Every self-respecting sport angler knows that chumming is an extremely effective method of “calling” fish. Throwing away fish food at a regular rate, such as chunky fish, canned corn, or any other fish-palatable ingredient you are looking for, will likely lure them to the source, your boat, or fishing spot. But ordinary chumming is not effective when fishing on bottom reefs, for example, as the current will carry your friend too far to benefit you. The only way is to crush the bottom where your hooks are. You do this by making a friend bomb.
In Australia they call the friend ‘Berley’ or ‘Burley’ and use a kind of pump, which is a divided tube container for the friend that is lowered to the bottom. Once there, the container opens only as you pay more line, freeing up the friend. It’s actually a very good system, except when descending, the pump leaves the liquid part of the buddy near the surface of the water. It is this smelly liquid component that attracts fish quickly because it mixes more easily with water and the fish will smell it. The solid part of the friend still needs the frenzied feeding of the smaller fish to lure the larger ones into commotion.
To get the liquid to the bottom, you can use a simple 3 “x 5” plastic bag. This is how you do it:
1. Find a small, thick, sturdy plastic bag that is open at one end. A 3 “x 5” or similar size should work fine.
2. Tie the closed end of the bag to your main line, the closed end highest on the line, leaving the open end of the bag about three inches above the pivot. Make sure the bag does not slip even when pulled hard.
3. Fill the bag with ground or chopped chum halfway. Remove trapped air bubbles and twist open end to close. Ground chum is the best to use. The treats will not satiate larger fish as they strongly stimulate their desire for food due to the smell, inducing a feeding frenzy.
4. Insert this twisted end through the top eye of the line swivel so that it is snug. If necessary, bend the twisted end to make it fit snugly. Therefore, a small loop should be made on the line.
5. Gently lower the chum and drop it into the water by hand, then release the assembly all the way. Make sure to spread a very loose line so you don’t pull the bag out of the rolling eye prematurely.
6. When it bottoms out, pull the rod up several times to release the closed end of the plastic bag from the swivel and remove the chum from the bag. The chum will thus be concentrated in a single zone.
7. You can then fish normally.
8. Caution: Do not use on fine lines. Pulling the rod could break the line and nullify your efforts.
There are alternatives.
• If you are not using a swivel, you can tie a small slip knot in your line to get past the end of the bag, but this will bend your line a bit due to memory.
• Release the highest friend in the water column if that is where you need to fish.
• Use another line for chumming so that the empty bag does not interfere with your fishing.
• Use a kraft paper bag instead of a plastic bag, but the paper bag is not reusable and must be lowered very slowly and carefully. Otherwise, it will explode on the way.
• Attach the end of the bag to the pivot if the fit is too loose, even when the twisted end of the bag is doubled or tripled back.
Chumming ‘calls’ the fish so that it can enjoy the sport, but a wrong chumming will only waste your efforts and your friend, to produce very little, if at all. While it may bring a lot of friends, it’s not really a profitable proposition. Best friend in the right way.