In Search of the Maine Kraken
This is Part 1 of our Squid Fishing Adventure, see Part 2 here.
Hi! I was hoping you’d stop by for a read; I have a new obsession I’m dying to share with as many people as possible. Let’s get into it.
A while back, a colleague and I were discussing our weekend plans, and he told me he intended to take his nieces and nephews squid fishing. Squid fishing? I’m sorry, what? I have lived in Maine my whole life. I come from a long line of fishermen and lobstermen. I have been fishing, albeit mainly freshwater, since I was dexterous enough to carry a pole and coordinate a cast. I had never, in the history of ever, heard of anyone fishing for squid in Maine. Both fascinated and skeptical, I listened as he described the lures, timing and method of catching squid.
“You have to go at night, when the tide is high. It has to be brightly lit, to attract the little bait fish that the squid like to eat. And you have to watch out for the ink.”
Crazy. My kind of crazy. A few weeks and loads of research later, I embarked on my first expedition, and I’m telling you, squid fishing is where it’s at. With no fancy equipment, no hot sun, and no boat necessary, this is a perfect, unique way to spend an evening in coastal Maine when everyone is bored and in need of just a touch of adventure.
Here’s how you do it:
Step 1: Research – Find out where the local public pier is and check out a tide chart to determine the optimal time to drop your lines. High tide at night is what you’re looking for. Check the ocean temps as well, the squid like warmer water. Google and the State of Maine Department of Marine Resources are your friends in this step. My local public pier is the South Freeport Harbor, which just so happens to also be the home of the Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster ocean-front restaurant. Obviously the seafood is fresh caught daily, but one of the things that is distinctive about dining at the Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster is their BYOB policy. Had I planned my night more thoughtfully, we could have enjoyed dinner before fishing, but I digress…
Step 2: Gather your gear – Clothing you do not care about (because ink), lightweight fishing poles, squid jigs, a high-sided bucket or two, flashlights, tackle box, bug spray (trust me), fresh water, local beer and provisions if you really want to make a night of it.
Step 3: Choose your Squid Squad (or Calamari Crew, if you prefer) – Grown-ups will do in a pinch, but I recommend that you surround yourself with tiny humans if possible; they have the best imaginations and are guaranteed to spot a sea monster or two. Even if you come home squid-less, they’ll have a blast watching whatever your light attracts and will have whale tales to tell and squabble over. The night is, after all, dark and filled with terrors, real or invented.
Step 4: Put on bug spray – (trust me).
Step 5: Position your light directly over the water – I made my own spot light by cutting the top off a clean two liter bottle, poking a hole on each side and stringing kitchen twine into a long handle. I put a LED flashlight into the bottle and tied it to a piling. Instant spotlight! I also learned that tying glow sticks directly to your line above your lure is a neat trick to step up your illumination game.
Step 6: Wait – You can start dropping your lines immediately, but I recommend waiting until you start seeing the little bait fish swimming around in your light.
You’ll have to check in soon to learn what comes next. My Squid Squad didn’t catch anything this time around, so I’ll have to get back to you on how you actually land a squid once I’ve hooked one. I have it on authority that no one is catching any squid in Maine yet this season, but they’re headed up our way from Cape Cod. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, if you happen to venture out onto your local pier some night soon and get lucky enough to catch a few baby Kraken, be sure to send me a picture and share your story; the taller the tale, the better.
About the Author:
Chandra Thoits is a born and raised Mainer who loves the smell of low tide, but hates the smell of ketchup. She wants to know three things about everyone she meets: What/where do you like to eat, do you need help with anything, can she pat your dog?