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Best Squid Lures 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]

Last Updated February 1, 2018
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Edwin GarrettHey, I’m Edwin Garrett. After more than 45 hours of research and testing, which included using 23 different squid lures in five cities and interviewing product teams at five major companies, I made a list of the best squid lures of 2018

In fact, it was the first time I had been in this situation and what I thought was going to be a very quick and easy task turned out to be a good many weeks of research. I hope that my Top 3 list will provide you great options in buying the right fit for you.

Let’s get to it!

Best Squid Lures of 2018

Many models on the market may be confusing to a person who is shopping for their first time. The best squid lures will make your fairytale dreams come true!

Following is the list of top three squid lures of 2018. However, after giving you the TOP list, I will also give you some of the benefits you stand to gains for using it.

Test Results and Ratings

Rank №1 №2 №3
Total 4.8 4.5 4.3
5 points
4 points
4 points
5 points
4 points
4 points
4 points
5 points
5 points
5 points
5 points
4 points
Awards 1
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№1 – 8 pcs/Lot 8.5cm 7.2G Deep Saltwater Fishing Lures Squid Laser Salwater 3D Minnow Fishing Lures Salt Swimbait Wobbler

8 pcs/Lot 8.5cm 7.2G Deep Saltwater Fishing Lures Squid Laser Salwater 3D Minnow Fishing Lures Salt Swimbait Wobbler

Durable ABS hard plastic body, exquisite coating, and sharp metal hooks set the hard baits high quality
There are steel balls inside which can flow to the tail during casting time to help you cast further and ensure the swimming stroke of every bait
Work great for both saltwater and freshwater.Productive when trolling, surfcasting on salmon, sea trout, striper, pike, bass, musky etc
I didn’t notice a single drawback yet

Why did this squid lures win the first place?

The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! I also liked the delivery service that was fast and quick to react. It was delivered on the third day. I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch!












№2 – Value Sport Fishing Lures

Value Sport Fishing Lures

Length:10.5 CM / 4.13IN
Weight:7G / 0.25 OZ
Guide can be a pain.

Why did this squid lures come in second place?

The design quality is top notch and the color is nice. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made. I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price.












№3 – Luengo 30pcs 7.5cm/9cm/12cm Multicolour Soft Plastic Octopus Lures Hoochie Squid Skirt Lures Trolling Saltwater Bait

Luengo 30pcs 7.5cm/9cm/12cm Multicolour Soft Plastic Octopus Lures Hoochie Squid Skirt Lures Trolling Saltwater Bait

1. Top Quality Octopus Squid Skirt Baits Lure
2. Multicolour soft plastic lure Packed together for Variety of Fish
3. Size:7.5cm/9cm/12cm 10pcs for each size, total 30pcs
It’s a lot heavier than expected.
The price is slightly higher than other competitors.

Why did this squid lures take third place?

It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. I hope that the good reputation of the manufacturer will guarantee a long-term work. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new.












Squid Lures Buyer’s Guide

If you keep the before points in mind, you can easily go out to the market and buy squid lures, right? No!

Size & Weight

Generally jigs start at 2.and go to 4.0. You can buy smaller and much larger sizes but for targeting calamari these sizes are best and that’s what you will find at the local tackle store. These numbers reflect length not weight, however, you can use common sense and understand that a 4.0 jig will sink faster than a 2.So choose jigs based on the water depth you’re fishing. If you’re fishing really deep water you can buy specialized heavily weighted jigs. If fishing anywhere from 3-metres I like using 3.0 and 3.size jigs. They cast really well and the squid view them as a good meal. As you can see from the pictures in this article even small squid hit big jigs. Squid will often hunt in very shallow water of 1-2m. Fishing these areas can be productive but the faster sink rate of larger jigs can cause you a lot of snags so using a 2.or a specilaised slow sinking jig will be a better option. A lot of landbased fishermen fishing from rocks will only be casting into shallow water, but these waters hold squid so don’t bypass them and have a few 2.size jigs in your arsenal.

Like with any lure this is a topic of much debate and everyone is passionate about certain colours and has favourites. There are basic guidelines provided by squid jig companies that outline when and in what conditions you should use certain colours. Yamashita has the most extensive guides and they’re easily accessible online. You can check them out by googling “yamashita colour chart”. These recommendations are great and have their merits but can be a little confusing with the huge array of foil/cloth combinations. I highly suggest you have a look at these recommendations and use this as base to work off, however, try and keep it simple otherwise you will find you need 2different colour combinations.

To conclude

OTW Staff

Last Sunday, Capt. Larry Backman and the crew aboard Skipjack pushed off the dock in Falmouth Harbor around 8am to head for the productive squid grounds off Popponessett and Cotuit. Before the weather kicked up on Sunday afternoon, anglers on boats from all over the Cape made the most of a calm morning.

The hot squid bite brought out the first big fleet of the season in Vineyard Sound, with over 100 boats, including the Hyannis party boats, off the coast of Cotuit.

If you have never caught a squid before, there are two things you need to remember. First, squid ink is potent stuff. You will get squirted at some point, so don’t head out there dressed in your Sunday best. Second, squid have sharp beaks underneath their tentacles. Do not stick your fingers anywhere near the beak!

Capt. Larry Backman experiences the perils of a red-hot squid bite.

Judy Hoffman with the first squid of the day.

A popular day-time squid jig consists of two Yo-Zuri squid jigs tied above a bank sinker. Lower it to the bottom and gently jig just above the bottom as you drift along for the best results. As was evident on Sunday, early May is the best time to do it in Vineyard Sound, with many boats targeting 20 to 30 feet of water in the area from Cotuit to Falmouth Harbor. You will see quite a few commercial trawlers out there at this time of the year, and they will give you a good idea of where to concentrate your efforts. Jigging around eelgrass beds can be especially productive.

A close look at the upturned barbs of a Yo-Zuri jig and Loligo squid ready for the cooler.

