One such memory was a long long time ago, before eging was popularised in the country and squid jigs were crude and nowhere near as crisp and refined as they are now.
The good old float was employed from a wharf on a cold winters night with a long strip of pilchard attached on the back of a very old jig wrapped with some twine. After many hours of waiting in the frosty cold, a sudden excited squeal from my parents woke me from my slumber to see a school of squid appear, seemingly out of nowhere, dancing under the welllit wharf lights.
When the squid finally grabbed hold of the jig, we gently retrieved it until they were in close enough for us to scoop them up in a net, fashioned from long paint-roller extension poles (the prongs on the ‘lure’ were too blunt to set).
What an exciting way to catch squid, said no-one ever, especially given today’s squid fishing method. Back then it was more about food gathering.
Curious to know about how other fellow egi anglers got into the sport and of any memorable moments during their squid journey, we asked Adam King, Rob Bo, and Nicola Essex about their experiences, taking a trip down their memory lanes.
Adam King quickly developed his craft in the art of squid fishing by regularly joining us on our many kraken missions. Wind or rain, if squidding was involved then Adam was in, and it’s fair to say that his enthusiasm was a huge testament to his success. Ironically, however, he also had a knack for constantly getting wind knots, where untangling his mess took up a large portion of his fishing time. In the following, he recalls some of his memorable experiences while getting into the sport..
“Nothing really beats the crisp sounds of working a squid lure. The first time I heard it, I would have just called it showing off, but once the actions and movements were broken down and explained to me, it was the complexity of the action which got me hooked. It took a while, but after a few trips, I started to get the hang of winding with the handle on the opposite side of how I normally have it and performing ‘the action’. The reason behind the handle switch is that your dominant arm provides more control to manipulate the rod better, and the non-dominant arm just has to wind.
Through many good and bad nights, the Eging for Squid team and I shared more than a few laughs. One night, we didn’t account for the swell at a spot we wanted to try. Suddenly, when a big swell came out of nowhere, two things happened. Firstly, Jun and Rudee took their bromance to the next level and held each other for dear life, and secondly, the wave managed to pick up the chilly bin, filled with our tasty catch, and started carrying it back out to the ocean. Luckily, I managed to grab the bin but found myself in a gap between two rocks and ended up waist-deep in water.
On another occasion, after some snapper fishing, we took the boat in close to the rocks at dusk to catch some squid. Rudee hooked a slightly larger specimen which, as I netted it, managed to lift itself and squirt ink up all over the boat. Luckily I was wearing a black hoodie but Jun’s face bore the brunt of the ink attack, covering his top half in black.
I think the coolest thing about eging is that everyone has their own style, no two people are the same, although the principles of each technique can be seen in the different styles.”
Having spent years in the Mediterranean and in SE Asia, Rob Bo is no stranger to the culinary delights of squid and octopus. But it was a fishing trip with mates to The Noises in Auckland around seven years ago that ignited his interest in targeting calamari.
’We were anchored in close at The Noises one summer; the squid were following our baits and I got one tangled in my rig. I brought it aboard and it duly released its ink all over my mates and their boat. Not a good start to the day but I cooked it up that night and it was ‘all on’ from that moment. I got some intel from Hunts in Milford and actively started casting jigs around the coast with no success. A few years back, I was trawling the interweb and social media, where I found several posts about local calamari. There were some really active squidders, so I regularly followed their posts and honed my own skills for targeting squid. A smart investment in some quality gear has seen my catch rate rise to the point where my kids were even saying ‘ugh-not squid again for dinner’. I really fish to get away from it all, I enjoy sessions with mates as much as I love just chucking gear in the truck and getting out on the spur of the moment. Catching food is a primal thing, but it’s also a great way for me to get out and stare at the horizon in peace and quiet.”
Nicola Essex started her eging journey on land from the infamous Tamaki Drive, a spot that is popular for squid fishing.
“I started eging after my new beau, David Wills, took me along to Tamaki Drive one cold night in June to catch some squid. After reeling in three fat squid in quick succession, I was hooked and decided I needed some of the inking excitement for myself. Next stop, a new squid rod, jigs and a seminar hosted at Top Catch Half Moon Bay on how to catch the delicious critters. I am not a champion rod swisher like some of the fellow eging anglers out there, but for what I lack in skill, I make up for in enthusiasm and cooking skills. Nothing like freshly-caught calamari in the pan or a luscious squid ink risotto to get you out on a rock in the dark in some bay around Auckland after work.”
Everyone’s squidding journey is unique and that’s what makes the eging community so interesting to engage with. Bring on winter!
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