Chumming while Spearfishing
Chumming can be an effective way to draw fish up from the bottom or attract nearby pelagics while spearfishing bluewater. It’s another way to get fish active and close the distance for a clean shot. It is almost mandatory when hunting tuna.
There are several ways to chum for bluewater spearfishing on wrecks or other bottom relief. You can come prepared with a box of butterfish or menhaden (preferably butterfish) from your local fish house or you can kill a fish and chunk it. Cut your fish into half dollar pieces and fill a bucket.
Anchor up as far up current of the wreck or relief as possible and start dropping a few chunks every 10 seconds or so for at least 15 min before you jump in. Keep a look out if the amberjacks are sitting behind the boat eating every piece that hits the water throw the chunks more frequent and spread it out. If tuna hang around your spot be on the look out and have enough chunks ready to feed them when they come – same goes for mahi. When you get in the water look for the curious cubera snapper at 40 to 50 feet also keep a look out for the cobia on a straight line for the action.
Chumming will attract sharks of all kinds. Be cautious and don’t dive alone when your baiting the water. If you are diving with a chum bag or dead fish it’s best to drop all that if a shark won’t leave you alone.
If the current is moving too fast it can make a chum slick useless for freedivers. One way to try and make it work is tie a long rope off the stern for the diver to hold onto so he doesn’t have to swim against the current. Have a chunker on the bow throwing chum out in front of the anchor line. This will give the bait enough time to sink and attract fish by the time it gets to the diver behind the boat. It’s best to tie a float to your anchor line in this situation in case you have to ditch your anchor to assist a diver in the current.
Another way to chunk is to kill a fish and cut cross hatches down the whole body on both sides. Jump in and swim up current out in front of the anchor line. When you’re in position start popping chunks off with your knife until you get something going. Remember if sharks show up let go of the fish and let them have it.