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The Tantalizing Squid - Part 2


light source should not be used at docks which have marine fuel pumps.

The same rules apply if you decide to squidjig from a boat near the shoreline, which some people prefer. Please remember, however, to be a considerate sportsperson and make sure your light is not disturbing onshore residents.

Outfitting yourself

All in all, squid-jigging is one of the most inexpensive ways to get yourself a gourmet meal. You don't really need a boat. You can take advantage of those free public fishing piers. The other good thing is that jigging equipment is neither complicated nor costly.

Rod and reel: Almost any style of rod and reel will work. You already may have some thing in your closet that will do the job. Other wise, you can buy an inexpensive rod and reel combination. Just think "light and long" - because, as we will explain soon, it's best to have something in your hands that is sensitive and telegraphs slight changes.

Line: Successful squidders use anything from six- to 20-pound line - but, the best sport and best chance of success come with the lighter line.

Public Piers

Fort Warden (3.4)
Port Hudson
Fort Flagler (2.3)
Port of Everett:
	Pier 1
Mukilteo Pier (1) 
Snohomish County:
	Meadowdale (2.3.4) 
Edmonds Pier ( 
Bainbridge Island:
	North of Pt. White

For KEY to what these piers offer, see map on pages 16-17.

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Lures: The photo on this page gives you an idea of the uniqueness of squid lures. It's the "hook" part that is different. Squid lures vary in length and thickness and color and pattern -but they all have a distinctive upward slanting "ray" or two of sharp prongs.

Since the idea is to attract the attention of the squid that are watching that lighted area in

squid lures
Squid lures all have the "ray" of upward slanting prongs - but from there it's a question of the color and shape you want to test for success.

the water - almost all lures are either luminous or have something embedded in them (metal, etc.) to reflect light.

Most squid jigs are made out of tinted, relatively clear, plastic. Common colors are blue, pink, green, red, orange, amber and no-color (clear). Commercial jigs commonly range in

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size between two and four inches - although some are twice as long and pencil thin.

If you go with an unweighted lure, you need to remember to buy some one-ounce lead weights so you will be able to maneuver your lure down to the depth you want.

"Trial & error"

Again reminding you of how challenging squid can be - we have to point out that no one style of lure is a constant winner. The specific environmental conditions at the location and on the night you are fishing dictate what is going to work - or isn't. "Trial and error," says our expert.

It also is possible to have a lure that is identical to that of your pier neighbor who is having great success - while you aren't landing a single critter. One reason for this could be the location of your lure in the water and how it is or isn't catching the light.

You can purchase jigs at your local tackle shop. You also can make your own by using, for example, a group of luminous beads in various sizes and colors. When you are out at one of the public piers - why not browse among your angling neighbors to see just how many different styles of lures are used?...and which ones are working?

The rest of your outfit

In addition to the aforementioned fishing gear, you often need a camping lantern or flashlight of significant size for unlit locations.

You also will want a plastic bucket or something similar for holding your catch until you get it home. If you really want to be

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organized, you can pour five quarts of water into your container, then mark the water-line. This lets you see when your harvest has hit the legal limit.

For the rest of the details on legalities - please see "Regulations" on the inside back cover.

Techniques: Weather conditions

The odds are more in your favor during high tide - on a cloudy or rainy night. These conditions give the nearshore water depth that squid seem to prefer - plus a setting in which the artificial light that you're using as your squid magnet will be most noticeable.

Public Piers

	Tacoma area
Pt Defiance Park 
	Pier (1.3.4)
Les Davis Pier (
Old Town Dock
	King County
Blake Island Pier
Des Moines
	Marina Pier (1.3.4)
Redondo Marina
Pier (1.3.4)
Dash Point Pier (1.3.4) 
Vashon Island: 
	Tramp Harbor (4)

For KEY to what these piers offer, see map on pages 16-17.

Techniques: Timing

Squid seem to like to start feeding just after darkness sets in - then, they often taper off on their dining - only to decide they are hungry again after midnight or later.

Remember the unpredictable behavior of these voracious eaters, however. Squidding can be excellent at almost any time during the night - all night long - or not start until the

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early morning hours. Often, good catches are made at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. You just never know when the squid platoon will launch a feeding foray.

