Bait presentation when strayline fishing is really important, so it's worth putting some effort into it. The aim with this straylining tutorial is make your squid bait look as natural as possible. Ideally you want your bait drifting away with the current, like there was no hook in it. Always think natural.
With good bait presentation the fish are less suspicious and potentially more interested in your bait. You'll be amazed at how many more bites you get when you put a bit of time and thought into bait presentation.
Squid is a great tough bait that stays on the hook longer than other baits such as pilchard and bonito (skipjack tuna). It's especially good when there are a lot of small fish around, it gives the bigger fish a chance to get in. Some days fish go crazy for it, other days they won't touch it but it's always got a spot on my boat, it's a great option for bait fishing.
To start you off here's three ways to attach squid bait to a single hook strayline rig.
Half squid – head section
Half squid – tail section
Start up at the pointy end of the squid and thread the hook through once and pull through. If the squid is large you may want to thread it through again around the middle.
Roll the hook in at the top of the mantle (the long tube part above the head) of your squid bait. As you roll the hook, aim for the barb to come out through the head of the squid. There’s a nice hard bit right between the eyes. Baiting it this way will make the squid sit nicely in the water.
Cut the squid in half on an angle, just above the mantle (about 2cm).
The mantle is the long tube like part of the squid.
This section of squid doesn’t look the most attractive, but you can give it more fish-appeal by cutting little slots along the bottom, to act as fake tentacles. They will flutter in the water and be more enticing to hungry fish.
Thread the hook through the tough, top end of the mantle. Take the line all the way through.
Roll the hook into the bottom half of the bait leaving plenty of hook and barb exposed.
Straighten the line and tie a half hitch to secure the squid bait and take the strain.
Take the head half of the bait. Because it was cut on the angle you will have some of the mantle, the head, and the tentacles. You want to use the hook and the trace line to tie it all together so it doesn’t rip apart.
Pass the hook through the top of the mantle and pull the line all the way through.
Roll the hook through the bottom end of the mantle, through the head of the squid and out between the eyes. The hook will hold the mantle and the tentacles together so that it sits well in the water.
Finish off your squid bait with a half hitch to hold the whole bait nice and straight. You can pull the line and half hitch up quite tight to prevent the bait bunching up on the hook.
Fish should have no problem getting bait this size into their mouth and your hook up ratio should be pretty sweet. No self- respecting fish would turn down a good-looking bait like that!
You can either have the sinker loose, running up the trace line or you can pin the sinker to the bait with a half hitch (or two). Pinning the sinker keeps it nice and close to the bait which is where you want it, as essentially it’s an aid to get your bait floating naturally down to the fish.
How much weight you use depends on the weather and water conditions, but the aim is to use enough weight to get it floating down (not clunking down on the bottom, that’s a different style of fishing). Find out more about this in our strayline technique video.