Egi is the Japanese word for squid. Japan is the world leader in recreational fishing for squid.
I enjoy pretty much all types of recreational fishing, however fixed-line fishing, light gear spinning and Egi fishing are the disciplines that I pursue.
Egi fishing has only recently become popular here in Australia. I’m unsure as to how popular it is in North America, I would be interested to know if any of you have ever angled the cephalopod species.
Fishing for squid requires a very particular style of lure or “jig” as they’re referred to. The best Egi jigs come from Japanese fishing tackle companies.
They come in a variety of sizes and weights, and nearly any colour combination you can think of. The major feature of the egi jig is the barbless crowns of hooks.
These crowns are designed to snare a squids tentacles as they try to capture the jig. Squid usually have 10 tentacles, consisting of 8 main limbs and 2 longer “candles”. The candles can be seen in the first picture which are longer than the other tentacles but are retracted back on a live squid. A squid swims forwards (tentacles first) as it hunts for prey. They are almost exclusively visual hunters that purse their prey then launch their candles in an effort to capture the evading prawn or fish.
Egi fishing can be done with a jig and any fishing outfit, however there are specialized rods and equipment designed specifically for casting the fairly large jigs, and for imparting the action on the jigs. The way egi fishing is done in Japan is by casting out far, usually from a pier or rockwall, letting the jig sink close to the bottom then quite violently jigging the rod upwards for a series of movements, then pausing for the sinking phase.
I use a rod by MajorCraft, a popular fishing tackle company in the Japanese domestic market. It is 8’3" long and consists of two pieces. It is paired with a lightweight Shimano 2500 size spin reel. The rod is pretty flexible at the tip, vet fairly beefy towards the grip. It needs to be soft enough as to not rip the jig out of the squids tentacles, but strong enough to pull in a large squid. Squid arn’t an athletic fighting species by any means but as you reel them in towards you, the squid’s head or “hood” acts like a sea anchor. They are then lifted out of the water vertically by the rod and line usually because you are fishing some distance from the water’s surface.
Freshly caught and prepared squid has got to be one of the best forms of seafood getting around. The target species around Australia’s southern shores is the Southern Calamari, which have a short lifespan and reproduce quickly. If you catch squid you’re gunna eat em!
I also have specialized jigs for octopus, or Taco (pronounced tak-o) as they’re called in Japan. I have only recently imported these in from Japan and have not caught any 8 legged cephalopods yet. Taco fishing has a whole lot of specialized gear and rods to go with it but at this stage I’m just going to improvise with my Egi setup.