Fishing Journalist, Guide & Chef
Phippsy has over 50 years of fishing experience in Australia and the South Pacific, and has fished the Noosa system for 30 years, 22 of those years as a professional guide. A former chef, he was host of the national fishing show “Hooked on Water” and the travel show “Getaway”. He also has 12 years as fishing & boating reporter for National Nine News with 500 live news crosses under his belt and is a competent cameraman, producer and writer of 150 TV segments. If that’s not enough, he authored 3 best-selling cookbooks: ‘Fish and Phipps’, ‘More Fish and Phipps and other tantalising treats’ and ‘Hooked On Seafood’.
Phippsy’s Top Squid Fishing Tips
- Squid fishing is a great add-on whenever you’re fishing the Great Sandy Straits. Phippsy suggests always dropping a rod with a squid jig over the side of the boat, putting the rod in a rod holder and letting the boat do the work while you’re targeting other species. Or, put several rods rigged with jigs over the side while you drift over sea grass beds. If it’s a glasses out day, rocking the boat can create squid-attracting action.
- The main targets in the Great Sandy Straits are tiger squid (northern calamari), arrow squid and cuttlefish.
- The species love hunting in sea grass beds, but are also commonly found over rubble bottom and shallow reefs, Phippsy usually fishes in water 4-8m deep, but squid can also be taken from the shallows or much deeper than 8m at times.
- Squid fishing is effective early morning and late afternoon, but they can be taken right through the day at times and also after dark. Phippsy reckons the main thing is that there is reasonable tidal run and that the water is not too clouded up with sediment.
- For land-based anglers thee are plenty of options around the Great Sandy Straits. The Urangan pier fishes well, especially after dark if you put a spotlight in the water. It’s also worth looking around mangrove fringes on an incoming tide, especially around dusk.
- When you get a squid boat side it’s a good idea to slip the net under them and swish them around in the water until they discharge their ink. Always point them up and away from yourself as you are transferring them from the net to the ice slurry.
Phippsy’s Squid Fishing Tackle
- These days many manufactures have a line of specialist squid fishing tackle if you’re keen to get really serious. But Phippsy reckons it’s not needed – light estuary fishing tackle is more than adequate. A soft plastic rod 7’ or 7’6” rod with a 2500 size reel loaded with 6lb braid and a rods length of fluorocarbon leader is perfect for squidding in the Straits.
Phippsy’s Recommended Squid Jigs
- There are lots of cheap squid jigs on the market, but they are less effective than quality jigs and also don’t last as long. As it’s unusual to lose too many squid jigs Phippsy suggests opting for Yo Zuri, Shimano Egi or Ecogear Yamashita squid jigs.
- Phippsy usually lowers the jig to about half the water depth and puts the rod in a rod holder. When winding a jig in work slowly and look out for following squid. If one is present, stop winding and drop the jig back, they’ll usually grab it.
Preparing And Cooking Squid
- Slip the freshly caught squid into an ice slurry immediately, which will euthanise it and also maximise the eating qualities. Clean as soon as possible by pulling the head and gut from the mantle, removing skin and cleaning out any slime and remaining material from the tube. Always do this in clean seawater, never in freshwater. Freshwater removes much of the flavour from marine seafood and should be avoided.
- Cleaned squid tubes should be wrapped in plastic and beaten with a meat tenderiser to break down the muscle fibre and soften it. If you plan to cut the mantle into rings, that can be done now. Phippsy prefers to open the mantle up and lay it flat. He then slices part way through the flesh in a criss cross pattern on the soft side of the meat, creating an effect called “pineappling” – this causes the meat to curl up nicely during cooking.
- The squid should then be marinated for 24 hours in milk and garlic to soften it prior to crumbing and frying or cooking in other preferred ways,
- Alternative marinades Phippsy recommends are below. It’s best to leave the tenderised, pineapples squid in these marinades for 24-48hrs:
- Chilli garlic, ginger and a splash of olive oil
- Red onion and lime
- Honey, ginger and sweet soy
- When deep frying crumbed squid, set the oil temp to 180C and cook the rings for 45 seconds until golden brown. A cheap deep-fryer is safer and gives better results than a pot on the stove top. To avoid the oil spitting, don’t salt the squid until after cooking. Also, be sure to use a high temperature oil such as vegetable or peanut oil. Olive oil is not suitable and becomes carcinogenic when cooked at these temperatures.
- Other cooking options include a very hot wok with a little vegetable oil to quickly scorch the squid or a very hot barbecue plate (be sure and put the lid on if you’re using a kettle barbecue.
- It’s important not to overcook seafood.