How to Catch Octopus: 6 Ways to Catch an Octopus

Octopus Vulgaris or octopus is one of the most fascinating creatures in the ocean. It can regrow its limbs, release a cloud of ink to avoid predators and its skin cells can even change color. It is also intelligent and even an escape artist. Its! That only means one thing for beginner anglers – they are tricky to catch. Luckily, knowing the proper ways how to catch octopus can make the hunting process easier. 

Here are the best fishing techniques you should use if catching octopus is on your bucket list. Let’s get started!

Where to Find Octopus

A picture of an octopus

Octopuses can be found in the tropical and temperate oceans worldwide. They live in areas with many den-like hiding places such as reefs, caves, and shipwrecks. You can also find them in low tide areas, chasing crabs, fish, or other prey trapped in the tidal pools. Octopuses often stay at the bottom of the ocean floor and in places where they can hunt for cuttlefish and other smaller fish, mussels, clams, and scallops.

Expert Tip: If you are octopus hunting around August to October, you’ll find octopuses offshore. From November to January, you can expect them hanging around towards the shore. 

Octopuses are primarily nocturnal creatures, and they spend the majority of their time hiding in their dens during the day. When they venture out, they tend to be very shy and quickly dart back into their homes if they sense any danger. Octopuses are also excellent swimmers and can propel themselves through the water using jet propulsion.

The breeding season of octopuses is during spring and summer. The male octopus will pass a sperm sac to the female through one of her arms. The female then stores the sperm in her mantle cavity, where it fertilizes her eggs. 

The gestation period for an octopus is usually around five months, after which she will lay anywhere from 50,000 to 200,000 eggs. The female octopus will guard her eggs until they hatch, which takes around 65 days. Out of the many eggs laid, only a fraction survives due to the small sizes that make them vulnerable to predators and external elements like storms in November.

How to Catch Octopus

If you are wondering, “how are octopuses caught,” there are a few different ways to go about it. Some are easy, while other octopus hunting tactics are a bit complicated and require experience in fishing. Here are some different octopus-fishing strategies to consider:

Using Fishing Pole and Net

This is one of the most common methods of how to catch octopus. You will need a fishing pole and net for this method. Attach the fishing net to the end of the rod with a fish inside. First, you will need to find an area where you think an octopus might be hiding. Lower your net once you have found a spot and wait for the octopus to swim into it. When the octopus is in the net, quickly pull it out of the water and remove the octopus. Of course, don’t forget to add live bait like crab meat. 

Using Octopus Pots and Traps

Octopuses caught in a fishing trap

Octopus pots and traps are specifically designed for catching octopuses. These devices work by baiting the octopus with food and then waiting for them to swim into the pot or trap. Here’s how: 

  1. Pick a strategic area to hunt octopuses.  Aim to hunt around den-like habitats. 
  2. Tie strong knots of rope around your pots. Make sure you have enough rope.
  3. Place live baits like crab meat inside the pots. You can also use standard bait like raw fish. 
  4. Drop the pots in a spread-out area to cover as much seafloor as possible. 
  5. Wait for the octopuses to get into the pots. Checking the pots should be done after 24 hours.
  6. Once you have an octopus, slowly bring the trap to the surface of the water. 

Pro Tip: Remember, the octopus is still alive when you pull it out from the pot, so you have to be fast before it escapes. If you want to reduce the chances of your catch escaping, always harvest during low tide. Use an online tide chart for accuracy.  

Using a Spear or Speargun

If you are a more experienced fisherman, you may want to try catching an octopus using a spear or speargun. 

  1. You will need a spear gun and some bait. 
  2. Look for an area (near rocky substrates or piles of rocks) where octopuses are likely to be hiding and then wait for one to swim by.
  3. When you see an octopus, quickly shoot it with the spear gun and then retrieve the octopus from the water. 

If the octopus is in its den, start by coaxing it out by poking around using your spear. The octopus will immediately get defensive and try to grab on to your spear. Go ahead and thrust your spear, aiming between the eyes, for a fast kill. 

Once the octopus is dead, you can bring it to shore. Since different regions use different kinds of spears for octopuses, ensure that you consult with the local fishers and hunting stores to get advice on what spears you should use.

Using Chicken Feet

A bowl full of chicken feet

This may sound like an odd method, but you can actually use chicken feet to catch octopuses. And it’s pretty simple. 

  1. Attach a hook to the rope. 
  2. Hook the chicken feet. 
  3. Throw the rope into the water. Make sure to hold the other end! 
  4. Wait until you feel a tug. 
  5. Slowly pull up the rope. 

Tip: Be sensitive to the weight of the chicken feet when you have dropped them into the water. When they feel a bit heavy, that is your cue to take them out of the water.

Using Fork and Rope

This is another interesting method of catching octopus. It is similar to the chicken feet method, but you will use a fork instead of using chicken feet. 

  1. Sharpen the fork’s teeth. 
  2. Bend the teeth inwards and tie a line and a piece of a plastic bag to the fork. The plastic bag will help attract the octopus to the fork. 
  3. Then, attach a rope or line to the fork and tie it firmly. 
  4. Sling the fork and throw it into the water, where it will go to the seabed. 

Using Fishing Rod and Jig

Octopus caught using a fishing rod and jig

This method is quite tricky, and you might find yourself struggling compared to the other techniques. There’s also a higher probability that you’ll be reeling in other species. 

Once you have found a spot, lower your jig into the water. Wait for the octopus to bite. Once you feel an octopus on your line, don’t pull it back immediately because the octopus is likely not properly hooked and may let go. 

Stay calm until you are sure it is properly hooked the reel it in. You may also face a challenge when getting the octopus out of the water, so ensure you have something to scoop them with.

Tip: Remember to use colorful jigs and find an area where you think an octopus might be hiding.  

Final Thoughts

Although catching an octopus can be challenging because of its behavior and habitat, it is still exciting and fun. All you have to do is try out the methods discussed above on how to catch octopus, and you will be on the right track. Remember, octopuses are intelligent and like to hide, so you have to be smart with your technique.