Every self-respecting sport fisherman knows chumming is one extremely effective method of ‘calling’ fish. Tossing overboard at a regular rate likely fish food such as cut-up fishes, canned corn, or any other ingredient palatable to the fishes you are after, will draw them to the source, your boat or place of fishing. But ordinary chumming is not effective when you are bottom fishing reefs, for example, since the current will take your chum too far away to benefit you. The only way is to chum the bottom where your hooks are. You do this by making a chum bomb.
In Australia they call chum ‘Berley’ or ‘Burley’ and they use a sort of bomb, which is a split-tube container for the chum that you let down to the bottom. Once there the container opens by itself as you pay out more line, releasing the chum. Actually a very good system except that in going down, the bomb leaves the liquid part of the chum near the water surface. It is this smelly liquid component that quickly attracts the fish because it mixes more easily with the water, and the fish ‘smells’ it. The chum’s solid part still needs the frenzied feeding of smaller fish to attract the bigger ones to the commotion.
To take the liquid chum to the bottom, you can use a simple 3″ x 5″ plastic bag. This is how it is done:
1. Find a thick, tough small plastic bag open at one end. A 3″ x 5″ or similar size should do nicely.
2. Tie the closed end of the bag to your main line, the closed end higher on the line, leaving the bag’s open end three inches or so above the swivel. Make sure the bag will not slip off even when pulled strongly.
3. Fill the bag with ground or minced chum to halfway. Remove any trapped air bubbles and twist the open end closed. Ground chum is the best to use. The tidbits will not sate the larger fishes while strongly stimulating their desire for food because of the smell, inducing a feeding frenzy.
4. Insert this twisted end through the upper eye of the line’s swivel to a tight fit. If needed, double the twisted end to make a good fit. A small loop should thus be made on the line.
5. Carefully lower the chum and tackle to the water by hand, then freespool the assembly to the bottom. Be sure to pay out a very loose line so as not to pull out the bag from the swivel eye prematurely.
6. When it reaches bottom, yank the rod up several times to release the plastic bag’s closed end from the swivel and the chum out of the bag. The chum will thus be concentrated in a single area.
7. You can then fish normally.
8. Caution: Do not use this on thin lines. Yanking the rod might snap the line and negate your efforts.
There are alternatives.
• If you are not using a swivel, you can make a small slip knot in your line to put the bag’s end through, but this will kink your line a little due to memory.
• Release the chum higher in the water column if that is where you need to fish.
• Use another line for chumming so the emptied bag will not interfere with your fishing.
• Use a kraft bag instead of a plastic bag but the paper bag is not reusable and must be lowered very slowly and really carefully. Else it will burst along the way.
• Peg the bag’s end to the swivel if the fit is too loose even when the bag’s twisted end is doubled or tripled back.
Chumming ‘calls in’ the fish so you can enjoy the sport, but incorrect chumming will just waste your efforts and chum, to produce very little, if at all. While you can take along plenty of chum, it is not really a cost-effective proposition. Better chum the right way.