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So I just read a weird little tip: In order to preserve sand fleas, you blanch them while they're still alive (4-8 seconds in boiling water, then plunge them into cold). Then you freeze them. This supposedly makes them hold up well. Some people even add vinegar and food coloring to the cold water they're put in afterwards to color them. Has anyone ever done this? There's nothing more frustrating than trying to chase down puppy drum in the late fall and early winter and not being able to find any of the little buggers for bait.
 

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I haven't used a sand flea but am curious as to whether they bite. What is the usual way to collect and store them for short periods of time? What is the preferred size for bait and how many should go on a hook? Regular bare hooks or bucktails, etc...? link
 

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That's a different kind of sand flea--the ones I'm talking about don't bite. They grow about an inch long and are great bait for pompano and puppy drum. They're also referred to as mole crabs.
 

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I took one of those things out of a croaker's stomach last year. So that is what that was. Never mind. It scared me then and I don't think I want to relive the experience. Thanks for the correction. I see you are keeping on your toes.

Thanks.
 

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Sand flea and Manayunk Jake

On the link that you provide above I read up on ribbed mussels. I have been fishing with them for a while. There is mention that they should not be gathered during low tide because of the potential of toxins being stored. Should I be concerned if using these for bait or would you recommend that I only gather them while they are still submerged under water?

Thanks again!
 

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Seems like a lot of trouble to go through- blanch, color, freeze, yada yada. Might be interested in trying to color them though.

As far as the other sand fleas, they don't usually bite- they usually feed on dead things on the beach or in shallow waters, but when they jump on you it can be a little alarming and can be a little itchy too. I have heard tell of some that do bite though- even tale of some that will burrow into the skin, but never actually seen it. I think there might be some confusion with some species of sea lice.

As for collection, there are rakes and the like, but I'll usually walk along the beach and dig my hands around in the sand in the wash to feel them- then grab them. They are quick little buggers though. As for storage, just keep them cool and dry, and they seem to do alright. I'll usually toss them in a bag or cup and toss them into the cooler, keeps them kicking through the day.

Tight lines and blue skies,

Salty
 

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You guys just open up another question we don't use sandfleas up here nor do I think they live up here what fish do you catch with them? I guess I have to travel down your way there more often I like what I'm hearing about the fishing.
 

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Salty, I'm thinking about when you can't hardly find them or the water is too cold. Remember trying to dig the little buggers out late last fall at Sandbridge? Our hands were numb from the cold water.

Plus I'd like to die them--probably doesn't do squat but it'd be fun to mess with the other fishermen: "Yea, they come from near the power plant. I don't know how they got like this."
 

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Sand Flea you are a hard man, LOL.
I understand that McDonnels is going to start serving them as "Pop Corn moles", what the hell it worked with the leftover chicken parts!
 

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Cocoflea, I use sandfleas or mole crabs for Tautog, but I think many fish eat them.I know they get stripers at Indian river inlet Del. on them.
 
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