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  1. 10 Weeks Into A New Hobby 10 weeks ago I started fishing. First, with a hand line and a basic travel rod on the second day. A few small fish were hooked up, but the highlight of the day was meeting @DerekDand @Wes. Derek's enthusiasm for fishing is clear and he has generously shared his wealth of knowledge and abundance of experience with myself over the last 10 weeks. I've learnt what can only be described as an insane amount, and am very fortunate that I've been able to pick all this up during lockdown and have a lot of great fishing spots within 5km from home. I've made a point to explore and found over 30 places to go, and have enjoyed being out in nature. Over these 10 weeks, I've gone from knowing nothing to landing squid, flathead and a kingfish! Hopefully this will serve as inspiration or some useful information to the next person starting out. The Basics I generally have an analytical approach to things, which resonated well with Derek's philosophy - if he couldn't answer any of my questions then he needs to go find the answer. I've made sure to practice managing my tackle and knots, as getting the basics right makes you more efficient and means you can spend more time chasing fish. At the same time, I've made sure to roll my sleeves up and learn by doing - I'm not going to catch anything if the rod is in the car, and every time I go out I can learn something - even if I don't catch fish, I'll still be trying to improve my casting or knots. I've also found it's important to have a specific plan, for example: I want a fish to eat, so I'm going to try and catch a flathead. Flathead are bottom feeders and might be found on sand flats, so I need to work my lure across the bottom in these areas to have a good chance of catching one. Lures are effective for targeting specific fish, but you need the right approach and setup to match it. Rod & Reel We spoke about a few different types of rod and reels, but Derek recommended my first rod is the Atomic Arrowz AAS-270UL 3-14g 2-4kg 7'0" 2 piece with a Shimano Sedona 2500, running 4lb braid and 8lb mono leader. I absolutely love the setup, and get excellent casting distance and accuracy. The rod feels incredibly versatile. The 4lb braid actually has a much higher breaking strength than advertised, but this varies by brand. Knots I use the FG Knot to tie the braid to mono. To get up to speed quickly, I spent hours with the TV on practicing the knot. It's really worth spending time practicing in easy conditions - it suddenly gets a lot harder when you're out in the wind with cold hands. I also used the knots to lift a dumbbell off the floor to test their strength. It's surprising how much weight a small line can take. I've been using the uni knot to tie lures onto the mono without issue. Carefully doing the knot minimises line wastage, so I have to re-tie the FG / leader less frequently. Lures We primarily started out with Soft Plastic Lures - Berkley Power Bait 3 inch minnows and grubs. Alongside this, I got some metal lures: the Halco Twisty and Ecogear ZX40, a range of Yamashita squid jigs, and more recently some hard body lures. Casting Achieving both distance and accuracy is important when you're fishing off land. You've got limited places you can stand unless you know how to walk on water, and a 10% increase in cast distance means you actually cover 20% more ground, because the area is circular (radius squared). I've also learnt to cast from different positions: forehand, backhand and over my left shoulder. This lets me counteract the wind with a different casting trajectory or work around obstacles wherever I'm fishing from. It's also become natural and efficient to cast this way, so I don't physically tire or strain myself. Retrieves Derek has shown me several retrieves to get the best action out of the plastics. Whilst you can just run the plastics back, making the minnows twitch and dart like a scared baitfish grabs the attention of predators and both forces the fish to act and gives them the opportunity to do so. Fishing Spots We've also spent a lot of time talking about fishing spots - how you deal with the wind and make it work in your favour, what makes an area good or bad at different tides, and how to look out for structure, how deep weeds grow, and so on. Blackfish - Week 1 On the first day I met Derek, it was my first day of using a rod, and I was sending bait out without much luck. Derek and Wes had come out to catch Blackfish using weed with a float. Derek was happy to share what they were up to, and he'd just begun teaching Wes recently. He made light work of taking a blackfish out the water. It was clear that having an effective plan was crucial: right place, right time, right bait. Then it was Wes's turn to land a fish. Under Derek's instruction, another fish came out of the water not long after. Wes kindly lent me his rod, and I got to have a go. Despite my inexperience, some basic tips from Derek (keep it away from the structure!) helped me land a fish too. Australian Salmon - Week 2 At the end of the second week of my fishing, Derek hooked up an Australian Salmon on a 3 inch minnow and kindly handed me the rod to see if I could land it. This absolutely hooked me. It was a lot of fun to bring it in, and by the time we got it in the fish was exhausted. It's important to me to treat fish we're not keeping correctly, and we promptly released the fish rather than taking a photo. Catching Squid - Week 3 & 4 I had my mind on some recipes involving squid (more on that in a future post), so decided I'd go hunting for them. Armed with some Yamashita Squid Jigs, I set out to catch some squid. The general premise is to let the jig sink down, then twitch in back up through the water column. The squid come in and grab it, and I understand they have excellent eyesight and so prey in lower light conditions (e.g. dawn/dusk) and are fast swimmers. They also tend to travel in groups, so other squid might follow yours up, and if you're fishing in a group it's worth working together. The Yamashita squid jigs have different sink rates (which is not just their size). Density determines sink rate, and my first jig was size 2.2 with 8-9s per m sink, which takes a while if you want it to drop down 5m. There were several failed attempts going after squid - once in a strong wind where it was impossible to get a good cast in, and following a storm there was no activity (dirty water?). However, practice makes perfect. After persisting, I landed