Best Sand Flea Rake

Our Pick
Exact Design Sand Flea Rake
5.0
$89.95

This sand flea rake includes teeth that allows you to dig deeper into the sand and scoop up more sand fleas into the basket.

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06/29/2022 01:28 pm GMT

They’re called sand fleas, but unlike those annoying pests that bother your best friend, and often require a flea color or more dramatic treatment, these tiny crustaceans aren’t fleas at all, they’re crabs.

Now before you get the idea of free crab legs boiled with a little melted butter to dip them in, you need to realize just how small a sand flea can be.

Sand fleas are tiny creatures, varying from just an eight-of-an-inch to the largest specimens, the mole crab at about an inch.

They get the name sand flea since their eating habits are similar to those of the fleas that pester your dog. They live on blood, leave painful bites, and require blood to begin laying eggs.

They can be dangerous. In large numbers, they’ve been known to kill large fish and even whales.

Their usefulness to you is also fish-based, they make excellent bait. The best sand flea rake can make catching this bait a lot easier.

How to catch a sand flea?

Sand Fleas on beach

Being great bait doesn’t mean they’re easy to catch. They live in the upper layers of sand along with coastal areas, preferring that harsh intertidal zone where waves reach the sand at high tide, but retreat later in the day during low tide.

You can sometimes spot them jumping in the air, resembling baitfish on the water when a larger predator swims by.

They burrow quickly in the sand, so a shovel full of sand almost always comes up devoid of sand fleas. A traditional garden rake doesn’t work much better. What you need is a specially designed “sand flea rake.”

A sand flea rake allows you to dig into the sand, sift the sand out through the small mesh and capture the sand fleas trapped inside the scoop. The principle is the same for all sand flea rakes, but the performance and features vary from model to model.

Best Sand Flea Rakes Reviewed

Exact Design Sand Flea Rake

Our Pick
Exact Design Sand Flea Rake
5.0
$89.95

This sand flea rake includes teeth that allows you to dig deeper into the sand and scoop up more sand fleas into the basket.

Shop on Amazon
06/29/2022 01:28 pm GMT

A 16-inch wide basket, attached to a solid metal curved handle designed to prevent back strain is one of the best models on the market.

At 16 inches wide it catches enough sand to capture an ample supply of sand fleas, but it isn’t so wide that the sand load is too much to handle.

This model is especially good for people with lower back issues.

The basket has a row of sharp metal teeth designed to cut through even heavily crusted sand. It allows you to dig deeper than other models and enables you to catch sand fleas as they burrow away from the impact of the rake.

The basket is just wide enough to capture good amounts of sand fleas, without adding too much weight to the load for the user.

An ergonomically curved handle, a familiar design used in snow shovels, distributes weight evenly and prevents strained muscles if you’re out on the sand for a longer period.

A strong, 52 inch, single, one-piece handle makes it easy to use and doesn’t add much extra weight to the entire rake assembly.

It works well in dry sand or surf and weighs a little less than five pounds.

Shoreline Industries New Welded Full Metal One Piece Sand

Premium Pick
Shoreline Industries Welded Full Metal Rake - One-Piece
5.0
$184.95

 It has a one-piece solid welded construction and a 15.5-inch wide basket with 18 teeth on the business end of the rake for easy digging in even crusted sand.

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06/29/2022 09:28 am GMT

Described as a tough, robust rake, this sand flea rake tips the scales at 7.5 pounds. It has a one-piece solid welded construction and a 15.5-inch wide basket with 18 teeth on the business end of the rake for easy digging in even crusted sand.

While the primary design is for capturing saltwater sand fleas, it is effective in catching zebra mussels as well.

Some users have adapted it to remove snails from ponds to reduce swimmers’ itch in the water that can be carried by these snails.

Terrestrial adaptations include clearing sandboxes of debris, cleaning up chicken and dog runs from rocks, sticks, and organic material, and even though at 7.5 pounds it’s heavy, raking leaves and weeds off the shoreline.

Fish-N-Mate 181 Med Sand Flea Rake

Fish-N-Mate 181 Med Sand Flea Rake
4.5
$49.99

Two-piece construction allows you to remove the basket from the handle. If you don’t have a pickup truck or large SUV, you can take this rake apart and easily store the components under the seat of your vehicle.

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06/29/2022 09:34 am GMT

A smaller sand flea rake, this one is easy to use. It allows the user to watch for the telltale bubbles emerging from the sand as a wave retreats indicated sand flea. The basket is only 10 inches wide and the handle 50 inches long. It is lightweight so children and smaller adults can handle it easily, but it catches those little crabs efficiently.

Two-piece construction allows you to remove the basket from the handle. If you don’t have a pickup truck or large SUV, you can take this rake apart and easily store the components under the seat of your vehicle.

The basket has a row of saw teeth, shaped like the sickle bar on a hedge trimmer. They dig easily into loose, wet sand but the lightweight combined with the saw-style teeth don’t work as well as other models in digging through crusted sand.

Joy Fish Sand Flea Rake

Budget Pick
Joy Fish Sand Flea Rake
$43.99

The utility of this small sand flea rake and the low price make it an attractive choice for someone who occasionally digs their own sand flea bait, or maybe a youngster who wants to make a little extra money catching sand fleas and then selling them to anglers for bait.

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06/29/2022 05:45 am GMT

If you want to have a little fun, and maybe make a little money without expending much to get it, this might be the rake for you. At just 9.25 x 7.25 inches, the basket is small in comparison to other units.

