Squid Fishing Around Vancouver Island

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All You Need to Know About Fishing for Squid

If you are fond of fishing and the taste of calamari, you might want to try your luck at squid fishing. Although these cephalopods are not as large or visible as their fishy friends, they are relatively easy to catch around Vancouver Island.

Unlike common catches in the region such as trout, salmon or halibut, fishing for squid requires a lighter approach – literally. Despite lurking in the dark fringes of the water, squid are drawn to bright lights.

To help you catch some squid, we’ll cover the most popular spots for squid fishing around Vancouver Island as well as the best time of year and day to go. Given the right gear and technique, you’ll be squid jigging like a pro in no time. 

Best Time to Go Squid FishingBest time to go squid fishing

In comparison to salmon or halibut fishing, squid fishing or jigging in British Columbia is quite uncommon. This is likely because squid are somewhat of an irregular phenomenon.

Every few years, the squid arrive in droves. The region’s coastal waters become teeming with Pacific Coast squid, also known as California market squid or opal squid. These translucent creatures are usually between 15 to 20 cm in length but could reach as large as 30 cm.

As their name suggests, these squid are most abundant in California. However, they are also the most common type found along British Columbia’s coast. Market squid can be found all along the west coast near the intertidal zone. 

Spawning in British Columbia typically happens anytime between December and September. During a squid run, huge aggregations of squid swim closer to shallow water to mate and spawn. This typically occurs for a week or two but can last for as long as a month. Since squid die shortly after spawning, this is an ideal time for anglers to go squid fishing.

During the summer months, Pacific Coast squid spawn in the bays and inlets of Vancouver Island. In the wintertime, you’ll probably find more success if you take your boat up the Strait of Georgia or Queen Charlotte Strait.

How To Catch Squid: Best Squid Jigging TechniquesHow to catch a squid: best jigging techniques

Although it is possible to catch squid at any time of the day, these little predators are most active at night. Therefore, if you’re planning a fishing trip specifically to catch squid, consider going after dark.

Despite preferring to stay in dark areas, squid prowl illuminated patches of water for smaller squid, fish and crustaceans. Once they spot prey – or lure that resembles it – they ambush by wrapping their tentacles around it.

As such, squid fishing requires a good jigging technique. Nothing beats practice but the following tips should help you hook some tentacles on your squid jig.

  • If you’re fishing for squid at night, choose a spot near an artificial light source. Many squid fishermen bring their own or fish near a pier. 
  • Cast your line in a manner that allows the jig to reach the bottom, close to the edge of the lighted water. 
  • Quickly jolt the line upwards for a few centimetres. Afterwards, let the jig sink again and reel some slack. Continue to repeat this jigging motion until a squid latches on.
  • Once you feel movement or notice a weight difference on your reel, firmly set the hook. If you have multiple jigs on your line, you can choose to reel in the line or let the jig sink again to catch more squid.

It might take you some time to get used to the jigging technique. The most important thing is not to give up. Fishing requires patience and persistence after all.

Gear Essentials When Fishing For Squid Gear Essentials when fishing for squid

In terms of gear, squid jigging is highly flexible and affordable. Anglers only need the following equipment to enjoy this pastime:

  • Squid Jigs: Squid jigs or lures come in a variety of colours, sizes and weights. Trial and error will help you determine which jig setups work better under certain weather conditions and water clarity.
  • Rod: Choosing the right reel ultimately depends on preference. However, many find the most success with a long and lightweight trout rod.
  • Reel: Any spinning reel should work well. Depending on where you decide to fish, it might be best to opt for a saltwater reel and rod to prevent damage to your gear.
  • Line: Since squid have little to no weight, you need to feel subtle changes and movement. A light monofilament line allows you to detect squid on your jigs better.
  • Light Source (Optional): Anglers who go squid fishing at night will usually sport a bright headlamp or some other light source. Some will even string LED lights around their boat to attract more squid.

If you decide to fish from your boat at night, it’s important to take the necessary precautions. Check the weather beforehand and ensure your vessel is equipped with emergency and safety equipment. It’s also wise to anchor your boat to prevent drifting away from your chosen spot.

Giant Squid Fishing in BC?

An invasion of giant squid with a reputation for attacking humans might sound like the plot of a horror film, but it’s been the reality of many Vancouver Island towns for the past few years. 

Since hundreds of Humboldt squid washed up on Tofino’s shores in 2009, sightings of this predatory species have become increasingly common. Due to rising water temperatures along B.C.’s coast, these originally Mexico-based giant squid are unlikely to go away anytime soon.

As a result of their invasive and aggressive nature, giant squid fishing might actually help to preserve the province’s marine coastal ecosystems. Nevertheless, be careful not to exceed the catch limits for squid or fish-restricted areas in the region.

In most areas around Vancouver Island, the daily limit for squid is:

  • 20 Humboldt Squid
  • 200 Opal Squid

Where Can I Catch Squid on Vancouver Island?

One of the biggest benefits of fishing for squid by boat is access to less crowded waters. This could significantly improve your chances of successfully catching squid.

Potential fishing spots in the area where locals have noticed the presence of squid include: 

  • Tofino
  • Nanaimo
  • Port Renfrew
  • Victoria
  • Barkley Sound
  • Central Saanich
  • Sidney

If you want to try squid jigging on your very own fishing boat Van Isle Marina’s team of experts can help. Our full-service marina is conveniently located in Sidney, BC, one of the best places to fish for squid on Vancouver Island.

In addition to our wide selection of yachts and boats, we have a marine store for all of your basic fishing gear needs. Come down to the harbour to check out the rest of our amenities or contact us today.

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