Squid-Jigging Gear

Fishing rod. About the only true requirement here is that it’s not too light or too heavy. I wouldn’t suggest anything lighter than a panfish rod, or anything stiffer than a salmon rod. The best fishing rod for squid fishing is a longer, fast action, lightweight trout rod. If I was going to buy a rod specifically for squidding—and I personally wouldn’t—it would be a – 8′, fast action, graphite, 4- to 10-lb-test rated spinning rod. But again, most fishing rods will do just fine.

Reel. Just like with the rod, you don’t need anything particularly specialized for the reel either. Most importantly is to consider you’ll be fishing in salt water, so either select a salt water resistant reel, or be very careful to immediately rinse your reel with fresh water after you are finished for the night. Almost everyone you will see will be using spinning reels. Also worth considering, squid are fairly capable of wriggling off your jig, so the faster you can pick up slack and reel in your line, the more likely it is they will stay on the hook. This means a very small ultralight reel with slower line pick-up is probably going to lose more squid. If I was to buy a reel specifically for squid jigging, it would be a 2500 or 3000 series saltwater-capable spinning reel, but anything will do.

Line. Now we’re getting to the things that do actually matter. Spool up your reel with light monofilament, 4- to 8-lb test. This will help you fish deeper with less weight, and allow the jigs to move more freely in the water.

Squid jigs. You’ll want an assortment of colors and weights. Some nights certain colors just seem to work better than others. I’ll go into more detail about these later.

Squid bucket. Most squid fisherman bring a bucket to drop their squid in. When the action gets going, it’s important to be able to quickly unhook the squid and get your jig back in the water; some schools come and go in just a couple minutes. Also, buckets are easier to rinse all the ink out of once your done. Pro Tip: Pick up a cheap wire mesh colander at the thrift store and find a bucket it can sit in. Throw the squid in the colander and let the extra ink drain into the bucket. If the squid aren’t soaking in a pool of ink it will make cleaning much less messy when you get home!

Headlamp. Depending on the public lighting situation at the pier you choose, wearing a headlamp can really help when tying knots or undoing tangles. Remember, you’ll be going out at night!

Camping light, spotlight, or floodlight (optional). Squid are attracted to light, so the more light you have shining in the water, the more likely you are to catch squid. Many piers have lights on them, although on busy nights these piers can get very crowded. Some particularly dedicated squid fisherman will bring along a generator and huge floodlights to bring in the squid. If you decide not to bring a light, just choose a pier with lighting, or mooch off someone else’s set-up. So long as you are respectful and do not cast across and tangle their fishing lines, most fishermen will be more than willing to share. Anyone who has invested that much money in squid fishing knows that there are more than enough squid to go around.

Squid Jigs

Squid jigs are unlike any other fishing lure. Instead of traditional fishing hooks they have a ring of thin, very sharp barbless wire hooks. Rather than hooking the squid in the mouth, the wire hooks snag the squid’s tentacles as the squid attacks the lure. These wire hooks are attached to either a weighted or unweighted body, which often includes glow-in-the-dark features. It’s a very specialized lure designed for a very particular application. If you plan on going squid jigging, you will need squid jigs.

When selecting squid jigs, there are a number of things you should take into consideration:

Size. Match the size of the squid jig to the relative size of the squid you are targeting. Here in Puget Sound, squid jigs in the 1.5″ to 2.5″ range seem to work best. Too large or too small and the squid won’t bite.

Color. When the squid are in thick this really doesn’t seem to matter, but on other nights it definitely does. I keep a range of colors with me, however my favorites are generally pink, green, and blue, in that order. No matter what color you go with, it definitely helps if there is some glowing element on your squid jig.

Weight. Squid jigs are either weighted or unweighted. Some have lead, some don’t. It’s a good idea to buy mostly weighted jigs. If fishing with a single squid jig, you will want to tie on a weighted jig, which will allow you to fish at the necessary depth. If you use two jigs, the second one can be unweighted. Tie your main line to the top of the unweighted jig, then tie a 18″ – 24″ leader from the bottom of the lightweight jig to the top of the weighted jig. It is very important that the jig on the bottom weigh more than the top jig or else you are guaranteed to get some major tangles.

Petzl Tikka Red Headlamp

Squid are most active at night, so to give yourself the best chances of catching a bucket-full, you’ll want to concentrate your jigging efforts after the sun sets. Headlamps make it easier to charge your glow-in-the-dark jig between casts, and allow two free hands while tying fishing knots or untangling your line. The Petzl Tikka puts out 100 lumens, enough to light up the dock, with a battery life to keep you jigging all night.

Some of the squid can be monsters

Squid tend to move closer to shore on the flood tide and feed heavily through the start of the ebb. During the day, they typically hold near the bottom in deep water (12’ to 20’), often in depressions or along the edge of a shoal or channel. In this situation, you can catch them from a boat by working a squid jig just above bottom.

You can also use a depthsounder to find squid. Individual squid often appear as faint, cone-shaped marks suspended in the water column or scattered along the bottom. Sometimes the presence of a slick will give them away once bluefish and stripers arrive and begin feeding on them.

Catching Squid from Shore

While you can catch plenty of squid during the day if you know where to look, nighttime action is often more reliable. After dark, squid gravitate toward any source of light, which attracts their prey—namely silversides.

Fishing for squid at night is pretty straightforward, but a bright light is key. Many squid fishermen bring their own portable lights, which they run off a generator or from their vehicle. If the dock, pier or wharf is equipped with electrical outlets, you’re really in business! Aim the light or lights toward the water and wait for some bait to gather.

Sometimes the squid will show up immediately; other times you’ll have to wait until a school swims past. And sometimes they never materialize. Keep a close eye on the water below. Often you’ll see the squid lurking in the shadows around the edges of the light, waiting to pounce on a hapless baitfish—or your lure.

Squid Jigs & Tackle

Squid will attack a variety of jigs, but can be very selective at times.

