7 Tips to learn How to Fish for Squid

By Ken Schultz

Jul 25, 2018

Learn how to fish for squid with this info about squid jigs, different jigging techniques, shore-based locations, lighted venues, lure colors and sizes, and more.

Squid are one of the best natural saltwater baits as well as terrific table fare. Whether you prefer them as hooked strip bait or as fried calamari, the quickest way to learn how to fish for squid is to go with someone who can show you the ropes. Don’t know such a person? Fear not, it’s not that hard, so here’s advice on how to fish for squid, plus some squid fishing tips.

First, know these facts about squid: they travel in schools which are sometimes very dense; they’re aggressive, quick-swimming, and pelagic; they primarily feed on small fish; they’re especially active at night; and they’re attracted to light.


A primary element of learning how to fish for squid is using specialized “squid jigs.” These lures, which come in various weights and sizes (commonly 2 to 4 inches), are oblong with one to three (usually two) sets of closely spaced barbless spikes. The tentacles of squid get ensnared on the spikes. Most anglers use a single squid jig, but you can rig multiples up for deeper vertical fishing. It’s also possible to catch squid on conventional jigging spoons, but squid jigs are far more productive.

As for the actual jigging motion, a slow lift-and-drop is sometimes how to fish, especially in daylight. Other times a steady, faster series of jerks is required. Sometimes reeling steadily is best, especially when there’s a lot of squid present. These motions can be done vertically, or somewhat horizontally after casting the lure and letting it settle deeper before retrieving.


Here are some essential squid fishing tips:
  1. Red, pink, and fluorescent green or chartreuse are popular colors, especially if they’re luminous or reflect light.
  2. Change jig weight, color, or size if you’re not getting action.
  3. Night fishing is often best, especially under or near lighted areas on a wharf, dock, pier, bulkhead, or bridge.
  4. Bring a lantern or other bright light for unlighted venues.
  5. Unless the squid are large or you’re using multiple lures, you can use relatively light spinning tackle with braided line; a 7-foot rod is a good all-around choice.
  6. Keep slack out of your line because squid simply hang onto the spikes; they let go when there’s slack.
  7. When you lift a squid out of the water, hesitate momentarily to allow it to squirt its ink into the water.

Now that you know how to fish for squid, after you’ve put a bunch aside for bait use, consider grilling them whole or frying sliced tube rings (dipped in seasoned flour), calamari style. Yum.

Check state regulations for size, harvest, and gear rules for squid, and make sure you have a fishing license.

Ken Schultz
Ken Schultz
Ken Schultz was a longtime staff writer for Field & Stream magazine and is the former Fishing Editor of ESPNoutdoors.com. He’s written and photographed nineteen books on sportfishing topics, plus an annual fishing tips calendar, and his writing has appeared on various websites for more than two decades. His author website is kenschultz.com