When Capt. Will Burbach is looking for snook or redfish on the flats of Tampa Bay, he knows that waiting for the fish to gather naturally can take longer than he wants to wait. He also knows that tossing handfuls of live sardines can accelerate the process by enticing the fish with appetizers.
Notably, this live chum tactic works anywhere you want to fire up the fish with a few live samples. Peanut pogies, cut shrimp, even shiners for freshwater bass—a round of samples often leaves them wanting more.
And when “more” arrives bearing a hook, the outcome is worth the setup.
The only downside of chumming is that too many repetitions of this forceful motion takes its toll on shoulders and elbows.
The solution: a “chum bat.” Essentially a hollow plastic bat with an exaggerated form that looks more like the theatrical caveman club, this simple tool allows you to load a dozen or so live baits inside and sling them forward with greater force, better accuracy, and less shoulder fatigue.
A couple decades ago, anglers would actually cut the ends off plastic Wiffle Ball bats, but now most coastal retailers sell task-specific chum bats that fit narrow-end-first in rod holders between uses.
I’ve seen and heard of a few creative variations on the chum bat. A few of the dandies:
When a salty captain with bad knees and worse shoulders anchored near a mangrove shoreline and pulled out a tennis racquet, I’ll admit I wasn’t sure what was about to transpire. But when he started drop serving live baits into the target zone with casual ease, I made a mental note of this innovative and low-impact live chum technique.
Ice scoops, the big commercial models you’ll find in fish markets, make super chum tossers. Without a top edge to keep them in place, the livies can slip out during your backswing, so keep your motion fluid. Underhand backswing, underhand delivery.
In a pinch, a Frisbee functions similarly to the ice scoop, but you might want to trim a few inches off the lip to allow for a smoother delivery from the front end.