my first squid (and my first solo catch). The squid was promptly killed and prepared for lunch as calamari with chips and salad. Thankfully Derek advised me on how not to get inked, simply by ensuring the jet isn't coming towards you before softly laying the squid down. I now also have a size 2.5 jig with 4-5s per m sink rate. I strongly prefer this, as it lets me cover a lot more ground. Not only does it cast further, but the faster sink means I can work through the area better. The advantage of the slower sink rate is that it makes it easier to avoid snags if there are weeds present. I've also got a blacklight, but tend to only use it when it's darker. You can expect a future post about my squid ink risotto: Flathead for Dinner - Week 5 After landing and preparing squid, I decided I wanted to chase Flathead - which is a great eating fish and abundant in Sydney harbour. Flathead is a bottom feeder, and I targeted it using the soft plastic grubs. By running it along the bottom with twitching and darting motions then pauses, the grub becomes an easy and attractive meal. During this week, I fished a bit in Middle Harbour. I hooked and dropped a well sized flathead much to my dismay, when I was trying to figure out how to land it, and then landed a smaller flathead a couple of days later, which I returned to the water. And the end of the week, I got a legal sized flathead with returned home and got filleted. This went into a pasta dish which was delicious. Kingfish - Week 6 On the Monday of Week 6, Derek asked if I wanted to join him for an afternoon fish. It was low tide, and we went up to middle harbour and out on some rocks. Derek was aiming for some blackfish with his Fly Rod, and showing the rod to me in more detail, while I was using the Berkley Powerbait 3 inch minnows and working the water column. We noticed a splash about 15-20m offshore, and I cast in that direction and quickly worked the minnow back, making it dart with pauses. This is approach Derek used to hook the Salmon he handed me. On my second cast, the fish went for the minnow and was locked on. The first couple of runs were strong, and Derek made sure I didn't try and rush the fish back in. At this stage, we didn't know what it was, but it was taking off a decent amount of line. Although there was some structure in the area, there was enough room to let it run. I made sure to lock the butt of the rod against my forearm, so I could fight the fish efficiently. If the fish was rushed in, it'd be very hard to control near the rocks, and we knew we'd loose it on the line. After the first 3 strong runs, Derek suspected it was a king. You can feel the fish swimming along, and then almost pausing and "lining up" before it runs. Kings will try and scrape the line off against structure, or wrap the line around structure, which is why I needed to let it run and tire out in the open space. The fight kept going, and after 6 runs my arm was burning and I was putting a good amount of effort in. I kept working the fish back. The 7th run felt tired, and was a lot shorter, but I didn't rush it, and as the fish got closer, it made a last ditch 8th run which was flat out, and significantly more aggressive, and then it was done. Derek got a landing net from the car whilst I kept the fish swimming in small circles, but not letting it recover, and I then swam the king into the net and landed it. I took the king out for a photo, and it's about 55cm long. I then stepped into the water, and swam the fish, before holding it by the tail, when it then gave a kick and was released off. I felt sick to the stomach from the adrenaline, and my boots were soaked through, and I won't forget it any time soon. All in, it took about 15 minutes to land the fish (and all on a light rod and line). Catching the king was the culmination of everything I'd learned - my casting range and accuracy, the retrieve of the minnow, the line and knots holding, fighting the fish patiently like the Salmon, then safely landing the fish, handling it and returning it to the water. The next morning I woke up and my first though was... when's the next one? 2nd Rod and Hardbody Lures - Week 6 & 7 Over the next couple of weeks, we started practicing casting with my 2nd rod. The Shimano Raider 762 15-45g 5-8kg 7'6" 2 piece. Derek has kindly lent me a Shimano Sedona for practice, but I'm planning to get a Shimano Stradic 4000 on the weekend, with braid + mono leader. This rod feels like an absolute weapon, but has given me incredible casting range. We also got started with hardbody lures - the Bassday Sugapen, the MMD Splash Prawn and OSP Bent Minnow. Each lure can be retrieved in a slightly different way to get the best action, and even though we were limited in the areas I could practice, I did land a tailor with the bent minnow. It can be retrieved to swim just below the surface and then float up like a dead baitfish, making it an easy target. Bigger Flathead - Week 8 Having got better with my casting, retrieves and general confidence, Derek and I were having a casual fishing session with a nice view of the bridge and the opera house, and I pulled a 48cm flatty out of the water. This was caught on the Berkley 3inch minnow, covering ground and running it along the bottom. I returned this to the water, but was able to directly lift it out on the lightweight setup without undue strain on the rod. The One That Got Away - Week 9 I hooked up a Silver Trevally, and got it under control and ready to lift out, then... dropped it and lost it. I was rushing because a storm was rolling in, and I didn't want to wait around, but lesson learned! Alongside this, I've been refining my casting and knots further, and practicing more with hardbodies. Kingfish in the Summer - Week 10 With Summer round the corner, I've been learning techniques for chasing Kings using freshly caught squid bait, and how we can prepare the squid to use strips or the head, how we cast that out and work it back, and the usage of floats etc for setting the bait at a desired height. Hopefully as the water warms up, we'll get some bigger kings moving in. Now that the travel restrictions have eased, I'm also going yabby/nipper pumping this weekend outside of Sydney Harbour, as another source of fresh bait to use. Whilst I enjoy plastics and they're clearly effective, it's useful to have different tools depending on my objective, and how much time I have. Plastics are very low maintenance, and can just be left in the car with my other fishing gear ready to go whenever I feel like it.
