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Thread: All about sandeels and needlefish

  1. #1
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    I read reports about a lot of sandeels and small bait around now. what would you guys recommend bringing out right now? What is the best artificial copy of a sandeel that bass will crash?
    Where do they come from and why do they end up in the surf?

  2. #2
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    Bucktails
    bucktails
    bucktails (at least by me, that's how we roll)

  3. #3
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    Metal jig, like Point Jude or T-hex tins
    Bucktail
    diamond jig

  4. #4
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    A lot of people have been talking about the sandeels. They are a great forage for predators. They will dig in at night, and early and end of season are a reliable bait you can count on. Bass love to slurp em, and they are not skittish like other baits. They will actually follow you around if you are out wading, and seem to me to be naturally curious.

    They also seem to be drawn to lighted areas at night.

    Another thing to consider is they are preyed on by needlefish, so this time of year you will see a mix of them as well. Needlefish are more skittish, and will swim away in a hurry.

    The other night fishing in LI, Stripercoast1, Ed, was able to grab up a few in his hands after stalking those elusive needlefish. They have a strong scent, and I definitely believe the bass can smell em.

    These baits are some of my favorites because of the consistency.

  5. #5
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    This is the time of the year when you want to fish teasers, folks. Don't be afraid to fish longer ones. Some of the sandeels out there are 9" long or more. In certain areas at night you will hear the bass plopping up to the surface to feast on these eels. You have to figure out where they are located.
    Last year there was a significant amount 1/4 mile offshore, and less in the surf zone. This year so far it seems they are a lot closer. I do see the needlefish as well like Dark mentioned, but I try to concentrate on matching the profile of the sandeels.
    The difficulty you will have is when they are balled up by the thousands. At that point you have to make your presentation stand out from the strongest concentrations. Of course it is easier to see this from a boat.
    Try redgill or other similar teasers. 9" black or silver and black sluggos are a good night time presentation. I like to keep things simple so I always have a few redgills and sluggos in the bag this time of year.

  6. #6
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    Default Understanding the behavior of a sandeel

    also called Ammodytes Americanus or sand lance

    Some scientific info-
    http://www.climateandfish.eu/default...NT=S0T1O-1P192

    facts from that paper- from the North atlantic and north sea, but you could probably make the same assumptions for our sandeels as they are at the southern portion of the area in discussion.

    18.1.2 Spawning

    Spawning in
    A. marinus occurs in the North Sea between December and January (Bergstad et

    al., 2001; Gauld and Hutcheon, 1990; Macer, 1966). The eggs are demersal and are spawned
    at the demersal habitat of post-settled sandeels, where the eggs reside until hatching (Reay,


    1970; Winslade, 1971).

    18.1.3 The larval phase

    When the larvae reach a length of 20 to 30 mm they become good swimmers, and congregate in the feeding areas of adult sandeels. These areas coincide with frontal areas.




    Larvae congregate in the water layers with highest zooplankton
    abundance during the day.

    Larvae of all sizes are generally more homogeneously distributed in the water column during night than during day.


    After metamorphosis, in May/June, the juvenile fish exhibit the burying behaviour of the adult sandeels.


    18.1.4 Sandeel burying behaviour

    Post-settled sandeels bury into the sediment when they are not feeding in the water column, i.e. when feeding is energetically inefficient in winter when sea temperatures are low (Winslade 1974c), when prey abundance is low (Winslade 1974a), and at night when low light intensity limits prey visibility: sandeels are visual feeders.




    Sandeel burying behaviour has frequently been observed in response to predators foraging near the seabed (Girsa and Danilov, 1976; Pearson et al., 1984; Pinto et al., 1984) and can therefore also be seen as an anti-predator behaviour. Many predators are however capable of capturing buried sandeels (see e.g. Hobson, 1986).



    18.1.5 Habitat and distribution pattern

    The distribution of post-settled sandeels is highly patchy and primarily limited by the availability of suitable substrate (Macer, 1966). Sandeels avoid sediment where the weight fraction of the fine particles silt/clay and very fine sand (particles<0.09mm) is larger than 10% (Wright et al., 2000).



    Sandeels appear to be tolerant to wide range of salinities.


    18.1.7 Feeding biology

    The food of sandeel larvae consists mainly of copepods. With increasing size the larval preference switches from copepod eggs and nauplii for larvae between 8 and 12 mm, to nauplii and copepodites for larvae between 12 and 20 mm, then to larger copepodites and

    adult copepods for larger larvae and post larval and adult sandeel.



    18.1.8 Growth

    Growth rate of post-settled sandeels is highest during the main feeding season between March and July.




    18.1.9 Ecosystem role and trophic interactions
    Sandeel is a valuable food source for many marine predators due to their high abundance and

    caloric value (Hislop et. al., 1991). They are preyed upon by a range of fish species.









  7. #7
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    Remember when these things are in thick, to try to keep in close contact with the sand. The bluefish will be on top, bass on the bottom.

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    in the flats on the cape, i know guys that will fish exclusively sand eels on high low rigs and hit some nice fish.

