1) For every knot of current, water moves 100′ per minute.
2) Chopped up chum (depending on whether it’s fresh or frozen) sinks at an average rate of 15′ per minute.
3) Example: if you are fishing in 90′ of water with only a 1 knot current, that hand full of chum you toss over won’t hit bottom until it’s 600 feet behind your boat.
If you are using chopped chum, you should use the paper bag trick. Always keep some brown paper lunch bags on the boat along with a small bucket of beach sand. Put a handfull of beach sand in the bag along with a handfull of chopped chum, twist the top and drop it overboard. It should make it to the bottom in just about any depth as long as the current is light. The bag will dissolve and the chum will have every fish in the area under your boat. If you want to chum higher in the water column, tie the paper bag to a fishing line and drop overboard. Just be sure to mark your line with the depth you want to stop and break the bag open.
Now to the best way to chum for all species and at any depth. Watch out, this is a bald faced advertisement for Captain Charlie’s No Freeze Chum Concentrate. I comes in All Purpose, Shrimp, Reef and Inshore, and Trolling and Offshore flavors in a 4 pound bag(as shown) or and 8 pound bucket.
When in the water, Captain Charlie’s No Freeze Chum hydrates and releases a cloud of superior fish attractants forming a bait slick for up to 3 hours. How Captain Charlie’s No Freeze Chum dispenses depends on many factors, the two most important are the action of the water and the temperature of the water. You will find it will dispense slower in colder water than in warmer water. Use the chum in one of Captain Charlie’s Chum Dispensers at any fishing depth you prefer. They can be used on the surface or lowered to the depth you wish to chum and tie your pot line off on a cleat.
Frozen blocks of chum work, but not always. The problem with the frozen blocks is they are messy! They start thawing as soon as you buy them. You can hang them over the transom and as they melt, the pieces of ground up fish streams behind the boat. When you get ready to move you have to bring that dripping, smelly bag of ground fish back into the boat. Great atmosphere for eating lunch.
The paper bag trick above works no matter what type of chum you use to get the chum down to the bottom dwelling species.
Live bait chum. You need a large supply of live bait to chum with them. When surface fishing for kings, tuna, cobia, dolphin, barracuda etc. you will be tossing live baits out in a slow steady stream. One trick is to damage one eye of the bait and it will swim in a circle and be very agitated which attracts all manner of game fish. The primary baits to use are threadfin herring, scaled sardines, Spanish sardines, menhaden, ballyhoo, and even small mullet. Just remember, it takes a lot of live bait in your well and use them judiciously in a slow steady stream so your quarry doesn’t fill up on your chum and quit eating.
Cut up baitfish for chum. Here you can use any live or dead bait that you have on hand. Cut into small pieces and slowly dribble a few pieces at a time behind the boat for the surface strikers or use the paper bag and sand trick for the bottom fish. The thing to remember is don’t put so much out that you fill them up. You’re trying to attract them, not feed them. Be sure you have your baits behind the boat in the same depths as you chum.
Menhaden oil. Last but certainly not least is menhaden oil. It floats. That makes it a great attractant for surface dwellers if you use a drip bag. A few drops will create an oil slick that fish will smell from a long way away. Menhaden oil can be added to any of your other types of chum on the surface or on the bottom. If you add it to your chum pot for bottom fish, soak your chum(no freeze concentrate, frozen, or chopped) the drop it to the depth you want to fish. You can’t lose! When trolling for kings, mackerel, barracuda, or any fish that you troll for, keep a drip of menhaden oil going out the back of the boat. Our drip bag works great and is easy to fill. This will create an oil slick on the surface that will have the predators going wild trying to find the bait school that’s creating the oil slick.
Any time you are anchored up and fishing, whether on the surface, mid-depths, or on the bottom, you will always catch more fish if you chum!