Chum for Channel Catfish

Chumming, also referred to as “baiting a hole”, is simply dumping some sort of fish attracting bait into the water you plan to fish.  Chum can be nearly anything from ground fish, ground meat, or sour grain, and can be placed directly into the water or be put in a “holder”.  The practice of chumming for catfish is primarily used for catching eater sized (less than 10 lbs) channel cats and can be very productive.  Flathead, Blue, and large channels typically do not respond much to a baited hole since they are more predatory.  Here we will show you some ideas for making your own chum.  In a future article we will show where and how to use chum.

Sour Grain

One of the best ways to make your own chum is by souring grain.  The materials needed are inexpensive and it is very easy to make.  Materials you will need are: grain, water, beer, and a 5 gal bucket with a lid.  There are many grains that will work for chum but, some of the favorites are: soy beans, milo, wheat, or corn.  I personally have had great success with soybeans.  Grain can be purchased at your local farm supply store between 9 and 20 bucks for a 50lb bag.   Souring grain takes 1-2 weeks to be fully fermented.  I also like to paint my buckets black as moderate heat can speed the fermenting process.

  1. Fill your bucket about 1/2 to 3/4 with your grain of choice.
  2. Pour in 1 beer.
  3. Pour in water until it is about 1-2 inches above the grain.
  4. Loosely put the lid on.  The souring process causes large amounts of gas to be released so it needs to be able to breathe a bit.  Try to be sure it is secure enough to keep animals out.
  5. You will need to check every couple of days and add water if needed.  After the initial filling, it will not be necessary to add water much higher than the grain level.
  6. When you add water it is also a good idea to give it a quick stir.
  7. When approaching the finish date, try not to add too much water so your chum is not soupy.
  8. After 1-2 weeks the process will be complete and the lids can be fully snapped on to contain the smell.
  9. Get a large plastic cup and drop or throw a few cups where you will be fishing.  In a future we will show you a few great tools for chum slinging!

Fish Remnants

Making chum is a great way to dispose of fish parts after cleaning your catch, when you have left over bait, or if you have some casualties in your bait tank at home.  You really only need a couple of items to make these fish into chum: some way of grinding them, and some large ziplock bags.  As far as a grinder goes, there are some manufactured chum grinders available but I just use an old hand-powered meat grinder.

  1. Start by cutting your fish into pieces small enough to easily fit into the grinder.
  2. Grind fish onto a baking sheet or directly into a 1 quart ziplock freezer bag.
  3. Fill the bags about 3/4 full and freeze.
  4. When you go fish simply remove chum from the bag and drop or throw in where you plan to fish.

Range Cubes

Range cubes are normally used to feed horses or cattle and are readily available at any feed store.  They are usually are made from various grains, plant proteins, and various vitamins and minerals.  Usually they come in a 50 lb. bag for 10-12 dollars.  These are the easy ones!  Just toss some into the water where you are fishing!

Prepared Chum

Prepared chum is offered from a few catfish bait manufacturers.  They are most often made from fish meal and fish oils, other animal protiens, and/or grain.  These already-made fish chums are a great alternative to making your own, and are used in the same way but dont require all the work.  They are usually available in “one trip” packaging for around 5 bucks.

Chumming can be very productive if you want to catch large numbers of fish.  Its very inexpensive, easy to do, and can provide some really fast paced catfishing!  I do not chum often but, the times I have, the action was fast and furious.

Do any of you chum for catfish?  Leave us a comment below and let us know what works for you.  Be sure to
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8 Responses to “Chum for Channel Catfish”

  1. nancy@ catfishing expert
    July 27, 2011 at 2:20 am #

    I am also using chum for catfishing. Chumming is very useful for me to attract fishes and it works well.

    Fish remnants works good on my fishing. I’ll try your sour grain if it is effective.

    • Catfishadmin
      July 28, 2011 at 11:30 pm #

      It is very effective, especially for eater sized channel catfish. Cheap and easy to make too!

    August 30, 2011 at 7:25 am #


    • Catfishadmin
      August 30, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

      I have used soybeans, cracked corn, and milo. IMO soybeans produce the best. I assume either would work…soybeans=soybean seeds? They should look like whole or split beans.

  3. Sean
    February 22, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

    Hi i have a question since range cubes are wheat and corn and such can i use range cubes and put them in empty gallon cartons and put sugar and yeast or a beer and water in it and let that sit and would that be better then just tossing the cubes out or does it not work cuz i havent heard of anyone ever souring range cubes only milo. Because i have a bag of range cubes and thinking about trying

    • Catfishadmin
      February 23, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

      I dont see any reason why you couldnt sour cubes. Nearly any grain or bean will work as far as I know. Range cubes are used by alot of chummers.

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    May 24, 2014 at 4:34 am #

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  1. How do you make chum? - March 21, 2011

    […] be good to go. Corn, milo, and soybeans all work well. I have had the best luck with soybeans. Chum for Channel Catfish Reply With […]

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