Episode 1 - Chum Manufacturer

Definition of chum

as a noun :a close or intimate companion: boyhood chums.

as a verb: to fish by attracting fish by dumping cut or ground bait into the water.

hmmm how best describe the act of making chum? FREAKING DISGUSTING! But chum is a vital component for a very specialized fishery in southern California. It's actually as important to fishing as having a rod and a reel - or even a hook.

The shores off San Diego house monsters - monsters with teeth - big teeth. Mako sharks are one of the sharks that will take a swipe at a human... they will eat you up! So why tempt fate and risk losing a finger or arm by catching them? Better yet, if you're going to risk it, why not catch them ON THE FLY??? The key is, without chum, it's not possible.

We began our rotten fishy flesh adventure aboard a bait boat... Capt. James Gardner captains Antoinette W and is based out of Oceanside Ca... his job is to keep bait flowing to the New Fishall Bait Company in Compton, Los Angeles. This Reel Fishy Job is really step 1 in the chum making process - and it's HARD work. We collected 30 some barrels of anchovies that morning - garbage pails full actually, each weighing approximately 300 lbs.

The fish we caught that day will sit idle for a bit... Enough time to begin to rot, smell and leach out moisture and oil. Upon arrival at New Fishall's Bait Company, owner Kent Williams had a couple of barrels sufficiently fermented and ready to be made into chum... this is one of those times where I wish we all had smellovision instead of television because the barrels that were waiting for us were rank disgusting. I was taxed with the job of catching the rotten mess of blood, oil and flesh in buckets as it passed thru the grinder affectionately called the Maul All... We processed a number of buckets - I dry heaved the entire time and packed them into the freezer to solidify. Then the big treat! Kent gave me a bunch of already frozen chum and I headed down to San Diego to put them to use...

We chummed for about an hour and a half before the first mako came into the slick... chumming isn't hard... you poke holes in the plastic buckets and let it slowly thaw dispersing oil and bits of flesh as you drift. And when the sharks show up - it's on! And the best part is there isn't any sense of panic - the sharks will cruise around your boat searching for the source of death... often taking a nip at the chum bucket. You have some time to get ready and present your fly to the fired up predator circling you. Mako sharks are high flying jumpers that will challenge any angler - and catching them on the fly is all the more challenging! If you enjoy battling big fish, put mako fishing on your bucket-list... and speaking of bucket, make sure you don't forget the chum...


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