Most areas of the country don't have a ready supply of live sandeel. Think yourself lucky to live in the south-west. As for white rag, I used to dig dozens of them about 4-5" long in the ***** estuary, pout and whiting loved them, but not a lot else. When I lived in Essex, whites were a staple bait for matches, live sandeels were nonexistent, I would have loved to try them on the cod, but realistically, a lug tipped white rag in the thick water was the bait. Down yer in Deb'n loive eel gets my vote. Cost is what someone is willing to pay, and knowing how difficult it is to keep commercially viable eels alive, they are worth every penny charged by the shops willing to do so.