The handle and basket together measure four feet long, making it easy to carry and store, but maybe not so easy on your back since you’ll have to bend over to get enough force to dig through wet, packed sand.

The curved handle aids in easing back strain.

The utility of this small sand flea rake and the low price make it an attractive choice for someone who occasionally digs their own sand flea bait. Moreover, a youngster who wants to make a little extra money catching sand fleas and then selling them to anglers for bait.

Angler’s Fish-N-Mate 167 Large Sand FleaRake

Largest Basket
Angler's Fish-N-Mate 167 Large Sand FleaRake,15-Inches
4.5
$62.20

The 15-inch wide basket is a good size to grab an ample amount of sand, and hopefully a handful of sand fleas with each pass.

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06/29/2022 11:03 am GMT

A basic design, with a curved 58” removable handle creates an easy to transport versatile rake for dragging sand fleas from the surf or shoreline.

The rake is designed for light or loose sand and doesn’t have any cutting teeth attached to the basket. It works best to drop it into the receding surf while the sand is still swirling in the water. The lower density of the sand makes it easier to insert and then drag the rake.

Sand fleas concentrate in this rolling sand since that’s where they can find nutrients the easiest.

This rake allows you to time your digging with the rhythm of the surf.

The 15-inch wide basket is a good size to grab an ample amount of sand, and hopefully a handful of sand fleas with each pass.

Shark Tooth Sifter 7″

Shark's Teeth + Sand Fleas
Shark Tooth Sifter 7"
4.0
$78.00

This sifter is more than a sand flea rake. It is designed for children or small adults to use easily and while it catches sand fleas effectively, it will also shift out shark’s teeth, small shells, and other treasures that children love to hunt for in a day at the beach.

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06/29/2022 01:44 pm GMT

Our final rake in this review is designed for snatching shark’s teeth from the sand, but there’s a lot more hidden under the beach sand than just shark’s teeth. This seven-inch rake is constructed of aluminum with stainless steel nuts and bolts.

Weighing just four pounds, with a handle attached on the end, and constructed of heavy gauge aluminum. This sifter is more than a sand flea rake. It is designed for children or small adults to use easily and while it catches sand fleas effectively, it will also shift out shark’s teeth, small shells, and other treasures that children love to hunt for in a day at the beach.

The basket is just seven inches wide, with a 42-inch handle. The basket is made of ¼” mesh without teeth, so timing the tide is important with this rake.

Many enthusiasts who collected sea glass swear by this rake since its lightweight design and easy administration doesn’t shatter or chip sea glass as larger rakes can do.

The design has no sharp edges so it is perfect for a young child to drag behind them as they walk through the surf.

A unique feature of this rake is an extended, mesh section above the basket. This allows sifting the surf as it rolls in, enabling the capture of starfish, sand dollars, and seashells tossed by the tide without damaging them.

What are sand fleas used for?

best sand flea rake

We’ve written at length about how to catch sand fleas, but what good are they after you’ve caught a few?

They are little crabs, even the largest don’t get bigger than two inches long.  While crab is one of the great dining delights, you’d have to catch a few hundred sand fleas, and have great patience in removing the tiny shells to get even a sliver of crab meat.

You won’t find sand fleas on the menu, at least not on your menu, but you’ll find them on the dining chart of many hard-fighting and excellent-tasting saltwater fish.

Pompano, flounder, stripers, croakers, sheepshead, redfish, black drum, and sand sharks will all readily feed on sand fleas.

Sand fleas are great summer bait for any saltwater fish that scours the bottom, and for those that are considered munchers and crunchers since they feed on crustaceans.

Hook the sand flea through the shell so you don’t injure it and toss it in the water on light tackle. Let the sand flea do the work. As they swim they’ll attract predators and when they strike, they often gobble the entire sand flea in one bite, making setting the hook much easier.

Use a fluorocarbon leader, attached to either light braided or monofilament line, usually 10-pound green colored braid or green-tinted six-pound monofilament line works the best.

Toss the bait off a shelf close to the shoreline where sand fleas will naturally appear and you’ll get some great angling action.

Conclusion

fishing with sand fleas

The question is what is the best sand flea rake?  The answer is entirely dependent on how much sand you can sift in one scoop, how much weight you can lift without hurting your back, and what specifically you’re trying to do.

If you’re heading out for a little surf fishing and just want to get enough bait for the day, take a lighter rake with you, snag a few dozen sand fleas, put them in your bait box with a little saltwater to keep them vibrant, and go off for the day.

If you’re catching them for resale, get a big cooler, a larger rake, and plan on spending some time on the sand.

Check local regulations for catching and selling live bait. They vary greatly from state to state, and sometimes even on adjacent beaches.

Have a good time with these little armored pinching crabs. Even if you don’t use them for bait, they’re fun to catch, and you never know what you’ll pull out of the sand.

For more guidance on choosing surf fishing gear, check out the pages below:

Eric Larson

Eric Larson

Hi, my name is Eric. I am a contributor for A Fellow Fisherman and a former charter captain who has been saltwater fishing since before I can remember. I grew up in New Jersey, fishing mostly the Delaware Bay and River, as well as many offshore charter trips. I have had an enormous passion for fishing my whole life, and am lucky to have done it as a profession. I am confident when it comes to telling people about the best techniques for catching fish, but am still open to a good debate.

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