Squid are becoming an increasingly popular target species all over the country, with several species available. One species that often fails to get a good mention is the tropical northern variety, the tiger squid, or bigfin reef squid. Similar to their southern counterparts, the southern calamari, these cephalopods have fins along their hood, striking and ever-changing patterns all over their body, large eyes, and sucker-laden tentacles for snaring prey.
Tiger squid are a little different, however, as they are a more stout and robust looking animal, and they have an uncanny habit of venturing into water barely deep enough for them to move around in.
As far as their eating qualities go, the flavour is different, and arguably better, however they need to be treated a certain way to tenderise the naturally tough flesh. To many, the extra effort is well worth it, and a well-prepared batch of tiger squid will rival the best in the world.
Tiger squid can be caught across much of the northern half of Australia, with Coffs Harbour in the east and Shark Bay in the west being roughly their southern limits.
Through most of their range, tigers are at their best through the winter and spring months. Given that in spring they venture onto the shallows inshore reefs breed, this is a perfect time to be targeting them. Being an incredibly abundant species with a short life cycle - sometimes as short as one year - targeting them during their breeding season doesn’t knock their numbers around too much. It also means that even though they are intelligent, they haven’t had years to memorise what a squid jig looks like, and are usually very willing to crush an ‘egi’ tossed in front of them. Trusted jigs like Yamashita Egi Oh Q Live Squid Jigs and Yo-Zuri Aurie Q Egi Hard Body Lures will work really well on tigers.
Like most other species of squid they tend to hang out in packs, and if you hook one squid, you can assume there are others nearby wanting to get a slice of the action!
Another characteristic they share with other squid species is their preference for clear water and structure such as weed, rock or coral. If you can find these two things in abundance, you can bet that tigers will be there, even if you can’t see them!
Best of all, while the best tiger squid fishing is usually had from a vessel, it is not a necessary piece of equipment. Land-based anglers can cash in on this amazing bounty, particularly if they time their fishing around high tides on clear days, where inshore waters will be at their clearest.
If you live within tiger squid range and aren’t fishing for them, you are missing out!
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