WORDS & PICS: DEAN DICKINSON
Squid is probably the single best all-round bait in the sea for sharks, rays and edible fish. I never go fishing without one or two squid in my bait box as they can be used as a hard bait, or a soft bait once you smash it with a squid hammer.
Back in the early 80s, squid used to cost around R3 per kg and was considered a deep-sea bait for catching bottom fish. I remember that around 1984, with the introduction of the squid hammer, it started becoming a popular bait for bronze bream, then took off with good catches of kob and steenies caught on a strip or triangle of squid with a V cut out to form two tentacles.
Most anglers would remove the guts, skin and head and only use the white flesh. Also around that time, the Border anglers introduced the black squid, smashing the ink sack into a strip of squid, and this worked well for kob.
My first attempt at using a black squid bait produced one of the biggest gully sharks I have ever caught, and the second time I used it I also caught a massive gully shark, so I went back to using a basic white squid bait.
This squid jube jube, as I call it, works fantastically well for kob and I have caught loads of fish using this method; unfortunately, there are only two of these in each squid and they only occur in the smaller squid, so it means you only get one piece of bait per squid. You can also split them to make two bait pieces.
Split the squid down the centre and remove the plastic-looking spine.
Keep the insides of the squid as it contains all the natural flavours that attract fish to your bait.
When making up squid bait, always smash the guts into the bait for extra smell, especially the watery sac inside the squid that contains natural oils that trigger fish to bite.
Slice three long tentacles to cotton onto the side of the bait
Tenderise the ends of the tentacles so they are soft and can easily be cottoned on.
Cut and tenderise a small piece to go onto the hook to form the body of the bait.
Remove the two ovary-looking hearts and carefully remove the ink sack attached to them.
Use the small triangle-shaped squid to cover the foam on the hook.
Once you have cottoned on the thin strips to the hook, place an ovary on each side of the baby squid bait and cotton them on.
Rub the finished bait in the squid juice contained in the guts of the squid.
This baby squid bait works well in Natal for brown skates, bonefish, kingfish and sandies.
When living in Durban in the early 90s, I caught a 7.7kg Natal stumpie using exactly the same bait.
It also works exceptionally well for kob, steenbras and shad, from the Wild Coast to the West Coast.