You are probably wondering – “Are there sand fleas in Florida?”
Whether you are looking to find some or just curious about these creatures, it is good to know more about their whereabouts.
Sand fleas are great baits you can use for surf fishing. They are particularly ideal for catching sheepshead, black drum, and redfish, to name a few.
In preschool, kids can easily dig up these sand fleas. In fact, they are excellent learning activities for these children. And for anglers, these little critters sure come in quite handy.
Let us learn more about these sand fleas, where they are in Florida, and the best time to check them out.
Sand Fleas in Florida – Quick Facts You Need to Know
Sand fleas, which are also referred to as mole crabs, are found in colonies in some parts of the world. In Florida, for instance, you can spot them along the stretches of Brevard County. They are also quite common in Cocoa Beach.
During high tide, you should easily find sand fleas on the shore. This is because they scramble to find new areas and bury themselves in the moist sand. It is their way of protecting themselves from the waves.
Another thing about these sand fleas is that they love the incoming tide. The water makes the sand quite soft and slushy.
As for those who are searching for these crustaceans, the squishy sand during high tide adds to the ease of digging up and unearthing these sand fleas.
What to Do With Sand Fleas
If you happen to catch sand fleas in the summer, it is best to apply certain techniques to keep them in good condition.
For instance, the hot days require more work as to keeping these creatures alive.
You will have to refill your bucket with ocean water to keep it cooler. This way, the sand fleas you have caught will remain alive. It is particularly cool if you have to keep them there for a while after catching them.
Where to Find Sand Fleas
Destin is one of America’s best fishing villages. It is the place to be when you want to catch an abundance of saltwater fish.
As this village is close to the Gulf of Mexico and the East Pass, it is indeed a fishing bounty. So, it is the perfect place to practice your angling skills.
Sand fleas thrive in abundance in this part of the country.
To be more specific, these are not at all like a flea. They do not have claws, and they do not bite.
In the United States, some people call these creatures “Mole Crab”. They may also be referred to as beach flea or sand crab.
And yes, you guessed it – they love to live in the sand, particularly wet sand.
These are great baits that attract many types of fish in saltwater.
Anatomy of Sand Fleas
Sand Fleas have about 10 other species. You can find them in many parts of the world including Florida. They are quite small and do not get over 1 inch long. As for the males, they have a maximum length of 3/4 inch.
These so-called sand fleas or mole crabs have legs growing under their belly. They typically paddle or swim through the water. Once they get on the sand, they dig into it.
Unlike typical crabs, sand fleas tend to travel backward. These creatures have a difficult time walking on wet sand, so they cannot return to the water. However, if you put them in dry sand, these mole crabs do not move.
They do not have the same anatomical structures as regular crabs.
But what they have in common is how they breathe. They do so through their gills. This is why they need oxygenated water in order to survive.
If they are away from the water, they should be able to survive for just a few hours. They can also live for some days, although this depends on how hot it is out. If it is too hot, their gills might dry out. This will give them a harder time surviving.
Sand fleas have a “telson”. This part of their body is their “digger”. As you might have guessed it, this digger is the one responsible for initiating the excavation process. It is also necessary for anchoring and keeping the sand flea more stable.
When are Sand Fleas More Common
From February to October, you can find many sand fleas as this is the reproductive season of the year. A female is capable of producing a clutch each month, and these have about 45,000 eggs. This should take a month to develop.
According to anglers, these eggs found on a sand flea are what attract pompano. So, if you want to catch these fish, you should consider pink or orange jigs that resemble these sand flea eggs.
You should be able to gather a bunch of sand fleas by hand or with a net when waiting for a retreating wave. We find them to be the finest bait once they have shed their shells. In addition, the orange egg masses found on the undersides are attractive to a lot of fish. Hard-shelled sand fleas are okay, too, but not as good as the ones with orange eggs.
To find them, you just need to wait for a wave to recede and wash the sand away. Then, search along the ocean side or shiny edge. There should be a round portion that dries out. This is where you can dig to find sand fleas.
We recommend that you catch them in the low tide. Afterward, put them in a bucket with damp sand. They should stay alive for the night, which you can then use in the morning for surf fishing.
If you want to learn more using sand fleas as bait, this video should help you out: