Fish Chum Dispensers

Fish Chum & Chumming > Dispensers

You need a chum dispenser, chum pot, or burley bomb to get the chum particles into the water. You goal is to have the holes big enough so the chum can seep through the holes at a consistent rate and dispersed by the current, creating an oily, smelly slick that attracts fish to your fishing spot. You can make homemade fish chum dispensers or buy chum dispensers, it all depends on your budget and how often you will use the dispenser. There are also elaborate homemade chum dispensers powered by your boat battery, some even chop fish up to make burley, then dispense the chum directly into the water. Loose chum, called chunk chum, is dispensed using a catapult, or ladled over the side of a drifting or anchored boat to create a slick nearer to the surface to attract top-feeding species.

Chum Bags

Cuba Specialty Cnb Chum Net Bag
Click Picture to Buy

Chum net type bags, mesh bags, and plastic bags with holes are used to slowly release fish chum into the water. They are usually have a draw string closure, and are compact and easy to store. They come in small hole or large hole models which regulates the amount of chum released.

Chum bags come in many grades, from single use to heavy duty. The draw string closure keeps your chum inside and doubles as a line holder. The net chum bag is usually tied to a long line, then secured to your boat, dock, or shore anchor. To sink the dispenser drop some weights into the bag.

Offshore anglers will attach the net bags to the back of their boats, or if they are in deep water, they will attach a heavy weight or anchor to the bag and drop it deep into the water to attract bottom dwelling fish.

If you want to get sophisticated, you could attach the chum bag to a downrigger in order to monitor the exact depth of the bag (see Downriggers on our How to Chum page).

Shark on Dispenser


Caution! Sharks have been known to consume the entire chum bag, bucket, or cage.



For an inexpensive alternative, try using an onion bag or burlap bag (with holes cut into it) which is 100% biodegradable. I have heard

Tackle Factory Gee-Chum Pot
Click Picture to Buy

people use burlap bags with a downrigger, and if they are taken by a shark they will decompose and not hurt the shark.

Buckets or Chum Pots

There are commercially available chum buckets and chum pots. Usually they are buckets with removable lids and holes drilled into the sides or metal hole construction for the release of chum. The smaller chum pot pictured here has a metal lining. You can easily make your own by drilling holes into a 5 gallon bucket. Or you can use a bait bucket and drill holes in it. Attach the bucket to a line and your ready to chum.

PVC Dispensers

Jandell Chum Dispenser - Fishing Accessories
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PVC type dispensers are sold commercially or you could make your own with PVC pipe (see Homemade Dispensers below). They are drilled with holes for releasing chum slowly into the water. One or both ends of the container will be screw on for easy filling. Stainless steel wires are or strong coated line is attached to the units for securing to an anchoring line. To sink the dispenser drop some weights into the dispenser.

Any type of chum can be used in these dispensers as long as the chum can freely flow thru the holes at a slow rate. Chum that is ground smaller than the holes might release too quickly.

JanDell Dry Chum Dispensing System - Fishing Accessories

There are dry chum systems you can purchase that have dispensers designed to disperse tablets that come in may varieties formulated for attracting specific species.

You can make frozen blocks to fit these dispensers by putting a plastic bag inside the dispenser, fill the bag with fresh ground chum, then freeze the whole unit. If the chum is very wet, be sure to leave head space for freezing expansion. Once, frozen, remove the bag and store the bag in the freezer until your next fishing trip.


Fishing Bait Catapults

Chum Catapult

Fishing bait catapults are slingshots with chum baskets attached. These catapults are used to sling chum far out into the water in your casting range. It is best to use ground or dry chum since a wet chum mixture will stick to the sling shot and probably get you!

To use a bait catapult, fill the cup with chum, aim the front of the device over the water, pull back on the cup, and then release the cup ?your chum will go flying far out into the water. Remember, the lighter the chum, the further you can catapult it into the water.Chum balls

To catapult your chum you must have a mix the consistency of mud so you can form chum balls. Adding a binder to the mix can firm it up so you can form the balls. Check out our Recipes?Freshwater for Rob Roy's Catfish Recipe that can be baked to make chum balls for catapulting.


Disk Catapult

This is a great idea, us a target disk thrower for a chum, burley, or groundbait catapult.

Your chum "disk" must be frozen or baked, see above, in order for it to work.


Ball Launchers

Click Picture to Buy

Ball launchers are designed for throwing tennis balls to play catch with your dog. Many anglers used these inexpensive ball launchers to scoop out chum from a bucket to toss far into the water.

Also use ball launchers to chuck chum balls into the water.

Jai-Alai baskets also work in the same way. The professional models are weaved baskets and surely expensive while the ones sold for children's games are a cheap plastic. I would go for the cheap models, we are using dead fish guts here!


Burley Bombs

These devises are used more in the Europe and Australia than in the US. Burley Bomb bait dispensers are filled with chum, attached to your fishing line and cast out into the water. You can also tie the bombs to a line and drop into the water. Some burley bombs release the loaded chum when they hit the water and others release when you tug the line. Watch this video to see it in action. There is also a good video on our Around the World section.


Metal Cage Type Dispensers

Offshore Angler Chum Cage - Fishing Accessories
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Metal cage dispensers are used by offshore anglers when chumming for big game. These cages are strong enough to keep most large fish from eating your dispenser. Place large chunks of chum in these dispensers. You can also put weights inside the dispenser to sink it to your desired depth. Use with a downrigger for greater depth accuracy. It is recommended you use heavy line, a stainless cable, or even chains for heavy units. The one pictured here is only 5" and can be used as an in-line feeder on your heavy lines when offshore fishing.

