Sand Flea (Emerita)
AKA: mole crabs, sand crabs, sand bugs, sand fiddlers, beach flea, sand ticks
BAITMASTERS Sand Fleas are not insects but 1 1/2 inch long crustaceans that live in the sand at the water’s edge. They live in colonies around 2 feet across and 10 feet long paralleling the beach. Sand Fleas are popular surf fishing bait. Sand fleas have a barrel-shaped body. It has a tough exoskeleton and can hold its appendages close to the body, allowing it to roll in the tidal currents and waves. It has feathery antennae, which are used to filter plankton and detritus from the swash. Found in tidal zones with clean sand. The “bug” that swam in the hole we dug at the beach’s water’s edge when we were kids.
Uses: Sand Fleas make excellent bait for shore fishing, backwaters fishing, and inshore. Choice bait for pompano and tautog. Species like snook, redfish and sheepshead go crazy for these delicacies.
Packaging forms: Available Raw or Blanched. Some fishermen prefer the sand fleas to be par cooked or blanched. They feel the flea holds up better on the hook, while other fishermen swear by the natural raw bait.