To catch them, all you need is a light rod-and-reel outfit and some squid jigs. These mostly oblong lures feature a “skirt” of upturned spikes and come in a variety of colors, sizes, weights and styles, including glow-in-the-dark versions. Yo-Zuri squid jigs come highly recommended and are available in most saltwater tackle stores or through catalogs (Bass Pro Shops, Cabelas). Jig color can make a big difference, so bring a wide selection (pink, fluorescent green, and red are good basic colors). Weight can be important too, as sometimes the squid will hold near the bottom. Other times they prefer a nearly weightless jig that suspends in the water column.

A good basic rod-and-reel setup for squid jigging, day or night, is a light spinning outfit spooled with 6- to 8-pound line. Tie the jig to the end of the line and you’re good to go. No need for a leader here.

If you’re trying to fill a cooler in short order, go with a heavier rod and line and use multiple jigs on the same leader. Tie a series of 2” dropper loops, spaced 6” to 12” apart, along the length of a 3’ to 5’ mono leader. Attach one end of the leader to the main line via a barrel swivel. Lastly, tie a small bank sinker to the end of the leader and secure or jigs to the dropper loops.

Jigging Action

Fresh squid make great bait for all kinds of northeast game fish.

Jigging action can be critical to success, and often you’ll have to experiment with different techniques until you find the right one. Daytime fishing usually requires a slow “yo-yo” action, where the jig is lifted a foot or two off the bottom and allowed to free-fall, then lifted again. At night, the jig can be cast out away from shore and free-spooled until nearly out of sight, then lifted slowly and smoothly toward the surface. Sometimes you can score by jigging the lure just off the bottom, directly below the spot where you’re standing. And sometimes simply allowing the jig to dangle at the end of the line works better than a more active presentation.

Again, experimentation is key. If you have people jigging at the same time, have each use a different action or fish a different depth until you find the combination that works.

There is no need to set the hook when using a squid jig, as the squid’s numerous and sticky tentacles will become entangled on the spikes. Just lift the rod gently and reel steadily to keep the squid attached as you bring it to the surface. Once you lift the squid from the water, hold it above the surface for a few seconds so you don’t get “inked”. To remove the squid, grab the end of the jig and jiggle it over an open cooler or bucket until t he squid falls off.

If you plan to eat your squid, cover them with ice to better preserve them, then get them home and clean them.If you intend to use them as bait, place to squid in individual sealable bags and pop them in the freezer. Fresh local squid makes excellent fluke and sea bass bait.


If you have ever suffered from the frustration of ‘unmissable’ chub bites that have seen you striking into thin air then join the club! 

This has long been part and parcel of fishing with larger baits, especially boilies, because the chub can easily pick them up in their lips, leaving the hook hanging outside the mouth. 

This is especially true if you are hair-rigging, so my first suggestion would be to switchto paste and bury most of the hook inside. Mould the paste around a piece of cork so that it only just sinks and you will hit a lot more bites.


The colder and clearer the river, the smaller the bait I will use for chub. When it’s like this the fish won’t be inclined to gobble up a big bait, but feed regularly with maggots and you can get the shoal going. 

To avoid spooking the chub by running a float over them, try a small Blackcap feeder coupled with a 4ins hooklength and a size 1hook, with either a single real maggot impaled on it, or its fake counterpart fished on a short hair. 


If the river is high and coloured then a big bait is going to score best for chub. 

Go for a matchbox-sized lump of meat, a paste-wrapped boilie, a big lump of cheesepaste or steak. 

Anything, as long as it is big and smelly, will put you in with a good chance of success. Forget about loosefeeding in these conditions and stick to just the hookbait.


Chub are suckers for light prebaiting in the days leading up to your fishing. I can’t think of any species that responds so quickly to an easy meal. 

The only problem can be estimating how much bait to introduce, especially if other people are fishing the same stretch. 

An easy answer to this is to bait up with paste, as this will last only a couple of hours in the water before it is either eaten, dissolves, or is eaten by small fish. 

A dozen nuggets of bait per swim is all you need to make a difference. 


Big chub grow fast on a high-protein diet that often includes dead fish, and a great many outsize fish have been caught on deadbaits meant for pike and zander.

Try a section of a soft fish, such as sardine, fished on a single hook. 

A chunk of lamprey about an inch long is my most successful chub deadbait, and works particularly well on rivers that sustain a good migration of these creatures.


I know a lot of anglers who struggle using bread on the hook. Pre-packaged bread tends to have a very light texture, full of holes, that breaks down really quickly. By contrast, a proper baker’s loaf will be heavier and stay on the hook better. 

The best hookbait of all, especially for trotting bread, is Sensas Paindor Bread. 

This dehydrated bread needs to be soaked in water before use, but once prepared it stays on the hook fantastically well. 


Lobworms can often be difficult to get hold of in the winter, just when they come into their own for chub. 

Dendrobaena worms are a poor substitute, but try several on the hook or, better still, a large maggot clip, and your results will improve.

Four dendras on a clip will create a big bait that chub cannot resist.


Put a loaf of sliced bread in a bucket and soak it in cold water for about minutes, before draining off the excess by gently squeezing it.

Mash the bread up and you have the basis for a fantastic feed that creates a cloud of particles as it breaks up and is washed downstream. 

For deeper rivers, mix a small amount of brown crumb with the bread mash so that it holds together better and reaches the river bed before breaking up too much.


Catching a chub too quickly can be the kiss of death on many rivers, as the rest of the shoal will spook, but it can be difficult remaining patient.

I overcome this by starting to introduce a pouchful of maggots as soon as I arrive at my peg and then keep a steady supply of grubs going in while I am setting up my gear. 

Getting started

So where and how does a budding beginner get into jigging? Well, it’s not purchasing all the gear at the local tackle store where most would think. If you were planning on rushing out and buying jigging rods reels and tackle then loading up the boat and heading out to jig up a storm you just might end up being horribly disappointed.

In fact the gear you have just impulsively purchased will more than likely end up on Trademe when the results end in ‘no fish landed’. It’s not that the tackle is inferior, it’s more the way you approached the whole thing.

The single best place to get into jigging is by booking a trip with a recognized jigging charter operator. They can take you to the best jigging spots where you can learn about the correct techniques and they can show you what to look for on your own sounder should you wish to give it a go in your own boat.

