Yesterday I got an invite from On The Water contributing writer, Jon Pilcher, to join him on a daytime squid trip, and I couldn’t resist. Jon’s a top-notch fisherman, and his 33-foot Hydra-Sports center console is a true fishing machine. Jon’s main passion is swordfishing, and he’s quite good at it. Jon only uses the largest locally-caught squid for his sword baits, so they are prized possessions to him.
I’m also a major fan of squid, and for more than one reason. First off, they’re delicious. Fresh calamari, prepared properly, is gourmet stuff. A lot of gamefish seem to think so, too. Squid is a delicacy to stripers, fluke, sea bass, swordfish and many others. Every spring I like to fish for squid, and whatever I don’t fry up gets vacuum-sealed, frozen and used for bait.
I’ve always heard about local anglers targeting squid during daylight hours, but up until today I had never gotten a chance to give it a try. All my squidding has been done from shore at night, usually among an odd cast of characters at the local pier, huddled around the light post.
On the south side of Cape Cod, the waters off Mashpee and Hyannis seem to hold the highest concentrations of squid. There are usually a few commercial draggers in the area that can help you pinpoint the action. On our trip, all the action was in 20 to 30 feet of water, off of Cotuit.
Jon was the first one to hook up. The squid was on the smaller side, but it was still a good sign. It’s a good idea to let them hang off the side of the boat for a bit so that they squirt their ink into the ocean, not into the boat.
The average squid we were catching was around 10- to 12-inches, like this one proudly displayed by Rich Emberg. Squid are amazing creatures, and when threatened they change colors pretty dramatically.
Small Yo-Zuri jigs seemed to produce best. Green, pink and white are usually the best colors. Some days the squid can be downright finicky.
Squid are equipped with two long, retractable feeding tentacles that they use to capture their prey. When you hook one, it’s important not to set the hook too hard, and reel them in slow and steady, or else all you will catch is tentacles. This feisty squid regained his freedom shortly after the photo was taken.
Squid like to squirt ink and water all over the place when they reach the surface. Get them into a bucket as fast as possible.
I like to call the big squid “Nemos.” This large specimen will make a primo swordfish bait. Hopefully I’ll get to meet this squid again this summer in the Canyons.
This is the rig that worked well for me. If the water is clear and free of mung, it’s not a bad idea to add on another dropper loop and jig to help cover more of the water column.
Rich with a double-header. The big squid on the right would be the “pool winner” for the day, it was over 20-inches long. A true whopper. We ended the day with 45 squid between the three of us in about five hours of fishing. Not a bad day on the water.