  2. Hi All, (Work in progress – putting this in as a placeholder. Also sourcing more photos to insert) Most of my successes with kingfish and jewfish has been through the use of squid as bait. I prefer squid I have caught myself as I know how fresh it is and how it has been handled. My introduction to squid fishing with jigs was pretty basic. I have put in a lot of hours in since then to refine my technique with a few aha moments along the way. I thought I’d compile some of the advice columns I’ve put together into one post. To give credit to those before me, @slinkymalinky did an extremely good article on squidding several years ago which got lost in the site renovation and is still worth reading: To Stefano – thank you for the company on squidding sessions and letting me use some of those wonderful photos. Now for those people who prefer an abridged version in video format there is an excellent one by Yamashita which will cover a lot of information on squid jigging very quickly: While putting this post together I came across an nice article on squidding written several years ago (I don’t agree with the sink rate advice as I think the author has confused it with size but the rest looks well researched) – specifically have a look at the section on retrieve styles. http://www.fishingworld.com.au/news/egi-master Before I get into the details. Squid move around and up and down through the water column. Asking for a squid spot doesn’t really help in that 15 minutes can make all the difference between them being there and the dreaded donut. There are areas in Sydney harbour where I catch them more consistently but it can be 1st cast or cast 100 or somewhere in between. If I really want to catch squid I have to try several of my spots. They have excellent eyesight. They can swim very quickly when they want so if they want your lure they can catch it but the trick is to entice them in. They can be aggressive or timid. Southern calamari seem to travel in twos and threes and of a similar size. Arrow squid I’ve hooked up to nine from what I think was a single school. I can also catch cuttlefish when I need to but I have to use a few of my spots (some of which require water access). SQUID The Southern Calamari (or green eyes). The wings run the full length of the body. Commonly referred to as arrow squid locally the wings only run the top half or third of the hood. Cuttlefish. Have a cuttlebone. Can be a little more rounded and have shorter tentacles compared to their body than the squid. While most of the ones I catch in Sydney harbour are small (up to 15cm) I’ve seen some ones bigger than a football out at the heads. SQUID JIGS Many years ago my local tackle shop was kind enough to arrange a presentation by one of the better known Japanese squid jig manufacturers. They showed us a cloth covered squid jig with a half coin as the weight and stated that it was over 300 years old. The presenter explained the Japanese are so passionate about their squid that they seeded the bays where squid would come with branches from the willow trees as a facsimile for sea grass on which the squid could lay their eggs. The research they have put into the lure design and colours is pretty impressive and that presentation is one of the reason for my bias towards Japanese jigs (as well as lightening my wallet on the night). If it came down to it I believe you could give me any legitimate squid jig and I’m confident enough in my technique that I can catch squid with it. I do, however, have my preferences. From the amount of squid that have gone for my white soft plastics I came to the conclusion a bit of white in the jigs wouldn’t hurt. I also like to have a vibrant colour such as pink or orange to make it really stand out. The clip point should be a solid ring rather than swivel – I’ve lost more squid jigs to the swivel failing over time than snags. I like the cloth covered ones for the tactile feel the squid get with a glow in the dark sub coating to get their attention at night. I want two rows of fine stainless tines as they penetrate better and will straighten on a snag meaning I have a better chance of getting it back. You will see sizes such as 1.6, 1.8, 2.2, 2.5, 3.0, etc. I’ve never found out why but my best guess is that relates to length in inches. Please don’t make the mistake of confusing size with density (or sink rate). I use a series of 2.2 sized jigs which has three different sink rates (slow, medium and fast) for different locations. Typically I find the sink rates for most jigs is around 3 seconds per meter. I’m not a fan of the razorbacks as to me it is extra clutter on the lure and I’m not sure how good the hook up rate is on the spines on top of the jig. To be honest I’ve never given them enough of a chance to come to an fair conclusion so I’d be interested in what the opinions others have of them. Companies such as Yamashita have put a lot of research into which colours work best under specific conditions (e.g. water clarity and light). For some further reading Google squid jig colour chart. Many people have found that changing the colour of a jig has resulted in the squid turning on. I will change out between a few of my more commonly used jigs but won’t bother following the chart. Some people will use scent on their jigs. It is another way of getting the squid interested. It is also another thing to carry and a hassle if it leaks through your gear and it can stain your jigs. I briefly tried some but haven’t put any serious testing against an unscented jig to see if it makes a difference. I’m not saying that they don’t work. There are companies that spend hundreds or thousands of hours developing and testing these products or alternatively just put it out there with the philosophy “build it and they will come”. Most squid jigs will have some sort of glow in the dark capability. Sometimes it is only a small band of luminescent tape and others are glow in the dark from front to back. You can hit them with a torch or street light in the area you are fishing or alternatively consider getting a UV torch as it charges them up several times faster than a normal white light torch. Spot the difference to the photo above. THE GEAR I use 2 set ups for my squidding. The first and my go to is my bream rod: 2-4kg, 3-12gram, 7 foot 6, graphite, 2500 reel, 4lb braid, 8lb leader. The second is if I am fishing a really weedy area and am expecting to get snagged up: 5-8kg, 15-45gram, 7 foot 6, graphite, 4000 reel, 15lb braid, 30lb leader. I use a swivel and duolock clip so I can quickly and easily change out jigs. Over the years I’ve heard people argue that braid with its minimal stretch will result in more pulled strikes than mono. I don’t lose many squid and if I do they were badly hooked in the first place (just a small tip of the tentacle comes back). Playing them with a soft hand makes up for the lack of stretch in the braid and I’d prefer to have the extra casting distance and sensitivity of braid. On the heavier (and stiffer) rod, backing the drag off can help with not losing them. There