More than 25 years ago when I was in the South African navy on a small, 21-crew minesweeper ship, we would chase the squid trawlers away from the marine reserve around Cape Point. Then we’d pull up to where a trawler was standing and the captain would make an announcement over the intercom saying something like “I’m going to have a nap now and when I wake up I’d like to have some calamari for lunch”.
First time this happened I didn’t know what was going on, but there was obviously a lot of excitement in the air and all the experienced seamen very busy with something. My superior (I forget his rank) pulled out an old plastic bag and from that pulled out another plastic bag which he handed to me. Inside there was a piece of handline with a single red and white squid jig attached to it and he said to follow him. I was a stoker (engine room mechanic) so we were down in the engine room and by the time we got up to the deck, others were all lining up on the side of the ship. We tied the handline to the railing of the deck, dropped the squid jig down for as long as the line was and pulled it up. There were lots of those large fishing crates spread open behind us on the deck and in a very short time we filled those crates with a large supply of squid. By the time your jig reached the bottom, you’d start pulling it up fast and by the time it got to the top, you’d have a squid on… almost without fail. My superior, who was an experienced permanent staff member (I was just there for 1 year dong military service) got into a rhythm that was pretty impressive: as the jig got close to the top, he’d grab the front of it with one hand and flick it over his shoulder, the squid would fall off behind him into a crate without him looking backwards and with the same movement he’d drop the jig back into the water for the next round.
Yes, we had calamari for lunch and we filled out freezer with a large supply of squid for weeks to come.
That was a quarter century ago, but a few weeks ago I saw a youtube video about squid fishing in shallow waters and decided I wanted to give it a try. I’ve watched a whole bunch of Youtube videos on squid fishing now, bought myself a number of squid jigs and I’ve tried 3 times from the kayak while fishing for snapper plus I’ve now been to the top squid fishing wharf in Auckland twice as well. As I understand the best time around there is when high tide is around midnight and so those are the two nights that I’ve been out. But I haven’t caught a single squid and I haven’t had a single take of anything that feels like a squid!!! I’ve caught some seaweed and I’ve even lost a jig head, but that’s about it…
It’s early in the season and most of the people I’ve read about only start squid fishing in about 2 weeks’ time (mid May), but there have been reports of people catching squid, even if somewhat small.
So… I need a new plan!
Step one, I’ve ordered 2 new squid jigs! Do I need more squid jigs? No, I don’t think that’s the problem, but it’s always good to support the old TAS.
Step two, I’ve found a spot that’s well known for squid fishing where there’s an easy launch with the kayak.
Step three, I’ve checked out the tides. Next Saturday high tide will be around 7:30am and sunrise is at 7:00am. I want to be fishing at high tide and in early morning, but I don’t like going out in the dark. So I will aim for a 6:30am launch, giving me an hour before high and an hour after high.
Now we’ll just have to wait and see whether the weather plays along!
Might take a while… I am the hopeless fisherman after all, so these things don’t come naturally to me, but somehow this season I’m going to learn how to successfully catch shallow water squid.