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Squid jigging survey in English Channel


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#1 Jon

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 06:45 AM

Hi,

I am ex-commercial fisherman living in SW Cornwall and have had a great deal enjoyment from catching squid with handline jigs. Possibly the best laugh I have ever had whilst earning money. When that frenzy starts and squid are everywhere on the surface and you dont know if that was ink or water that hit you full in the face, you can hardly keep your feet, struggling to catch your breath from laughing so much and then its over, like someone turned off a switch.

I am preparing to conduct a squid jigging survey in English Channel. Expect to kick off 06/12/06, or somewhen the weather improves (not GOING to sea in SSW 8-9 for anybody anymore), plan to cover Portland Bill to Lands End over 20 days (10 in December and 10 in early January).

Hope to catch Lolligo Forbesi as already vibrant commercial fishery for this one in SW, however main aim is to target Lolligo Vulgaris. This one shows as significant by-catch in many fisheries in SW (but not jigging, correct me if I am wrong)and is targetted by trawlers in Lyme bay, Eddystone reef, Falmouth bay and Lands End.

We have several sites to try and will attempt to catch L.Forbesi first to test out our skills, haha.

Survey is very low tech using weighted and bouyant lures to Japanese, South African and European designs and deployed using handlines!

A maximum of 4000watts of Metal Halide light has also been added to the boat so we can attempt to catch L.Vulgaris at night. Should be able to see us if you live along SouthWest coast of England, however, with 4kw of light we shall be rather less bright than the average commercial jigger that burns between 40kw and 400kw of light!!!

If anyone has any info, advice, criticisms or links (there might be some I havent trawled whilst researching the survey) then please post them up.
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#2 glen

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 01:34 PM

hi jon, what is the purpose of the survey? is it to develop a new jigging fishery or are you just generally interested in where the squid live? :woot:
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#3 Jon

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 06:10 PM

hi jon, what is the purpose of the survey? is it to develop a new jigging fishery or are you just generally interested in where the squid live? :woot:

Hi Glen, thanks for getting back. The survey is for the benefit of the fishing industry but on a personal note I am looking forward to finding out more as these creatures fascinate me.

One of the main aims of the overall package is to encourage strong and mutually beneficial relationships between the English/Welsh fishing industry and the Scientific community. The initiative is called the Fishery Science Partnership (FSP)and is funded by the UK government.

Several issues the survey hopes to address include the distribution of both Lolligo species, although this is reasonably well known in the English Channel, and as I mentioned there is already a small but quite vibrant artisan fishery for L. Forbesi, we hope to determine wether L.Vulgaris is present in sufficient quantities to sustain a jig fishery and hope to be able to map the distribution of both species more accurately throughout the Western English channel.

We also hope to be able to look more closely at the sexual maturity of the squid species, and if we strike lucky identify breeding grounds.

The main aims of the initiative as a whole and the results of this particular survey and others can be found on the companies website (http://www.cefas.co.uk) under the link entitled Fishery Science Partnership.

Am I in the right part of the forum and if not howeasy is it to rename this topic and post it up elsewhere, you may have guessed already I am new to this form of communication.

Regards Jon
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#4 glen

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 07:46 PM

i will move it and rename it for you.
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#5 Jon

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 05:13 AM

i will move it and rename it for you.

Thank you Glen.

Weather is providing a small window tomorrow (Thurs 6th). Hope to get the day out of it at least, before further storms sweep in from the Atlantic. Over a week of winds above 40 knots so far, guess thats why they call it winter.

Will let you know how the day goes, if your interested?

Jon
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#6 glen

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 06:34 PM

yes i am definitely interested to hear what happens. :woot:
hope you catch a bucket load. :)
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#7 Jon

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 04:44 AM

Squid survey 0- Squid 1. Hmmm.

Not so good on the first day but we all had little hope of catching anything as the water clarity was similar to that of chocolate and about as thick. The storm force winds are not helping us here, several weeks of South and Southwesterly gales/storms have resulted in the water being turned into a kind of sedimentary soup.

