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Thread: Chum Bag Question

  1. #1

    Default Chum Bag Question

    I am wanting to use a chum bag for halibut fishing in Cook Inlet and while I know it is legal, I was wondering if there is any regulations for the size of the bag or what can be used for chum. If so, where would I find these regs? Also, any opinions on whether it is better to attach it to the anchor line or have a dedicated line? Any help is greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Member pike_palace's Avatar
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    Don't bother with a chum bag. If you are patient and have bait in the water the Halibut, big or small, will find you. The more patient you are the better your chances of getting a larger fish.

    It's just not worth the mess in my experience.

  3. #3

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    +1 on not needing the chum bag.. Those halibut can track you down with just what you have on your hooks.

  4. #4
    Member coho slayer's Avatar
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    Option C: Chum bomb.

    I'm convinced these do more to attract fish than anything else. I've seen the bite pick up minutes after dropping one. I agree with the general sentiment that as long as you've got bait down there, they will eventually find it, the chum bomb releases a large amount of blood, scraps, and scent starting from the exact same place your hooked baits are soaking. The fish follow the scent trail upstream, and it's fish on soon enough.

    They are also relatively easy and can be mess-minimized with some prep work. It does require a good amount of bait, though.

    Take a bunch of herring, salmon, hooligan or a combination of all them and chop the heck out of it. Take a 3 or 5-gallon bucket and fill it prior to leaving the dock and it'll make things easier on the water. Bring the day's newspaper with you.

    When you get out on the halibut grounds, drop your lines as you normally would. If you don't get any bites right away, take a couple sheets of the newspaper and lay them flat. Dump a bunch of chum in the middle, then wrap the newspaper around it like a burrito. Take a free halibut rod and attach a big weight to the end, and basically wrap-tie the entire newspaper/chum onto the line. Drop it to the bottom. Let it soak for a minute or two to soften the newspaper, then give it some mighty jerks like you are setting the heck out of a hook. This should tear the bomb up, releasing all of the chum, goo, bits, and bites right into the "halibut zone." It will move along the bottom with whatever current there is, and the fish will follow it up-stream to the origin.

    I've cut open the stomach of halibut I've caught after chum bombing, and they are FULL of the chum. This a fun way to attract halibut to jigs, too. It gets them in the mood to strike because they are feeding, and it can be a lot of fun.

    So, I would scrap the chum bag idea altogether, personally, but highly recommend trying this out.

  5. #5

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    We do a lot of our halibut fishing with unbaited jigs and even fly fish for them. Chum bag on the anchor makes a huge difference. Even when using bait, more is better when it comes to putting smell on the bottom. We buy drawstring mesh bags from the marine supply store. They're intended for crab pots and cost around $5 each- so cheap you can fill em and freeze em for convenience. We tie them off to a 3' piece of line with a halibut snap on the end. On the boat I keep a 5 gallon bucket up in the bow and drop the chum bag in that. Clip it to the anchor line just above the chain as you set the anchor, stop and drop it into the bucket as you haul. No hassle, no sweat, and no effort, so I don't see any reason NOT to use one.

  6. #6

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    If you anchor for halibut, it's all about scent, and where the current/tide takes that scent. If I wasn't using baited circle hooks, I'd have a chum bag, for sure. I've found from endless tinkering around that aptly baited circle hooks will get the halibut coming from great distances. Just keep fresh bait on them, and you'll get the bites.

    I used to use a chum bag. I stopped because my chum bag was often preventing me from pulling my anchor with the buoy/ring methond. The chum bag would often prevent the ring from pulling up to the anchor, and as a result I'd have to pull some of my anchor by hand. That got old in a hurry. When I stopped using the chum bag, I saw absolutely no decrease in the amount of halibut that came in.

  7. #7
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    Use a chum bag. If you have downriggers just hook the chum bag off of the ball. use the orange bait bag they sell at the gear shed they last the longest, chop up herring and put in herring oil and or butt juice stay away from any salmon or sakmon blood unless you like skates!!!! To make your chum bag wook the best refresh the oil in a 5 gal bucket every 15 to 20 min, if you are fishing in shallow water you can put a under water cam down for some fun and watch what is going on down there(use caution and had have a drink you may need it) You can use a release and put your bait right behind the bag with no weight on you line lots of fun. Play around with this and you will see a big change in you results, Good luck!!

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    chum pot.jpg 6"x6"x24" w/1/2"x1/2" mesh size i build'em

    Alaska Shrimp Pots

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    alaskashrimppots.com
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    The captain of the charter boat I went out on out of Seward last month was telling me about harpooning a 200+ lb halibut and they could not get the hapoon to go through the fish. Once they got it on board they found a mesh chum bag full of herring in its gut. When they pulled there anchor there bag was missing.... They also used a couple of chum bombs at every spot we fished, not sure it made the action any better as it was one of the first things they did when we stopped the boat. I for one have been fishing out of Deep Creek - Ninilchik for a long time and have never used one... 4-5 lines in the water is enough chum to get a limit.
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    Plus + 1 on Option C: the chum bomb. Off the Carolina coast the chum bomb is a sand bomb. Ground up shad, menhaden, pogies or whatever you wish to call them and mixed in a bucket of damp beach sand. Grab a double hand full and pack it into a softball sized 'bomb' and pitch it overboard. Repeat until it's all gone. 5-10-15 bombs. In the clear water with a sand bottom you can see the effect of it going down. Scales are glittering like a Christmas tree, the scent fills the water column and the fish come in. Should work the same in AK waters.

