Dealing With Squid Ink


: “My name is Jessy, and I am 12 years old. I wrote to you in the October 2009 issue about trout fishing. But since then a lot has happened in my fishing life. The first major thing that has happened is that we have bought a small tinnie and since then I have only loved fishing more. The second thing that has happened is my new-found love of squid fishing. My Dad and I have gone out squid fishing and done okay, but our problem is that when we bring up the squid they have a tendency to squirt ink. Do you know the best way of bringing up squid into the boat without us getting covered in ink?”

Answer: “I can agree, wholeheartedly, that squid fishing is great fun, and well worth doing both for bait and for eating. I suppose you know you should skin the squid before cooking it. Clean it well, and don’t cook it for very long; two to three minutes should be long enough. I like to cut the squid flesh into strips about 2cm wide, score the outside of the squid flesh with a sharp knife – diagonally – and cook it in olive oil (either virgin olive oil or light olive cooking oil). Cook the flesh for only 2 to 3 minutes or until it turns white. Then take it out of the pan, drain off the oil, and keep it hot until you eat it. If you cook it for too long the flesh goes hard and is too chewy for my liking. I also like to dip it in a little vinegar, or tartare sauce and sometimes Worcestershire sauce! Yeah, I know – I’m nuts!

But now for your question. There have been many times when the squid has taken an instant dislike to my face, and I have received the full discharge of ink to face and chest. It can also make a real mess of the boat, and it pays to carry a bucket on board to rinse down the deck as soon as possible. The bucket can also come in handy for holding the squid when you drag it into the boat. Ideally, you should keep the squid from surfacing, because you will find that if you don’t, that is the time when it is more accurate with its target practice. Having snagged the squid on your lure, reel it in gently and slowly so that it remains under the surface until it is drawn to the side of the boat – when you can use your long-handled net to secure it.

Don’t be anxious to land the squid, but let it swim around – out of squirting range. While out of range, bring it to the surface by lifting your rod tip and let it squirt its ink into the water. Do this a couple or few times until the squid has exhausted its supply of ink, then bring it to the boat, allowing it to swim beneath the surface until you can scoop it up. Using your net is safer than lifting the squid straight into the boat. Have a bucket handy and lift the squid into the bucket quickly. Any ink that it might have left after it has been hooked will be squirted into the bucket and you won’t have the mess to clean up. But don’t forget the squid will be swimming backwards when you’re retrieving it – just like a prawn. You will need to net it from behind, so reach out over the squid and let it swim backwards into the net if it wants to do that. This means you could be in the line of fire, so, angling the net to the side of your body will reduce the chance of being a victim of the squid’s inking protest.

Finally, I have found that the YoZuri squid lure is the best, though more expensive than some offerings. Squid jigs of all varieties will work well though, so start collecting. Good luck, Jessy!”

Dick Lewers from Modern Fishing Magazine.

This article is courtesy of Modern Fishing, Australia’s favourite fishing magazine. Get all the latest tips, tricks, gear and destination ideas every month by subscribing at

This article is courtesy of Modern Fishing, Australia’s favourite fishing magazine. Get all the latest tips, tricks, gear and destination ideas every month by subscribing at

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