Sandeel are found in massive numbers all around the UK coastline, where they form a staple food source for many fish and other marine creatures. They favour shallow inshore waters over sandy seabeds but can also be found around estuaries, harbours and piers. When they are threatened or during hibernation, they bury themselves in the sea bed, hence the name sandeel.
They feed on very small fish, plankton and various minute sea creatures, where they suck their prey into their tube like mouths. Shoals can consist of hundreds of individuals and can often be seen swimming on or just below the surface of the water. It is very possible to see thousands of sandeel being rounded up in a bay or on the shoreline by shoals of bass or mackerel who go on a feeding frenzy, literally crashing in the shoal.
The majority of anglers see this species as a quality bait item, either live of frozen. For the LRF angler though, this species is a very realistic target. Tiny hooks and small lures such as worm or tiny fish replicas presented on the drop shot method or split shot rig will catch sandeel as will using small feathers. Although small hooks are generally the norm, I have caught these on a size 8 spinshot hook, so it goes to show how large their mouths are.