Mimicking the Sand Eel

It Can Be the Key to Your Catch

By Ondine Graham, Bill Hurley Lures

SandEels-Cape Cod SEAccording to the National Marine Sanctuaries, Sand Eels, also known as Sand Lance, are a favorite food for Stripers and Bluefin Tuna. Sand eels average 3-7 inches in length, their diet consists of zooplankton, and they burrow into the sand at night. As fishing season approaches, the angler has many options to imitate sand eels. Things to take into consideration: the size of the sand eels in your area, the species of fish you are targeting, and the water depth you are fishing in.

At Goose Hummock there are numerous lures that imitate sand eels. With the arrival of Spring stripers, the gold standard in the years past has been the 6″ Arkansas Shiner Sluggo rigged on a half ounce ball jig, which is still sold in the store. The evolution of soft plastics on jig heads has transitioned to more life like lures. One lure that mimics scent, appearance, and motion is the Cape Cod Sand Eel Lure 7″ and 7.5″ rigged on a 3xxx owner jig head. Another line of lures is the Needlefish wooden lure, which can sustain many strikes from bluefish, made by numerous manufacturers to mimic the sand eel. In the fall, with the arrival of bluefin tuna, the need to match the hatch of the sand eel can be accomplished by using RonZ lures rigged on a 4xxxx jig head, and 9″ Cape Cod sand eel rattail with a 4xxxx jig head. The good fisherman will have a ready supply of fresh sand eels, if available, which can be purchased at Goose Hummock Shop. To be fished on a high low rig with a sinker depending on water depth and current.

Warming water can affect zooplankton bloom, according to NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and may have an adverse affect on the feeding cycles of sand eels. Without food, the sand eels will go hungry, having an effect that will ripple up the food chain. The National Marine Sanctuaries is studying the sand eel and the effects of warming water to work on understanding and protecting our ecosystems.

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