundra.
Tiger squid will be lurking on the local reefs and rocky walls for weeks to come, providing anglers with a challenge, well worth the effort.
LOCAL FISHING REPORT
Noosa: Snapper, Sweetlip and Spanish Mackerel up to 12kg from Sunshine Tailor, Whiting and Dart along North Shore and Teewah. Bream and chopper Tailor at the river mouth on the top of the tide. Trevally in Woods bay on lures. Mud crabs in Noosa Waters.
Maroochydore: Tailor to 4.4kg from Mudjimba Beach. Flathead up to 61cm from the mouth of Petrie creek to the Bli Bli bridge. Whiting from Twin Waters jetty to Goat Island. Trevally near Coolum Creek and in the Cod Hole. Mud crabs to 1.4kg in the creeks and along the wetlands stretch.
Kawana: Snapper tusk fish, sweetlip and large numbers of squid around Old Woman Island and the Gneerings. Golden Trevally up to 1.5kg around La Balsa Park. Tailor up to 2kg from the beaches during the early morning and late afternoon. Luderick from the end of the Kawana rock wall.
Caloundra: School Mackerel, Snapper and Sweetlip from the 5mile and Currimundi. Flathead and Bream from the mouth of Bells Creek on the run out tide. Trevally and Bream in the Pelican Waters Canals. Bream and Luderick from the boardwalk on the top of the tide.
This nice sized tiger squid was taken by Len Elson while drifting with a squid jig around Old Women Island.
Jeff Vries uses glow in the dark 3.0 size squid jigs at night to catch his tiger squid.
Chris caught this nice dusky flathead around the Bli Bli Islands on a recent trip.