Home Drifting Easy - Fishing Tips I'll take a box of squid please- Using squid for bait
I'll take a box of squid please- Using squid for bait

“I’ll take a box of squid please….”   Fishing in Ocean City, MD

No matter what’s biting and who’s catching what, some people just like to use squid no matter where they go. I like to use squid myself, but I always use it in combination with some other kind of bait. If I use squid, I like the good old box squid (calamari) rather than the cleaned and cut variety. The only time I like using cleaned and cut squid is when I’m fishing offshore in deep water and need the bait to stay on the hook for a long time, or if I’m using it for a trailer with a live minnow for flounder. I personally think fish like the smell and texture of real, American calamari!

“I like to use squid when I go surf fishing!”

In the summertime, there’s a lot of little fish out there such as kingfish, spot and croaker. If you use squid by itself, cut the box squid into small strips or triangles of bait and hook it up on a kingfish rig that is made with size #6 hooks. (I like the rigs made with wide gap hooks.) Leave the skin on the squid when fishing for pan fish. We call this “dirty squid.” You can cut the squid out of the box when it is still half frozen and put it on the hook. Don’t use a piece too big unless you are fishing for sharks!

Now, instead of just using a strip of squid on your hook, buy yourself a package of Fishbites Bag O’Worms Bloodworm artificial bait. No matter whether you are fishing in the surf or the bay, anytime you are using small to medium-sized hooks with squid, a little strip of the fake bloodworm on the same hook will double or even triple your odds of catching fish!

If you are fishing in the bay in places like Northside Park at 125th Street, Isle of Wight at 62nd Street, Convention Hall at 41st Street, or in any of the canals in North Ocean City, a box of squid is OK as a supplemental bait, but you would be so much better off with some kind of worm!

Real bloodworms on a size #6 or #8 freshwater type hook on a high/low rig is the very best set-up to use in the backwaters. In the canals and other shallow water areas, the fare is Norfolk spot, sand perch, and maybe croaker. These fish much prefer a worm rather than squid, so either skip the squid entirely or use a very tiny piece of squid on your hook with some kind of worm. If you’re squeamish about using real bloodworms, or simply don’t want to pay the price (usually over $10 per dozen), use the Fishbite Bag O’Worm Bloodworm or just use night crawlers! Nightcrawlers are just big earthworms and spot and other small panfish like them just fine. If they turn white and wash out, just put on a new piece. If you’re fishing for spot, a nightcrawler will catch you way more spot than squid!

“So what fish REALLY like squid?”

Croaker if they are running on the larger end, snapper blues, sea bass offshore, sea trout, little throwback sea bass from the shore, sharks, rays, skates and flounder. If you use squid to catch flounder, you want to cut the squid into an attractive strip of bait and let it trail off the hook. Peel off the skin. It’s still best to use the squid strip in combination with a frozen shiner hooked through the eye or a live minnow hooked through the lips. If you are targeting sea trout, squid strips can work great, but they need to be cut like you are fishing for flounder. Cut them in neat strips about 1 ½ to 2-inches long and tapered at the end. Hook them once and let them dangle. Flounder and sea trout are enticed by the “look” of the squid just as much as they are enticed by the bait itself. Jig the bait “up and down” and squid strips look like two little lures bouncing up and down. Globbing a ball of squid on the hook just won’t have this effect. A shark, ray, skate or crab might be attracted, but a flounder or trout will probably swim on by!

“What’s with the cut and marinated squid I can buy?”

It’s OK and we sell tons of it in our stores, but it comes from big thick squids that are imported from China. The strips are cut with a machine and placed in a little tub with shedder crab oil. There’s no skin and it’s clean to use, but usually you have to cut it into smaller pieces for small fish. The problem is that it doesn’t flutter on the hook as well because it’s thick. If you are fishing for flounder and want to trail a piece of squid beside your minnow or shiner it’s simple to use. If you want a thick, durable bait to trail off your bucktail, it’s a choice. If you’re shark or ray fishing at night on the beach, it’s easy. (I’d rather put a whole Calamari squid on the hook for sharks.) If you’re offshore fishing in very deep water for sea bass or flounder, it holds on the hook well. Just keep it jigging up and down for flounder. Jig, jig, stop… jig, jig, stop….

“I’d like a box of squid please…. and a pack of shiners to go with it for flounder.”

“I’d like a box of squid please… and a bag of FishBite Bloodworms to go surf fishing.”

“I’d like a box of squid please… and a pack of bloodworms for the kids to play around in the canal and catch spot.”

“I’d like a box of squid please… and a bait knife so I can cut it up into nice attractive strips of bait.”

Good fishing….

Sue Foster is an outdoor writer and co-owner of Oyster Bay Tackle in Ocean City, MD and Fenwick Tackle in Fenwick, DE.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 April 2014 10:28