Best tips for Catching and Cooking Squid

The best part of catching squid is cooking and eating them. We love to go squid fishing when traveling around Australia along the coastline. These are a real delicacy and simple to catch and take up little space in the freezer. We are often surprised at how we can sit there with several lines out for hours and catch nothing. Then someone arrives and pulls up one squid after another making us look like fools.

Squid we caught on the jetty

I would love a dollar for each time we see this happen to people, that’s why I thought I would write a few tips on the best lures to use when fishing for squid. If you learn a few tips it might save that one from getting away.

Squid can virtually be caught anywhere, we have a few favorite spots where we catch squid although these shall of course, remain a secret.

Sorry about that, although if we told you someone else would say ‘there’s none there’, but like the typical fisherman’s story, they say: ‘you should have been here yesterday’.

What is a squid?

A squid is an elongated cephalopod. They have two larger tentacles which they use to catch their food and eight smaller ones. Their two fins act as stabilizers for swimming. When caught the squid releases a black ink, which is their defence, people are now using this as a delicacy when cooking.

There are approximately 300 different varieties of squid. The giant squid found in some countries can grow up to approximately 35 feet. When pulled from the water many will display a variety of different colours.

Fishing rods and reels

Over the years I have found that you can catch squid no matter what type of rod and reel you use. Although you do need a rod and reel that will take at least 10 kg in weight in case you catch a big cuttlefish. We saw one caught weighing over 9 kg. It was massive and they needed two or three people to help bring it up onto the jetty.

A few dollars spent on good fishing equipment in the beginning will be worth it by the amount of squid and other varieties of fish you will catch.

Hand Lines and floats

Anyone can catch squid with a normal hand line and a squid jig. When we catch squid I usually put two hand lines out with a float about two feet from the jig which keeps the jig from reaching the bottom and caught in the weed. This length will vary depending on the depth of water and tidal changes. When a squid is hooked the float will sink, or bob under, so you know even if you cannot see the squid.

My husband and I both use a rod with a squid jig as well as the hand lines. We cast this right out and drag it in making sure to keep jerking the line from time to time. This attracts the squid’s attention more as though chasing a live prawn or a fish in trouble.

Clothing is important when fishing for squid, wear old clothes as the ink from the squid will permanently stain and ruin them.

Different types of Squid Jigs

Different Colored squid jigs

Squid Jigs are the most important part of your fishing for squid. There are literally hundreds of different types of squid jigs to use. We start with one and if no luck we change it.

Don’t laugh but some days a green jig works wonders the next day a pink one appears to work better. Do not ask me why, but everyone has the same problem.

The gusty winds, tides and clearness of the water can affect how many you catch. We have noticed that you catch more squid on the tidal change.

Wallets to keep your jigs safe

Squid jigs are very sharp that’s why I try to keep mine either covered with the little plastic cover on it when buying jigs. Or you can buy a wallet to keep them so you cannot cut your fingers or hand when searching in the tackle box if they are left loose.

Fishing Safety and Tackle box Equipment

When fishing you need to keep all your fishing gear and equipment safe in one tackle box. There is nothing worse than having all the lines tangled around your squid jigs or tangled in with your fishing traces already setup with hooks attached.

A fish hook caught in your hand is not fun going in and it is much worse coming out because of the sharp barb. In most cases they will have to push the hook right through and out the other side of your finger. Nasty thought.

How to clean your squid

The only equipment that you need for cleaning squid is a bucket and sharp knife. Always grab a bucket of water from the ocean ready to place your squid in as soon as you catch it. This will keep the squid fresh and not cooking in the hot sun on the jetty. Clean the squid soon after catching.

Remember that the ink from the squid does stain your hand and clothes, so wear gloves if you prefer.

Grab the squid’s head in one hand which is behind the eyes and joining onto the mantle. (Mantle is the body that you cut up for squid rings). Hold the tentacles in the other hand and pull carefully until the squid organs slide out. Now slide your fingers under the fin type flaps and pull off.

Inside the mantle you will feel a hard piece like clear plastic. Pull that out and discard. If you wish to eat the tentacles then put the knife just behind the eyes and cut straight across. You now have to remove the bony beak. This is at the top of the tentacles. Squeeze the bit above the tentacles and the beak will come out.

Clean the dark color off the mantle. You can do this with a knife or even use a new scouring pad.

Use a sharp knife and cut the now white mantle across the tube so as to form your squid rings. Wash these and the tentacles ready for cooking. Or you can put into plastic bags and freeze until you wish to cook them.

The picture below shows our meal of calamari, olives and salad. I have to be honest when in a hurry or if we catch too many squid we cheat. Instead of cleaning the squid and cutting it up into rings, we cut the tube down the centre and then cut into strips. They are also quicker to cook that way as they lay flat.

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How to cook squid or calamari

Put some plain flour into a bag add some curry or seasoning of choice.
Add small quantity of oil in a fry pan and heat.
Add the squid rings into the bag of flour and seasoning and shake until all squid parts are covered. If you have a lot do in small batches.
Drop into hot oil and turn once for about a minute no more. If left longer it will be tough.

Eat and enjoy with fresh salads or chips.

Another interesting article regarding catch and release fishing shows on TV