Tuna fishing off the Louisiana coast can demand lots of chumming, especially on low-current days when the fish can only be called picky.
The idea behind chumming is shifting tuna from a non-aggressive mode to one of actively feeding by putting hard-to-resist morsels in front of their noses.
This kind of chumming is hard work — not just dumping bits and pieces of chopped fish over the side of the boat. Rather, live baitfish must be tossed as closely as possible to the trolled baits many yards behind the boat.
Live fish like pogies are not aerodynamically shaped, nor are they dense for their size, making chumming an arm-wearying exercise.
Deck hand Alan Ballavares makes the job easier by using a Joy Fish Bait & Chum Bat.
Made of plastic and shaped like a short, hollow baseball bat with its end cut off, it provides enough leverage to sling live fish half again farther than a bare arm can do.
Simple and inexpensive, the device delivers chum to where it is needed, while saving wear and tear on arms.