Getting’ jiggy on squid
  |  First Published: June 2016

For a long, long time now, squid jigs have fascinated me. I honestly believe there is a reason to have a big range of colours and sizes in your tackle box.

Squid jigs for me are one of the things that remind me that there is no constants in fishing. Some days your old faithful jig will dominate, some days a jig you’ve never even taken out of the packet will surprise you by catching more squid than any. These are some of the reasons I love lure fishing in general and I can definitely put my hand up to say that I’m a sucker for a good looking lure. To be honest, I have lures in my collection that have never seen water… but geez, they look good.

Squid jigs are in big numbers in my fishing room. Why? I guess I feel there is a time and place for them, not to mention I like to have a huge range of colours and sizes by many different brands to make sure I have the one that will work on the day.

I thought I’d ask a couple of mates, Paul Carter and Shaun Furtiere, who do a fair bit of squid fishing about their thoughts on the squid jigs.

Is there a constant in squid jigs?

PC:There are two things with squid jigs that have remained constant in 400 years, the first of which are the barbs. Although materials of the barbs have changed from bone and cane to steel-based materials they have always had reverse facing barbs to keep the squid attached to the jig. The second is the shape of the back, although many people have had a crack at changing the way a jig is shaped they have ultimately always returned to the original raised back pattern that we are all so familiar with.

SF:It seems that size does matter. Sizes 3.0 and 3.5 are almost becoming the standard in many situations. Smaller 1.8-2.5 size jigs seem to be more popular with beginner squidders as they are yet to understand the larger-jig-bigger-squid scenario on most occasions. So the constant is that the size you use is important!

How do you select your jig when fishing?

PC:Initially it’s all about colour, and selection for me will always relate to the colour of the water and the available light. There is a reason a squid’s eyes are so big, and that is their hunting and defence mechanism is all about sight. All squid that we know of, with the exception of the firefly squid, are colour blind, but can see three of the six UV light spectrums we can’t. So colour is important in making the jig more visible to the squid. Generally when I get out to my spot, I will look at the amount of light and make the first selection based on the reflective colour tape under the cloth. If it’s night or there is low light, I will select a red-based jig as it refracts light better than any other colour. Morning and afternoon I will always start with gold-based jigs, again as it refracts light better than any other colour for the time period. When the sun is high and lots of light is in the water I use silvers, blues, purples, greens and holographic colour based jigs. Once the colour has been determined, it all comes down to size. Generally I like a big jig as it creates a better profile so I start with a 3.5 and go up and down depending on flow and depth or food resemblance in the area I am fishing.

SF: For the most part, I’ll have clients use a size 3.5 jig in a bright colour to begin with. This year has seen a marked preference it seems for brighter hues in both green and orange. Typically, red or rainbow belly/foil patterns are a part of most of these jig selections and same goes for brown/red foil patterns.

What is your favourite location and jig for that location?

PC:My favourite location hands down is the southern end of Western Port. As mentioned in my jig selection, I have a formula that works by selecting a jig based on the environment around me. If I want to increase my chances of catching I can’t have a favourite jig, I have to stick to what works and it will be the jig best suited on the day at the time I am fishing.

SF:What works on the day is the best squid jig and favourite for that particular time and place! There have been times where a certain colour out performs another, however I really believe a lot of this comes down to angler prowess and sound technique. Keeping the jig in the active strike zone is paramount for catching squid, particularly when the action is slower on some days. Sink rate, or free fall, can be the major difference between a couple of squid and a lot of squid. Pinpointing the exact areas and correctly lining up your drift are also hugely important to consistently finding good squid action. I enjoy spending time on Western Port chasing squid.

What do I choose when I am looking for a jig in a shop?

PC:Keep your purchases based on what is going to work best. I think it is important to have six jigs. Two red-based, two gold-based and two silver-based. Of the two jigs one will have a natural outer colour and the other will have a bright or light colour. This will cover all bases when fishing, I am also a massive fan of bigger jigs and do not own a jig smaller than 3.0. I will always start with a 3.5 and then go to a 4.0 or a 3.0 depending on the situation.

SF:Most tackle shops these days stock a good selection of well-known and proven brands. Most well-known brands have been rigorously tried and tested in their respective countries of origin. This trial and error R & D program largely sorts out what works best for squid. The end result is the current stock available here in Australia in tackle stores and numerous quality brands. I would say, keep using the well-known brands as they are proven.

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