Fall sees some of the year’s greatest kingfish action, but savvy anglers don’t simply trust the calendar—they do all they can to tilt the odds in their favor. Chumming is one of the most important steps for the live-bait slow-trolling tactics of big king pursuits and a frozen chum block hung from a mesh bag is the cornerstone of any successful operation.
One thing kingfish anglers quickly learn is that not all chum bags are created equal. Tournament-grade chum blocks made of ground baitfish, not just carcasses and fillers are what you want. The key is high oil content, so go with reputable brands like Baitmasters.
Also, the common chum bags with drawstring tops are okay, but experienced crews use custom bags with wider openings. This allows quicker and more convenient access – especially in rough seas.
Savvy anglers also know to position the chum back amidships, rather than at the stern. Two benefits here: First, most of the bait deployment and downrigger operation occurs on those back corners, so keeping the chum bag clear of this busy area reduces the chance of time-consuming entanglements.
The other benefit involves chum dispersion. The farther forward the bag hangs, the deeper the chum drifts. When chum bits reach the stern, the props help force it farther into the water column.
A couple more tips on kingfish chumming:
Bites and Bits: Snipping fresh baits or dribbling handfuls of frozen glass minnows will invigorate your chum slick with glimmering shards that provide just enough of an appetizer to drive kings into a full-on frenzy. The fish will madly slash through your chum slick in hopes of finding a mouthful, but don’t overdo it on the freebies.
You want the fish fired up, not filled up. Keep them hungry and when your baits pass overhead, it’ll be an easy sell.
Avoid the Big Stink: Concentrated menhaden oil is quite possibly the foulest substance known to man. Kingfish seem to favor the aroma, so spreading it across the surface with an IV style dripper bag is a common trolling tactic.
However, spilling this stuff on your clothes or shoes will leave you in gag mode the rest of the day, so when you’re filling the dripper bags, treat it with extreme care or your crew is likely to offload you at the next channel marker.