Chumming Methods

The Best Methods to Go Chumming

Chumming to Catch Bait

On some days the fishing is on fire, and all you need to do is get a lure in the water and hold on. However, all fisherman know that these days are few and far between. It typically requires a bit more research and thought to get the bite going. One of the most sure-fire was to help make this happen is to load your live well with a bunch of lively, healthy baitfish. Whether this is pilchards, mullet, or pogies (menhaden), being able to locate and catch these delicate species is nearly as important as being able to tie a good knot. Using a good baitfish chum will often enable you to congregate baitfish making them easier to catch. Check out the following video on chumming for baitfish provide by Salt Strong.

Creating a Chum Line

Most of us have seen the movie “Jaws”. Sheriff Brody is complaining about being the lucky one in charge of creating a chum line out of the back of the boat. The bucket is full of an awful combination of fish parts and blood. As he ladles scoop after scoop into the ocean, clearly, it was working…

The principle behind creating a chum line is simple. Chum is placed in the water and tidal currents or winds help to distribute the tasty aroma. Most fish have a keen sense of smell, and most are also opportunistic feeders. If the amount of chum being put in the water is not enough to fill their bellies, they will gladly follow your chum line all the way back to the source. Choose a chum product that does a good job of putting chum particles throughout the water column; like Bait Binder ‘Old Chum Crumble’ mixed with menhaden oil.

Bringing Fish off Structure

Getting fish off heavy structure or into shallower depths beneath the boat are both factors that play into the fisherman’s favor. This can be accomplished using some well-presented chum. If fish are holding tight to some structure (wrecks, reefs, oil rigs, etc.), it is very beneficial to tempt them to move off this cover; you will experience far fewer break-offs. First, get the fishing feeding on the chum and then gradually present your offering at an increasing distance from the cover. Once they start feeding, they will typically be willing to move away; this is when you throw out a baited hook. While this technique varies with each type of structure, the basic principle holds true. Fish will often leave structure for food, and this is advantage angler. One of my favorite examples of using chum to bring fish off structure takes place at the Ten Mile Reef off the South Carolina coast. Two buoys mark this reef at bearing 130°/9.5 nm from the south jetty at Murrells Inlet. This manmade reef consists of 14,000 tires, various vessels, a 200′ barge, and an A7 airplane. Water depths range 34-45′ and it is a magnet for a wide range of species. Most notable for me, the spadefish. Using jelly balls collected on our way offshore, we would suspend four or five over the wreck for 15 – 20 minutes. Then, you would slowly retrieve the jelly balls to around 5 feet below the surface. Often, the spadefish follow the chum to the surface, and fishing gets wild when all these elements come together. I fully recommend you give spade fish a try if you have not been lucky enough to experience the action.

Chum While Trolling

Utilizing chum during trolling is an excellent way to improve your fishing success. Most trolling is done between 1 and 5 knots; any greater speeds will probably make chumming less effective and more expensive than it is worth. Tying a few chum bags to the stern of the boat helps to create a chum line or trail of scent in the water. It is important to utilize good GPS and navigational technology while trolling with chum. Being able to repeat your path over areas that you have spent time chumming is important. Any of the chum recipes we mention on this site can be used with chum bags while trolling. We recommend Bait Binder ‘Old Chum Crumble’ in conjunction with some menhaden oil. The “Old Chum Crumble’ provides a good, time-release of fishy particles while the menhaden oil creates a nice fishy oil slick on the water.

Figure Eight

We wanted to mention the figure eight method as it is a very effective method for trolling using chum. Chumming begins in a specific location that is marked with GPS or navigation. Once this specific area has been chummed for 15 – 20 minutes, trolling begins in a large figure eight pattern with the crossing section of the figure eight being the chum spot. Each time the boat passes the marked chum spot more chum is dispersed. This method is extremely effective for larger varieties of fish like wahoo, kings, tuna, and most all pelagic species.