You will see how best to release your fish to protect the fishery, the knots and the difference between the jigs, the weights for different situations and drifts – in fact you will see and experience the whole ten yards.

This will be one of the single best investments you will ever make when getting started in jigging, or any form of fishing for that matter. Most good charter operators with have the gear for hire so there is no need to rush out and buy anything just yet for this first-up experience.

Jig reels have narrow spools, loaded with multi-coloured braid, and powerful lever drags like this JG5000 from Catch Fishing 

As a bonus you will more than likely hook up with some hard core jiggers as they regularly book trips with the top operators. These guys are more than keen to help you learn the tricks and if you like what you see and experience then you can make an informed decision on how you spend the right money on the right gear.

The reels

The choice of jigging reels is growing every year and the latest overhead jigging reels are now being designed with narrow spools and retrieve ratios between 4.1:and 6.2:1.

The reason behind the reels being narrow is three-fold, firstly a dedicated jigging reel spool is designed for braid and it will lay itself more evenly across a narrow section spool than a wide section spool.

Jigs come in different styles weights and colours for different situations.

This is especially important when using correct jigging techniques. Secondly, a narrow spool helps aid and reduce any sideways torque or wobble when cranking the reel and third is the weight factor as they are lighter than a wider spooled reel.

The reel will need to have high drag capacity of between 10-20kg to stop a hard-pulling fish. The drags also need to be smooth throughout their entire range, and this becomes apparent when using braid as only two things on your rig will have give – the rod or the drag on your reel.

When that big one starts to run you want a smooth but controlled fight, a drag that isn’t smooth is going to put the odds with the fish and not the angler. There are two main types of overhead reels especially designed for jigging, the lever drag and the star drag. Both will do the job well and it becomes a personal choice.

The other type of reel which is widely used overseas and is becoming more popular in this country is the spinning reel for those who choose to use spin rods. These are by far the most powerful jigging reels on the market with some putting out a staggering 65lb of drag.

Reels recommended for mechanical jigging in the overhead selection are the Shimano Ocea Jigger 4000p and 5000p, the Trinidad TN40N and TN16N, Torsa 1and 16N. In the Daiwa a good entry level would be the Saltist 30T then moving up into the top line Saltiga 20, Z30 and Z40, the narrow series Accurates and the new comer Jigging Master PEand PE5, other good brands include, Avet, Alutecnos and Fin-Nor.

Catch Fishing have also just released an excellent range of reels that have proven to be very good looking and proven performers at very competitive price points.

For spinning lovers there are entry models like the Shimano Saragosa 8000 through to the top of the range Shimano Stella reels. Daiwa produce their ever powerful Saltiga range starting with the 4000 and moving up to the 6500 Expedition.

The temptation is to purchase the cheapest possible reel to get the job done but you must take into account the conditions you will be using the reel under like depth of water, rod weight class, and the fact that jigging places stresses and wear on a reel like no other method of fishing.

If the reel is the engine room then the rod is the chassis of the set-up. As with the reels the jigging rod is a specialized piece of equipment and as such has been designed to jig specific weight groups of jigs within a designated range.

Jigging rod developments are changing all the time and jigging rods can be split into two main camps – the parabolic action rods used in the Taiwanese style of jigging like Xzoga’s and Jigging Master ranges, and the technical jigging rods used for the Japanese style of jigging.

The Japanese style of technical jigging rods have a specialized tip section and mid- sections that offer greater lift and recovery over the totally parabolic action rods. This appears to be the biggest change in recent times and we will see more and more of these high tech Japanese rods here in New Zealand in coming times.

All good rod manufactures should have placed an instruction label on the rod stating a range of jig weights that can comfortably be fished. This will also include the maximum allowable drag setting for the rod. Nearly all maximum drag settings are worked out with the rod being angled at 4degrees and with the tip of the rod pointed vertically towards the water.

Any angle greater than 4degrees will see the rod becoming point loaded in what is known as high-sticked. This is where most breakages can occur.

The correct way to hold a kingfish for a photo before releasing it.

It is most important that these labels be adhered to as most rod manufactures will not cover a breakage due to high sticking, plus it is more obvious these days to tell if a rod has been broken due to high sticking.

Most rods will only carry a minimum one year warranty period for faults under the Consumers’ Act. Ask the tackle store owner to place a reel on the rod and thread it up, then put a decent amount pressure on the rod. If it was going to break due to a fault this is the time it will happen and not a year down the track after many fish have been landed.

Things to look for in a jigging rod all start with the top third or tip end. This is the steering wheel of the rod and the portion that imparts the action from the rod to the braid and into the jig.

A tip section that is too stiff will simply not work the jig correctly, it will end up jarring the angler as the vibrations are transmitted back through the blank via the braid. It will also be hard to maintain a good jigging rhythm as the jig will bounce rather than flutter.

A tip section that is too soft simply won’t recover on the upwards motion of the jigging action thus making the jig ineffective and the rod non responsive. One thing to remember is a rod can have all the power in the world but it is wasted if it can’t first impart the correct action into the jig to attract the fish.

The mid and butt section of the rod is your power house. This area provides both lift and the power needed to subdue the fish once hooked. One thing the very best jigging rod manufacturers are now doing is looking at the hurt factor placed on the angler by the rod when under load.

Grips and reel seat position are both critical for all-day comfort and something that can only be found out by using the rod. A butt length that is too long will have you stretching for the reel and foregrip, and visa versa one that is too short will have you bunched and cramped.

Most of today’s modern mechanical jigging rods will range in lengths from 5’ to 5’6” for both spin and overhead configuration. One thing that is for sure, all will vary in price and you get what you pay for.

At the very top of the jigging tree come the elite crop of technical jigging rods, most of these hailing from Japan which are absolutely superb to use but will cost to boot. 

Some of the new technical style super jig rods will cater for a far wider range of workable jigs but these rods will be expensive and not aimed at the beginner.

