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Rigging a Squid for Trolling or Drifting

There probably isn’t a fish in the sea that won’t eat squid if given the opportunity. Many anglers are unsure how to rig one so never use what is probably one of the best all round baits available. There are many complicated techniques for rigging squid, but the following method is quick, simple and suitable for either drifting or trolling.

Make sure that the squid that you buy is good and fresh, squids take on a pink colour as they deteriorate. If they look pink, don’t buy them unless you’re desperate. Don’t be afraid to use a large squid. About 6 — 8 inches (150 — 200 cm) body length excluding the tentacles is great for White marlin, but you could easily use one twice this size if Blue marlin or sharks are your target.


1) First select your leader material. Mono for billfish or tuna, cable or double single strand wire if sharks or other sharp toothed fish are likely. My preference under these circumstances is 7 strand hard nylon coated cable. It is more flexible than single strand wire, yet has a much smaller diameter for its breaking strain than either 49 strand cable or monofilament.

2) Thread on to the leader a large plastic bead, or a cork or wooden ball. This can be round or oval, it really doesn’t matter, it simply acts as a stop to prevent the squid bunching up when trolled. The size is more important than the material, 1/2 — 5/8 inch (12 — 15 mm) diameter is ideal for smaller squids, up to 1 inch (25 mm) diameter for large baits. Then thread on two crimps suitable for the leader that you have chosen.

3) Attach an appropriate size hook to your leader using either an Offshore loop knot and a crimp, or a rigging thimble and crimp on heavier leaders. As always make sure that the hook has been well sharpened beforehand.

Leave a tag end approximately the length of the squid when compressing the first crimp.


4) Lay the rig alongside the bait, with the hook bend in position by the eyes of the squid. You will now be able to judge the required position of the bead so that it will sit in the tip of the squid. Twist the two strands of leader together as if you were making a Haywire twist and then compress the second crimp so that it will hold the ball in the chosen position. Cut off any excess from the tag end.

5) Insert a bait rigging needle up under the mantle of the squid, just forward of the head, and out of the tip of the mantle (the pointed end). Taking care not to damage the bait, draw the leader through until the ball sits snugly under the tip of the mantle. The hook bend should be lying level with the eyes of the squid. Insert the point of the hook between the eyes and out of the other side of the head, taking care that the body and the head lie straight and are not offset.

6) Make a loop at the other end of the leader, once again using an Offshore loop knot or a rigging thimble, and you’re done. Don’t cut off the tentacles, they’ll stream out behind the bait adding to the natural effect.


Always remember to test all knots before fishing

Good Fishing!

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