How to Rig Cut Squid for Fishing


Cut squid is a perennially popular bait for saltwater fishing. Squid is durable, easy to work with and a principal food for many types of game fish. Squid also stink so bad that the cry of "man overboard" may not be an accident. Take care of squid during the fishing excursion to keep the smell from overpowering anglers and crew alike.

There are two primary ways for rigging cut squid, depending on the style of fishing. Trolling requires a squid rig to give the bait some shape and weight, and hold it securely to the hook while being dragged behind an offshore boat. Thin strips of squid work well for surf fishing.

Things You'll Need

  • Saltwater rod and reel spooled with line
  • Frozen squid
  • Tackle, hooks, pyramid sinkers and squid rigs
  • Bait knife or pocket knife

Trolling with Cut Squid

  • Insert the triangular end of a weighted squid rig through the mantle of a thawed squid so that the hook faces downward. The mantle is the opening just above the squid's tentacles.

  • Push the eyelet of the rig through the mantle and tie to the main line using a clinch knot. (See the Active Angler website in the Reference section for instructions on tying a clinch knot.)

  • Point the hook down through the bait so it is obscured by the tentacles.

Surf Casting and Bottom Fishing with Cut Squid

  • Cut strips of squid about 1/2-inch wide and 3 to 4 inches long

  • Pierce the end of a squid strip with the hook, puncturing the bait and sliding the hook down until the strip is pressed against the eye of the hook.

  • Stab the bait close the midsection with the hook barb and push the point through the squid so the strip is now threaded on the hook in two places. This makes it more difficult for fish to strip the bait from the hook and also holds the squid on longer for the rough-and-tumble conditions of surf fishing.

  • Replace squid strips every half an hour with fresh bait to keep the scent in the water. Squid strips wash out pale and lose their effectiveness after about 30 minutes in salt water.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep squid on ice until ready to use for bait. Previously frozen, slightly thawed squid is easier to cut than fully thawed bait, which will slip through year fingers and increase the chance of getting cut with your own knife.

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