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Many thanks Gents. As far as doing other things Garbo, did a run to False Cape a few years ago. Sea was like a mirror. Bass boy had done the walk down from the ranger station by way of the beach and hauled a cast net so we had live mullet. 50+" incher liked the look of the live mullet. It carried the man a way down the beach, You never know...
 

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OP here -- very helpful replies, thank you everyone!

This has definitely enlightened me. So without a doubt sand fleas work, but I'll be making some changes next time I hit the beach. I am on the beach with wife and 2 young boys 95% of the time, so I have to "camp". I still tend to catch fish, but could do much better. I learned awhile back to focus on/inside the first break for the type of fish I'm after. Mostly I'm throwing 1 - 2 oz. sinkers on no-hardware dropper rigs, sometimes fluoro, with small Owner circles. Some takeaways/things to try from this post:
  • Crush the rear of the flea before casting
  • Use a smaller sinker where possible
  • If the sinker drifts a little and then stops after the cast, you are where you need to be. If it's washing up, go with a heavier sinker.
Instead of fishing 3-4 small rods next trip, I may fish one rod with a lighter sinker and walk with it down the beach a little ways.

In any fishing situation where you can get a bait to move naturally with the current, you tend to catch fish. Even more so if the bait can bounce along the bottom. This works throwing bucktails to stripers in tailraces, I've caught flounder in inlets and on the beach that way, and now that I think about it.......In 2016, my 10 year-old nephew was on the beach with me at Topsail. The wind picked up, and the 2 oz. weight on his rod wouldn't hold bottom. I set him up with a sand flea on one of my bottom rigs, and told him to walk down the beach so that the line stayed straight in front of him. He hooked up pretty quickly and I helped him land a decent black drum.

My dumb self didn't think to keep trying that approach.

Will be giving it a shot this weekend, we'll see!
 

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This past may at cape lookout fleas were the only thing working. Shrimp, cut bait, and squid did nothing.

Other times it does t seem to matter.

My personal opinion is that fleas work better in the spring since they are more plentiful than shrimp and other bait fish. It's what the fish are naturally targeting. In the fall shrimp works just as good if not better. Especially as the year goes on. It's what is around and the fish are targeting. It's why you see the big shrimp boats off the beach in the fall/winter. That's just my thoughts anyways.
 

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We stayed in Kitty Hawk last week. Plans were mostly to spend time with my family relaxing on the beach. First day I caught so many mullet that I had the rest of the group fishing the next morning. I think everyone except for my mother in law caught more fish than ever before. We were using rigs I tied using 17 lb fluorocarbon with #4 Kahle hooks and 1 oz coin disk sinkers. We fished with fishbites, fresh shrimp, cut bait, and squid but sand fleas outfished all of them combined.
Father in law is a big fish eater and it's not often he tells me to stop putting fish in his cooler. I heard it several times last week.
 

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That's about it. I use 25 lb fluoro, 2 #4 Owner Mutu hooks, and a 3 oz sinker on light bendy rods.

One rod about 10 feet out especially at high tide on sharp sloping beaches, one in the trough, one on the bar, one behind the bar.

Sounds like a case of needing to fish where the fish are. You can't help but catch whiting/sea mullet doing it.
Amateur here. Is the trough usually where the waves break at low tide if you’re fishing high tide? Also, how do you suggest getting your line behind the bar? I’ve got a decent throw but can only get it about 60yards. 9 foot pole with 3oz weight. Need a longer pole or is the bar just too far on certain N.C. beaches?
 

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Just got back from a second week spent on the OBX this summer. I have long ago quit fishing heavy rods for summer fishing. Mostly use 8-10 ft 1/2 oz to 3 oz rods. Small 2500-3000 size reels. If its to rough for 3 oz I just relax and fish later. I really fished the sand fleas hard for a few days. NADA...not much happening. Few small pomps and occasional catch of something small. I tried the routine stuff like blood worms,cut bait from various species and of course shrimp, live and as bought fresh. On a whim I tried bag o worms fish bites. BINGO. After I ran through 2 bags of those I had I determined more than any thing it was the bright color. The bright orange shrimp fishbites worked as well. Caught at least couple cooler fulls of croakers and mullet. I kept about 10-15 of the biggest and the rest lived for another day. Don't give up.............
 

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I forgot to note as well the fish hung around max range for these rods which is probably 75-100 yds max. I did ride around at low tide the day before and find a bar which is hidden most of the time. Most probably never saw it. Get off that bar 30-40 yards and the fish catching stopped dead ............
 

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@Crossboss10 The "trough" is the drop off between the beach and the first sandbar. Sometimes its narrow like a ditch sometimes its giant. Most of the fish are eating the fles as they are washed off the shore so cast out about 10ft and use as natural of a presentation as possible in clear summer water...A cool way to get an idea on patterning fish is to throw on a dive mask and fins and look around on a clear day.
 

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Amateur here. Is the trough usually where the waves break at low tide if you’re fishing high tide? Also, how do you suggest getting your line behind the bar? I’ve got a decent throw but can only get it about 60yards. 9 foot pole with 3oz weight. Need a longer pole or is the bar just too far on certain N.C. beaches?
It's the ditch between the bars.
If you've got a good 9' and can only throw 60 yard, google surf casting, watch some NC men throw that thing out towards England or Spain, and go from there.
Learning how to spot water, and also find good water you can reach with your gear/ capabilities is key.
 

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Interesting topic, I too use Fleas and have good luck with them.

I have a question concerning Sand Fleas. I was told that Sand Fleas are more abundant in areas where the beach is more sandy rather than rocky. Do you find this to be true?
 

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not hooking them right, there's a little black spot underneath between the legs, hooks go in there and out thru the top of the shell
 
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