are specific Egi (Japanese: “squid lure”) rods. These often have a fast action (fast taper so there is a lot of bend in the tip but the body and base of the rod is a bit stiffer) and maybe a softer tip. If squid fishing is all you are interested in then feel free to get one of these rods but a 7 foot light rod will usually suffice. THE RIGS I enjoy the pursuit of squid so am happy to put the time in rather than treating it as a rushed means to an end. I fish one jig at a time attached to a swivel and duolock clip. If I am having trouble finding the bottom I can put a ball sinker in front of the jig. If it is purely for catching bait then you can improve your chances by setting two or three jigs up in a paternoster arrangement. This can work well in current but if you snag up it can be rather expensive. My rig for catching cuttlefish is a swivel then immediately after a small ball sinker fixed to say 10lb line (I friction lock the sinker in place by passing the line through the eye say 4 times), 60cm of line then a slow sinking small 1.6 or 1.8 brightly coloured jig. The ball sinker helps the jig get to the bottom quickly. Once there a small lift gets sinker and jig off the bottom, then lower the rod so the sinker drops to the bottom but the jig sinks very slowly giving cuttlefish and squid time to spot it. Let it sit for say 10 seconds and lift the line again. If you feel a bit of resistance then it can be a cuttlefish in the area so let it sit on the bottom a bit longer. They have smaller tentacles than squid so the smaller jig is required to hook them up more consistently. If you think you are getting hits but not hooking up look for a drop of white goo on the tines. This is a good indicator that it was a cephalopod (usually a cuttlefish) playing with the lure. If you hook up an feel resistance keep tension in the line all the way as you retrieve to prevent them dropping off the tines. You can put a jig (or squid spike complete with dead pilchard or similar) underneath a float as a more relaxed way of fishing. This is also a great way of slowly working across weed beds when you really don’t want to snag up. THE LOCATION Fish areas with weed and sand patches and maybe a little bit of structure. It will be the sort of area bait fish will congregate. If you are at a jetty look for the tell tale black ink marks indicating people have caught them there before. An example of this are jetties or the local baths as the netted structure can hold bait fish You can use tools such as Google earth look for the weed and sand patches as a starting point but there is no real substitute for getting out there and trying under different conditions. TIDES, TIMES, SEASON AND WEATHER My personal experience is that tides in general have little to do with catching squid. Now before I get hammered for this, the whole harbour does not start firing up the minute you get X minutes before or after low or high tide. If that was the case I’d look at the tide chart and head down to any spot by the harbor and catch squid. In specific locations tides may play a part. There might be back eddies which bunch up baitfish encouraging squid to hang around these locations more frequently. The tides do have an impact on where I fish in that the water becomes so shallow I am frequently at risk of snagging up on the exposed weed beds. The squid is both an extremely competent predator but also prey for other species so they have to be a little cautious when hunting – I find I have a little more success at dusk and dawn when they seem to be feeding more actively. Advice I’ve heard before is that from 10am till 2pm they tend to go into deeper water but having said that I’ve caught them all hours of the day. Over the years I've found that I seem to catch more squid in the warmer summer months but consistently bigger squid in the winter months. I've been told that squid don't like the change in salinity after heavy rains and that puts them off. I have a tendency to ignore that advice these days for a number of reasons. Sydney harbour is around 10 to 35 metres deep depending on where you are. The deepest part I am aware of is near pier one at 43m give or take. The average depth is about 13m depending on your source of information. Even allowing for lots of run-off it would take a fair bit of water to dramatically change the salinity of that 13m of water column. More importantly, it is not like they can hop out of the harbour and they still need to eat so a squid jig in the water has a chance of catching a squid. The reduced visibility is a pain but I've still caught squid in the cloudy water we get after really heavy rains. THE TECHNIQUE If you can fish soft plastics then you can fish squid jigs. All the basic concepts are similar. Before I get into this I had an aha moment in a quiet bay in Sydney which dramatically changed the way I fish for squid. I had a size 3 jig on and a rather large squid followed it into the shallows. It grabbed the jig but the slightest movement of the jig saw it being released with the squid backing away slightly. This happened about 5 times. The squid wanted the jig. It was of a size that the jig was no obvious threat but it was still timid. I thought about it then I waited till the squid grabbed the jig again and with a quick sharp snap of the rod tip I set the jig tines, after which the squid was mine. I have seen this aggressive and then timid behaviour multiple times since then and I slow the movement of the jig sufficiently to encourage the squid to grab the jig at which point I set the tines. This method has worked its way into my retrieves. Another aha moment has been that when distracted I have let the jig sit on the bottom a bit longer than usual. It is a pleasant surprise how often the next flick has resulted in some weight on the line which turns out to be a squid. The pause gives them time to grab the jig. You have got your gear, some squid jigs and a viable location and head out squidding for the first time. First thing to check is the sink rate. Let out about 2m of line from the tip of the rod and hold the jig just under the surface of the water. Lower the rod tip quickly so the jig can free fall. Count down the time it takes to get 1m – usually 3 seconds but this can vary. I use slow sinking jigs over shallow weed beds and faster sinking jigs if I want to get down to the bottom quickly. The guideline is fish as close to the bottom as you can WITHOUT snagging up. If it is weedy 3m underneath the surface then you can count down say 6 seconds and stay above the weed. If you are fishing beyond the weeds in slightly deeper water and a sandy bottom you can let it reach the bottom. Thus if I am fishing water I think is about 10m deep I count to 30 or a little more with my 3 second per meter jigs. If you lift the jig back off the bottom say 1m then allow at least 4 seconds for it to get back down to the sandy bottom. The jigs are designed to land nose down with the tail swinging slightly in the current. Very tempting for a squid to ambush and grab. When I started, the easiest