Assist hooks

As mentioned many jigs will come pre-rigged with a cheapish assist hook to get you started but many jiggers will prefer to remove this and tie their own assist hooks using better quality hooks and better quality cord. This is the piece of tackle that is attached to your leader line via a solid ring and it needs to be robust enough to handle the pressures of big fish.

Other gear

Other items needed for joining the jigging scene are things like a gimbal belt or gimbal bucket to place the rod butt in after the fish has been properly hooked. A good pair of heavy duty split ring pliers is a must as is a good pair of braid scissors.

You can also dress up the assist hooks with fancy little squid-shaped squirts, and I will show these in more depth in the next issue and the purpose they perform on the assist hook.

While jigging is a physical method of fishing it is by no means age limiting.

Here is some proof in point.

I recently asked a pretty well-known and well-respected fishing guide in Florida if he preferred live bait or artificial lures if he had to pick one for a tournament.

He told me that  he would fish artificial lures all day long because he knows it outfishes live bait given enough time and covering enough territory.

Artificial Lures

Inshore Fishing Manifesto PDF ), it is still likely you are going to buy countless packs of baits, hooks, etc. over the course of a year or two.

Live Bait if you do it yourself (throw a cast net), but Artificial lures when compared with buying live bait for every single fishing trip.

Artificial Lures

Unless you are trolling while using artificial lures/plugs, you will need to have a little skill to work an artificial lure.

How you retrieve an artificial lure is the most critical part once you find fish. A sloppy retrieve can mean the difference between a strike and a spooked fish.

Things like casting a lure to an exact target spot, twitching a jig off the bottom correctly, working a topwater plug all take some skill and practice.


Thanks to the Far East, our fishing tackle is no longer expensive, and, although quality is totally controlled by price, the most basic tackle will enable you to fish, allbeit at a starter level.

You can purchase a rod and reel for as little as £50, but this will offer limited casting range and durability. Spending £150 on a better quality outfit is a better option if you are serious about taking up shore angling. The cost does not end there, because all the other tackle will cost as much, if not more, than your rod and reel.

Basic shore tackle, suitable for cod and other species, includes a beachcaster 12ft to 15ft in length, rated to cast between 5oz and 8oz. A wide range of rod lengths and casting ratings are available, and most novice buyers will benefit from advice from a dealer or an experienced angler.

Two types of reel are used for shore fishing – the fixed-spool and the multiplier. The former is the easier of the two for the beginner to operate because its spool does not spin, so there is less risk of an overrun and line tangles.

Tackle for fishing from a clean shore (no rocks) involves the use of line of 12-18lb breaking strain (0.33mm-0.38mm diameter) and a lead weight of 5-6oz (150-175g), so your reel needs to be of a suitable size and capacity to make it capable of maximum distance casts with this combination. Heavier line (25-30lb) and a larger capacity reel is required for rough ground. Line as light as 15lb breaking strain will not cast a 5oz-plus lead weight safely, so a short (two-rod) length of stronger line called a shockleader (60lb/0.70mm) is essential to take the strain of casting.

Other required items include a seat/tackle box to sit on and store your spare gear in the dry, as well as warm waterproof clothing and a tripod to position your rod. The latter can be invaluable to position the rod tip high above the waves and prevent wind and swell hitting the line or gathering weed. You will require a headlamp if fishing after dark.

Various accessories are needed, such as terminal tackle, a knife, scissors, bait cotton, spare line, hooks, links and swivels. Terminal gear includes a selection of rigs in a rig wallet, plus lead weights, both breakout and fixed wired, to combat strong tide and wind.

Rigs can be complicated, but the simplest is the one-hook monofilament paternoster, and most tackle dealers will have these in a range of hook sizes.


You do not require a licence to fish for sea fish from the shore. You can fish from almost any shore venues, but exceptions include MoD firing ranges, HM Customs-controlled areas and docks. There are few private beaches.

There are no laws governing tackle, so you can use as many rods as you wish and as many hooks. Most anglers prefer two rods and a maximum of three hooks per rod, but cod fishing is often done with one bait held by two hooks, called a Pennell rig.

UK law determines the size of the fish you can remove from the sea, with legal minimum sizes for lots of species set by DEFRA and the local sea fisheries committees. The minimum size at which you can remove and kill a cod from the sea is 35cm. This is not just for competition anglers. Measured from nose to tail, fish under this size must be returned. Keeping undersized fish is against UK law and carries a considerable fine.

What is a realistic target for the cod angler? Much depends upon where you live and fish, but a double-figure cod from the shore is a prize indeed.

It is a fact that the odd large fish that is dying is often caught from the shore. Called a ‘slink’ among other local names diseased and emaciated cod are not suitable for eating, so check your fish over before taking it for the table.


Barbados is 2miles long and up to 1miles wide, with a 5mile long coastline. The island is located in the western area of the North Atlantic, east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea. This makes it the easternmost of the Caribbean islands.

The West and South coast have calm Caribbean sea with colorful coral reefs and endless beaches. In contrast, the East coast is on the Atlantic Ocean, ruggedly beautiful, with its rough seas and rocky shores.


Due to its year-round tropical climate and warm waters, most of the Caribbean islands offer great fishing, and Barbados is no exception.

Barbados is a country dedicated to the preservation of wildlife and the health of the waters surrounding the island. They have a legal authority which oversees the fishing industry countrywide.

No fishing license is needed for sport fishing in Barbados. The license is needed only for commercial fishing.

The official authority for sport fishing in Barbados is Barbados Game Fishing Association, which is responsible for organizing all fishing events and tournaments.


Waters close to shore go as deep as 70 ft in some places, and these are the great spots for bottom fishing and lure casting, especially shore jigging. I encourage you to try this technique on such locations because it can produce unbelievable results!

It is possible to fish from almost the entire coastline, with the exception of some areas of the North and East coast on the Atlantic shore, due to the high cliffs.

The entire Western shore and the good part of the South are largely protected from the Eastern winds, but the deep and turbulent waters of the East and North coast will hold the fish close to the shore.

Best time for fishing is on a rising and full tide, which of course changes daily and dictates the time for fishing.

