Live sandeel baits are probably the deadliest bait known to sea angling in British waters. Properly presented as a freelined bait, fished under a float or legered on a long leader, they will catch just about all of our major sporting species including cod, pollack, bass, plaice, turbot…… and so the list goes on.

Keeping sandeel in good condition aboard a boat requires a supply of well oxygenated water in a tank which should contain a few gallons of fresh sea water. Many charter boat skippers use their deckwash plugged into a net tub. On private boats a battery operated aerator is often used to keep air bubbling through the water. Every hour or so change the water to keep the water temperature from warming up, more often if it is sunny.

Usually, dunking your arm two feet down into tank of sea water to grab an eel is taken as part of the fun but if it is rough and every time you grab an eel your clothes get wet, it is not quite so much fun. What so many of us do nowadays is to visit a seaside shop with kiddies paddling pool nets for sale and buy several at the beginning of the season. Take a saw to the handle and cut it so that it will just reach the bottom of your sandeel tank. For the few shillings which they cost these little nets make a great dip net for sandeels and if they rust out after a few months you can afford to bin them and take a new one.