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Thread: catching sand fleas

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    102

    catching sand fleas

    What is the best time of day to catch sand fleas for bait. Also, are there any local tackle shops in Va or the outer banks that sell them?

    Thanks,


    FishSlayer

  2. #2
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    Sep 2003
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    Richmond, VA
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    They sell sandflea rake you can use pretty anywhere there's a wave breaking around ankle high of water. I use a minnow trap to scoop (credit to NTKG). Sand feas should be plenty around in the wash.

  3. #3
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    Mar 2005
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    Manassas, VA
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    I just have my kids dig for them a bucket their hands and all the bait you can handle

  4. #4
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    i was down in sandbridge and was catching sandflea in the wash... pretty fun for my 3 year old boy...

    are sand fleas harmless?

  5. #5
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    Apr 2002
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    the 757
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeaSalt
    i was down in sandbridge and was catching sandflea in the wash... pretty fun for my 3 year old boy...

    are sand fleas harmless?
    Only if you don't put a whole bucketful of em down yer pants .


    The soft shelled- ones are the sea-mullet magnets. Ain't that right Wilber>?

  6. #6
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    Oct 2005
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    Ok laugh all you want but since I did not grow up at the beach nor did I start going to the beach until a few years ago when I had the means to I would not know what a sand flea would look like if it came up to me and bit me on the old Gaboon. Everyone I ask about them says they are everywhere in wash. Well the only place I have been to at AI (I am ORV challenged) is the last walkover by the ORV entrance. I look and look but I do not see anything. I have seen very small (1/4 inch) mini shells digging into the sand and when you pick them up they almost melt in you fingers but I don't see them as being anything to use for bait .. you could not hook them.

    I am not trying to hijack this thread but along with helping out how to catch them can someone explain what they look like and are they really everywhere on the beach?

    thanks

  7. #7
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    Mar 2005
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    IF you fish AI, head to harbor tackle in west OC. Bev usually has som and you can see them. I usually don't see the big ones in the wash....They are already in the sand by that point. If you look closely as the water is almost gone, you'll see a small hole with bubbles coming out of it, dig there you'll find one.


  8. #8
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    Jul 2006
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    Panama City Beach, FL
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    Hi Cygnus. The official name for them (I would have to find the taxonomic name) is mole crab. They look an awful lot like a flea or (magnified)dust mite. I haven't spent a lot of time north of Isle of Palms on the Atlantic coast but I think they are more prevalent to the South, especially here in the Gulf. They used to be absolutely everywhere but now with the beach renourishment (raw rough sand from a mile or so offshore pumped onto the beach) following the last two storm seasons, you kinda have to search a little bit. They leave telltale V-shaped wakes in the last little bit off outwash after each wave. You can buy frozen ones at WalMart that work surprisingly well or catch your own. Most people here pretty much just use them for Pompano, Whiting and like species. I'm sure if you Google "mole crab" you will be an expert in no time. "Our great computers fill their hallowed halls!" Sorry. Just had to do that.

  9. #9
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    Thank you very much. Every time I dig when I see the bubbles I end up with those small things I described earlier. I will keep a lookout for them now! Thanks

  10. #10
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    here's a picture of my son on the beach with a sandflea


  11. #11
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    Jul 2005
    Location
    Fort Myers FL
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    Low Tide

    Best time to catch 'em is low or fallin' tide..A clam rake with chicken wire inside will work also plus you can use it for bay scallops,oysters & clams.
    You can imitate the soft fleas by using peeled shrimp cut the same size as the fleas in the area.
    Pup

  12. #12
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    Oct 1999
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    Chesapeake Bay
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    I just dig them by hand and sort out the females with orange eggs. Face the beach with your back to the ocean. Open up your fingers and wiggle them straight down, then push foward as a receding wave comes past. (It helps if you have giant monkey fingers, as I do.)

    I dig out a small depression in the sand up near the cooler, dump the fleas in that, then put a piece of driftwood on top to keep them cool. Reach in and use as needed.

  13. #13
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    Jul 2005
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    Fort Myers FL
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    From an Article I wrote for the "Ocracoke Observer on Pompano Fishin'

    "....The most common & effective bait to use here on Ocracoke is the mighty sandflea.Available almost the whole length of the island in the ocean surf they are easily caught.This accounts for the great pompano fishing as food is available in great numbers.Sandfleas can be caught with sandflea rakes,clam rakes lined with chicken wire,by using a shovel or simply by hand.Hunt for them durring low /outgoing tide.As the shorbreak waves receed into the ocean rush down with the rake scooping at the V shaped ripples made from them burrowing into the sand.Sandfleas live in colonys so once found normally a days worth of bait can be caught fairly quickly.A shovel works well if you don't have a flearake.Just dig as low as possible down to the shorebreak.Grab any found quickly before the next wave crashes in.Repeating between waves.This method can be quite entertaining as the fleas will attempt to dig in as soon as unearthed making the angler scratch & claw to get them.Don't be afraid to get wet as you chase them all around on your hands & knees in the shorebreak! Store them in a bucket with moist sand .Keep them cool as possible,covering the bucket with an icey wet cloth durring hot summer days.They will live a good long time if properly cared for.Shrimp & fresh clams make a very good bait also.Peal the shrimp & cut pieces simalar to the size of the sandfleas in the area.This will trick the pompano into thinking it has a peeler(soft) sandflea,the prized food it's hunting for.The "soft" sandflea? Well thats a whole 'nother story, trust me they do exist!..."
    Pup

  14. #14
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    Jul 2004
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    Sandbridge
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    Toss a stingsilver at them.

  15. #15
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    Sep 2004
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    Chesapeake, VA
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    When you find the small ones, dig deeper. That's where you will find the big ones. The fleas I don't use that day are brought home, brined, and frozen. They work almost as good as live ones.

  16. #16
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    Jun 2006
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    Daytona Beach, Florida
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    679

    Imitating Sand Fleas

    By using a small piece of shrimp to imitate a soft sand flea? If I use say, a size 1 circle hook, a piece of shrimp that size, it won't matter to the fish that it's too small of a bait on the hook? Will this bluff other types of fish also?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Lower Alabama
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    41
    Yes it will "bluff" other fish...I've caught alot of slot reds (and bigger) on a peeled piece of shrimp no bigger than the end of my finger (and I gots small fingers ). 'Course I never realized I was peelin the shrimp to imitate a soft shelled sand flea (duh)- it was just a trick I picked up from an old veteran pier fisherman. Always wondered why peelin' made a difference - now I know

  18. #18
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    Oct 2003
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    Asheville
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    Quote Originally Posted by cotton
    Yes it will "bluff" other fish...I've caught alot of slot reds (and bigger) on a peeled piece of shrimp no bigger than the end of my finger (and I gots small fingers ). 'Course I never realized I was peelin the shrimp to imitate a soft shelled sand flea (duh)- it was just a trick I picked up from an old veteran pier fisherman. Always wondered why peelin' made a difference - now I know
    Well, does that mean that deep fried fleas taste as good as deep fried shrimp

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