If you decide to try shore fishing in Barbados, try some of these spots:

Deep Sea Fishing

There are a few techniques that can be used, such as: Kite fishing, live and dead bait drifting, dead bait and high speed lure trolling. Big game trolling is mostly done with four lines at once, two in the outriggers and two in downriggers, one of which is usually at twenty five feet down, and the other at about seventy. The tackle for this kind of fishing should consist of top quality rods & reels, filled with 30 lb or 50 lb test line.

Fishing Charters

Certainly, the best way to catch some of the powerful trophy fish is to hire a fishing charter.

Many of these operators are located in the aptly named Fisherman’€™s Row, Bridgetown, where you can charter a boat, and test your luck in Barbados’€™ deep waters.


The secret to successful fishing is primarily the ability to read a beach by water action, colour and current. This is best achieved from a high vantage point with a pair of polarising sunglasses on, before venturing down to commence fishing.

As you look at a beach, you will discern darker shades in the water where the waves do not break. These are an indication of holes or gutters where larger predators like mulloway are likely to be hunting, waiting for smaller fish to be swept past.

A wave breaking off shore is often due to a shallow point, sandbar or reef. There will sometimes be calm areas on these bars where small fish seek the shelter of shallows, and flathead lie in wait along the drop offs. Rips can be found where waves change direction and the water flattens or swirls.

Tailor like to hunt along the edges of white water. Bigger fish less concerned about shelter are in the clean water away from the zones where the sand is being stirred up as it may agitate their gills.

Peak times on beaches are controlled by tide and daylight. At dusk or dawn, regardless of tide, there is often some action. A high tide with either of these times is the perfect arrangement for fish to feed.

Other than dusk or dawn, the optimum fishing period often occurs during a change of tide. Most anglers prefer the change at the top of the tide although there are beaches that are most productive during low tide, especially when it brings the gutters close to shore, forcing small fish into them and into the waiting jaws of a predator.

The best style of tackle to use on a beach depends on where you happen to be. In the northern rivers and southern Queensland, Australian-owned Alvey sidecast reels and long rods dominate the baitfishing scene. The unique Alvey reel is accepted throughout Australia as being a reliable, efficient product.

Alvey reels owe their origins to Charles Alvey, an English migrant who in 1920 saw the need for a fishing reel that was easy to use, easy to cast, simple to maintain, and solidly constructed to give years of trouble-free angling.

His design allowed the body of the reel to be turned sideways when casting, so the line stripped freely from the edge of a specially shaped spool. This took away the problem of backlash and overrun. When the reel was returned to the fishing position, it had the best positive direct rewind of a centrepin reel.

The Alvey sidecast reel’s simple design, and lack of moving parts that can be fouled by grit or water, make it a truly durable product.

Most surf rods are about 3.5m long and in two-piece configuration. The average surf rod can be used to cast sinkers up to 100g, which is adequate for most fishing situations.

When the surf is light and side drift limited, it is preferable to use a lighter sinker.

My advice is to go for a rod that you can handle in terms of its weight and power. Rod blank taper and construction determine distance, not the actual weight of the rod. How far you should aim to cast on a beach depends on where the channels or gutters are; some days they will be almost at your feet.

You must also decide whether you intend using a sidecast, overhead or threadline reel, as rod runners and reel seat locations are different.

Threadline and sidecast rods have fewer guides and these are mounted higher than those bound on rods for overhead reels. The reel seat on a sidecast reel is closer to the butt end of the rod.

If you are new to surf fishing, then the easiest way to start is with a threadline reel.

Overhead reels can be a problem in terms of getting an overrun when casting. The advantage of an overhead reel is that an experienced angler will cast further and maintain better control in a battle with a big fish.

The rod and reel should be balanced to suit each other and the line weight. An 8-10kg outfit is a good starting point.

Braid lines are all the go at present but I recommend monofilament as the line of first choice. Braid is thinner than monofilament but it also tangles into impossible birds’ nests, and doesn’t have the same degree of abrasion resistance as the thicker monofilament lines.

When fishing for tailor, the rig is a short piece of piano wire attached to a set of ganged hooks, which are inserted into a garfish or pilchard.

Bream, dart and flathead are caught using a running sinker a small ball sinker allowed to run down to a No.or No.hook. Preferred bait is beachworm or whitebait.

Rod holders are used with threadline or overhead rods. No need to buy them, you can make your own simply by purchasing about a metre of 50mm diameter PVC tubing and cutting a 45-degree angle on one end. In the case of the sidecast, the angler generally holds his rod in a rod bucket at his waist.

Spinning is popular, and despite the advances in soft plastic lures, many of the old-fashioned chrome metal lures such as slices and Twisties still produce results.

Pilchards, garfish, bluebait, whitebait, squid, pipi, beachworm and sandworm are commonly used baits.

A small nylon bait board is one of the handiest items you can take, as it can be difficult filleting a fish or cutting a squid strip on sand.

Why you should trust me

I’m a United States Coast Guard–certified master captain, and I have been fishing since I could walk. I grew up working on charter boats in and around Long Island Sound, and reliable fishing gear has been paramount not only to my profession but also to my life. Having fished on a budget in settings as varied and diverse as the spring brooks of the Adirondack Mountains, the brown sludge that is the Hudson River, and the emerald coastal waters of New Zealand, I can say that a careful selection of the most durable all-around tackle has been essential to me.

Your guide, Owen James Burke, testing our picks on a beach in New Zealand.

To supplement my own expertise, I enlisted the help of veteran spinning-reel reviewer Alan Hawk and also consulted Salt Water Sportsman editor-at-large and NBC Sports television host George Poveromo on what would be the ideal spinning-rod-and-reel setup for a casual fisher.

Who this is for

Like most fishers, I’m not able to carry, store, or afford a different rod and reel for every species of fish or method of fishing. So I picked an affordable, high-quality spinning-rod-and-reel combo that can work in as many fishing conditions and settings as possible—including saltwater and freshwater. This spinning-rod-and-reel setup is approachable enough for a novice to learn on, yet it performs well enough for a seasoned veteran to depend on.

