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Squid (Southern Calamari)

how to catch squid southern calamari


How To Catch Squid (Southern Calamari) – Download PDF


Where to fish

Squid can be found in estuarine and inshore habitats from inshore reefs and weed beds to rock walls, jetties and offshore man made or natural structures. Being a predominantly ambush predator these places offer them not only refuge from being attacked but also a place to prey on food such as prawns, baitfish and crabs. This ‘How To’ will focus mainly on the Southern Calamari species.


squid southern calamari south australia


How to target

There are two options when it comes to squid, they are cast and retrieve with squid jigs or using a squid spike/prong and bait. When casting jigs let them sink to the bottom and add an upward whip of the rod on the retrieve to make the lure dance in the water. Doing this imparts a prawn or wounded baitfish action alerting any squid in the area. Let the lure sink and repeat.

When using bait insert a baitfish onto a squid spike/prong and cast out underneath a float. Wind in any slack line and when the float goes under you on, then gently start winding.


squid in water with yamashita jig


Rod & Reel

If land based fishing for squid a rod in the 9ft range and 3-5kilo line class is ideal. The extra length will aid in not only casting ability but will also give you some leverage around the rocks, jetty, etc. Balance your outfit with a 2000-3000 size reel.


The same setup can be used when fishing from a boat, however leverage isn’t as paramount and a shorter 7ft rod will provide greater maneuverability and ease of use.


squid southern calamari fishing port lincoln south australia


Line and leader

  • Lure: 10lb braid, 1.5m of 10lb fluorocarbon leader.
  • Bait: 10-15lb braid, 15lb fluorocarbon leader.


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Terminal Tackle

  • Lure: Squid jigs/jags, snap swivels or speed clips.
  • Bait: Swivels, weighted float, bait prongs/spikes, glow sticks optional.


wade atkinson squid adelaide


Best Lures

All jigs/jags will catch squid, some days certain colors will out-fish others so it pays to have a selection on hand to find the right one on each day. Popular sizes are 2.5, 3.0 and 3.5, this number being the feet/second drop rate.


Yamashita and Yo-Zuri both make exceptional quality jigs in a wide range of colors & styles with exceptionally sharp hooks – this may often be the result in a good day’s squidding or a not. Squid jigs last a long time so don’t skimp when it comes to purchasing.


selection of squid jigs and accessories


Best Bait

The best bait for squid is fresh baitfish such as Herring, Sauries, Yellowtail, Whiting and Pilchards.


Hints and tips

Squid can be caught right around Australia year round. However, the southern half of the country arguably offers the best squidding during the cooler months of the year and they are most certainly a fun species to target whether it be land based or from a boat. Looks for those structure such as weed beds, reef areas or rock walls and they shouldn’t be too far away.


  • Carry a wide selection of jigs in various colors and sizes. Alternate between them to find what’s working best on the day.
  • When targeting from a boat drifting allows you to cover more ground and is more productive than at anchor.
  • When fishing from the rocks its always handy to have a landing net at hand.
  • Make sure you imply some action in the lure with short fast upward whips of the rod to make the lure dance.
  • Make sure you imply some action in the lure with short fast upward whips of the rod to make the lure dance.


how to catch squid southern calamari in western australia


Rigging for cast and retrieve

Targeting Squid on jigs is great sport and is a fun alternative to targeting fish. It is also a great option if you are fishing with kids or someone who is new to fishing. Use a 4-10lb braid mainline and join it to a 1-1.5m, 10lb fluorocarbon leader with an Albright knot or similar. At the other end of the leader tie a loop knot such as a Lefty’s Loop directly to the jig to allow the lure more freedom to move during the retrieve. Alternatively tie on a snap swivel or speed clip for ease of changing jigs.


how to rig a squid jig


Rigging for bait fishing with a float

Whether bait fishing from the shore or from a boat the rig you use remains the same. Tie your mainline to one end of a barrel swivel with a Fish N Fool knot or similar. On the other end of the swivel tie on desired length of fluorocarbon, it may vary depending on depth you are fishing. Slide on a teaser float (when land based a weighted float improves casting distance) and tie the leader onto a snap swivel. Slide herring or other desired bait on prong and attach to snap swivel.


how to rig a squid spike jag with float


Information courtesy of Wade Atkinson, [Adelaide SA (Get Fishing Tournament Member)] and Department of Fisheries WA. Photos courtesy of Get Fishing tournament members.


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