Home Drifting Easy - Fishing Tips How to use squid for bait
How to use squid for bait

"What kind of bait should I use?"

It can be very confusing for a novice angler to come to Ocean City and look
at a list of bait. Do you just pick one and hope it works? Will the clerk
steer you in the right direction? Fifty per cent of anglers come to our
retail stores and choose what is most familiar to them, and that bait is

Squid is best "all around" bait you can buy. . It is tough and stays on
the hook well and is relatively inexpensive. It comes frozen, so you do not
have to keep it alive. It can be re-frozen and used again. It is not
always best for everything, but almost everything will eat squid. What many
people don't realize is that if you combine it with other baits on the same
hook, it can be the most excellent bait you can use.

Another thing most people don't realize is that when you ask for some squid
in a tackle store, is that it comes in many different varieties.

"I thought squid was squid!" Well, it is, but you can buy it in several
different packages. The most popular is California squid or Calamari. A
pound box of Calamari has over a dozen small squids in the box. It is
inexpensive and if you don't catch any fish, it usually has some recipes on
the back so you can cook the rest! These squids are smaller and have thinner
skins than other squids.

"I want some thick squid!"

If you like thicker squid, you can buy local squid that is a little thicker
than the Calamari box squid. It is usually wrapped in a paper or cellophane
package and costs more than the Calamari. Usually two to five squids are
pound in a pound of local squid. If you are going to clean and strip squid,
local squid will give you better strips than the Calamari.

"I want really thick squid!"

The thickest squid is also relatively inexpensive and has become very
popular in our area. We call it "tube" squid because we in the tackle
business buy the box of these "tubes" already cleaned and ready to sell.
Often they are vacuumed-sealed and each tube weighs approximately 4 to 8
ounces. Since it is pure white squid meat, it goes quite a ways. These
squids are not from this country, but are usually a product of some country
like Thailand.

"What about that squid in a cup!"

Squid can be bought already cut up in strips and marinated in shedder crab
oil. These cups of squid have probably become one of the most popular
squids anglers can buy, mainly because of the convenience. Some tackle
stores even offer these squids strips in different colors such as red and
yellow. I prefer natural white!

"Where does this squid come from? Is it thick or thin?"

Cut and marinated squid is "done up" by several different companies, but
they all have one thing in common. They are made from the "tube" squid that
comes from overseas so it is the thicker squid.

(In the old days, thick squid was local squid. These days, thick squid is
from other countries!)

"What is the best way to use squid?"

The majority of people, especially novices, use squid alone for bait.
Squid, by itself, is fair bait. Squid, used in combination with other
baits, it great bait! For flounder, you want to use a live minnow hooked
through the lips with a strip of squid hanging right beside it on the same
hook. You can also use a frozen shiner, hooked through the eyes, with a
strip of squid hanging right beside it on the same hook.

"What should you put on the hook first, the minnow or shiner bait or the

Always put on the shiner or minnow first. Then put on the strip of squid,
only hooking the squid once so it wiggles nicely next to the minnow bait.
(Never bunch squid up or hook it twice.) For all those people that complain
that their shiners won't stay on the hook, squid is your answer. If you put
the shiner on the hook through the eyes, and then attach the strip of tough
squid meat on beside it, the squid helps the shiner stay on the hook!

Presentation is very important when fishing. Take your time when putting
the bait on your hook. Don't smash your squid bait on so hard that you rip
your minnow or shiner bait off the hook. Watch as your bait goes down into
the water and see if it looks like a swimming fish.

"What other combinations with are good?"

A squid strip is very complimentary to a bloodworm. Since bloodworm baits
are small anyway, a squid strip beside a piece of bloodworm is excellent in
the bay and in the surf. In the bay, for croaker, blowfish, trout, or spot,
you want to use about an eighth of a piece of bloodworm (or night crawler)
and thread it on the hook. Don't leave any piece of the worm hanging. Then
attach a small strip of squid beside it on the same hook. If you are using
the cleaned and cut squid, you will need to cut your squid strip into a
smaller strip. Try to leave a tapered end to the squid strip for better

In the surf, you want to use a kingfish rig (size #6 hooks and small surf
floats) and bait up the same way. You will be fishing for kingfish, spot,
croaker, blowfish, and trout. (Hint: Instead of squid, you can use fresh
strips of spot or mullet.) Combination baits are very popular in the surf.

Squid is often used in combination with soft baits that may not stay on the
hook so well, such as peeler crab and clam. If you lose one bait to a hard
cast or a crafty fish, at least you'll have the squid bait on your hook!
This is especially important if you are wreck fishing offshore in 60 to 100
feet of water. (That's a lot of cranking to find out you don't have any
bait left on your hook!)

If you are surf fishing with a strip of fresh bait such as spot, mullet, or
bunker fillet, a strip of squid beside it is a good compliment to these
baits. If the strip of fresh fish bait is stolen off the hook by a hungry
fish, you will still have the squid hanging there for the second bite!

"Is there any bait you would not want to combine with a squid strip?"

Yes, there are. Large live baits such as finger mullet, alewives, and spot
should be fished alone. The squid strips seem to deter from the natural
look of these baits, plus they attract crabs to the bait. Even if you use
frozen or dead finger mullet in the bay for large flounder, do not use the
squid strip.

"Is there any times I should not use squid with my minnow or shiner or

There's no doubt about it; crabs love squid. If the crabs get troublesome
in the bay or surf, try skipping the squid for a while. Rule of thumb:
Crabs are not so bad on the incoming tide, but can become troublesome on the
outgoing tide.

"Do we always cut squid into strips?"

Most of the time striped squid is best in the bay or surf. If you are
going for big fish such as sharks, use a whole Calamari squid hooked through
the tail. I have been using whole Calamari squids offshore, hooked through
the tail, on a single long leadered hook for larger sea bass and flounder
with very good success. A whole squid head will also work offshore for
these fish. (Fish are naturally feeding on whole squids in the ocean and
this is natural bait for them.) When anglers are fishing in the bay, squid
strips imitate swimming shiners, anchovies, and sand eels.

"I'll have some squid please!"

Good fishing.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 June 2009 18:18