At least everything else worked well, the lights are certainly bright enough. We have hired a generator/lightrig, the type you might see lighting up roadworks, as this represented the most viable, economical and flexible option to providing metal halide light to the fishing vessel. The generator is situated on the stern of the vessel where all the jigging is being done and we are able to change the properties of the shadow by extending or retracting the telescopic lighting pole. Sadly the lights dont give off much heat and so one piece flotation/thermal suits are the order of the day.

Wind speed at Lands end @ 1800 today was 50mph Westerly and that has decreased steadily for three hours,however, the forecast is for the wind to swing into the Northwest (offshore) for a couple of days and it is our hope that the water clarity will improve somewhat, unfortunately Sundays (10th Dec) forecast is set to swing back into the Southwest and blow severe gale 9 to storm 10, after that the longrange forecast gives the wind veering into the NW again.

I am waiting now for the skipper to make a descision on when to go (I hope we can get away on Friday evening).

If at first you dont succeed, try and try again.

Does anyone know if it is worth using baited jags when searching for squid. Does bait attract these animals in the same way it would attract finfish.

jon
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#8 squidjigdotcom

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 05:21 AM

Squid survey 0- Squid 1. Hmmm.

Not so good on the first day but we all had little hope of catching anything as the water clarity was similar to that of chocolate and about as thick. The storm force winds are not helping us here, several weeks of South and Southwesterly gales/storms have resulted in the water being turned into a kind of sedimentary soup.

At least everything else worked well, the lights are certainly bright enough. We have hired a generator/lightrig, the type you might see lighting up roadworks, as this represented the most viable, economical and flexible option to providing metal halide light to the fishing vessel. The generator is situated on the stern of the vessel where all the jigging is being done and we are able to change the properties of the shadow by extending or retracting the telescopic lighting pole. Sadly the lights dont give off much heat and so one piece flotation/thermal suits are the order of the day.

Wind speed at Lands end @ 1800 today was 50mph Westerly and that has decreased steadily for three hours,however, the forecast is for the wind to swing into the Northwest (offshore) for a couple of days and it is our hope that the water clarity will improve somewhat, unfortunately Sundays (10th Dec) forecast is set to swing back into the Southwest and blow severe gale 9 to storm 10, after that the longrange forecast gives the wind veering into the NW again.

I am waiting now for the skipper to make a descision on when to go (I hope we can get away on Friday evening).

If at first you dont succeed, try and try again.

Does anyone know if it is worth using baited jags when searching for squid. Does bait attract these animals in the same way it would attract finfish.

jon


In my opinion, I wouldn't bother with baited jigs while searching for the squid. Standard glow type commercial or weighted jigs would likely work best. If you know squid are around, but not biting the jigs, that is when I would recommend going to the baited jigs. Squid are hungry creatures, and not likely to pass up free food.

Not sure if you have or not, but if you're fishing at night, be sure to hold your jigs under the bright light to get them charged up (so that they glow). This definitely is helpful.

Another option for test fishing for you would be small size lighted squid jigs. (with small light inside)

Jon
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#9 aok47

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 12:08 PM

Jon,



Any chance of posting pics of the vessel you guys are going out in, and the setup?



Enjoyed reading this thread!



