From Hogy’s website at hogylures.net
The Hogy Squid: Make Your Own!
by Andy Nabreski
I’ve always been fascinated with fishing lures, and I’ve also always been interested in tinkering and tweaking them. To me, one of the things that attracts me to fishing is the constant experimentation that is necessary to be successful. In order to consistently catch fish, you need to switch things up and present the proper bait at the proper time in the right location.
In my local waters of Vineyard Sound here in Massachusetts, one the main forage items for game fish in the Spring is squid. Each year countless numbers of them enter the Sound early in the season, where they will spawn and then die. Local game fish such as stripers and fluke take advantage of this virtual all-you-can-eat buffet, and if there’s one thing they can’t resist, it’s a squid.
These local squid are quite large, sometimes exceeding 18 inches in length. There are several squid imitation lures available on the market, but none of them are big enough to effectively imitate those large adult squid that striped bass go bonkers for. For quite some time I’ve been looking for an artificial that could mimic these “Nemos” and the solution came to me last winter. I was taking a good hard look at a 14-inch amber-colored Hogy. The profile of this large soft plastic not only resembles a baitfish, it is also quite similar to that of a large squid. After a few quick modifications I knew I was on to something worthwhile; the Hogy Squid was born.
The first time I fished the Hogy Squid was this spring in Woods Hole, MA. I knew right away I was onto something good. It mimicked the local squid perfectly; it had the same darting motion, the amber color was a dead match to the real thing, and the tentacles came to life when it was retrieved erratically. I made a few casts to a promising rip, and I was in awe of the lifelike action. On the fourth cast I saw a large shape follow the lure out from behind a boulder. The massive shape followed the lure toward the boat. I paused it, then began an erratic retrieve, mimicking a stunned squid. The large shape kept up the chase, and about 20 feet from the back of the boat I felt a solid hookup. The drag screamed, and I knew whatever was on the end of the line was big – real big. After a few minutes I managed to stop the beast. The line shot up toward the surface of the water, and then it dawned on us. This wasn’t the striped bass of a lifetime. Instead, as the animal cleared the surface, I could clearly see the unmistakable silhouette of a seal’s head. I had accidentally hooked a harbor seal.
I knew right away that this was no laughing matter, I was mortified, yet I was astonished that I had actually fooled a marine mammal with an artificial lure. I’ve heard of people accidentally hooking seals with live bait, but never with a lure. This was a true testimonial to the effectiveness of the Hogy Squid. We decided to at least try to bring the poor seal close to the boat and get the hook removed. We had a de-hooking tool onboard, and it seemed like the right thing to do. I battled the seal for a few more minutes, but in the end, 20-pound test monofilament was no match for a 60-pound harbor seal. The line eventually broke, and we went elsewhere in search of bass. I hope the seal is OK and I know it will think twice before grabbing another squid!
I went on to catch some very nice stripers on the Hogy Squid throughout the season. Any time big squid are in the area, it’s my go-to lure for large striped bass. I caught some really nice fish on it, but the memory of watching a seal chase down my lure and hit it 20 feet behind the boat will never leave my memory. Modifying a Hogy soft bait into a squid is relatively simple. Here are some step-by-step directions for how I’ve been rigging them.
Tools you’ll need
An X-acto knife or box cutter, a Hogy eye-rattle kit, a few permanent Magic Markers (Sharpies) and a Hogy of your choice. I prefer 10- or 14-inch amber colored Hogys. The amber color is very similar to that of a live squid in distress. Bone and bubblegum are also good bets for colors. The 10-inch Double Wide Hogys also work well.
Using the tool that comes with the eye-rattles, punch a hole through the Hogy about 2/3 of the way to the tail. The baits don’t have to be pre-rigged, but it does help to aid in the proper placement of the eye-rattle.
Take a Magic Marker (I prefer red for this step) and insert the tip into the hole created by the punch tool. Do this on both sides. Over time, this ink will seep into the plastic and spread out quite a bit.
Now insert the eye rattle into the hole. I’ve found that it helps to wet the rattle before doing this; it will make it slide through a bit easier. It takes a bit of force to get the rattle through. Once it’s in place I recommend adding a drop of glue to both sides of the rattle.
Take a dark colored marker and trace around the perimeter of the rattle. This will enhance the illusion of a squid eyeball. It helps to press a paper towel on it afterward to absorb the excess ink.
Set the Hogy with its flat side (the top) facing the cutting table. Use the X-Acto knife to cut the bait lengthwise, starting close to the eyeball. This is the first step to making tentacles.
Now rotate the Hogy 90-degrees, and proceed to cut each “leg” into thirds. Leave the middle section longer to simulate the graspers on squid, which are longer than their arms. This will leave you with 6 lifelike tentacles.
The Finished Product
The finished product, shown here using a 14-inch amber Hogy. The bait casts surprisingly well, and looks amazingly lifelike in the water. The tandem hook rig results in solid hookups, but if you’re faced with weedy conditions a Texas-rigged version with the Owner 11/0 offest worm hook works just as well. Over time the coloration from the marker will slowly be absorbed into the plastic, adding to the realistic look of this bait. Add a few drops of Hogy Fresh Flavor scent, and even the seals will be chasing it to your boat. But huge stripers like it even better. Don’t be afraid to experiment!
Hogy Squid on the Hogy Jig Head