In researching and testing, I prioritized attributes such as durability and build quality—features that anyone, regardless of skill level and intended use, can appreciate—over more specialized features such as multiple-geared reels for using live bait or especially stiff rods that can handle big fish but not smaller ones. In other words, the Ugly Stik GXand Daiwa BG SW combo is what I’d recommend if someone were to ask me, “What fishing pole should I get if I don’t know what I want?”

Pull Quote

This spinning-rod-and-reel setup is approachable enough for a novice to learn on, yet it performs well enough for a seasoned veteran to depend on.

If you’re more experienced and looking for a specific rod and reel, apart from the size of the fish you’re targeting, you’ll also have to take into account what kind of fishing you’ll be doing: Will you be casting artificial lures (objects designed to look like fish or other prey with a hook attached), or using bait (smaller fish, worms, or other natural prey, either alive or dead)? Most lure fishers will want a stiffer rod composed of graphite (or mostly graphite) so that they can “work” a jig or plug to imitate the movements of prey, while bait fishers might seek out a rod that’s a little looser or more sensitive, so as to detect the slightest strike. Our rod recommendation can do both things decently, but if you know you’ll be doing only one or the other, you should look into a more specialized setup.

How we picked

First off, I had to decide what kind of rod and reel we would focus on, which was an easy choice—if you’re going to own only one fishing rod and reel, a spinning-rod-and-reel setup is the most versatile and the easiest to use.

Compared with a baitcasting or fly-fishing setup, a spinning setup is more comfortable to use and is usually easier to repair; it also requires less finesse to cast. Think of it as the “automatic transmission” version of a fishing rod and reel. If you’re starting from nothing, a spinning outfit offers the highest chance of success. If you’re a beginner, it’s much easier to pick up than either of the other options, and it’s far less likely to become tangled than a baitcasting setup.

Key features of a fishing rod

In my 20-plus years of fishing, I’ve come to learn that when you’re shopping for fishing rods—as for any tool—paying a little attention to a few key features can be telling before you even pick up one. The rod’s material, flexibility, sensitivity, and line-guide construction all make a difference in how well the rod will perform and last.

As mentioned previously, bait-hucking fishers will want something that’s more sensitive and flexible, while lure fishers will want something stiffer (known as “fast action” in fishing jargon). Most rods are made out of fiberglass, graphite, or a mixture of both. The more graphite in a rod, the lighter and stiffer it is, but such rods are also more brittle, so you wouldn’t want to hand one to a 3-year-old. Fiberglass is heavier but more flexible (“slow action”)—like a whipping stick—and nearly impossible to break. For a beginner or an all-around angler, a combination of both materials offers the most versatile package: It gives you enough stiffness to adequately manipulate a lure, while maintaining enough sensitivity for detecting small bites.

The next most important specification you’ll want to consider is the material that makes up the guides—the loops that lead, or guide, the line from the reel to the tip (the skinny end) of the fishing rod. Lower-end fishing rods (and many higher-end ones, too) usually feature guides made of either thin stainless steel or aluminum oxide (ceramic) frames holding cheap ceramic O-ring inserts (rings designed to protect the insides of the guides and prevent line wear) that chip or corrode, and eventually fail.

The rest, including the grip material and the number of pieces the rod itself breaks down into, is up to you. I will suggest that, if you can accommodate it, a one-piece rod will almost always outperform a two- or three-piece rod. A one-piece rod offers better stiffness and more control—fewer pieces make for fewer problems with durability and performance, although portability suffers.

How we tested

We got into the weeds to find the best rod-and-reel combination for most anglers.

I tested all of the rods and reels from beaches, rocks, boats, and riverbanks. I fished with lures in rivers for trout and salmon, and I set 1- to 1½-pound live baits from my skiffs, catching ocean fish up to 20 pounds with each rod and reel. I also tested the gear on smaller bottom fish, including summer flounder, sea bass, and porgies (or scup), as well as red drum and spotted seatrout in Charleston, South Carolina. While I didn’t test much in lakes or ponds, I did spend several days fishing freshwater rivers for trout and smaller salmon, and a couple of days fishing private ponds and lakes for largemouth bass. I beat up these rods and reels, from the mouth of the Hudson River in New York to the Cook Strait of New Zealand.

I used each reel with 6- to 15-pound test monofilament line (depending on the reel size), and also tried either 40- or 50-pound test braided line on each of the saltwater-oriented rods. (Braid can come in handy for lighter-weight rods and reels, but for the inexperienced angler, it can also bring on the nuisances of knots and snags.)

Initially, I washed everything down well after each use as I usually do. Then, a week in, I decided to see what leaving salt and grit on and in them would do, which was extremely telling—especially after I took the gear apart.

Testing drags with a force meter.

After logging plenty of catches (and abuse) on each reel, I took them to Henderson’s Ltd. Tackle and Repair Shop in Blenheim, New Zealand, to get them disassembled so that I could examine the insides for signs of quality construction, design, and materials (or lack thereof). The teardown test made it easy to see why some brands earn reputations for lasting longer than others, and it allowed us to discover how some seemingly similar models are actually quite different inside.

To make certain that I put each reel and respective drag through the same amount of strain, I took the top four reels I tested into a local fishing shop and attached them to scales using a 50-pound test leader. (None of the drags would stand up to 50 pounds of tension, and this way the line would break before the drag, just in case.)

Stiffer and lighter

If the Ugly Stik GXis unavailable, or if you know you want something stiffer for doing more lure fishing, the Ugly Stik Elite series is a good bet. These rods are available in the same wide range of sizes as the GX(for the most all-around versatility, we’d still recommend a medium to medium-heavy rod in the 6-foot-or 7-foot range), but they have a cork grip instead of an EVA foam grip and contain 3percent more graphite, which makes them a bit stiffer and lighter overall. The added stiffness makes the Elite ideal for manipulating lures and giving them “action” (a fishing term for making lures dance or hobble like wounded prey).