AK
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#10 Jon

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 03:47 AM

Hi guys,
I have time for a brief update before I have to go back to sea. I am pleased to report some success. We have caught 5 squid!!!
Sailed from Brixham at 2200 on Friday 8th December and steamed west towards a stretch of Cornish coast between Plymouth and the Dodman point. We were expecting fine weather conditions as the forecast was for the wind to veer into the NW and decrease. after a lumpy steam in heavy SW swell we conducted the first drift just before dawn with the lights on, at this point the weather was NW 3 (very pleasant if a tad cold, about +2deg C). No squid on the first drift, however on the second drift 1 squid (Loligo Vulgaris) was caught. No other squid showed for the rest of the morning and then just before lunch another L.Vulgaris (38cm mantle length, approx. 1.5kg). I caught a small one around mid afternoon and then nothing for the rest of the day.
The following morning the wind backed very quickly into the SW and freshened to a full gale, for a change. By lunchtime we were forced to seek shelter in Mevagissey and did not get away until the Monday afternoon. Even then conditions would not allow us to fish any offshore marks so we spent the best part off the day conducting drifts around likely looking headlands and rocky reefs and areas where local fishermen had caught squid in the past. After several drifts we steamed to a mark just off Fowey where a small fishing boat came along side out of curiosity. The skipper of this vessel had targetted squid with jigs on numerous occasions and suggested we attempted a reef known to him as the "Outer ground" as this often produced squid in the marginal conditions (murky water) we were experiencing. The first drift over this mark produced a fine specimen of L. Forbesi (48cm and probably 3kg), again though this was the only taker, several more drifts in full dark with the lights and not a touch. Slightly heartened we returned to Mevagissey for the night and sailed at 0430 the following morning to drift the same mark.
10 minutes into the first drift and two lines had takes almost at the same time, I retrieved the forward section of the club (hunting) tentacle of a large L. Forbesi and the other line lost theirs after several metres of retrieve. 20 minutes later and on the same drift I had a fine specimen to the boat and lost it as it was coming aboard, another line caught and landed a Vulgaris of 34cm I had two drop offs and the other line lost one at the boat and had one drop off and then nothing.
Weather was freshening all the time from the SW and the accompanying swell was the main reason we experienced so many drop offs, as it was very difficult to maintain a constant retrieve rate.
The weather continued to deteriorate to a full gale, again, and we were forced to run before it and return to Brixham.
SW gales continued through Wednesday when we attempted several drifts around Torbay but were unable to venture further than about 2km offshore.
We returned to Brixham on Wednesday night and have been waiting to get back to it, probably on Saturday morning when the forecast gives the wind veering into the NW and this should hopefully improve the water clarity.
Squid is being caught by the trawlers so with luck we should see some results. I intend to try slightly different tactics this time as at night I intend to anchor and let the lights work the squid to us rather than drift.
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#11 Jon

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 03:55 AM

In my opinion, I wouldn't bother with baited jigs while searching for the squid. Standard glow type commercial or weighted jigs would likely work best. If you know squid are around, but not biting the jigs, that is when I would recommend going to the baited jigs. Squid are hungry creatures, and not likely to pass up free food.

Not sure if you have or not, but if you're fishing at night, be sure to hold your jigs under the bright light to get them charged up (so that they glow). This definitely is helpful.

Another option for test fishing for you would be small size lighted squid jigs. (with small light inside)

Jon

Thanks Jon for your suggestions we have tried the baited jags with no success (but then we havent exactly buried ourselves in squid have we) and yes we are "charging" the flourescent jigs under the lights before deploying them, I am not sure that abundance is the issue here, rather conditions.
Water clarity has been a major issue throughout the survey so far so one has to question the efficacy of unlighted jigs in these conditions. I have aquired a small lighted jig (one of yours I believe) from a friend and intend to try this when we get away again. Hopefully I wont lose it, like we have lost so many others (gear loss on the reefs was very high, another reason to want to anchor or slow the drifts down with a drogue). Will let you know how we get on
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#12 Jon

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 03:58 AM

Jon,



Any chance of posting pics of the vessel you guys are going out in, and the setup?



Enjoyed reading this thread!



AK

Hi AK,
Glad you find this interesting. I am taking photographs during the survey and will be able to post up some prints probably around Christmas.

Regards Jon
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#13 glen

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 10:03 PM

looking forward to seeing your photos jon! hope you get a big catch soon.

cheers, glen :ink
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#14 Jon

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 10:04 PM

Hi Gents,
back from the the last of this years survey (another 10 days to do in the new year). Hopefully the weather will remain as good as it is at the moment (high pressure, light winds, sunny and very cold).

We have had a result! Not massive amounts of squid but on two seperate nights in very different areas, at anchor and under lights I think I might have shown that commercial handlining for squid at night might be possible in the uk.

On Monday night, after drifting over an area in Falmouth Bay that produced a mixed bag of squid (both L.Vulgaris and Forbesi) through the day, we dropped anchor and fished into the night under the lights. Through the sunset and into full dark we had some steady catch rates on rods, after full dark I started using handlines, 3 with 2 jags on each, from around 2000hrs to midnight I caught probably 5 or 6 times the amount of squid as the other 3 rods combined, mostly in a 2hr period.

