Squidding in Rockland, July 2022

Brad Achorn

2022-07-31 - last updated 2022-08-30 (changelog)

I don’t remember catching squid in the harbors here being a thing when I was a kid, but I’ve been thinking about it ever since I saw some people doing it in Belfast on YouTube last year. So this July, I took a walk down to the harbor one night an hour or so after high tide, and this is one of the very first things I see:

Squad of squid

A school of squid! (Or “squad” of squid I guess).

It turns out they’re pretty easy to catch, you just use a special lure which is very similar to a regular brightly colored floating fishing lure, but with barbless hooks. Squid catch things by wrapping their tentacles around them, so I guess it would be just about impossible to get barbed hooks out of them. It means that you can’t let them get slack while reeling in, but that didn’t seem to be too difficult - while they do fight a bit, if you just reel steadily they won’t get off. I was able to hold them in the air over the water for a moment before dropping them in my bucket to give them a chance to squirt out most of their ink into the ocean without losing any. For most of them I had to grab the lure and tip it upside down over the bucket to get them off it, but I didn’t get squirted myself.

Squid lure

Dragging the lure right through the middle of the squad, I was reeling one in with every other cast! After catching a couple and seeing the range of sizes, I started letting the smallest 1/3 or so go, and decided to stop after keeping just four because I wasn’t sure how difficult it would be to clean them.

Three caught squid in my bucket

I brought them home, and cleaned them in the sink. Those big eyes make them very creepy looking, but other than that they aren’t too bad to clean (and they don’t feel as slimy as they look - not that different than fish really).

A squid ready to be cleaned

Here they are all cleaned. I peeled the skin off one just to see if it made any difference, it was pretty easy to do but I won’t bother in the future because I couldn’t tell the difference.

Four cleaned squid on the cutting board

I cut them up into pieces, two got dredged in flour then dropped in a half inch of hot oil, and they tasted amazing! The other two are in the freezer, hopefully to be joined by more so I can make a whole meal for more than one person out of them.

Calamari ready to eat