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Shedding light on jigging

The Star Online logo The Star Online 19/4/2017 Eddie Chua

THE annual seasonal squid jigging or candat sotong is back.

From now until mid-July, it is the best time to head to the east coast, especially Terengganu, to catch squid.

There will be plenty of sotong jarum or sotong cumit and sotong torak tojig.

Jigging for squid is simple enough that anyone can do it.

It is fun too, and you don’t need to be an angler to pull the squid out of the water.

All you need is either a handline or a rod and reel with a long line spooled to the tackle equipment and squid jigs to do the job.

The trick to squid jigging is to use a light or medium poundage line.

For those who opt for the rod, a medium-light action stick and a small reel, capable of spooling at least 100 metres of the line, is recommended.

The best bet for a novice is to use a single squid jig when carrying out this activity with the apollo or paternoster rig.

As for the sinker, it depends on the current and fishing location. But in general, light sinkers between size 5 and 8 are normally used for the fishing activities on the east coast.

For those who are more familiar with jigging squid, they can opt to use two or three squid jigs on the apollo rig.

So what is the best jig to use?

Through experience, I preferred the “ultraman” or the red-and-white-cloth-covered jigs sold in many tackle shops on the east coast.

I found these jigs – used by the local fishermen there to make a living – more effective than the other Japanese originated squid jigs commonly used by many anglers.

For those who use more than one jig, my recommendation is to get a similar squid jig but is cast out of lead to use it as a sinker.

This can prevent the arms of the apollo jig from being entangled with one another.

And when you hire a boat for these activities, the first thing you need to ask, aside from the charter price, is if the vessel is equipped with spotlights.

Squid are attracted to light at night. A powerful spotlight, which is normally operated using a petrol generator, will attract the cephalopods closer to the boat and to the jigs.

During this season, many of the squid hauled up may have eggs inside.

For those who don’t know, this is the mating season for the squid.

The female cephalopods mate and lay thousands of eggs, as many as 70,000, on the sandy and rocky seabed.

The eggs will hatch in eight weeks while the female squid die as soon as they complete the reproductive cycle.

Squid jigging is normally done at night and the trip has to be an overnight outing.

The boat normally departs in the afternoon or early evening from the fishing jetty to make its way to the location, which could be an hour or two away.

On a good night during the season, one can catch between 15kg and 24kg of squid using a rod and line. © Provided by The Star Online On a good night during the season, one can catch between 15kg and 24kg of squid using a rod and line.

It is important to stay safe during such trips. A rule of thumb is when the sea gets too choppy and rough, abandon the trip and head back to shore. It can be an unpleasant experience for those who don’t have sea legs.

Good luck folks and happy jigging!

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