Calamari Dreaming

Humboldt squid fishing
A newly emerging fishery for Humboldt squid, ferrocious predators lured from the deep fathoms, is appreciating an upwelling draw of anglers to the California Coast. Akin to the pursuit of tuna and salmon, long boat rides to offshore structure target only the "jumbo's", a little studied squid species that can exceed 60 pounds. Anticipation onboard is high.Outdoor Life Online Editors
Jigging for squid
Underway, the skipper gets down to business with the anglers, many first timers. "The squid are down past a hundred fathoms and everyone must fish aggressively, and I mean everyone, to bring those first hook-ups to the boat."Outdoor Life Online Editors
Hooked up with a squid
On the spot, the lines go down...way down...past 700 feet. A few hit bottom and start the slow reel up. The orientation said "If you don't bring the squid right to the boat and keep them here, our day will be done. You'll have to drop down 700 feet instead of 5 fathoms and if you aren't on it, they will leave in a matter of minutes." The reality of winding sets in.Outdoor Life Online Editors
Battling a squid
We reel-up, each waiting for a big squirt to attack the specialized four-pound squid jig.The reality of fishing at 700 feet with single speed reels renews itself with the first 100 turns of the handle. A few pulls, nothing sticks, the skipper barks technique.Outdoor Life Online Editors
Anglers on a party boat targeting squid
"Don't pump that rod, it's a squid not a fish" comes down from the wheelhouse as a few squid fail to stick. "Just wind." Another pops off after 300 cranks of the reel and the bridge bellows "Rest the rod on the rail and just wind. Don't let them lose interest or they'll be gone and day is over." Pressure edges the anticipation, arms ache, no squid in sight.Outdoor Life Online Editors
Looking for squid offshore
Hours of high anxiety give way to a rising hail of grunts, groans and bowed postures at the rail. Reel gears become hot under the strain of thousands of revolutions. Top predators, the big squid have coconut size beaks that can rip off chunks of flesh while toothy tenticles hold their prey...underwater. Noting reels again filling with line, the ocean surface comes to life.Outdoor Life Online Editors
Gaffing a big squid
The fight is on with more rods bent than waiting as the first squid hits the surface. Elation returns to the deck. While anglers rejoice, gaffs are swinging. "Follow it," is the command from the bridge to an angler near the stern, his line headed for the bow.Outdoor Life Online Editors
Bring jumbo squid onto the boat
Heaved from the water one after another, "jumbos" live up to their squirting reputation expelling water to make short dashes with futile bursts of energy.Outdoor Life Online Editors
Casting for more jumbo squid
In a fishing frenzy, lures are dropped down 20-30 feet, attacked by squid that followed-up the first hooked and are now swarming under the boat..."As long as you keep them here." insists the Captain. Canabolistic, free-swimming animals will attack hooked squid impacting the angler....Outdoor Life Online Editors
A successful squid hunt
.....And your catch. Cousins to jumbo squid, giant squid are known to leave basketball size suction scars on sperm whales.Outdoor Life Online Editors
The tentacles of a squid
Four foot long monsters from the deep, exhausted squid quiver on the deck flashing red, purple, orange and white in a flourescent display. Out of the water, Humboldt squid lose their feist. Anglers are reminded not to let exposed skin touch the beak and tentacles.Outdoor Life Online Editors
An angler holds up a squid
The squid bite is in full pandemonium. All around the boat, "it's standing room only". The smell of squid permeates the salt air. Stronger now, it was there when we boarded. Limits are a individually determined by need, willingness and each's ability to haul in just one more squid. Lacking the steam to fish on, leaving the rail comes slow to some. For others, the satisfaction of a bountiful trip is worth soaking up on the way home.Outdoor Life Online Editors
Ready to serve squid steaks
The catch qualifies as tonnage. On a rare day without much swell, talk turns to calamari steaks, squid burgers, cevice, freezing and tenderizing. Vacuum sealed squid steaks last up to a year.Outdoor Life Online Editors
Information for squid fishing
Leaving the filleting to an able body crew saves a few hours in the muck and seals a great trip. Heads are retained to be frozen for cut bait through the year. Squid Hunters San Diego Chubasco 2 Sportfishing (619) 599-8290 Captain Ernie Prieto Bodega Bay (90 minutes north of San Francisco) Bodega Sport Fishing Center 1410 B Bay Flat Rd. Bodega Bay CA 94923 (707) 875-3344 Captain Rick Powers Dennis Spike Coastal Kayak Fishing 30765 Pacific Coast Highway #279 Malibu, California 90265 USA 1-818-970-2392Outdoor Life Online Editors

A newly emerging fishery for Humboldt squid is drawing curious anglers to the California Coast in unprecedented numbers.