way to fish a jig was to estimate the depth of the water, cast out, count down the lure (or watch for the sag in the line just like when fishing plastics) till it hit the bottom and then use a medium paced lift with about 1 to 2m of rod movement to get it off the bottom, reel in the slack as you lower the rod and then count it down to the bottom again. Repeat until the squid jig is at your feet. If there are weeds or snags in front of you lift the rod tip high and then retrieve the last part at a faster rate to clear the snags. Watch behind your jig as you bring it up as they can be following. If they do then pause the jig to allow them to grab it. Turn it side on to the squid to expose the body and give the squid an easy target. I find giving it the smallest of intermittent twitches lets them know your jig is still active but you need the pauses to give a hesitant squid the chance to strike. When they have the jig and short sharp flick of the jig will set the tines. Fan your casts out and work an area. Change jigs and work the area again. If nothing happens then the squid are not there or not interested. Move to the next area and repeat the process. Squid have good eyes and can swim quickly so as I got better at it I started to change the retrieve to incorporate more movement to get their attention. That is, a double flick and pause to let it get down to the bottom. These days I use a subsurface walk the dog action which involves a short triple flick which imparts a darting motion (both up and down and sideways) to the jig and then pause to let it slowly settle and allow them to grab it. The next set of flicks has the additional benefit of setting the tines if they have grabbed the jig without me being aware of it. The Japanese use a retrieve which incorporates a very vigorous sweeping movement of the rod. The theory behind it is that it gets the squid's attention and revs them up - you can find demonstrations on the internet or the Yamashita video link above. When winding in keep steady pressure on them but allow a bit of flex in the rod and your hand movements. Do not jerk the rod as you can pull the jig. They tire easily so you will get them in sooner or later. I lose very few squid on braid and that is only if they are barely hooked. When they are in close I make an assessment of how to land them. When touched they will often startle and ink. If you get inked it is not funny. If your mate gets inked it is the funniest thing ever. They need water in their jet to be able to expel ink so if you can pick them up without scaring them and lay them head down the water will trickle out. If they are hooked well enough so I can dead lift them out of the water I lower them down to about 10cm above the ground and time their spin so the jet is pointing away from me as I lay them down. Using a landing net is one of the surest ways of getting them if you come from behind the hood as their immediate response is to use the jet to make their escape. Problem is you will likely have to clean ink off the net. If (and more likely when) you catch a squid then remember exactly where you cast. Southern Calamari often travel in twos or threes. Arrow squid in groups sometimes more than 10 (8 from 8 casts is my record). Keep an eye behind the squid as you wind in as it may be followed by other squid. If you are by yourself and you can get that squid jig back out there quickly you have a very good chance of catching multiple squid. If you have a mate with you estimate roughly where the squid you are hooked on to is and get your mate to case alongside and a little past your squid jig and then work it back a little quicker than you are bringing in the squid. Fairly often your mate will hook up too and if you keep one of the squid in the water and get the jig out again you may pick up a few more. Fishing from the kayak The advantage of fishing for squid from the kayak is that I can cover ground and get in some areas which will not always be comfortable for boats. I keep a bucket on my kayak in which to drop the squid and avoid getting ink over me and the kayak. The aim is to cover ground till you find them. One of my more effective methods is to line up about 5 to 8m off the shoreline and then cast ahead and parallel to the shore and specifically the outer edge of the drop off. I want to fish just outside the weed beds. This allows any squid in the weed beds and in deeper water watch the squid jig flick by. Alternatively I can also cast towards shore and then count it down the drop off but I find that limits the ground I can cover. There are a number of weed beds in Sydney which go on for a fair distance at a pretty constant depth (say 1 to 3m below the kayak). When fishing these I use a slow sinking and really fan my casts out. If you have a spare rod holder you can put out a jig on a float set at about 1m below surface which will follow the kayak as you amble along. I've caught enough squid on the sleeper jig to not be surprised by it. MEASURING THEM As the tentacles can stretch or shrink rather than tip to tip the most consistent way of measuring them is to lay them of the belly and just measure the hood. This southern calamari hood was 38cm and you can see the green eyes in the top photo. SOME SUGGESTIONS AS HOW TO PREPARE AND STORE THEM To keep them I have a few Ziplock bags with me and put them straight into the bag and then into the freezer. These frozen squid have caught me quite a few kings and jewfish (biggest being 104cm). Be warned. There is something in the ink which over time works its way through the edges of the ziplock bags and can stain whatever it is the bag was lying on. I’m going to put together some photos on the method I use to strip them for both food and bait but here is a description. Once you have some squid if you plan to use them as bait you can put them down as whole baits but I prefer to strip them. Run your hand behind the upper side of the head and into the hood and break the join with your finger. Pull the head out. Either a whole bait or cut in half lengthwise for two baits. The two wings can be separated from the body by working the join with your fingernails. Minimum of two baits there but I slice them in strips to get more. Find the feather inside the top of the hood and pinch out with fingernails and throw away. I run a knife along where it was and open the whole hood out so I can cut long strips. If you want to keep squid for eating they are prepared more or less the same way but you don't open up the hood and you clean the inside and outside of the hood. If you want to keep them for fishing buy a packet of sandwich sized ziplock bags and drop them in there and do not wash them in freshwater. Freeze them in the bag for your next fishing outing. I find they keep quite well and I can also use them whole when chasing jewfish. A few methods on how to fish them for kings and jewfish (still to come). I like using Cuttlefish as bait for kings as they come in a convenient snack size. My usual way of hooking these is to use a 6/0 circle hook at the tip of the