Most fisherman know what chumming is but don’t know how to do it or when to chum. Chumming for catfish can be a great tactic. It works especially well on channel cats, wels and blue catfish.
When to use chum on catfish:
When you want to catch a lot of cat fish out of the same fishing hole, chum is the way to go. Chum helps gather in large schools of fish, but it also keeps cat fish from spooking while you catch their friends. If you keep a trickle of chum going into a spot, the fish will spook less easily when they are feeding confidentially. Whenever there is a lot of fishing pressure (because of you or your fishing neighbors) chumming will help the fish calm down as they gobble up freebies.
Chumming is also a great tactic when you have limit number of places to fish. If you can’t chase the fish, then bring the fish to you. Chumming the fish draws them into the spot.
How to properly chum a spot:
The point of chumming is to keep catfish in the area and to keep them feeding aggressively. Obviously, you don’t want to get the catfish full of chum before they eat your bait. Spreading out your chum, keeps the catfish hunting around for your chum and means it takes longer to for them to eat all the chum.
Steadily and regularly chumming a spot is the key to keeping the fishing interested but hungry. Chumming at the same time of day when possible is also great. Fish have long memories when it comes to finding food. If you have a local favorite spot, dropping a couple handfuls of chum at the same time of day for a couple days prior to fishing is a great way of getting fish congregating.
Sling shots, baiting spoons, spods, spombs, PVA bag, method feeder, bait boats, and your own two hands are great tools for chumming. Which tool need to use depends mostly on the distance you are chumming at and your budget.
A good overhand chuck is helpful at up to about 15-18 feet depending on what you are throwing. After that, a sling shot and baiting spoons helps a lot. Spods and spombs are effective at up to about 110 yards depending on your skill and equipment. PVA bags require less skill and are more convenient than spods/spombs and cost less to try, however PVA’s limit your chum volume substantially. Method feeders work good for chumming a spot tight to your hook bait but are limited in regards to chum volume.
Bait boats are incredible chumming tools but they cost $7,00 to $2,000. Plus all the jealous fisherman without bait boats will tease you as a vent to their envy.
Great Catfish Chums:
My personal favorite catfish chum is deer corn. I soak it and then boil it until is squishes between the fingers. I like it because I can use the corn kernels as a hook bait as well as chum and because it costs only $12 for a 50lb of dry deer corn which then makes about 120 lbs of chum. The down side to deer corn is that the catfish fill their bellies rather quickly, so if you are using deer corn, use it more sparingly, spread it out more and chum through out your fishing session.
Sour wheat is another great chum. Sour wheat is soaked & boiled wheat that is left to ferment for a couple days. Sour wheat can’t be used as a hook bait but the smaller kernels mean that the catfish don’t fill up on the wheat as quickly as they do with deer corn. Consequently, sour wheat is a great chum if you want to chum a spot the night before you plan on fishing. Wheat costs about $40 for a $50 lb bag. So it is more expensive than deer corn, but a 50 lb bag of dry wheat makes a lot of chum.
Fish Feed can be bought from many feed stores. Fish feed pellets work especially good on stocked catfish who were likely raised on the stuff. A 50 lb bag costs less than $20. The pellets are smaller than corn kernels but larger than sour wheat kernels so adjust accordingly.
Range Cube cost about $14 for a 50 lb bag and can also be bought at feed stores. Large range cubes won’t be eaten whole by smaller fish and blue gills until they have soaked for several hours and broken down a bit. This means that range cubes can’t get gobbled up too quickly and keep the fish in one spot longer. However, large catfish can eat range cubes whole and fill up rather quickly on them.
Fish meal by itself is not a very good chum. Fish meal is just a powder. However, you can mix fish meal with other chums to give it an added kick.
Manufactured carp fishing and cat fishing pellets can make great chum. Marine halibut flavors work excellent as cat fish chum. Flavored liquids and powders can be added to the chums for extra kick.