Yesterday we discussed the legalities and other points related to chumming. Today, I thought you might like some tips for chumming more effectively. But remember ... chumming is not legal in all states. So check the regs before you do it.
As mentioned yesterday, chumming is the process of spreading out one or more food sources in the water to attract fish. When chumming, you're trying to promote active feeding in a cluster of fish. Some people will tell you chumming is a fine art. I agree there's some skill involved - but it also takes some skill to fish. So if you can fish, you can chum.
First, chum can be any food source that is attractive to the kind of fish you wish to catch. Trout love a lot of a lot of different food sources. Last week I was fishing at my local lake and there were hundreds of grasshoppers floating on the surface. Trout were feeding on them like crazy. In that case, nature did the chumming for me and I just had to sit back and catch trout.
But rarely are things that easy. The majority of the time, the angler has to bring the chum. Sweet corn is a favorite for anglers and trout. You can easily buy it in cans and it's always available. Some anglers even like to bring a few pieces of bread along and soak the bread in corn juice and make little dough balls for an added advantage.
Now that you have your chum, the trick is to deliver it in the water to attract trout. For best results, try and pick an area of the water where you suspect trout might already be hanging out (near tree logs, big rocks, etc.). Then get the corn out in the water about 15-30 feet in front of you. Some people use a slingshot for precision placement of the corn. You want to spread the corn out over an area so as to give the fish plenty of room and improve your chances of landing your baited hook in the middle of the cluster.
Ideally, you want to spread out the chum slowly and often. You're trying to promote active feeding and draw more hungry trout into the area. The last thing you want to do is give them too much food in the beginning so that they fill up and lose interest. This is where the skill comes in. You want to give them enough chum to keep them interested in staying there, as well as create enough excitement for nearby trout so they'll come check out the action.
Corn isn't the only thing you can use. Feel free to experiment and try different things. You can even add some trout attractant to your chum. I've watched trout come to the surface where I was fishing just because some of the attractant spilled onto the surface of the water while I was putting it on my bait. I wasn't even chumming and trout were coming to check out the attractant on the surface of the water.
By the way, some folks like to use the chum on their hook too. The idea is that if trout are feeding on the chum, then they'll be more likely to take your baited hook if the chum is on it too. But many anglers have success using other baits (worms, salmon eggs, etc.) as well when chumming.
So experiment and have fun!