Species Guide


Southern Calamari


The southern calamari, Sepioteuthis australis, is the most common and sought after species of squid in New Zealand and Australia.

It belongs to the Loliginidae family of squid and can grow up to 65cm in (hood) length, and is typically found around sandy areas, seagrass beds, and reefs.

In New Zealand, you can also find 2 related species of arrow squid. Notodarus gouldi is found in the warmer waters around the North Island and the very top of the South Island. Nototodarus sloanii is found along the southeast coast of the South Island and in southern waters.

The differences between these 2 species are insignificant, with both belonging to the Ommastrephidae family. They typically grow to a maximum of 42cm (hood) in length.


Squid are cephalopods with elongated bodies, large eyes, eight arms and two tentacles. They are mainly soft-bodied but have a small internal skeleton in the form of a rod-like gladius or pen, made of chitin (a protein similar to keratin).

Most fish prey through vibration, whereas squid utilise their excellent eyesight thanks to their large eyes and ability to see well during the day and at night. They can only see in monochrome but are able to see more shades and tones of monochrome than humans.

If a squid is hungry and hunting for food, they will go for most things (small fish, prawns etc) that come within grabbing distance. However, if they’re not hungry, they need to be visually attracted to entice them to feed.

Squid typically live for around 12 months, and during their lifetime they feed intensely until they lay their eggs in the vegetation on the seafloor. Their size depends on their ability to consistently find and catch food.


You can target squid all year round, but the start of the “season” is usually around April and runs through to January. The season will peak between August and December when you can expect to catch larger squid.

You can target squid from just about anywhere – inshore off the rocks, on a wharf or pier, or offshore on your boat. The main things to look for are broken ground, rocks, weed beds, or around reefs. Squid use cover to hide from predators but also to ambush prey, and to lay their eggs during spawning season.

You’ll find squid in depths from half a meter up to 40m, but they’re most commonly found in 3-6 meters of water.

You can catch squid any time of the day or night, but most experienced anglers prefer to fish dawn and dusk as this is when the squid are most active.

Squid can be and are caught during the middle of a bright sunny day, especially if the jig is left to sink down near the bottom where squid hide in ambush, but you’ll usually have to target them in deeper water during the day.

As for tide conditions, ideally best times and generally most productive are the end and the start of the tides, especially during flood tides.


The most common method to target squid is with egi jigs. But there are a number of techniques you can use to attract and entice squid to take the bait.

The lift and fall technique involves a simple cast out to your target. Once your jig has dropped down through the water column, lift your rod to 90 degrees and then allow the jig to fall back down through the water column to the bottom. Continue this process until your target takes the jig. Try not to allow any slack line – this limits your ability to feel any contact your squid may have with the jig.

The rip and fall technique is similar to the lift and fall. Cast out to your target, and once your jig hits the bottom deploy a quick, sharp lift of your rod to 90 degrees. This delivers a faster and more aggressive action which will grab the attention of even the laziest squid.

The rip and crank technique is similar to your traditional jigging techniques. You start by casting out to your target and letting the jig fall to the bottom. Once it hits the bottom, wind in any slack line, point your rod tip towards your jig and then rip your rod up 45 degrees, as fast as you can. Once the jig is off the bottom, work your rod from left to right a few times. Each time you lift the rod, wind your reel one turn. This will wind in about 30cm of line, and this will help create an aggressive left to right movement of the jig.

If the squid are staying near the bottom and the other more subtle techniques aren’t enough to attract their attention, the burn technique is designed to annoy them so much that they will attack to protect their territory. Cast past where the squid are, point your rod tip at the water (in the direction of your jig) and use a constant up and down jigging movement (about 40cm) while winding in your line.

No matter what technique you use, there are a couple of key things to remember:

  1. Try not to allow too much slack line in your retrieve, as squid jigs have no barbs, meaning unless there is resistance pulling the other way a squid can easily push forward and disconnect itself from the jig
  2. Have your drag set quite loose, as the heavier drag can often rip the tentacles of a squid clean off
  3. Be careful when you strike to hook the squid – if you strike too hard you will either rip the jig out of the squid, or rip off one of its tentacles or candles.



Squid Snatchers® come in a variety of sizes and colours.

If fishing at the start or end of the tide, when the flow isn’t as strong the smaller size 2.5 – 3.0 jigs will sink slower and be in the strike zone for a longer period.

As the tide flow increases, it’s recommended switching to 3.5 sized jigs.

At first light or low light using dark coloured jigs i.e. black, black/red, brown/red, or black/green, are recommended.

On sunny days and when fishing in clear water, natural coloured or white coloured jigs tend to work better.

When water conditions are slightly murky, lumo or “glow” jigs tend to work the best.

But it’s always recommended that you carry a good selection of jigs to test out what colours and sizes are working on the day.



Whether you’re fishing off the beach, off the wharf or from the boat, casting is a core technique for squid fishing. You need a line that will deliver the distance you need to hit your target.

Hyperglide® 13x braid is a round, super fine braid that is specifically designed to deliver a longer and smoother cast.

Constructed from 12 Japanese PE fibres woven around a strong central core, creating a very smooth line that retains its roundness.

This means the braid will glide silently and effortlessly through your guides, improving your distance and accuracy (compared to a standard braid which typically has a flat structure).

It also means less drag as it sinks down through the water column giving improved lure presentation and a higher level of sensitivity.

The ‘Tekapo Blue’ colour makes it less visible in water, perfect for easily spooked squid.

We recommend using 10lb (PE 0.6) to 12lb (PE 0.8) Hyperglide® 13x Braid when targeting squid.


Squid spook easily, so fluorocarbon leader is the ideal choice when fishing in clear water. This is because fluorocarbon has the same light refracting properties as water, so in clean water it is nearly invisible. We recommend using 10lb – 12lb Fluorocarbon leader.

In slightly murkier or dirty water, clear fluorocarbon will stand out as a single line, and will likely detract the Squid from approaching. Therefore using a pink leader is recommended because it blends into the water as pink and red are the first colour spectrums to disappear under the water’s surface.

Our Ultra Pink Deception (mono) leader in either 10lb or 12lb, has an outer gloss coating which makes it less reflective in water, and is extremely supple for natural lure presentation.


Squid can be caught using any rod and reel, or handline, but using rods specifically designed for squid fishing not only improves your catch rate, but also makes it more enjoyable.

If you’re landbased fishing (off a pier, wharf or jetty), an 8’3” rod is the ideal length. It aids in casting line control, jig action and most importantly, it’ll give you a better hook up rate. The action of these longer rods allows you to cast further and are designed to give your jig a more natural movement in the water. They’re also designed to act like a shock absorber and won’t rip the jig out of the squid when it lunges.

A 2500-3000 reel is more than adequate, and reels with a shallower spool are ideal for braid and long distance casting.

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