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SQUID for KIDS

Dan Clifton
Well what can I say what year it has been, there have been plenty of fish caught right throughout the winter in the Tamar River with trevally and kingfish amongst the mix of species caught during the off season.
Now that it is warming up and the mercury hitting close to 30. There are many fishos looking for something to target.

Well I have been pondering what to write about for this issue as I have been unable to produce an article in the last two issues due to high commitment with work and the Bream Breeding Program.
So after a nice BBQ and a couple of coldies it hit me, what do people like to eat during the summer, mmm.... something not to heavy and not to light, something not to hot and something with plenty of appeal.
Got It!!!! A nice salad mixed with a lushes serving of salt and pepper squid. Man I am getting hungry just writing about it. Well the first thing we need is some fresh southern calamari.

Squids for Kids
Where do I catch it you are thinking, well that is easy you go to your wallet and pull out $20 head down to the local supermarket and ask for some of the freshest frozen no flavour southern calarmari..... Mmmm does that sound like a nice meal or not.
Well if you are like me and you have had the freshest calamari you can get, yes that means just hours out of the water and into the bread basket, you could be less interested in second rate commercial squid.
The answer is easy, first you need a location.
Second an outfit to fish with (basic is best)
Third an idea of how to clean your catch
And fourth some mates and a BBQ
There you are four ingredients
So let's look closely into these four ingredients, starting with locations in Tassie, the locations I will mention are locations that I personally have success at when chasing calamari.
If you are new to this then just head to your local tackle store or ask a friend that you know loves to fish, they bound to know of somewhere close by that has squid.
The places I mention in the following paragraphs are from my personal favourite back.
If you have a boat and live near the Tamar this one is for you, located. On the map you will see the red circle where I go to catch my XOS squid during the summer, these guys are no fools and there are a few little tricks I have come up with in the past few years that have proven to be the undoing of these monster squid.
The other great benefit of this technique is that it covers you for other species that turn up during the session.
My technique is to anchor up in the area located in the map; there is a noticeable shelf about 100 m back from the point.
Once anchored and happy with how the boat has settled then it is time to start with the magic. Nothing to out of the ordinary but it is berley, yes that is right berley.
Some of the readers might be thinking right now this guy has lost the plot, anchored and berley, crazy crazy....
Well the secret to a good berley is a tin of cat food (pilchard is best), 1 kg of chook pellets and some tuna oil. Now with the tuna oil more is not always best in this case it isn't just a small splash of tuna oil in this mix will be suffice.
Now this is how the day will go, once you start to berley preferably with a berley basket, you will notice after about half an hour small fish appearing like salmon and mullet, these are great fun to catch while waiting for the squid to arrive, and the little trick here is to use some bright coloured soft plastics like chartreuse, pink, glow etc. Using a small hook like a number 2.
This will allow you to catch some of these small pelagic feeders like the salmon. Then set aside you will need a squid jig such the one in picture 1. This can be rigged on another rod if you have one and if not you can always use a handline.
Keep your casts long and past the ball of bait and salmon close to the boat, because this is where the squid will ambush from when they arrive.
Usually within an hour you will start to get the odd squid attacking your soft plastic, when this happens you need to keep it moving just fast enough to keep the squid interested and once close to the boat cast in your squid jig and pull out you plastic. This needs to be done without losing the interest of the large squid.
Although this sounds a little complex it really isn't, I have taken many kids out for fun days on the river and they have been able to master it in no time.
The second spot on my list which I won't go into to mush detail about as it is exactly the same technique and is only around the corner. So Pipeclay Bay at George Town is another favourite.

My third favourite and a real blast when it is on the bite, is the break wall at Bicheno. The technique I mention above can be used there also by throwing out a bit of berley here there. But it is not essential, I have caught squid of the break wall at all times of the day, but I will be the first to agree that this place is best at sunrise and sunset. Once the light has gone they will be hard to catch again unless you have a light in the water.
I have an old sealed headlight, a spare from my HQ I had as an apprentice. I have some wires solded on to the appropriate spots and then have filled around it with a bit of silicon. Hook it up to a 12v car battery and beautiful a submersible light just for squid (and they love it)
I have taken squid here with tubes in excess of 600mm these are really nice squid.
And I just use a standard cheap prawn style squid jig, I prefer the colour green but everyone has their favourite colour.

