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What are sandfleas? Where can you find them? How do you fish with them? What can you catch?

I've read a lot of things about sandfleas and I have seen them frozen in a few places around town. I have never heard of these. I would like some more info if sandleas are worth while.
 

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YOu can get a sand flea rake at most tackle shops. Comb it through the sand where the water comes up to the beach. I have never done it but my girlfriend told me about it. I dont know what you can catch with them cause I fish from a boat not shore and dont think they would do much good there.

Good Luck
 

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What we call sand fleas here are small crustaceans that live at the waters edge where the waves wash up and feed on plankton, etc. They are also call mole crabs. They are not actually fleas and will not bite you or harm you in any way. They are used around here mainly for catching pompano on pompano rigs, but redfish and other fish will eat them.



Here is a picture of one. Its front is on the left, you can see the little antenna on it. The sand flea actually moves by scooting backwards. you can see the little flippers it uses for this on the right side of the picture.



This is the bottom of the sand fleas. Again, its front is on the left side of this picture. This is a female as you can just see the orange eggs under the flap on the back.

A picture of the eggs on the female with the flap lifted up. These with the orange eggs are supposed to be primo pompano bait.

I went down to the Crystal beach area in Destin last week and got a bunch (>100) that i am freezing and going to use for bait next year. This beach was restored last year, but there is no shortage of sand fleas here. I saw a bunch out toward the west jetty also, at the waters edge about 2 weeks ago. I am sure you have them in Pensacola too. They are hard to find in the winter as i have heard they bury themselves pretty deep. They start to show up again here in late March, early April. Although they can be found by themselves, it is easier to find a "nest"of them,i have gotten over 25 in one scoop. To find them, stand at the waters edge and look down the shore. You will see "bump", or bubbles, or little V shaped areas in the sand.
In the top left side of this picture you can see some "colonies"of them. I have noticed they will stay buried or go deeper if anyone is walking near them. I have seen a big colony of them from maybe 10 feet away, walked over to them, and didnt see them again. So, You want to stay maybe 10-15 feet and watch for them when the waves recede. The waves will wash away the sand covering them when the wave comes in and you can see them burying themselves or running out into the water when the wave recedes. This is what the pompano are looking for too as they come right up into where the surf breaks to find an uncovered sand flea.
Here is one trying to rebury itself. I have noticed they also leave bubbles when they bury themselves, so you need to be on the lookout for these bubbles too. Here is one that is buried and waiting, with its antenna sticking up. It is these antenna that makes the distinctive v in the sand.


Here are some buried in the sand.


To catch them, I would get a sand flea rake ( walmart sells them). Wait at the surfs edge, until you see some, memorize where they are, waitfor a wave to come in, then when the waves start to recede, run over to where they were and rake the sand toward you as the water goes out, going down as deep as you can.


Keep the rake in the water and let the waves wash the sand away from the fleas in your rake.

To hook them, I just put the hook in from the bottom and run it out through the top of the shell.



There are several other ways to do it and maybe some of the experts here will chime in. This is probably more than you wanted to know, but its raining here and I am pretty bored.
 

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Sailor50 that was the very best post on sand fleas I have ever seen. I have a rake and have caught them before, mostly by accident. You showed me my mistakes.

Thanks for the information.

Charles (Pensacola)
 

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another way to catch fleas, if you don't want to spend $25-30 on a rake, is to take a 5 gal bucket and drill a series of holes(3/8" worked good for me)in the bottom, leave a good X for strength in the bottom (2-4" undrilled for each part of the X, extending all the way to the sides). Also, drill a series of holes around the sides, again, leave undrilled portions for strength. as far as getting the fleas, take a small shovel with you and scoop them up. then take the bucket out into some water, allow it to drain in, then slosh around to flush the sand, leaving all the happy little fleas. to keep the fleas alive, I use a tupperware thingy from walmart that has a false bottom. fleas tend to poop and pee all over themselves, which kills them, but the false bottom allows it to drain down and they don't swim it it. just flush them with clean salt water every few hours and keep them cool and they will last for 10-12 hours. ill try to post some pics later of my set up.

if you're looking for fleas and are in destin, they are everywhere!!! just get out early or in the middle of the night
 

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Sailor 50 made a great post. I'll just add that I was with JEC when he caught his sheepies and pompano and he was using dead fleas that had been frozen- he got them at Gray's Tackle.
 

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Wow!!! You should write a insturctional book. Great reply back to help someone out.:bowdown

How in the hell did you get a pic of a sand flea getting away? That's like 2 mila seconds fast.

or I'm just getting old?:doh
 

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This is the most informative post I've read yet. The only thing to add is that the sand flea uses the v-shaped part on it's stomach like a shovel to burrow in the sand. If you put the hook though that part and then out the top you can guarantee that the sand flea can't bury itself and therefore not get eaten.
 

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Excellent post/ Thank you.

ANother thing to add would be where can I get a good lasting rake, The one from wally world sucks. I broke two of them already..(I raked the %$#@* out of'm yes) ....but come on!!...they should make them more durable and the handle sucks by the way. Its a job sometimes getting fleas out there... Someone here that fabricates/works withalumminum, titanum etc should get in the biz of making long good lasting rakes....small diametermesh on it too, to catch the small guys...I'd buy a couple.:hotsun
 

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holy hell sailor... i just got done posting some info on pompano surf rigs for a guy, and then i read your post. you made me seem dumb...:banghead. Great post, that is what makes this site worth reading. guys like you who are willing to spend a little time and give some details (or a lot) so us beginners can learn a trick or two... Thanks for helping out! Maybe you can touch on the post that i just did. Its in the surf reports (mistakenly by the original poster). Tight lines!
 
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