Appetizers accelerate the action
|David A. Brown|
Absent a chum bag, just scrape chunks of melting chum overboard to maintain your scent trail.
For easier targeting ó maybe even sight casting in calm conditions†ó chumming can greatly influence a snapperís positioning.
Block chum made of ground fish parts and extra oils is most common. Hang the frozen brick in a mesh bag and, as wave action gradually melts the chum, the cloud of scent and fish bits sends an enticing message of free chow to the snapper.
Youíll strengthen the appeal of your chum slick by adding small chunks of cut pogies or sardines.
Similarly, a block of frozen glass minnows adds more scent plus the allure of tasty little shards glistening through the water column.
Whatever your choice, donít let up on the appetizers.
"What holds snapper in the neighborhood is constant chumming," veteran snapper catcher Dan Hayes said. "You always want one person designated to do that. If you stop, theyíll go back down.
"Iíll throw out a handful of glass minnows, and as they disappear Iíll throw another handful. You gotta keep it going. Donít stop or the fish stop."
In deep water, Hayes may jump-start the snapper by attaching a chum bag to a downrigger, lowering it to the bottom and cranking up 10 feet at a time.
Similarly, dropping cut baits to the bottom on fish-finder or knocker rigs will also help coax snapper topside.
Hooked fish often regurgitate recent meals, and schoolmates will follow closely to pick off the second-hand snacks.
Hayes also tests his chum movement by dropping a handful and noting how quickly it progresses downcurrent. He definitely wants a good drift, but if the chum moves too fast it will coax any interested fish out of effective presentation range.
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