No matter what saltwater fish you’re looking to land, odds are you can use squid as bait. Squid is commonly using for bottom and floating rigs as well as trolling, and it can be baited whole or cut up.
Squid can even be used whole for fishing bait: run your line inside of the squid’s outer mantle, and position your hook in its head. A large squid can and should be cut into smaller pieces to be used as bait, as a squid bait that is too big will just give fish the opportunity to feed on it instead of getting hooked.
When you bait a hook with squid, aim your hook to pass securely through the skin, shell, or bone. This will help prevent it falling off. And remember, if it’s a piece of the squid that you wouldn’t eat, the fish won’t eat it either.
How to Prepare Squid Bait for Fishing
Preparing a squid for use as bait isn’t difficult, but it is a little more involved than just chopping it up. Here are a few things you should do to make it the most effective bait for fishing possible:
Step 1 – Remove the Head
Remove the head from the squid. If your squid came frozen, defrost it slightly by running it under warm water for a minute.
Step 2 – Slice Down the Squid Long-ways
Using a sharp knife, such as a good paring or fillet knife, make a single long-ways cut down one of the squid’s sides.
Step 3 – Clean the Guts Out
Use that cut to open up the body of the squid, then reach in and clean out the guts—including an odd organ that looks like a plastic drinking straw. Make sure to clean out the body cavity as much as you can.
Step 4 – Remove the Skin
Taking the skin off the squid allows more of its meat to be exposed to the water, which means a stronger scent trail for fish to follow. You can discard the skin after removal.
Step 5 – Cut the Squid Into Strips
Cut the skinned, gutless squid meat into long strips. Wait until you are at you site to trim these strips down into smaller sizes.
How to Put Squid on The Hook
Squid meat is pretty tough and will only need to be hooked once, but that means that you should use a pretty strong hook with a sturdy barb. Use pieces of squid up to a couple of inches long—that’s long enough to flop around convincingly in the water, but short enough the fish will try to take it in one bite and get caught on the hook instead of snacking off the end.