How To Cut And Prepare Cuttlefish For Bait

Every now and then, angling forums throw up a real gem of a post. The sort of post that it seems a shame to let drift into the ether. The following guide to cutting cuttlefish for use as bait by Dave Jenkins is such a post and was posted on our sister site, Thanks to Dave, a.k.a. stoaty, for allowing us to reproduce it here.

Over to Dave…..

I have been asked a few times how I cut cuttlefish for bait. Here is my guide to cutting cuttle. The cuttle below is a medium sized one.

I have used whole ones in the past with success for large cod but this is how I usually cut them up. Take a filleting knife and cut up one side of the hood from the bottom to the top.


Open the cuttlefish up and at the top of the hood you will see the ink sack, roughly it’s a black ball about the size of a marble.


Now you can leave the ink sack in, but if you do, you, your boat if you’re on one, the beach if you’re on the beach, the bloke next to you, your car, your wife and kids and the house will all end up with hard to remove black ink stains all over the place.

You need to cut it out, and the membrane attached to it, without rupturing the sack and drop the lot into the sea.


Having got the dirty bit out of the way, grab hold of the head and while holding the hood down, pull the head and guts upwards and out all in one go.

Now at the back of the hood you will find the bone that pops out easily. You can discard it or give to a budgie to chew on. If you are going to give it to a budgie I am told it needs a quick boil or microwave to kill any bugs.


I like to fish the head and guts whole for big fish like cod, conger and bass. But here I have cut it in half so it can be used for rays and hounds as well.


You can cut the hood into big thick chunks if you like for big fish but I prefer to slice it very thin. I think you get a better scent trail like this. So slice it thin from top to bottom. It’s usually about half to three quarters of an inch thick. It’s good for smaller fish like this, whiting, bream etc. The big fish will still take it, I managed to catch a 25lb conger on a number 1 hook with a small sliver of cuttle meant for bream!



When I put the strips on a hook I try to get as many on as I think the target species can swallow. The thinking being the more strips the more scent. Another advantage especially for you beach fisherman, is that it stays on the hook well and can take a full power cast without flying off.

Here’s a couple of hooks baited up, a 10/0 for conger with half the head and a 6/0 for whiting, codling and rays.

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