April 26 2023

How To Catch Squid On Cape Cod

by Ryan Collins

This article was originally published in May of 2020. I figured now would be a good time to re-publish, because squid will soon be arriving off the Cape!

Over the past week on Cape Cod we've enjoyed some sunny warm days, but we've also had some snow flurries!

Nevertheless the action with stripers, tautog, scup and squid has really picked up. I've even heard of there being a few bluefish caught.

In this fishing report, I'd like to bring you with me on my latest Cape Cod squid fishing adventure. I'm no squid expert, but in this post I will give you some helpful tips and advice for catching squid on your own.

Where And When To Catch Squid
On Cape Cod

Earlier in the week I was reading the latest squid updates from our members' forum. Several of our members had been doing well with squid, and reading about their success gave me the boost of inspiration I needed to give squid a try.

So on Tuesday May 5th I readied my tackle and set off. It was a glorious spring day and there were even a few people laying out in the sun on the beach. For a moment it felt like summer!

Historically, based off the reports inside our forum, the best springtime squid action on Cape Cod occurs during late April and early May. Again I'm no squid expert, but I feel your chance of success will increase as soon as the water temperature hits 50 degrees. 

This is when loligo squid invade the shallows of Nantucket Sound to spawn. I was thinking about all of this as I headed out Wednesday afternoon under a beautifully blue Cape Cod springtime sky.

During the spring, squid can be caught off the coastline of Cape Cod in 20-30 feet of water. The stretch of coastline shown below is particularly attractive to spawning squid.

This is where I was fishing on Wednesday from the kayak, and I will be the first to say that kayak fishing during the spring on Cape Cod is risky business. The water is cold and if you happen to capsize it won't be long until hypothermia sets in. 

I highly recommend wearing a drysuit to increase safety, especially when fishing from a kayak. Right now I'm wearing a GUL Zero-Stretch Drysuit whenever I'm fishing from my kayak or small boat during the spring. In addition I always wear my Stohlquist lifejacket fit snuggly around my chest. 

What To Use And How To Fish It

For squid fishing I rigged up using a rod and reel I typically use for schoolie stripers and freshwater fishing.

My reel is a Shimano Nasci 2500 spooled up with 15 pound braided line, paired with a Temple Fork Outfitters Professional, 6'6" long rod, rated for 1/16 to 1/4 ounces (here's a link).

For lures, I rigged up with a Tsunami Weighted Squid Sabiki, with another Yo-Zuri slow sinking squid jig tied above via a dropper loop. Most anglers add multiple squid jigs to a line, but I opted to keep it simple.

On Wednesday I kayaked out to 25 feet of water and setup a drift. I dropped my rig to the bottom and gave my reel a crank to lift the rig just a foot or two off the bottom.

I then allowed my kayak to drift with the wind and did not impart any action or jig the rod at all. I figured the rocking of my kayak was all the action I needed to fool a big squid.

Please be aware that the water off Cape Cod during the spring is extremely cold and hypothermia will set in quickly if you were to fall overboard. I highly recommend wearing a drysuit to increase safety, especially when fishing from a kayak. Right now I'm wearing a GUL Zero-Stretch Drysuit whenever I'm fishing from my kayak or small boat during the spring.

Fun Action On Light Tackle

If you've never caught a squid before, then you might be surprised about the initial bite. When a squid hits, the bite kind of feels like you're getting stuck on the bottom. 

It's a slow, gradual weight on the line, and I feel like a gentle lift of the rod is probably more effective than a swift hook set.

Surprisingly the 15 inch squid pulled hard enough to take some line from my reel. The fight is not hard but it is fun, and it's often capped off by the squid ejecting a bunch of ink!

On Wednesday I caught squid on the heavy bottom jig, as well as on the top jig. The squid were beautiful, and they often changed different shades of color as I worked to unhook them.

When I started fishing, the tide was dead low and the action was slow, but fortunately the bite picked up during the incoming tide. 

Yet little did I know that the coolest part of the trip would occur once I got home and reviewed my underwater footage...

Squid On The Attack!

In the following video you will see Nantucket Sound loligo squid attacking Yo-Zuri and Tsunami squid jigs. I was pretty pumped with how this footage came out and I hope you enjoy it too.

Please click play below to check it out! ?

On important thing I learned after reviewing nearly two hours of footage is how easy it is to tear the jig free from the tentacles of the squid. 

A good tip to reduce the chance of the squid tearing free is to not apply too much pressure as you reel in the squid.

In Conclusion

Finding and catching squid can be a fun early springtime challenge here on Cape Cod. An extra bonus is that these squid are awesome bait for big striped bass, and they make for great eating

This past weekend Lauren made up some tasty calamari by coating the squid in flour and then frying it for 45 seconds each side in a pan of sizzling hot vegetable oil. ?

Lauren did a wonderful job on the calamari and I felt a slight sense of accomplishment knowing that I caught this food on my own. 

I also felt grateful because once again Cape Cod has produced not just wonderful seafood, but also an exciting adventure. As I've said many times before, the Cape is a playground for people who like to fish.

Do you plan on fishing for squid this year? Do you have any squid fishing tips you'd like to share? Please LMK by commenting below!

Tight lines 🎣

About the author 

Ryan Collins

I'm fortunate to have grown up on the beach, and I've been fishing since kindergarten. I have great family, friends and fishing experiences to be thankful for. Just being out there is enough-catching fish is just a bonus!

  • Bio luminescence is the trait that allows squid to change the color of their tubes. It is a mechanism built into them for the purpose of camouflage and not uncommon in the animal kingdom.

  • Great video Ryan, good to know how the squid bite, I always wondered about how aggressive they are.
    Thanks, Art

  • Mornin Ryan, I’m from New Jersey but I fished Cape Cod beaches many times for strippers. I am 82 years young and still enjoy fishing. fresh and saltwater. What a great video. You are so fortunate growing up on the beach. Your wife always does a awesome job. Hope to be up there in May. LEO

  • Great repost I haven’t done any squid fishing but one of these days I will thanks for the Tackle info Awesome video and Lauren did a great job on cooking the squid
    Thanks Mike

    • Hey Tom ??

      Yes I use a GoPro 7 to capture a lot of my underwater images. However, this video was filmed using a Spydro camera, which is attached the my fishing line.

      LMK if you have any other questions ?

  • Super cool video Ryan! It’s so great to be able to eat what you have caught! Nice job Lauren! Thank you ocean gods!


  • Awesome footage Ryan….It’s very cool anytime we get a peek of what’s going underneath the surface. It’s amazing and an entirely different world.

    • You’re right Steve, I could watch the underwater footage all day long! It’s so exciting when I am editing these videos, because often I will spend minutes staring at a “blank” screen, when suddenly a big squid or tautog appears from out of nowhere. I get the same jolt of adrenaline as when I am actually out there fishing. LOL.

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