The Best Method of Rigging Squid for Offshore Trolling

Rigging squid isn't difficult, but as with all natural baitfish trolling rigs, it's vitally important that you do it in such a way that it doesn't spin. And if you do it as shown here - it won't.

A whole squid is a great natural bait for offshore trolling.

Exuding a strong, oily-scented slick and with its tentacles fluttering enticingly behind the hook, it will often catch when nothing else will.

This rigging method is based on using a heavy nylon monofilament or preferably, a near-invisible fluorocarbon leader.

This will be fine for most fish, but for the real toothy chaps - such as wahoo and the like - you may need to go to wire. If so, my preference would be to use plastic coated multi-strand wire, as the crimps will slip in single-strand wire.

Stage 1

First, thread the line through a large bead, then through two crimps and finally through the eye of a suitably sized hook, leaving a working end of about 200mm.

Then thread the working end back through both crimps, but not through the bead.

Slide the first crimp down to the hook and crimp up. You've now secured the hook, and are left with the 200mm working end. Don't compress the second crimp yet as it needs to be adjusted to suit the size of the bait.

Stage 2

Next, lay out the bait with the rig alongside, the bend of the hook level with the squid's eyes and the bead level with the front end of the mantle, then slide up the second crimp to the bead.

Compress the crimp, then trim off the excess line. Now, cut the standing part of the line to the required leader length. If using mono of 300lb or more, cut it obliquely leaving a sharp point.

Stage 3

Then insert the sharp end of the leader inside the mantle just behind the head, and poke it through at end of the mantle as close to the centre as you can get it.

Artwork by Andrew Simpson

Finish off by pushing the hook through the head of the squid, midway between its eyes. Job done!

Rigging Squid on Light Lines

For lighter, more flexible lines, you won't be able to cut the line obliquely and push it through the squid. You'll have to use a baiting needle. Pull the line through until the bead fits snugly inside the apex of the mantle and push the hook right through the head between the eyes.

Crimp on a swivel in the end of the leader, and you've rigged your bait.

The bead will drag the squid through the water - there's no load on the hook until a fish grabs it. Don't remove the tentacles, as they'll waggle about enticingly just aft of the hook. Rigged in this way, the bait will splash around on the surface. If you want to deploy it below the surface, use a lead egg sinker instead of the bead.

What You'll Need for Rigging Squid...

If you haven't already got it, you're going to need a Crimping Tool and a selection of suitable sleeves. This rigging kit comes well recommended...

Clearly, the rig must be properly made up, so here are some tips on using your bait rigging kit.

Follow these carefully and you'll soon be an expert!

and finally...

As a final embellishment when rigging squid, you could slide a lure - such as a Sea Witch or a Squid Skirt - down the leader to the head of squid. This will add more bulk to the lure and delay the washing out process.

But of course, if you wanted to do this, you should've thought about it before you crimped on the swivel at the end of the leader!

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