hood and parallel with the cuttlebone as per this photo below. This one probably needed a little bit more of the hook exposed. We often like to use unweighted squid sections shore based and then let them drift down through the water column. We use a 7 foot to 9 foot outfit running say 15 to 20 pound braid with a 30lb leader and either a Gamakatsu 6/0 (or 5/0) octopus circle hook or Mustad light gauge circle hook of around 6/0. Surprisingly, even with a squid strip (diamond or triangle shaped we can cast 10 to 15m. With the Gamakatsu the sink rate is about 3 seconds per meter. To slow it down even further I switch to the Mustand light gauge hook. You make an assumption about how deep the area is and then when you think it is close to the bottom stop the free fall and bring the strip closer to the surface and then let it free fall again. You bring it in an down and upwards zig zag pattern before casting it out again. We can do the same with the squid head but it casts even further due to the added weight. To pin the squid strip either put the hook through once about 2cm from the end of the squid at the thicker part or feed it back through a second time for that added security. Drop it into the water directly in front of you to check the sink rate before then casting it out. To pin the squid head run the hook in then out in the fleshy part between the eyes. Make sure the circle hook is exposed. When you feel a kingfish (or similar) takes the bait flick the bail arm open for a few seconds to let them take it without resistance and swallow (rather than spit) bait before flicking the bail closed again. Now have fun fighting the kingfish. If you get bored casting and retrieving the strip or head we can put it under a float and let it sit off the structure we are on. I like using water bombs for several reasons. They are cheap $3 for 200. They are colourful so it makes them easy to spot. For the environmentally conscious you can get biodegradable ones but I find I rarely lose these so when done I pop them and then put them in the bin. I can change the size of them depending on my needs. Blow them up more if you have a good tail wind helping you put them out. Reduce the size of them if you are casting into the wind for less surface area to grab. You can even partially fill them with water to add to the casting weight. There is a wonderful knot called a Cow Hitch which I can use to create a double loop through which I fit the end of the balloon through. I do this on the braid height to set the depth of the bait and then use a long pendulum cast to get the squid out there. It is wonderful because it doesn't appear to damage my braid in any way. When I am done for the session and have popped the balloon I can pull the tag of the balloon through the braid and then straighten out the line. The disadvantage of this method is that it is difficult to change the position of the balloon and thus depth of the bait. With patience you can open the hitch up and then re-tie it further up or down the line. Cow hitch steps. Firstly create loop where you want to place the balloon and the put your index finger and thumb through the loop. Spread the index finger and thumb and then roll the wrist down so that both digits fall outside the loop. Now close the digits to create two loops. Lay these two loops side by side with a hole large enough to fit the balloon stem through. Feed the balloon stem through and then pull the slack out of the hitch. Finished product: ODDS AND ENDS (still to come) Squid Jig design @savit had been doing some reading on squid jig design and sent me a few links to share in this article http://www.squidfish.net/squidjigdesign.shtml http://www.squidfish.net/forums/index.php?/forum/27-homemade-squid-jigs-and-tackle/ http://www.fishingpatents.com/japan-squid-jig-patents-1.shtml http://www.fishingpatents.com/japan-squid-jig-patents-2.shtml Old squid I find when squid has been in the sun for a little too long it turns a fabulous shade of pink which would do a first time pale skinned visitor from the UK proud after spending a little too long sunbathing on one of our magnificent beaches. It is also a similar colour to some of the cheaper store bought squid and when I see it in this colour in the shops I often shy away from it. Rather than throwing it out, what I have found is that it makes a pretty good bait for use in crab traps and witches hat hoop nets for blue swimmer crabs (especially when it starts to get a bit fragrant). It is also a better option than contributing to our garbage dumps. Thank you and something to think about If you have gotten this far then thank you for taking the time to read this as there is a lot of information above to process. At the time of writing this there is about 15 years of chasing squid and assisting others behind this post. One of my favourite high school teachers would utter two words of advice when demonstrating complicated mathematical proofs. These were, “have faith”, and it is advice which has served me well in the years since. I don’t mean it from a biblical sense but in a practical “I can’t see the end result from where I am but I trust I will get there”, sense. Anyone who has put together Ikea flatpack furniture will have experienced this. The same comes with squidding. There are times I feel I’ve lost my Mojo but with the right gear, technique and persistence you will feel that pulsing weight on the end of your line. Fishing for squid side by side with other people it is rare for them to pull squid after squid out while I am getting nothing. The techniques work and I have faith that they will continue to do so. To summarise (assuming you have suitable gear and jigs): • Pick areas which have a mixture of sand and weed • Fish as close to the bottom as you can without snagging up (the mental countdown will assist with this) • Short sharp movements to get their attention with pauses to allow them to grab the jig • Fan your casts out • Consider a jig change (vary colour, size and maybe sink rate) or two • Move along to the next area or put the squid jigging aside for 30 or so minutes and do something else like fishing soft plastics before trying again • Use a soft hand when bringing them in to avoid pulling jigs and generally there is no need to rush as they tire quickly • Remember where you hooked up as they of travel in schools and if you can get the jig out there quickly you can often pick up a few more • Care when landing them as you can lose them at your feet and they may still be loaded with ink
  3. Headed out to port hacking targeting flathead today. Was out for 4 hours - in the water 9.30 and back out by 1.30. picked up 3 flatties - 2 on live poddies and one on a paddle tail lure. A good size blue swimmer grabbed one of the poddies and decided to come home with me. Headed over to the weed beds around midday - quite a few squids around. Weren’t taking the brown/green colours - but the pink jig did the trick. 4 green eye & 1 small arrow in about 30mins. The green eyes were of decent size. beautiful clear water in the hacking atm.
