They're ideal for early morning surf fishing. They are excellent bait for pompano, sea mullet, croakers, red drum, black drum, sheepshead, stripers, flounder, and other species when fished on a Carolina Rig or normal two-hook bottom rig with No. 2 or No. 4 long shank hooks.
Fleas are commonly used by anglers to catch sand sharks. The sand flea is tied onto a small hook and dropped into the water as close as possible to where there are likely to be sand sharks. The flea will swim around looking for food. When a shark comes along and eats the flea, then takes off with it in its mouth, you have a chance of catching it.
Sharks are a part of fish biology that we don't understand very well. Some species may look tasty but actually eat garbage that has washed up on shore. Others may eat only once per year! We don't know how many species are lost each year because they aren't eaten enough to count. However, we do know that sharks play an important role in keeping human populations under control by killing invasive species of fish that would otherwise overpopulate the ocean and cause harm to local fishermen.
Sand sharks are found in all tropical oceans, from South Africa to Australia to North America. Although rarely seen because they move quickly underwater, sand sharks are responsible for taking care of any foreign objects that might come near the surface.
What kind of fish eats sand fleas?
The humble mole crab or sand flea, a.k.a. Emerita talpoida, is one of the best summer baits for all munchers and crunchers. Small ones can be hooked one or two at a time, but huge ones may be sliced in half to obtain bait and chum all in one. The moles live under rocks and stones in shallow waters across the United States and Canada, and their shells are filled with calcium carbonate. When they die, the shells sink to the bottom, where other creatures eat them. The remaining body is then consumed by birds and fish.
Mole crabs are easy to find once you know what to look for. They have three pairs of legs and two big claws on each hand. They usually swim close to the shore where there's some shelter from predators. You can also find moles in deeper water if there's a drop-off nearby where they can climb out of the way. They're not hard to catch, either; just grab them by the back of the shell and pull them out of the water. You can cook them like shrimp or rock crab or use them as bait. The oil that comes off when they are fried looks like whale vomit and attracts many different kinds of fish.
Moles don't always stay near shorelines. If you find one deep in the ocean, it might be because there's a cave nearby where it can hide.
Sand fleas are excellent lures for pompano, sheepshead, redfish, and black drum. The good news is that they are really easy to capture from the shore. Most people believe that catching them requires the use of a rake. You only need your hands and a bucket lid. No rake is necessary.
They'll die soon after hooking up, but that's okay. They are still adored by the fish. If you want to retain them for a longer period of time, boil them for a few seconds and then freeze them. The cold will preserve them.
Spiny waterfleas jam fishing rod eyelets, preventing fish from being landed. Prey on native zooplankton, such as daphnia, which is a vital food supply for local fishes. Spiny waterfleas can cause the decrease or extinction of several native zooplankton species in some lakes. They also prey on other aquatic organisms, including young salmon.
Spiny waterfleas were once common in North American lakes but populations have declined due to habitat loss and degradation, competition with invasive species, and consumption by humans. Although not usually considered dangerous to people, spiny waterfleas can transmit pathogens. Fish with spiny waterfleas attached may appear sick or dead but this is an aesthetic problem only. Fish with spiny waterfleas inside them should be removed from the water because they may carry diseases that could be passed on to humans.
In addition to being unattractive, dead spiny waterfleas float to the surface of the water where they provide a food source for birds. This practice has been adopted by fishers who use artificial lures and baitfish as a way of attracting larger fish away from their own kind. It has also been documented that birds will eat spiny waterfleas when no other food is available. Birds that feed on spiny waterfleas include kingfishers, herons, cormorants, and loons.