No matter what they might be called in different areas, I think there are sand eels in every single body of water. Sand eels can range from 2 to 9 inches and nothing drives bass and albies crazier than big balls of sand eels. They can show up in all levels of the water column so be ready with different weights to reach where the bait, and most likely the predator fish, are holding. Sand eels have olive backs and white sides, so that is where you should start when selecting lures to use when you locate fish chowing on these slender baitfish. That said, a long, narrow profile goes a long way in imitating sand eels.
- Hogy Top Imitator: As in the case with the peanut bunker, selecting just one option in the Hogy line up is difficult since we have made imitating sand eels such a top priority. The Hogy sand eel family includes an air brushed soft bait (7” – 9” Hogy Pro Tail Eel in olive), a metal jig (The Sand Eel Jig) and our famous Hogy Epoxy Jig® Lure in olive. Other options that can be used when targeting bass that are feeding on sand eels include the 7 and 9 inch HDUV Jiggin’ soft plastic in olive and the Skinny and Original series, again in olive. We have even combined our take on the classic diamond jig with a Hogy soft plastic sand eel in our Dancing Diamond Sand Eel Jigs.
- Trouble Shooting A “Too Much Bait” Scenario: The best retrieve speed for mimicking sand eels is a slow to medium retrieve. If there are large numbers of sand eels in the water (think May and June in Cape Cod Bay), so much so that it is hard to get a bass or albie to key in on one, your go to retrieves include the tip in the water with a fast retrieve or the dead drop slow twitch, which will simulate a wounded sand eel descending from the school. Remember that at times, the best retrieve is no forward movement at all since sand eels often hold throughout the water column and drift along with the current. For example, if you find bass feeding on schools of sand eels deep in the water column, the twitchy jigging method is effective since it puts your injured-looking offering right in front of feeding fish.