Fourth of the list once again in Bicheno is the Gulch this place is close to my heart as it is where I first started catching quality squid in Tasmania. Is has great broken bottom a Mecca for squid when the weather is calm and you can actually watch them taking your lure, even at night as there is a huge flood light the shines into the water at the northern end of the jetty, you will know you are in the right spot because there is always a nice collarge of squid ink on the decks.
Fifth is the Low Head power station, this place is a great place for the family just on sunset during a warm still night, it can be very productive on the right night. It is best attacked on a high tide, but this is once again not an essential, you will find that you may cast and cast and cast and nothing not even a sign and then you will see a school of 30-40 of the blighters swim straight past you. That is the way it goes up there but they are there and when you break there code you are in for some fun.
When fishing for squid I highly recommend a long handled landing net this is to get them in and keep them well away from you until they have expelled all there ink.
The ink from these guys will stain your clothes forever. So don't where you best going clobber when going squid fishing (unless it's all black).
One last place is the Clarence point jetty this jetty like many other land location is a bit hit and miss but it can be effectively berlied just 30min to an hour either side of the tide.
While I am on the issue of jetties, I would like to bring up an important safety issue. Jetties and boats no matter how safe you think they are can take your child's life and yours in the blink of an eye. Recently on the mainland a very unfortunate man and his boys drowned after the pram and the toddler feel over the side of a wharf.
What I ask is that if you have children even if they can swim please make them wear lifejackets (on jetties and wharfs too), this not only give you time to safely rescue them but stops them from being weighed down by clothing often required when fishing in Tasmanian waters.
As you may or may not understand that when fisherman and their children drown from these events is not that many of them can't swim, but are not mentally prepared to be in the water.
I have fished on the Tathra wharf many times and I have been there and seen kids jumping off the wharf and have no issues, same as with surfers in the area and snorkelers, the reason these people don't drown is because they plan to be in the water, it is not a shock when they get in even if it is cold. But when you are not planning on being in the water that is when tragedy strikes. So if you have prepared for the event that your child or yourself is in the water your chance of survival is greatly increased.
Please remember this next time you take a child fishing!!!!!

Okay now you know where to go you will need a basic setup for squid fishing, the great news is that you won't need a fortune to get started. If you have a fishing rod that will help if not you can do it with a hand line but it is not as easy.
6-8lb line is best, a few prawn style squid jigs ($5.00 -$25.00) I use the cheap ones as you can lose a few in the kelp.
A net is optional and also a light if you have one.
Alright now you have the location the gear and a few squid in the bucket.
Well its easy and a little messy but it worth it trust me, what you do is pull the head off, then the wings and skin from the outside of the squid get it free from all skin, now squeeze with your thumb and index finger inside the front of the tube, you should feel a hard piece in there, this is called the pen and is the backbone of the squid.
With your thumb and finger pry it away from the tube until you get a good hold of it, then slowly start to pull it out, when the bottom point of the tube starts to turn inside out, use your fingers to push it through so that the whole tube turns inside out.
Now you can clean the gut cavity and your done.
All you have to do now is decide if you want rings or curly's

Well to wrap up this article we need one more thing a recipe on how to cook your salt and pepper squid.
Being a typical male and having limited cooking skills I recently purchased a book called 4 ingredients in this book there is a fantastic recipe for salt and pepper squid.

Yum Yum - Enjoy this
Serves 6
- 1 tsp. Sichuan peppercorns and 1 tsp. Sea salt.
- 400 g fresh squid caught by YOU!!
- 1 cup of corn flour
- 1 cup vegetable oil.
In a dry pan, roast the peppercorns until they become fragrant and begin to crackle, transfer to a mortar along with sea salt and grind. Add cornflour and roll the squid in the mixture, shake off any excess. Deep fry in hot wok for 1 minute (No longer or they will toughen)
Drain and serve hot.

Dan Clifton