On the Tuesday morning we lifted the anchor and steamed east where we conducted three drifts from which the largest squid to date was caught (a 51cm L.Forbesi specimen of about 3.5kg). Several other lines connected into very big squid but were unable to bring them of the seabed.

We then steamed further east again ending up at anchor east of Plymouth harbour on ground we had no information for. Not knowing what to expect I was delighted when my first drop on my first line (I used three again) produced a L.Vulgaris, again I caught several times more on the handlines than those on the rods.

Time off now for Christmas and the New year, I have a plentyful supply of fine Czech Pilsner and abottle of Danish schnapps in the freezer, hopefully my hands will have healed (damn those jags are sharp) by the time we return to it in January. Probably around the 10th, in time for the neap tide, when we hope to explore the deeper water to the east of Brixham, an area we know the trawlers are catching around 250-400kg of squid a day.

Happy un-Christmas to any pagans following this thread.

Jon
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#15 glen

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Posted 23 December 2006 - 09:18 AM

thanks for the info jon. good luck in the new year!
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#16 scifly

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 09:09 AM

Hi Jon

Sounds like you are having a ripe old time of it. By way of introduction, I completed a Masters degree on chokka squid (previously Loligo vulgaris reynaudii, now L. reynaudii) in South Africa so got to learn a bit about the little critters. As you know, jigging in South Africa is via hand jig with a heavy lead jig on the bottom and one or two plastic "floaters" higher up the line. You seem to have been doing everything right. There have been a lot of papers written on the dynamics of the fishing aggregations (SA fishers target spawning aggregations of squid) and a good link to info is here http://www.oceanafri...m/publications/. You are quite right that the squid will move away from dirty water and in SA, fishers often look for deeper spawning squid by using drogues or parachutes to drift over deeper reefs. Another question: have you made use of a sounder to look for aggregations? Chokka typically formed a mushroom shaped signature on the sounder or else a plume from the bottom towards the surface. Any other specific questions shoot them my way and I may be able to help. Graham Pierce at the University of Aberdeen is probably quite a good contact to talk to as is Peter Boyle.
Regards
Len
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#17 glen

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 07:08 AM

Seafish project investigates sustainable squid fishery
Published: 09 January, 2007

A NEW collaborative project managed by Seafish is examining the potential of developing a sustainable fishery for squid in UK waters.

Seafish is working with a range of collaborative partners including the University of Aberdeen, FRS and CEFAS, with the over-riding aim being to ensure that any developments in catching squid are achieved in a responsible and sustainable manner.

The development of sustainable fisheries for squid is an attractive option for UK fishermen, as it is a short-lived non-quota species with a relatively high market value.

However, one of the biggest hurdles in achieving this aim is the lack of knowledge of squid biology. It is an unpredictable species, often being abundant in some years and scarce in others, although in inshore areas there are definite patterns of seasonal abundance.

A further problem in developing a fishery is the lack of knowledge about squid behaviour with regard to fishing gear. Similarly, expertise is lacking in processing techniques and methods for optimising the quality of the catch. The aim of the new UK Squid Fisheries Development Project will be to shed some light on these issues.

The project, which will include a stock assessment, will primarily focus on the four main species of squid found in UK waters.

A major part of the research will look at ways of optimising fishing gear through a series of sea trials. This will include using underwater cameras to observe how squid actually behave inside a trawl. Such information should prove vital in the development of selective fishing gears that will target marketable squid, yet keep catches of undersized and unwanted species to a minimum.

Another part of the research programme will examine the potential of jigging (hooked lures) as a catch method, including the use of lights as a means of attracting squid. Seafish have studied an African vessel that uses this very method to fish at night and it appears to be viable, if labour intensive.

The project will also determine the optimum catch handling methods both onboard and onshore. In addition, processing techniques, shelf life estimation and marketing will be investigated to ensure maximum product value.

The multi-tiered project, which is supported by funding from the EU, Defra (administered by the Marine Fisheries Agency), SEERAD and Seafish is scheduled for completion by the end of 2008.

More information on the Squid Fisheries Development Project can be found on the new business to business section of the Seafish website www.seafish.org/b2b - click on ‘Resource Sustainability’ in the left hand menu.