This probably is a good place to mention that spawning squid are going to ignore you. As another of our experts explains it - during mating periods, squid are oblivious to the rest of the world.

Techniques: Sites

It's easier to point you toward general areas that regularly bring squid-jigging success, than to tell you that specific sites in those areas are a good bet for your current outing.

For example, the Edmunds, Seattle and DesMoines areas of the Sound hold promise every year - but squid populations are going to vary at specific sites (Myrtle Edwards Park dock, Pier 91, etc.) in those areas.

In fact, potentials can change on a weekly, daily - even hourly - basis. Determination and a sense of humor help.

As a good squid-jigger, you will go out to investigate - and fill in the pieces of this annual squid puzzle yourself.

Public Piers

Steilacoom: Clyde
	Davidson Pier (1.4) 
Olympia area:
	Luhr's Beach Pier (4) 
Pt. Townsend
	City Dock (4)
Mason County:
	Allyn City Pier
	Hood Canal 
Twanoh Park Pier Hoodsport Pier 
Point Whitney Pier 
Hood Canal Bridge

For KEY to what these piers offer, see map on pages 16-17.

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squid fishing map

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Techniques : Line set-up

In many areas, a single lure works best. For example, at Edmonds, most of the successful anglers use a single lure. The tall pole lights at the Edmonds pier shine farther out into the water - meaning that you need to cast your lure farther out. This is more accurately done, of course, with a single lure.

In other places, multiple lures (up to four) will better lead you to success. By putting lures of different sizes and colors on your line you can test which type is attractive to the critters at that site, that night, at that time. When you find the winning lure or lures, you can always re-rig your line with those styles.

You also should experiment with the arrangement of your set of lures. Sometimes putting the same lures in different order on your line makes a difference.

squid fishing rig

Our expert's favorite method of setting up with three lures is to space four-inch dropper lines 16 inches apart on the main line. He then adds a one-ounce weight to the end of the main line.

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Techniques: Jigging

Single lure: If you are using a single lure, cast it out some distance from the dock (or boat - or bulkhead) and allow it to sink to a depth where you think the squid may be lurking. Retrieve it with a series of steady jerks or "jigs." No takers? Try other depths.

Multiple lures: If you are using multiple lures, drop them into the lighted area of the water. Lower them down to the chosen depth (which frequently is just off bottom) - then slowly raise them up and down in the water column by repeatedly raising and lowering the tip of your rod. The idea is to find the right location for working your lures.

Depth: Depth is a critical factor in the pursuit of squid. Our expert is convinced that having their jigs working at different depths often spells "luck" - or lack of it - for side-by-side anglers.

Keep in mind that squid are congregational beings - they stay gathered in schools.

Once you hit upon the depth that the local squid squad is plying that night (or, even that hour) - keep sending your lure back to that depth.

Once you hit upon the depth that the local squid squad is plying that night...

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Techniques: More: Jigging

How the squid gets caught: Earlier, we cued you in on the fact that you don't "hook" squid in the traditionally understood manner. It's fair to say that these ambush artists help themselves to be caught.

To repeat: Squid hold up in the darkness near lighted water areas - then lunge into the brighter arena when they see something that looks edible. They don't "bite," however -they deftly wrap their tentacles around their intended dinner prey.

The feel: A slight change in the movement of your outfit is all that signals a take.

Remember, squid are those ghost-like "streaks" in the water - and it's good to keep their fleetness in mind. Your reactions have to be just as quick as their jet-propelled maneuvers are.

(By "jet propelled," we mean that squid propel themselves for-ward by forcibly expelling water through a tiny nozzle that is part of their anatomy. If need be, these clever creatures also can swim backwards and forwards, using their fins.)

When you feel that slight change in

Public Piers

	Kitsap County 
Sinclair Inlet:
	Waterman Pt. Pier (1.4) 
Retsil: Annapolis Dock (1.2) 
Port Orchard Pier (1.4)
	Seattle area 
Shilshole Marina 
	(A Dock) ( 
Elliott Bay (Seattle Fishing Pier) (
Duwamish Head (1) 
Spokane St. Bridge

For  KEY to what these piers offer, see map in center of book
Go to page 21 

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Page last updated: 14 April 2005