Emerita (Genus), better known as the Mole Crab, Sand Crab or Sand Flea, found along our beaches on the edge of the surf. These strange little creatures are like manna from the sea for many different types of animals along the Gulf. These little creatures believe it or not are terrific bait for catching fish along the surf. They can be relatively easy to catch and keep alive for a day of fishing. There are How-To videos on YouTube that can help you recognize and catch them in the surf. Many anglers use sand flea rakes which can be made or purchased. These tools can make catching them very easy. Once you have caught a few dozen, you are ready to go.
There are a few different ways to present these as baits. Using small jigs and Pompano rigs tend to be the most popular ways to fish them. Many anglers like to rig up a double Pompano rig, make long casts to the surf, sticking their rod in a holder, waiting for Pomp’s cruising the beach. I have had success tipping a small jig with a crab and casting it around structure along the surf. Blowouts, deeper sections along sandbars, and along passes have been successful. It is amazing how many different species that can be caught with these little things. I have caught Pompano, Whiting, Jacks, and Flounder to name a few. I have even caught several Snook over the years with these small decapods. They are also a great bait to use around vertical structure like bridges and docks for sheepshead. If you are having a tough day on the beach or you just want to try something a little different, don’t forget the little things. Keep casting and good luck!