Catch It and Cook It – Cuttlefish

Catch It and Cook It – Cuttlefish

Total time: 2 hours 2 minutes
Servings: 6
grilled cuttlefish

Catch It

Rod and line fishing for squid and cuttlefish have become popular in the UK over the past few years. Specialised fishing techniques use custom lures known as squid jigs. These have two circular rows of crown hooks that entangle the tentacles.

squid jig

Various locations along the UK south coast such as Weymouth have become known hotspots for squidding in the autumn.

squid caught on jig
Jig caught squid

Chesil Beach

Chesil beach frequently produces cuttlefish either by bouncing a jig along the bottom or by live baiting a joey mackerel or pin whiting.

jig caught cuttlefish
Jig caught cuttlefish

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.

charter boats uk
UK Charter Boats

Brighton Charter Boats

How to Prepare Your Cuttlefish

courtesy of

“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.

sepia a la plancha
Sepia a la Plancha

Other Recipes You Maybe 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.

grilled cuttlefish

Chargrilled Garlic and Chilli Cuttlefish

Acidic lemon juice partly cures and tenderises the flesh before cooking very quickly over high heat.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: 🇦🇺 Australian
Keyword: cuttlefish
Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 2 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 216kcal


  • 700 g cuttlefish cleaned, sliced into 3cm pieces
  • 80 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon juice and finely grated zest, plus extra wedges to serve
  • 1 long red chilli seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 2 Garlic finely chopped
  • 2 tbs fresh 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.


Calories: 216kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g

Please observe minimum size limits when fishing.

fish measure

Use a measure like this one from Tronixpro.

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