    Or this variant on the newspaper bomb....chop up the herring and whatever other bait fish parts and put them in a brown lunch bag with a rock. Zip tie it to your main line at the leader or swivel above your terminal tackle and bait and drop it down. Like was already mentioned after it hits bottom give it a minute or two to get the bag soggy and yank hard a couple times. The rock helps rip the bag open to spill the chum right around your bait providing much more scent and munchies. Only need one or maybe two to help get the bite going faster than just dropping bait. Bring it back up on the first fish and tear off the remains of the bag to dispose of in the trash. Carp anglers use this technique to draw the fish in. It makes a world of difference for Carp angling.

  11. #11
    Member chico99645's Avatar
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    +1 on the Orange Chum Bag you can buy at the Gear Shed in homer under 10 dollars. I fill it it with salmon carcass, old herring,and take a piece of absorb pad 12"x 6" approximatly and soak it with herring oil. I also take a small bottle of water, dump some Butt Juice in it, fill the rest with water, slash a few small cuts in it and put that in the bag. Then I use a 3-4 foot peice of line and attach it to my anchor at the shackle. This way if you use the bouy ring to pull your anchor, it fill not effect your chum bag and you can unhook it later once you have everything in the boat. I use to use a minnow trap I've had for years, but its bulky and I can put alot more in the bag as it stretches. Works great. Within 20-40 minutes, the bite is on.

  12. #12
    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    Add another fisherman as a chum bag supporter, it works....why wait all day to bring 'em in. Saturate the fishing area with scent and they will find you faster...especially in a place like PWS.
    BK

  13. #13

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    I'm wondering if there's a way to send down (on the anchor line) a frozen block of herring bits, etc. Maybe fill a gallon milk jug with the stuff, mixed with maybe some water, freeze it, peel away the plastic and somehow attach it to a line that you can hook to the anchor line or chain. Should give off a scent over a decent period of time as it melts, there's nothing to have to retrieve, and it doesn't leave crap like papers in the water.

  14. #14
    Member Mort's Avatar
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    I actually combine the techniques. If you create a "chum candle" it's too easy for fish to nibble it up, so I fill sandwich bags with chum mixture (ground cod, salmon, herring trimmings, combined with rice and herring oil) then freeze the bags. Take one out, remove bag, put it in the chum bag, and the thawing bits can drift off through the mesh, but only a big fish could rip it off. Use a long-ish leader to the base or arm of the anchor, and it stays free of the ring on retrieval.

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    A frozen block of fish chunks will float, so you would have to weight it pretty good.
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  16. #16

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    I do believe that chum bags work in a halibut fisherman's favor. If anything they bring in more halibut and do it faster. The downside is the halibut can hang out at the chum bucket/bag so its best to put it near where you fish.

    You can use a downrigger and a small chum bucket attached to the cable. Preferably a big enough bucket that a big halibut cant swallow it but small enough that its easy to bring up with the downrigger weight.

    We tend to fish in water that is around 100-140 feet deep.


    We are experimenting with a pre made conconction:

    Ingredients:

    • Chum/Pink salmon, unbled (required)
    • Herring, old herring from previous salmon trips work but sometimes its best to get a box of bait herring from the local processor (required)
    • Squid, sometimes the grocery stores sell a box (optional)
    • Other fish: pacific cod, sculpins, etc (optional)
    • Various fish oils and scents. I sue some butt juice and herring oil, but may start experimenting with pollock oil, anise, etc. (Required, what type is optional)
    • Beer


    1. Cut up the fish and squid and stick it in a blender
    2. Add a couple tablesppons of scents
    3. Pour in whatever your drinking so the blender works (water works too)
    4. Blend it, not too fine but so it is chopped up and blended good
    5. Pour into freezer tupperware containers that are small enough to fit in your bait bucket
    6. Let sit and stew for a day then Freeze


    Take a couple with you out on boat and keep them in the ice to keep them frozen. Place one in bait bucket on downrigger and drop to bottom. When down rigger weight hits bottom, bring downrigger up a couple turns so the bait bucket isnt on bottom but a couple feet above. This helps the scent field spread better.

    The chum block will melt in the water and spread the scent at the bottom where you want it. If needed add another about 30 minutes later to get a really big scent field going. Chances are you will have more halibut than you know what to do with.

    We do this because we believe is strength in numbers allow us to catch our optimal targeted size range. We want to weed through 30" and less fish before we get that 40" - 55" fish that we want. Bigger than 60" get their picture taken and released with a estimated length. Nothing wrong with small fish but they dont fill the freezer and the big ones are too much work.

  17. #17
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    I will tie the previous trip's salmon or small halibut carcasses to the anchor line where the rope meets the chain with light cord. The fish shear off when they hit the anchor ring.

    Otherwise it's chum bombs with herring or fresh salmon entrails via paper lunch sack and a heavy weight on the extra pole.

  18. #18

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    +1. Burley/chum bags work, (bait booms), frozen blocks seem to make it last longer which may not always be what you want, adding sand/stones increases the weight of the ball ...a rock works as well, but I suggest that you slide a weight above the ice ball or tie it to your down rigger ball. The more burley the halibut merrier.

    The salmon/skate connection is interesting observation.

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    When I chartered out of Homer if I had a PIA on board he got to use salmon bellies, my best was 14 skates for one client! No one else got one that day it was great So I never use any salmon parts in my chum bag.

  20. #20

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    We must not have that many skates down here. Salmon parts are only second to salmon guts.

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