Source: http://www.fishupdat...id_fishery.html
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#18 Jon

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 03:15 AM

Hi Jon

Sounds like you are having a ripe old time of it. By way of introduction, I completed a Masters degree on chokka squid (previously Loligo vulgaris reynaudii, now L. reynaudii) in South Africa so got to learn a bit about the little critters. As you know, jigging in South Africa is via hand jig with a heavy lead jig on the bottom and one or two plastic "floaters" higher up the line. You seem to have been doing everything right. There have been a lot of papers written on the dynamics of the fishing aggregations (SA fishers target spawning aggregations of squid) and a good link to info is here http://www.oceanafri...m/publications/. You are quite right that the squid will move away from dirty water and in SA, fishers often look for deeper spawning squid by using drogues or parachutes to drift over deeper reefs. Another question: have you made use of a sounder to look for aggregations? Chokka typically formed a mushroom shaped signature on the sounder or else a plume from the bottom towards the surface. Any other specific questions shoot them my way and I may be able to help. Graham Pierce at the University of Aberdeen is probably quite a good contact to talk to as is Peter Boyle.
Regards
Len

Hi Scifly,
sounds like you have studied in far greater detail the same fishery i had a look at back in October. We were invited (a colleague of mine from CEFAS and a representative from the SEAFISH industry authority) by a producer (Christy's and sons) in St Francis Bay and are currently trying to develop the methods used over there in an English environment. Several limitations apply not least funding but 20 days have been identified and we have thus far conducted 11, with some limited success.
Two main species that make up the squid landings here in the SW are L.Forbesi and L.Vulgaris and we have caught both species on jigs. Of course this in itself proves nothing as there has existed in the SW for 20-30 years an artisanal inshore jig fishery. This fishery reflects the erratic nature of squid abundance and those that exploit this fishery do so in conjunction with line fishing for Mackerel (S. scombre), potting for crab and lobster and gill netting for mixed species, tending to target squid only when the conditions are just right. This fishery has more often than not targetted large males of both species over rough ground and known reefs and from our catches in these areas the majority of fish would seem to be large "bull" males, often >50cm. Another characteristic of this fishery is that very little squid is caught through the day, the most productive times being first and last light. Our survey so far seems to supports this, L.Forbesi being particularly scarce during the night whereas L.Vulgaris seems easier to catch at night.
As you will be aware the SA fleet are equipped with Japanese squid lights and an average vessel typically burns around 50-60,000watts of metal halide light. The cost of this would be prohibitive to the survey funding so we have attempted to compromise by hiring a generator/light rig of the type commonly seen illuminating roadworks here in the UK. This we have situated on the stern of the chartered fishing vessel where we can play with the light and shadow characteristics by raising and lowering the telescopic lighting head. The head consists of 4x1000watt lamps and although this is very much smaller (by at least a factor of 10) and directional in
nature where the Japanese lights are none directional this set up still provides us with brighter lights than conventional deck lighting.
Abundance of squid is, i believe, far less than in SA and we have not yet discovered any "nests". I have fished from the SW for 20 years before working for CEFAS and in that time i have not witnessed nor do i know of anyone who has witnessed a "nest" of squid, although static gear fishermen are often aware of increases or decreases in squid breeding as the eggs are often secreted to their pots and ropes.
It is entirely possible that the L.Vulgaris is to be found in small highly mobile hunting/sexually orientated packs and our limited experiences of catching squid at night under lights sort of supports this. Also L.Forbesi has much smaller eye than L.Vulgaris and i wonder if this goes someway to explain why L.Forbesi is not caught at night.
More questions than answers. Bloody squid!!
Thanks for link has proven very interesting.
Regards Jon
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#19 Jon

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 03:19 AM

Source: http://www.fishupdat...id_fishery.html

Cheers for this Glen.
The guy heading up the SEAFISH study accompanied my colleague and i to South Africa back in October and hopes to furthr our research, I believe he will be looking more closely at preparing the catch for market and also developing exclusive markets for line caught squid as well as developing the fishery.
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#20 glen

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 06:56 AM

This fishery has more often than not targetted large males of both species over rough ground and known reefs and from our catches in these areas the majority of fish would seem to be large "bull" males, often >50cm.


Hi Jon, I was just wondering where exactly are the female squid then?

Cheers, Glen
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