Sea fishing

Cuttlefish, catch and release, Adriatic sea, Croatia

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I wanted to catch a variety of marine species on my short trip across the sea. I caught this cuttlefish and released it back into the sea and then continued fishing for other species.

Short biology of cuttlefish

Cuttlefish are marine animals that belong to the class Cephalopoda, along with squid, octopuses, and nautiluses.

Cuttlefish belong to the order Sepiida, which encompasses marine mollusks with eight arms and two tentacles. They have a unique ability to change color and texture to blend in with their surroundings, making them masters of camouflage. Cuttlefish have a distinctive bone called a cuttlebone, which helps control their buoyancy. They are carnivorous creatures, feeding on small fish, crustaceans, and other mollusks. Cuttlefish are known for their intelligence and have a complex nervous system. They are also fascinating creatures to observe due to their intricate behaviors and remarkable abilities. Cuttlefish are highly adaptable and can be found in various habitats, ranging from shallow coastal waters to deep-sea environments.

Their remarkable camouflage abilities, achieved through specialized skin cells called chromatophores, allow them to blend seamlessly with their surroundings. They can change color, texture, and pattern instantaneously, making them formidable predators and elusive prey. Cuttlefish also have keen eyesight and advanced cognitive abilities.

Where to find cuttlefish

They are active predators that typically inhabit shallow, coastal waters, often near rocky outcroppings, kelp beds, or seagrass meadows. Cuttlefish primarily feed on small fish, shrimp, and crabs during the night or twilight hours. Knowing their behavior and preferred habitats will significantly increase your chances of catching them.

Tackle Essentials

Fishing Rod: A medium to heavy spinning rod is typically used for cuttlefish fishing. Make sure your rod is strong enough to handle the weight of the cuttlefish. You’ll need the sensitivity to detect subtle bites and the power to fight a determined cuttlefish.

The best choice are rods designed for squid fishing (eging rod).

Fishing Line: A braided fishing line is a good choice for cuttlefish fishing as it is strong and sensitive, allowing you to feel the bites more easily. Thin braided line (up to 0.13mm) is most often used.

Fluorocarbon Leader: A 2-3ft leader, thickness up to about 0.30 mm or 10-15lb, fluorocarbon will provide stealth and abrasion resistance.

Aliexpress squid jig lures:

Squid jig lure

These are artificial lures made of metal or plastic, often resembling small fish or squid. They are weighted and jigged up and down in the water, attracting the attention of cuttlefish.

Cuttlefish are attracted to lures that mimic their natural prey. Bright or UV-enhanced lures often prove effective.

Aliexpress squid jig lures:

Jigging technique:

  • Cast your jig near the bottom and slowly jig it up and down while retrieving it erratically.
  • Cuttlefish are curious creatures and will often investigate the jig’s movement.
  • Be patient and allow the cuttlefish to take the bait before setting the hook.

Handling and Preparation

Cuttlefish should be handled with care to avoid damaging their delicate skin. When releasing a cuttlefish, gently guide it back into the water. If you intend to keep your catch, immediately place it on ice or in a cooler to preserve its freshness.

Cuttlefish is a versatile seafood with a unique flavor and texture. It can be prepared in various ways, including grilling, frying, sautéing, or boiling. The ink sac of the cuttlefish can also be used to make a delicious and flavorful sauce.

Cuttlefish Catch and Release

1. Minimize handling: Cuttlefish are delicate creatures. Handle them with care, avoiding excessive pressure on their bodies and keeping them submerged in water as much as possible.
2. Hooking strategy: Choose appropriate hooks and baits that minimize injury. Targeting the mouth rather than the body reduces the risk of deep hooking and damage.
3. Quick release: Once hooked, avoid prolonged fights. Bring the cuttlefish to the surface quickly and release it back into the water as gently as possible.
4. Decompression: Before releasing, hold the cuttlefish underwater for a few minutes to allow it to acclimatize to the surface pressure. This step helps ensure its survival.

Tips for Success

– Fish during the early morning or late evening hours when cuttlefish are most active.
– Target areas with rocky formations, kelp beds, or seagrass meadows.
– Use lures that mimic small fish or shrimp.
– Be patient and persist, as cuttlefish can be elusive prey.
– Respect the environment and release undersized or non-target species unharmed.

Embrace the Challenge

Cuttlefish fishing is an adventure unlike any other. It’s a test of skill, patience, and respect for these intelligent creatures. With the right tackle and a bit of know-how, you can unlock the secrets of the cuttlefish world and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Till next time …

 tight lines and wet landing nets!

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