tuna drifting, chumming by hand

Tuna drifting: chumming by hand, or not?

5 mins read
chumming by hand
Chumming is a hard operation. Sometimes, it is really stressful to spend hours and hours with a pair of scissors in one hand, cutting sardines and throwing chunks in the water. But this is part of drifting.

We’ve already seen in other articles how essential chumming is in intercepting tuna fish. When made with continuity throughout the fishing trip, this operation indeed attracts fish which ends up coming to the area where, at different depths, our lures ( generally ranging from three to five) are positioned.

As all tuna fish anglers know, fish can get under the boat in the very first minutes, maybe attracted by the engine noise. But there are also days when the boat’s crew has to spend the whole day – even 8-9 hours – with the greatest dedication to chumming before a blessed strike arrives (and it is not certain that it really arrives).

Even if this is part of the tuna angler’s life, it is not hard to understand how stressful it is to spend hours and hours with a pair of scissors in one hand, cutting sardines and throwing chunks in the water.

The smell of sardine is not great and, once both hands and clothes have got impregnated with this ” aroma”, it is certainly not easy to take it away. We all know that, after spending a whole session preparing chum and cutting sardines, the smell of this fish can remain on our hands for many hours, of not for days, after our fishing excursion and, unfortunately for us, only a very small number of detergents are really efficient against this scent. Fortunately, however, even in this case, technology can give us a hand.


Some valuable allies for chum makers

In order to avoid this problem or in order to prevent every single step of chumming from being performed by hand only by the crew members, we can rely on some valuable allies, that is some machines that are specially designed to carry out the important task of chumming in tuna drifting (and not only): the sardine dispenser and the sardine grimmer, both equipped with interior timers to set the operational speed.

The sardine dispenser

sardine dispenser
As suggested by its name, the sardine dispenser throws whole or chunk sardines, previously put in a special bowl which the machine is equipped with, in the water.

This machine throws whole or chunk sardines, previously put into the bowl the machine is equipped with, in the water.

Even if some evaluations can be made only on the sport, depending on the stream you meet, it is generally advisable to put in the chum dispenser sardine chunks of different sizes. For example, you can put some whole sardines (preferably with no head), others cut in half and others cut in three.

Why? Because chunks of different size (and therefore of different shape and weight) behave in a different way according to the stream, going down at different speed and producing a wide and highly attractive wake of chum.  In addition to an excellent olfactory capacity, this wake has also a highly visual appeal, where waters are clear enough to guarantee it.

The sardine grinder

sardine grinder
How the sardine grinder works

The sardine grinder, instead, is different from the above-mentioned machine; indeed, thanks to a special interior contraption, it grinds sardines in very small chunks, producing a wake of chum which tends to stay on the surface. This machine is therefore really useful when fishing in low sea bottoms: the Northern Adriatic, for example, where tuna fish can be caught on bottoms ranging from 20 and 35 meters. Quite different are fishing conditions in other areas of the Mediterranean: in the Central Tyrrhenian Sea, for example, tuna fish can generally be caught at 70-140 meters, while in other areas of southern Italy tuna can be found even at deeper depths. Red tuna can be found at medium depths in many areas of Spain, Portugal, North Africa as well as the Atlantic Ocean.

Article also available in: English

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