  4. Hi Raiders, I am looking for some pointers on where to get some squid and yakkas in the Port Hacking. Launching from the Water Street or Wally's Wharf ramp. Looking for some suggestions on where to target squid and yakkas on my way out the heads. Any pointers appreciated. Blade
  5. Went out on the tinny on a beautiful morning today around middle harbour and ended up catching one rat 55cm king, all we are using right now is pilchard and squid from the servo. We went around to rocky point at Balmoral and couldn’t catch or see any yakkas or squid. Do you guys have any tips or places I could go to get some yakkas or squid? Thanks 😀
  6. Hi guys, I am chasing jewies ,flatys and squid in june or july do you have any recommendations of were to go and what to use i am on a boat we will also be placing crab pots please help me regards Burtos fishing
  7. Hi all Just a quick report on a trip even if the kingfish was undersize last Wednesday. Left Patonga boat ramp about 7am with a smooth ride over a moderate swell straignt past West head due to the swell and safe boating fishing solo. I decided to head for Palm Beach Ferry whalf to get a squid for bait. After a couple of casts I found a small squid and decided to slow troll mid water around the moored boats. Half way through the mooring my rod bends over so I drag it into open water and start playing the fish. Short fight on heavy line produced a 60cm King with amazing purple hues down it's side. After a quick photo and a swim release and cam back to the Wharf and scored a small cuttlefish who also got a mid water tour of the mooring. No luck in Palm beach so whalf I headed to Careel bay and tried to find the wreck off the Tomahawk but no much. Decided a quick trip to Scottland Island for one more slow troll before the bad weather hit without a touch. No bait and no signs of any life so I started home but the storm caught up and passed me. An interesting trip down the Western side of Pittwater and with cold rain bUcketing down and a rather hairy crossing of the hawkesbury saw me safe and back on dry land. Looks like the wind will stop me from getting out thus weekend but you never know. Cheers Matt
  8. Hey raiders, where’s some go to spots around the west side of Lake Macquarie to jig for some squid land based? Any jetty’s around? The only place I know where there is some is styles point at Rathmines, but every time I go there they are not interested in my jig no matter what I do. I’ve rubbed prawn, anti seed oil, pilchard and S factor on my jig but they are still not interested, but I see heaps of them smashing the surface, so they are obviously hungry. Ive tried many different colours and sizes to no avail. It’s frustrating as hell!!!! many tips please it’s driving me insane, I’ve also jigged an hour before high tide and just abit after high, that’s when the sun comes up! I usually go at around 4am when there is not much wind. thanks !
  9. Hey guys! new to the forum, just wondering if you guys have any tips and tricks about fishing west side of Lake Macquarie, I’m in the middle of getting a boat but for now I’ll only be fishing land based, I usually go out to Wangi near the caravan park and fish half pilchard and squid for bait with not much luck, catch a fair few 30-40cm bream but main target fish are flathead. Can’t catch a flathead if my life depended on it. Other places to go are coal point off the rocks on the point, And off the rocks near club Catalina at Rathmines. Heading out to a jetty tomorrow morning to try and get some live squid for bait, might try the Rathmines jetty near styles point. Would live bait be a good start for flatty? If so what would your tackle outfit look like? Also just started to give the squidgies a go, never had a bite on them yet, any suggestions on them aswell? Thanks in advance! EDIT: I meant west side of lake!!
  10. Hey, I'm about to take a trip down to Jervis bay in a few weeks I was wondering if anybody knows any good wharf, jetty , or easy accesible cliffs to fish at. Gonna be there for a week is there anything I should know? I have research Murray beach boat wharf and husskison wharf any idea if there any good? Looking to fish for squids, kingys, jewies or anything of decent size there.
  11. Hey guys, heading down to manly and just asking about fishing spots around there? Do the rocks at manly cove produce good stuff.Squid? Flathead? Or is it worth flicking SP’s at the manly cove beach? Open to all info because I’m a bit new to this area. Ps , (I will have 2 outfits with me, a light Pelagic rod (8kg rod, 15lb braid 30lb leader and I will also have a lighter rod (2-4kg 8lb braid 12lb leader) I’m mainly looking for squid and flathead, but also wouldn’t mind having a crack at those kings or really anything that bites and fights 😀 Thanks Will
  12. Hi all, in the central coast this weekend and want to do some land based quid fishing. Potentially have access to kayaks. Any reports on squid action in the central coast? thanks
  13. Living on the Central Coast and working in Sydney means leaving early 5 days a week to miss the traffic. I'm thinking that I should not be so keen to get to the office but bring a rod and gear with me and check out some areas along the way. Work is at Rhodes, so trying anywhere close is not going to happen so I'm asking for ideas where I can have a go (land based) and I'd love to target squid. Thanks, and I look forward to writing a bit about the experience. TC.
  14. Hi All. Heading to Jervis Bay with my brother for 10 days after Anzac Day. Was wondering if anyone has been getting a few kings "inside" the bay ie Point Perp, Middle Grounds, Longnose etc? Not after specific locations, just info if they are still around in numbers? As want to minimise the amount of gear we take down if they aren't really about. Also any squid about at the moment? Should we take down extra jigs due to jackets biting you off? Last year at the same time we lost 22 jigs in 7 days, was a expensive BUT rewarding trip. Any info would be greatly appreciate, not after specifics just a general heads up if anyone has any info. A HUGGGGEEE thanks in advance to anyone that could shed some light on the situation down their at the moment. Happy Easter! Dan
  15. Hello, I just recently signed up to fishRaider due to my inability to catch Jewfish. I would love to know rigs and WHERE, Without giving me your secret spots. I live near manly in Sydney and have no clue where is best, i would prefer not to travel long distances and usually fish the Spit bridge, 40 baskets, little manly, north harbour reserve and clontarf. Anyone have any key locations and tips, thanks in advance
