Rod and line fishing for squid and cuttlefish has become popular in the UK over the past few years. Specialised fishing techniques using custom lures known as squid jigs. These have two circular rows of crown hooks that entangle the tentacles.
Various locations along the UK south coast such as Weymouth have become known hotspots for squidding in the autumn.
Chesil beach frequently produces cuttlefish either by bouncing a jig along the bottom or by live baiting a joey mackerel or pin whiting.
I frequently get very good bites, winding in to find the bait fish still there, but with a large notch bitten out behind the head! On closer inspection you can see where the cuttlefishes tentacles have wrapped around the fish.
How to Prepare Your Cuttlefish
courtesy of greatbritishchefs.com
“Due to the ink sack, preparing cuttlefish can be a messy affair, so empty your sink and wear an apron. Aside from potential mess, the preparation is actually very easy. Cut below the eyes to remove the tentacles and gently pull the head out along with the guts, taking care not to burst the ink sack. Reserve the ink sack – the ink is rich and seaweed-like in flavour and of course has that brilliant jet black colour, perfect for stirring through a seafood risotto or pasta dough. Rinse in cold water to wash away any sand or spilled ink.
Pull out the beak and discard, and pull the outer membrane from the body (you may need to aid your grip with a tea towel). You’ll be left with a bright, brilliant white tube ready to slice into rings calamari-style”
Cuttlefish has a very similar taste to squid but is not popular in the UK. Caught in quite large quantities off the south coast the majority is exported to Spain and Italy.
I eat cuttlefish regularly when we visit our friends in Gran Canaria where ‘Sepia a la Plancha’ is served very simply, grilled with a sprinkle of lemon or lime juice.
Other Stuff You Might be Interested in …
Recipe – Chargrilled Garlic and Chilli Cuttlefish
My featured recipe marinates the fish with lemon, chilli and garlic. The acidic lemon juice partly cures and tenderises the flesh before cooking very quickly over high heat.
Chargrilled Garlic and Chilli Cuttlefish
- 700 g cuttlefish cleaned, sliced into 3cm pieces
- 80 ml 80ml extra virgin olive oil
- Finfinely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon plus extra wedges to serve
- 1 long red chilli seeds removed, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 2 tbs flat-leaf parsley finely chopped
- 2 cups watercress sprigs
- Place cuttle fish slices in a bowl with olive oil, lemon zest, chilli and garlic. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours to marinate.
- When ready to cook, preheat barbecue or chargrill pan to high. Season cuttlefish with salt, then barbecue, turning, for 2 minutes or until lightly charred and just cooked through.
- Toss cuttlefish with lemon juice and parsley in a bowl, then transfer to a platter and top with watercress. Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over.
Please observe minimum size limits when fishing.
Use a measure like this one from Tronixpro.