The Sandeel. How do they survive? Eveything eats them! There are five types of sandeel that are common to our waters. Some are common to shallow waters and some to deeper water up to 600' deep. All however are a bait fish and make excellent boat fishing bait. These fish can often be seen in large shoals in estuaries and other sheltered spots as well as surf beaches..

Collecting Sandeels
In order to collect your own Sandeels you should check along sand banks that lie beside water pools on the beach.the fist few inches of sand should be raked. You must be quick as the Sandeel will quickly bury itself deeper in the mud. Most anglers simply buy them from tackle shops pre-frozen as they are relatively cheap. 

Using Sandeels as a Boat Bait
The Sandeel makes an excellent bait for tipping off other baitssuch as worm. the eel can alsobe threaded on through the mouth just like a worm with the barb pointing out just before the end of the tail.  This takes practice without making a mess however. When wreck fishing or reef fishing it is often rewarding to use the eel just like a 'Red Gill' lure, nipping the eel through the eyes. This method is excellent for Bass and Pollack.  Another method is if you are lucky enough to have live sandeels, pass the hook through the mouth and out the gill. The hook should then be nipped through the tip of the belly skin as not to kill the eel. This can often prove to root out the better fish.

Dogfish, Pollack, Coalfish, Cod, Bass, Ray, Gurnards, Bullhuss, Whiting, Mackeral, and even Tope.

Hot Spots
Peeler Crab
Peelers are nototiously renowned as being the top bait for most species.  This is simply not true. Indeed, the peeler is a top bait but more so in some areas than others. Do not beleive everything you read. Other baits can and often will outfish this guy. All that aside, the peeler crab is a great bait and can catch you many a fish. The Peeler is called the peeler because it needs to make itself soft in order to grow. At this time the crab is soft bodied and is vulnerable to fish and birds and so will spend all of its time hideing. Smooth hounds and Wrasse will redily take 'Hard Back Crabs'.

Collecting Peeler Crabs
Collecting Crab can be hard work but you can make your life a lot easier by following these simple guidelines. Peelers moult during the summer months. their moulting is triggered by the weather temperture and so moulting usually begins during March.  There are usually two big Moulting seasons. One which takes place during May-June and the other Augus-September. there will be peelers around at othe times, just generally not as many.  You should For peelers under rocks, seaweed and around harbour walls and generally anywhere they can hide to get out of sight.  Some Bait collectors like to leave old tyres aroung the Crab Beds. the crabs will use these tyres to hide in and makes the bait collectors job childs play as he checks each for peelers. this is a good way of getting yourself plenty of crabs for a session.

Identifying Peelers
Peeler crabs comer in two types. 'Peelers' and 'Softies'. Softies are obvious as the whole crab is squishy because the crab is actuallygoing through the growing stage right now! these make excellent bait and should be used as they are, legs and all. Fish will have no trouble wolfing them down and they look more attractive too.  The Peelers can sometimes look just like hard backs and sometimes they will have a brittle or soft shell which on better inspection betrays them. if unsure gently twist off the last segment on one of the back legs. If it is a Peeler then the flesh beneath will be red. If he is a hard back then the segment will come right off or else the flesh will be white. The hard back will be fine without this segment.

Using Peelers as bait
To use peelers as bait you must remove the legs and shell and under shell. The crab should then be cut almost in half and then treaded onto the hook making the bait as long as possible.this should then be all secured with bait elastic. Don't mind people telling you to remove the gills. fish are quite happy to swallow a crab gills and all. i have never seen a fish cutting the gills out have you?

Cod, Whiting, Pollack, Coalfish, Wrasse, Smooth hounds, Dogfish, Pouting, Freshwater Eels, Ray, Bass

Clontarf (Dublin), all round the coast at Youghal (Cork), Poolbeg (Banks of River Liffey), Sutton Beach (Dublin)
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