Squid Fishing Gold Coast – Brisbane – Tweed Heads
Learn how to catch Squid around the Gold Coast and other regions, regular contributor Anthony Coughran explains how.
Squid – (Cephalopods)
We have many different species of squid, calamari and cuttlefish in Australian waters, Several are commonly found around the Gold coast. Here are the most common species.
Cuttlefish (Sepia apama- giant cuttlefish) (Sepia pharaonis – pharaoh’s cuttlefish)
Cuttlefish are found right around Australia, the giant cuttlefish are found over reefs and grassy seabed’s out to the continental shelf. Praraoh’s and smaller species are found on close reefs, inshore reefs and around grassy seabed’s.
They can actually grow up to 5 kilograms and 52 centimetres long. There are actually 10 different species of cuttlefish in Australian waters.
Gould’s squid ( Arrow squid) ( Nototodarus Gouldi)
Found from the southern barrier reef and all the way around the southern states around to Geraldton in WA. Found mainly in deer water 50m – 200m smaller models will sit in estuaries and bays during the winter months. Can grow up to 1.6kg and 40cm
Loligo squid ( Loligo Formosa) (Loligo chinensis)
Found along the New south wales coast and estuaries. They love to hang around weed beds and riverbeds then spread out at night.
Can grow up to 200g and 25cm
Luminous bay squid (Loliolus noctiluca)
Found right along the east coast of Australia from the gulf to bass straight and the east coast of Tasmania. They live in bays, estuaries and even into brackish water. Usually found over reefs and grassy sea beds out to 50 metres. They have a dark spots on their bodies with yellow- pink colouring along the body. Luminous bay squid have wings half their bodies length. Grows to a length of about 10 centimetres.
Northern Calamari (tiger squid) (Sepioteuthis Lessoniana)
Found in nearshore coastal waters, bays and estuaries. From northern New south wales right around the northern states/ Territories to sharks bay in western Australia and also on offshore reefs out to 100 metres deep. Northern Calamari can grow to 2 kilograms and 42 centimetres in length.
Southern Calamari (Sepioteuthis Australis)
Found on inshore reefs out to 100m and in bay’s, estuaries and inlets. From Brisbane around the southern states to sharks bay in WA. Can grow to 4kgs and 55cm.
When talking cm in length. A squid is always measured by the hood. Or mantle length. So from behind the head and the start of the hood to the tip of hood.
Squid Life Cycle and Spawning
Squid grow very fast, very quickly, and Average 30% of their body weight a day and can increase in biomass by 10 – 15% per day in the first half of their life cycles. The figure drops to 5% or so as they reach maturity.
The average life cycle of a squid is live fast, and die young, most only live to about 12 – 18 months or one to two years. However, some species have been known to live 3 – 5 years but that’s more giant squid and cuttlefish. Spawning female squid will lay or release up to 100, 000 eggs per female. All squid die after they spawn. Males will die straight away after mating and females will die shortly after laying their eggs. Which in-turns feeds lots of fish, mammals, birds and crustaceans.
Squid can manipulate they skin texture and the colour of their skin to match their surroundings. They also use their colour to communicate between each other, to hunt and evade or allude predictors.
If that fails they have their ink sack. Which they squirt out to blind or confuse their predators as they slip away.
You can find tiger squid and arrow squid in the Gold coast Broadwater, Moreton bay, Harvey bay, and most close coastal reefs off the tweed and gold coast regions. Mainly found in winter and the cooler months. They love to hunt over weed beds, sea grass, coral and rocky reefs and the arrows sometimes are found in the deeper holes and channels in bays and estuaries.
They mainly feed on small to medium prawns, fish, crustaceans and other squid. Yes they are cannibalistic. They hunt water from 0.5 – 5m in the bay, broadwater and most close reefs out to 100m. Jetties, marinas, beacons with lights all fish well. Full moon is still one of the best time to score squid. Specially in shallow water. The two hour either side of the high tide fishes the best. As they work in with the tide and hunt the normally expose or super shallow reefs and weed beds.
Best baits to use for a squid fishing The Gold Coast
Banana prawns, pilchards, strip baits like mullet and Tuna. All work well on a squid spike. Working baited squid spikes under a float is the best way to keep it off bottom and in the strike zone. Plus it also helps you identify when an unsuspecting squid takes the bait.
Jigs – Jigging For squid
Depends on the weather, water clarity, light, current and depth. But if you try a few different sizes and colours it helps to narrow down, what they are eating in that particular area at that time of day. Some days/ nights they will only touch 2.5 jigs other days 3.5 jigs. Sometimes high UV or glow patterns work better, other days natural or plain black or white work well. It all depends on the weather and conditions on any given day or night. Chin weights will help you get those lighter smaller jigs down in deeper water.
Using a jig under a float trailing out the back of the boat will often get more than the jigs your working. Set jig height to just off bottom to mid water column.
Depending on the jig. You want to cast out then wait until it sinks to the desired depth. Usually Just off the bottom. Then slow roll it back with a few hops every now and again. Don’t be scared to give it a few bigger whips. In between those hops.
* I will include a Yamashita jig guide in the pics for you to refer too. It have found it extremely helpful.
A UV light or torch can help charge the glow up on your jigs and allows you to see how much glow and UV are on your jigs. Use the guide to help in choosing your jig colours.
They can also be caught on other lures like zx40’s, diving hard bodies, bait jigs and even a surface lure. Zx40’s work really well for squid fishing in the Gold coast broadwater.
Best set ups to fish for squid
Lines 6- 10lb braid or mono attached to a 8- 14lb leader. On a 2-4kg – 3-6kg rod with a 1000 – 2500 reel. This simple set up is all you need to successfully fish for squid with bait or jigs.
Artificial lights can help a great deal. As it draws the bait to you and in return the squid will follow. I like to drift when I’m squid fishing. To cover ground. Generally speaking I like to do two drifts with the lights on and then two without. Following that I work the averages. Some nights a light works better. Some nights it doesn’t make any difference.
Preservation and cleaning
If your keeping your catch to eat. You want to kill your squid as fast as possible. ( easier said then done.) they have three brains. A left and right side brain then a body brain. So you need to kill all three as fast as you can. An EGI spike works great, when you insert the spike and turn it, it hits all three brains at once if done right. You will be able to tell as the body parts go Clear to white colour straight away. If not the body section will keep its natural colour. If you don’t get all body parts killed straight away the meat will be tougher. Put your squid on ice to maintain freshness while you continue fishing. Alternatively you if you have a good live bait tank, you can keep them alive until your ready to head home.
Soaking your squid in kiwi fruit for 30 minutes to 3 three hours will aid in tenderising the flesh. The enzymes in the kiwi fruit keep it soft.
I have personally spent a lot of time on perfecting this and between myself and a few mates we now have it down pat.
50 seconds, not one second more or less and it stays as tender as you can get it. Doesn’t mater if it’s deep fried, shallow fired or pan fried. Baking may vary. But no longer than 50 seconds when frying it. Trust me.
Size and bag limits
no size limits and a bag limit of 50 on cuttlefish and squid (excluding tiger squid)
No size and a bag limit. But if in doubt consult Qld fisheries for more details.
New south wales
No size limit and a bag of 20 for all none listed species. Again a general bag limit of 20 applies for all invertebrates. Southern Calamari has a bag limit of 15 per person. Again consult your dpi. It’s hard to find anything on them.
In conclusion Squid fishing Gold coast can be very rewarding. Not only are squid great on the palate, they make great bait too. Fresh or live squid make a tasty meals for a huge variety of species. Both inshore and offshore species can be caught while deep sea fishing or working local estuaries. Happy Squidding.