Southern Calamari

With a huge diversity of species on offer in Victoria, the most prolific throughout the entire year is without doubt the southern calamari. Despite numbers throughout both Western Port and Port Phillip Bay in Victoria, few anglers make good use of the Western Port population. Maybe its because of the lack of knowledge of the port or other reasons unknown but one things for sure, the Western Port calamari population is of epic proportions year round.

In Autumn however, breeding calamari make their way into the Port to lay their eggs and it is this time of the year when they are their biggest.


Catching calamari is surprisingly easy, especially if you know where to find them. Being a species that is constantly on the look out for a meal, finding calamari is the most difficult part of the task.

Calamari tend to inhabit the same locations year after year so when you do locate them throughout one autumn period, you can guarantee that they can be found in the same locations.

Though they are scattered throughout the Port, they do tend to be in their greater numbers in just a few pockets. These tend to be where the appropriate seagrass grows that they can lay their eggs too.

These locations tend to be along the Quail and Tyabb Bank in the north of the Port, the Middle Spit, Cat Bay, Flinders and Balnarring.


Techniques for catching autumn calamari do differ slightly compared to that of the rest of the year whereby they seem to be more aggressive. Maybe it’s the onset of the cooler water making them a little more lethargic but they still only need a little encouragement to bring them into attack mode.

This is achieved by vigorously working a jig in an attempt to emulate baitfish that the calamari maybe hunting. Jigs worked in an erratic motion tend to be favoured and quickly catch a preying calamari’s keen eye in no time.

Once a potential weed bed is located, it is imperative that the right drift line is taken in order to get the maximum out of the area.

Of course this is simple achieved by picking the direction in which the wind is blowing, driving up to a location in which you’ll drift along the edge of where you want to cast and let the wind and tide do the rest. This may take a few attempts to get right but soon enough you’ll work out where the calamari are as well as your right drift line.

If you do find the wind and or tide strength pushing you along too fast, deploy a sea anchor to slow you down, alternatively a 20ltr bucket attached to a rope can also aid in this situation.

Once drifting, cast out ideally into the direction you’re drifting as this will allow the jig to fall naturally without being pull along as if casting away from the drift line.

Casting away from the drift line puts pressure on the jig as the line comes taught and affects the jigs natural sinking action which can discourage some calamari. Casting in the direction of the drift will cause the jig to sink correctly but you will get a build up of slack line if you’re not working fast enough to keep up with the drift speed. In this situation, you can become snagged on the bottom more often.

A good practice is to cast at a 90 degree angle to your drift line and work the jig at a moderate rate. When the line comes taught, you usually have hooked up but this technique does allow you to work the jig in a more natural fashion.


Jigs have certainly evolved somewhat over the past twenty odd years. Back then, it would have been either fluoro orange, chartreuse; pink, green or blue and they did work very well.

Today’s technology has improved everything; jigs certainly are not what they used to be.

Coupled with the research that has been done on calamari, there are clear colour favourites at different times of the year which do work better than others while in autumn.

Red foil is one colour that cant be passed up but with the theory of darker colours used at night, early morning and late evening and brighter colours used during the middle of the day, you cant go wrong.

Jig size also plays an important role too, to small and small calamari will be quick to get it, to large and some calamari might not be aggressive enough to attack it.

Personally, I used to favour a 2.5 size jig but found going up to a 3.0 began to produce larger models. Not just that, but being a little heavier, when drifting the weight of the 3.0 is great enough to hold at a good depth even in a 10 knot wind.

Of all the factors in being successful it is a combination of everything brought into place at the right time. The location, the drift speed, the jig size, the jig colour and the action in which the jig is worked.

Get all this aligned and you’ll be taking home some lovely calamari for dinner. Get any of it wrong, and you might be stopping at the fish and chip shop on the way home.

Jarrod Day

About Jarrod Day

As a young boy, fishing from the Portsea and Sorrento piers along the Mornington Peninsula coastline was a regular occurrence during the school holidays. My love for fishing grew and many years later now find it much more than a hobby, but a lifestyle. My website has been developed with fishing and photography in mind. Take a look around, I hope you enjoy it.


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