If you want to catch more fish, knowing how to chum is a must. Chumming works for a huge variety of species in all sorts of areas, but it isn’t always as simple as one might think. Jump aboard with boats.com Senior Editor and Head Fish-head Lenny Rudow to see how it’s done and learn some important chumming tips.


What about line class, leader size, and tackle choices? These will vary widely, depending on where you chum and what you’re chumming for. The fishing you saw in this video for relatively small striped bass in the middle Chesapeake Bay, for example, required spinning gear in the 12 to 15 pound class, 30 pound leaders, and 6/0 Octopus-style hooks. In the spring, when striped bass in the 30 to 40 pound class pass through this area, most anglers would up-size their gear to 20 pound class, make leaders with 40 pound test, and use 8/0 hooks. If you were chumming for cobia, you might opt for conventional gear instead of spinning tackle. And if you were chumming for mako sharks, obviously, you’d increase the tackle size significantly and use sharking rigs, but the basic concept and the tips you saw in the video still apply:

  • Use frozen chum buckets and pre-cut buckets to reduce the mess (the chum will quickly thaw in the water).

  • Hang the chum bucket just at the waterline on calm days.

  • Lengthen the line on rough days to prevent the thawing chum from washing away too quickly.

  • Don’t throw away the guts of your baitfish; in many cases, the added scent and/or flavor is something the predators definitely like.

  • Use reels with some form of “baitrunner” or freespool function if you plan to leave the rod in a holder.

  • Always leave your lines in the water as you clean up at the end of the day. Quite often you’ll catch another fish or two, especially right after the chum slick disappears.

One thing we didn’t address in this video is the use of circle hooks. In certain situations with some species you’ll catch more fish, but more importantly, always use circle hooks when there are lots of throw-backs around. They do a lot less damage to the fish, and when using J-hooks with cut bait, the fish often swallow the bait and get gut-hooked. Naturally, all anglers should do whatever they can to ensure that the throw-backs they release swim away healthy.

Written by: Lenny Rudow
With over two decades of experience in marine journalism, Lenny Rudow has contributed to publications including YachtWorld, boats.com, Boating Magazine, Marlin Magazine, Boating World, Saltwater Sportsman, Texas Fish & Game, and many others. Lenny is a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and he has won numerous BWI and OWAA writing awards.