Who else likes our reel pick

Salt Water Sportsman, expert reel reviewer Alan Hawk, and Sport Fishing Magazine are all raving about Daiwa’s BG SW, and I’ve yet to find a reason to disagree with them. “To me the BG SW is the new best value spinning reel available anywhere today,” writes Alan Hawk, “and it will be a lot of fun to sit and watch how it will steer the entire industry in a new direction, to our benefit this time.”

Care and maintenance

When rinsing a reel, first tighten the drag, sealing it so that water doesn’t work into the washers. Lay the reel out horizontally so that any water that gets in has an easy path out, and don’t blast a reel with water to avoid blasting out the grease; just make sure it receives a thorough flow. If you want to be particularly diligent when cleaning your fishing gear (it will pay off in the long run), you can soak a cloth in freshwater (even with a little soap—boat soap works) and wipe everything down. Once finished, loosen the drag; if you leave reel drags tight, they tend to get stuck that way and lose their precision.

Additionally, keeping your reel packed with grease will reduce corrosion and improve longevity. You can find reel grease in almost any outdoor-sporting store, but if you’re not confident in taking your reel apart to apply grease, having it done in-store would be worthwhile.

For more tips, see expert reel reviewer Alan Hawk’s reel-care guide.

The competition

We also tested Shakespeare’s original Ugly Stik (now discontinued) alongside the GXjust to get an idea of the differences. While Ugly Stik loyalists familiar with the original series complain that the GXis not as flexible overall, I find that it is more applicable to a wider variety of fishing methods, which is good for people who want to buy one rod to do it all. Besides, the original is no longer being made.

We looked at Lew’s Mach II Speed Stick due to its popularity with bass anglers. The IMgraphite and “Carbon Nanotube Coating” make this rod ultra-stiff and, as the name states, speedy, but it’s so stiff that it would never serve as a bait-fishing rod. It’s a great rod for freshwater bass fishing and inshore saltwater fishing, though in all honesty, it’s so obscenely hideous that I would never want any of my fishing buddies to catch me with one in my hands—at least not in the light of day. The soylent-green decor on the handle and decal is a color that belongs only on a NASCAR vehicle. But if you can bear the coloring and graphics, it is a highly serviceable rod for casting lightweight artificials to spotted seatrout, redfish, and largemouth bass. Maybe I’ll sneak out with it for some low-lit night-fishing excursions.

We also tried the Penn Battalion and the Shimano Teramar, which are both great rods. I found the Battalion to be somewhat lightweight for its action and recommended line weight, which you could easily solve by ordering the next weight up (for example, if you want a “medium action” rod, order the Battalion in “medium heavy”). I’m also a fan of the Teramar, which is extremely well-balanced—both in weight and in guide placement—but Shimano rods come with only a one-year warranty, and I prefer the high-end cork on the Triumph and Battalion anyway. On the other hand, if you’re going to spend the majority of your time bait fishing, consider the Teramar, which offers a little more play and would be a delightful tool when you’re fishing cut bait for striped bass from a boat in Long Island Sound.

The Fin-Nor Lethal is another excellent reel that came highly recommended by expert spinning-reel reviewer Alan Hawk. I had never fished this reel before seeing his recommendation, and I was thoroughly impressed. With its all-metal body, it’s definitely a workhorse. The only real issues I had were that the line lay wasn’t even (line seems to bunch up in one place on the reel) and that the bail (the metal part that holds the line when the reel is engaged) was finicky. You have only one way to open it, and if you’re not careful to handle it right, it closes back over. This presents a hazard when you’re casting, as it can close midcast and stop your bait or lure short, flinging your hooks back at you or a nearby friend. One other problem was that the clicker on the drag (the noise that you hear when line is running off the spool of a reel) sometimes didn’t engage. Twice I looked over, and the line was spinning off the spool (a fish was on the other end), but I hadn’t noticed. Fish I had hoped to release had already swallowed the hook and had to be brought home. All in all, it’s a very strong reel, and I think it could live a long life, but after seeing both novice and avid fishers nearly knock me out while attempting to cast with it, I hesitate to recommend this reel for an inexperienced fisher or a child. According to Alan Hawk, Fin-Nor’s next model up is its best, but it’s much heavier and geared toward fishing larger game.

Local knowledge

Study your local area and speak to other fishermen before you decide where to set up. As Simon Parsons tells us on Facebook: “You could have the best bait, the best rigs and the sharpest hooks in the world. If you’re not there at the right time for that particular place neither will the fish.”

Strong and simple

Keep your tackle strong and simple. Casting into rough water or around rocks means it’s important to minimise the chance of breakage. And remember you’re looking for big fish in deep water, so your tackle needs to be up to the challenge. Heavy lines, hooks and weights are a must.

Cod might not be strong fighters like pollack or bass, they can still be a struggle to reel in. Christopher’s advice for shore anglers: “Use a 12ft beachcaster which is capable of casting at least 6oz, along with a powerful multiplier or large fixed spool reel.”

Rigs and hooks

Try using a circle hook for the top hook of a pennell rig, says Fishtec’s Ceri Owen. Cod are known to swallow baits right down, and these can be difficult to unhook, causing unwanted fatalities. Ceri continues: “The circle hooks tend to hook in the corner of the cod’s mouth. I realise that they can still swallow the one Pennell hook; however getting one hook deep down is better than hooks, which results in more fish being returned.”

Want to know what a pennel rig is? Check out the images below. A clipped down pennell rig (left) is a good rig for fishing for cod from sandy beaches. For fishing for cod from mixed or rough ground, try the popular pennell pulley rig (right).

Staying safe keeps fishing a relaxing sport

Do take safety seriously writes Fishtec’s resident sea angler, Ceri Owen. If the weather’s really bad wait until the end of the storm, before you go fishing. There were 38accidental drownings in 2013, according to ROSPA. Don’t become a statistic

Tight lines!

So there you have it – some tips and tricks to help you catch one of the nation’s favourite fish. With a little work you’re sure to improve your chances of catching one of these beautiful fish, either for the thrill of the chase, or for your own table.

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Feb 2015





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Final Word

First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.

Most important, have fun and choose your Squid Lures wisely! Good luck!

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