    That aint real fishing tho, they just put the rod in the spike, drink beer and run like idiots when it starts doin somethin. try not to fall over when you're poop faced on the beach and ur rod is 200 yrds away

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnnysaxatilis View Post
    in the flats on the cape, i know guys that will fish exclusively sand eels on high low rigs and hit some nice fish.
    You mean those guys fish real sandeels? I have never seen anyone do that in Jersey, all the setups I see have the teasers or rubber imitations before the plug.

  10. #10
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    Default sand lances or sand launces

    There is a cool drawing in this pdf where they are burrowing in the sand.
    http://www.nwrc.usgs.gov/wdb/pub/spe.../82_11-066.pdf
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails hwhale_SandLance_Smrcina.jpg   schooling sand-lance.jpg  


  11. #11
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    Default sand eels video

    I just found this video. It looks like a lot of hard work to get the sand eels and keep them alive, but at least it looks like they do work from a boat.

  12. #12
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    Some of those sandeela are as big as regular American eels. I can't imagine how they wouldn't work. Did anyone else notice the large size of the conventional reels they are using on that boat?

  13. #13
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    An interesting paper on sandeels. I think us LI folks got short-changed this year, while you NJ folks got all the surplus.

    http://www.bi.ku.dk/bibliotek/phd/Mi...an%20Deurs.pdf

  14. #14
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    Thanks pete that was an interesting read.

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    X2, learned a lot from reading it. I too wish we had more sandeels this year. IMO without them it killed the season.

  16. #16
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    Willie, you should have come over and fished NJ. The giant concentrations of sand eels made for some great fishing.

  17. #17
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    ^ Yessir!

  18. #18
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    Default Re: All about sandeels and needlefish

    Quote Originally Posted by williehookem View Post
    X2, learned a lot from reading it. I too wish we had more sandeels this year. IMO without them it killed the season.
    Quote Originally Posted by skinner View Post
    Willie, you should have come over and fished NJ. The giant concentrations of sand eels made for some great fishing.


    You guys nailed it, (and BTW Plugginpete thanks for your post, very informative )
    LI surfcasters had a relatively poor year in 2011 because of the lack of inshore bait, specifically sand eels.
    So much so, that the most resourceful ones were coming over to NJ to fish....

    I hate to be Debbie Downer here, but the news so far on the sand eel front is not good.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: All about sandeels and needlefish

    A few thoughts, thanks to intel provided by Finchaser, and some other of the old timers, who have feelers out for all kinds of fishing, and have a handle on what is where, so good, that it's almost like when bait is around, or a big fish gets caught....they know about it that day..... Thank God for the old-timers and their memories....you younger folks could learn a lot from them...I have......



    1. Last year a lot of fish were sustained offshore, beyond 3 miles, by sand eels, squid, anchovies, sardines, and herring.....

    2. This year the forage base has changed.....the big bluefish that have been out at the reefs and close inshore points, have been feeding on sardines, and squid, as their chief forage base.

    3. According to the old timer intel, these sand eels that had been so abundant, moreso than in several years, have not shown yet, even at these closer offshore spots.

    4. When you have lobstermen and commercial fishermen all giving you the same intel, ya might want to listen to what they have to say....

    5.Therefore, as we say we are "waiting for the sand eels" to come in....it may not happen this year.

    6. Or it may not happen to the extent and with the robustness that it has happened in recent years.

    7. I am hoping that proves not to be true. However, I have been around long enough to see the cause and effect of much great fishing directly related to the amount of bait in the water....and simply put, if those sand eels don't come in, the 2012 Fall fishing at Sandy Hook and IBSP could prove to be a bust.


    8. Right now, with sand eels being found nowhere offshore that these fishermen are fishing....it looks like it might happen that way....and Fall surf fishing could be poor. If the sand eels don't show uo, the late fishing will be driven by bunker, and possibly herring.....which could take surf fishing out of the equation, making a boat necessary to chase the fish on the bunker....




    I hope this proves not to be true....conditions can always change for the better....
    But as of now I am not counting on those sand eels showing up....

  20. #20
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    Default Re: All about sandeels and needlefish

    Quote Originally Posted by DarkSkies View Post
    I hope this proves not to be true....conditions can always change for the better....
    But as of now I am not counting on those sand eels showing up....
    Hey DS this might be the year for us finally, while you Jersey guys get short changed. Like you said you never know. Keep the faith brother, and if your fall fishing is bad you know you are always welcome over here. Just let me know a day ahead of time. Here is a report from a private boat today, fishing off FI, out of LI...
    It's still not translating to fish for us on the beach, but at least it is more promising than last year -

    "Fished this morning trolling bunker spoons east of JI. Monster blues in the 30 - 40' depths with some radio chatter from 50' of the same. One boater was jigging in 25'just west of the inlet and also hooking up.Lots of similar reports from 40' to the west.
    Did not see any bunker on top but mounds of sand eels on the floor. Also ran across some rain bait but not much."

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