By Rudee Lim
Location and What to Look For
Things to be looking for are weedy areas with rocks and currents. Depths ranging from 0.5m to 5.0m are the most ideal in our experience, and areas with a lot of light present for night time egi-ing as the squids will be feeding on the baitfish present around the lights.
Selecting your squid jig
Choosing the appropriate squid jig is important to egi-ing success. To have a range of squid jigs with different sizes, colours and weights gives a better advantage of catching over the person next to you. I find every location has its ace jig that seems to work so this is what I have broken it down to. The three main factors are as follows:
The common jig sizes range from 2.0 up to 4.5. Personally, I have not used the 4.5 as I find it unnecessary for NZ waters. Typically, a range of 2.5 to 3.5 is ideal for NZ.
However, squids have monochrome vision and are unable to distinguish between colours in the water, although they do see various shades and tones in monochrome. Therefore, I find a particular coloured jig more effective than another depending on certain times and locations. We’ve been having a lot of success with this basic rule of thumb where we go from natural prey colours during the day and darker colours during the night. In my experience, luminous or not, the one big factor for a consistent catch rate relies more on the action of the jig.
Various jigs have different sink rates, and this is where a little knowledge and experience comes to play. There is no ‘one ultimate jig’ for every location, as there are a few factors to take into account. Current and depth are the two biggest factors, whereby a stronger current and a deeper-water location will need a faster sink rate. A slower current and a shallow-water location will need a slow-sinking jig. Do not be intimidated by the actual size of the jig and have the thinking that smaller jigs equate with slow sinking and bigger jigs equate with fast sinking. With the amount of jigs being manufactured, every different brand has their own different sink rate. For example a 2.0 sized jig on one brand may have exactly the same sink rate as a size 3.5 jig on another brand. The best way to tell these apart is from the original box the jigs came in, which will give you a better understanding of how fast per metre the jig sinks. In our experience, we find the 3-5 second sink rate per metre is ideal for NZ waters.
Rods, Reels, Line
The rods used are 7-8ft long. These dedicated egi-ing rods are sensitive on the tip to ensure any taps or hits by the squid don’t go unnoticed. With saying that, the backbone of the rod has to be stiff to be able to work the jig in every condition. The ideal reels will be a shallow 2000-3000 size. The proper egi-ing line to have will be a PE 0.8-PE 1.5, and the difference between normal braid and egi-ing braid is the likelihood of sinking to eliminate the line bellying in the water. The ideal leader to use will be 1-1.5m of anything from 10-20lb soft fluorocarbon. Why fluoro and not mono? It is factored for low-light refraction and it is more abrasive than mono.
The two actions commonly used are the twitching and the whipping action.
The twitching action involves working the lure to simulate a small prawn/shrimp darting through the water column. Cast the jig and, when it sinks, flicking the rod in a short wrist action upwards will create the jig moving to one side. This will create a small slack in the line, so let the jig sink, reel in the slack and hold it. Now repeat the action of flick–reel, flick–reel, flick–reel and pause. Let the jig sink and sit to give the squid a chance to tap and hit the jig.
The whipping action will be slightly vicious where you cast the jig. Let it reach the seabed and whip the rod upwards aggressively for about 2-4 times while reeling in the slack, then pause and wait a good length of time before repeating the process again.