Chumming is a pretty straightforward tactic: You dump ground fish into the water, and predators come flocking… right? Well, sort of. While it’s true that this sums up the basics, there are some finer points to chumming that make the difference between catching a fish or two and loading the cooler. So the next time you chum, remember:
- Spread your chum through the water column. This may mean weighting a chum pot to complement one at the surface, or combining a weighted chum pot with hand-flung chum. Another technique you can use is to mix a bucket of sand with chum, and mold chum-balls. The extra weight of the sand will help it sink at a different rate, and get down a bit deeper. Whatever you try, the idea is the same – get that chum to spread out through the water column.
- Try power-chumming, before dropping anchor. This is particularly effective when shark fishing. Simply put the chum over the side and idle along for a few hundred yards to give your chum line a jump-start, before you settle in and begin fishing.
- Live-bait chum, along with your chum. This can be tough because it takes a lot of live bait, but it’s deadly effective. Once your chum line is established, toss a few handfuls of livies over the side. But don’t just release them into the water. Forcefully bounce them off the side of the boat, so they’re stunned when they hit the water. Then, the fish will swim erratically and present a lovely target for those predators.
- Keep the chum flow consistent. This is probably the best tip – and number-one problem – for most anglers. An inconsistent chum line won’t hold the fish. They won’t stick around and “wait” for more chum to hit the water, so you need to keep them interested at all times with a steady flow of chum.
- Don’t feed the fish. The idea is to get them fired up, not full-bellied. Over-chumming can feed the fish so much that they’re not really interested in eating your baits.
- Don’t cast, but instead drop baits directly into the chum. Casting away from the chum slick is another mistake many people make. You’ve tempted the fish in close – don’t follow up by slinging your baits beyond them!