  16. Hey everyone, managed to head out on thursday for a nice change being one of the only times going out during the week thats not in the holidays. Our plan was to target kingfish and hopefully bag a few keepers, so started out nice and early hitting squid an hour before dark at watts reefs, didnt catch any. We moved over to our usual spot at kurnell at first light and boated 4 live squid perfect for kingys. We decided to anchor at the drums with a strong burley trail to start catching some nice fish (which usually works well for us this time of year) after 30mins with no takers or even fish on the sounder we pulled anchor and re positioned still within the drums but closer to the channel stayed for another 30 and no takers. So we moved again, we decided to go to molineaux point being that there wouldnt be 20 boats to compete with. We lost two live squid to leather jackets before we changed tactics and actually started targetting the leathers managing to catch 7 with 3 over 30cm biggest going 37cm which were all turned into an amazing seafood risotto (highly highly recommend). With 2 live squid left we started fishing the top of the water column where 2 rat kings were landed one on live squid the other on a squid head. Then we hooked the big one on 50lb gear with drag near 70% spat the hooks after a 5 minute fight. To put that into perspective the two rat kings 62 and 64cm were caught with the same setup and drag setting and were boated within a minute or two. Then the storm picked up around 10:30ish so we headed for the boat ramp with a feed of leather jackets and a good days fish
  17. Hey raiders Week 2 so on the 3/1/19 we arrive back at Jervis Bay with a rumour or 2 that the water had heated up and kings were starting to show up after the 2nd group run out of fuel on the highway a 5am start turned into a 6:30am start , boat ramp packed we finally managed to get on water 10 yakkas in the boat in 5 mins he head to squid grounds and they were very picky took us 3 locations to land the 1st so we left him in the water to attract his mates 15 mins lates 6 of his friends in the tank we then head to straight to point to find no boats, hmm worrying, first 2 live squid go over and we start trolling within minutes sounder is lit up with massive bait schools and even bigger marks following it next thing we know Stella is screaming on high drag this is the 1m king , after about 8-10 minutes of fighting it seeing big colour in the water my knot pulls almost boat side goodbye pb king and my hopes and dreams with it haha regroup and we go agian mates rod screaming off it tits and reffed before we could even do anything , so after the next hour my mates rod got reefed 4 times and I managed to land a 76cm king on the Stella He regroups and lands a 74cm king without live bait left and conditions getting worse and worse we had to call it a day I promise the next 1m king will not be getting the same chance this one did wetherman no good us over so we didn’t manage to get back out there cheers tdogz tightlines
  18. Hey raiders Week 1 so on the 23/12/18 I headed down to Jervis Bay to chase some the start of the kings with a mate Arrived on the squid grounds and within 5 mins we had 3 squid they were bloody firing probably something to do with the overcast/raining conditions after the next hour we had 15 squid Our plan was to head to point perp but the swell was way to large to get there so we settled for middle gorunds were we managed 1 rat 59cm king before conditions worsened so we called it a day 24/12/18 loaded with Fresh squid he headed straight to point we trolled for 2-3 hours marking only bait , so we handed for middle grounds and continued trolling there Within 20 minutes my Stella was screeeeming, my instant thought was finally the 1m king I’ve been looking for but then it ran straight to the surface so that was out of the question , marlin maybe? So after about a 25minute fight we were met with a 2 meters hammerhead shark what a experience it was! Trolled again for another rat king in the low 60s Day went quiet after that so we headed in! 29/12/18 was camping with a group of mates all amutaur fishos so I thought I’d take em out to catch some squid all catching squid then I hook on to a monster , big big pluses after a very careful and slow fight I was met with a 39cm hood green eye boys were frothing and pb for myself! cheers tdogz tight lights
  19. Hey raiders Been awhile since my last post due to winter and nothing worth posting about So lately I’ve been setting out with trying the catch the first kingfish of the season (Always the hardest) So after roughly 2-3 trips returning with a donut, This weekend produced the goods ——Saturday—- So as normal day starts with catching some fresh live squid for bait and within about 1 hour off cronulla we had 10 lives ready to set out With the conditions over the weekend not ideal for offshore fishing we set out in the hacking Over that past couple of trips I’ve been marking them in Gymea Bay and lilli pilli but they were only taking the micro baits So set out in lilli pilli and after a troll of 30 of minutes I’m marking up a decent school holding the bottom then boom! Double hook up on the kings me and 1st mate both score our first kings of the season 1st 63cm 2nd 58cm , this continued for another 3 fish each all undersize till we called it a day —-Sunday— So on back on the water for the low tide change.. geared up with the leftover squid from the Saturday we had back over to lilli pilli and just happen to find a school of bait while setting up the rods , then a few moments later the sounder lit up with big marks So out when 2 squid.. within seconds 2nd mates rod bends and starts screaming after a good fight a 71cm king comes in the boat ( his first king of the season aswell) then it went all quite fished for a another 3 hours for nothing Kings are back baby get amongst it! Cheers tdogz Tight lines!
  20. Hey raiders 6am start at Yowie Bay as most of my reports go straight off to catch some squid just off cronulla, boy we’re they fired up! Within a hour half we had 9 perfect live baits and 2 high 20s squid for dinner ready to go the swell still very big out the heads and south was not ideal , so we tryed along the moard boats along lilli pilli marking plentiful bait almost everywhere no marks though so we headed into Gymea for basically the same result after 2 hours of potting slowly around we had nothing then I noticed some birds hitting the surface plus a couple bust ups in the distance back over near lilli pilli.. when we arrive we were met with 3 other boats but no action soon the other boats disappeared so we decided to slow troll some lives around and my mate got a solid run then dropped still unsure weather it was tailor or kings we vernture back through for the Stella to start screaming (drag very loose) on the end my first legal king of the season! 66cm and fat! Caught 2 more rats then quite , so we headed home with sashimi & calamari in the esky Heard Botany Bay container wall was firing with kings over the weekend anyone confirm this? Cheers tdogz - tightlines
  21. Hey guys just joined this forum. Just wanted to say hello and I’ll be looking forward to posting some reports I usually fish outside based in Sydney but also go upto Port Stephens a lot 😎
  22. Hi Guys, Just wanted to see if anyone can give me any ideas on how to clean my squid jigs, reason being is because they smell like crap from the EgiMax spray I use all the time. What is the best way to clean them as well as my tackle box and how often should I clean and service my reels? Thank You Zaki
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