Metal Fish Baskets

Bass Pro Shops Deluxe Collapsible Fish Baskets - Boat Clamp Fish Basket - Fishing Access/equip
Click Picture to Buy

Metal fish baskets are used while fishing to hold your catch. Just tie a line to the handle and put the basket in the water.

These baskets are also excellent to use as a chum dispenser with either chunk chum, large bits of dog food or Range Cubes.






menhaden drip dispenserMenhaden Drip Dispensers

Menhaden oil or milk must be dispensed into the water by a drip dispenser. Hang the dispenser off a cleat on your boat or from a long line, the unit will float on the water surface. Some units come with weighted tubes to bring the drip slick below the surface.

There are two types of dispenser you can buy?PVC or bag. You can also use a medical IV dispenser or any type of dispenser that releases a slow stream or drip into the water. All units come with a long, sometimes 5 foot, tube for slow dispensing of the milk or oil. These units come with a with the petcock to control the flow of the liquid being dispensed and a loop on the top for attaching to a line.


Cables or Lines

Swivel and Rope attached to chum bucket Offshore Angler Braided Crab Trap Line - Fishing Accessories Kevlar fishing Leager    

Using a stainless steel plastic coated cable with swivel clips on each end is the safest way to never loose your dispenser. You can also use rope or crab pot line to secure your dispenser.


Fish Feeders

If you are lucky enough to live on the water, fish feeders are a wonderful way to easily chum off your dock. The one shown here holds 150 lbs. These feeders are usually equipped with a timer so you can time the release of your chum?how about setting to to go off an hour before you get home from work.


In-line & Ground Bait Dispensers

In-line bait dispensers are small dispensers you fill with your desired chum that you attach to your fishing line. These dispensers are very popular in the United Kingdom for dispensing maggots (live or dead) and other types of Groundbait or burley. Cut small pieces of fresh bait, a fine chum mix, or use small bits of dry chum.

You can make your own ground bait dispenser by punching holes with an ice pick in a 35mm film canister. Attaching the canister to a swivel above your bait and this will bring the fish directly to your bait.

Feeder bags are attached to your line like the line dispensers and bring big results.

In-line dispensers as they are called in the United Kingdom are very popular in Europe.


Infused Fishing LineTriple Fish Chum Line leader material

Triple Fish Chum Line is a leader material infused with amino acids and flavoring that will bleed into surrounding water for up to 90 minutes. Imagine your leader line as a chum dispenser.

I tried to find this product for sale to add to this site, but none of our affiliates sell it. If you can find this product, it has some great reviews. A detailed review by an avid fisherman can be found at


Cane Pole Dispensers

Pole dispenserCane poles with small cups on the end are used to dispense chum out into the water. The poles are around 15 to 20 feet long, just long enough to drop Groundbait out into your casting range.





Boat Dispensers & Equipment

Chumming from a boat is done by using dispensers, either fixed or portable, broadcasting or ladling chum overboard, chunk baiting or live baiting. Some creative boaters will also ties carcases to floats and a line to attract big game fish. Boats can be equipped with fixed mounted chum dispensers and downriggers. Boaters also use throw-over dispensers attached to boat cleats to chum for fish.Bloody deck

Fish chum is VERY STINKY, so careful storage of fish chum is important. Usually chum is brought aboard in a 5 gallon bucket or wrapped in plastic bags. Coolers are necessary to keep frozen chum cold until ready to use. A cooler dedicated to chum and fish is a good idea if you chum often?the fishy smell will never come out no matter what chemical you use.

The term "bloody decks" not only refers to the mess after catching or filleting fish, but also to spilled chum. Vigorous scrubbing after your fishing adventures is always necessary, no matter how hard you try, you WILL get blood and guts on the decks!

Boat Hull Teaser

bait fish painted on the bottom of a boat
Image Courtesy of Last Mango Sportfishing Charters, Fort Pierce

Fact or Fiction? Does a school of fish painted on the bottom of your boat hull attract fish?

Many seasoned anglers believe it does. Some paint schools of bait fish or squid on their boat hulls with anti-foul paint in bright colors, even adding glitter to the paint to make the little fishy's more noticeable.

There are also waterproof fish stickers you can buy and apply to the hull and keel.

A black hull will show the applied fish better and as you glide thru the water it looks like a school of fish going by.



Hang-On Dispensers

Mounted Boat Dispensers

Hang on Dispenser boat platform dispenser
Hang-on dispensers are dispensers that hang over the side of your boat. They are convenient and can be washed down with the rest of the boat when your done with your day of fishing. Simply fill the dispenser with your favorite chum and place it over the side railing of your boat. Some dispensers are large enough to give you hours of fun. Mounted dispensers need to be installed permanently on the outside of your boat on a gunwale or transom. Side mount types front edge rests on the boat's rub-rail. Transom mounted dispensers are either built into the transom or bolted to the back of the boat. Some secure the units with a rope to a cleat or other fixed object on the boat if the unit isn't bolted into the body of the boat. The more expensive units have 12 Volt D.C. power to grind your chum and dispense at the same time?when you are ready to fish, fill the hopper with about cut bait chunks or small bait fish and the unit does the rest.

Electronic Boat Dispensers

Fillet Tables

Magma 20 Inch Tournament Series Cleaning Station With Pow'rgrip
There are many types of electronic bunker dispensers available that will grind your bait and dispense it all at once. The video above shows a bait dispenser from France in action. Also in the video is an automatic dispenser to slowly dispensing already cut up bait. (Note, the music in the video stops a minute into the video.) Fillet tables are attach to the side of your boat and are a great work station for filleting fish and chunking your bait. Made with a stain and odor resistant plastic and come with drain holes for easy cleaning. You will find yourself at this fish prep workstation all day, so place it where you usually fish on your boat.

Bait Tanks

Portable Bait wells

Seafit Baitwells 13 Gallon Ultra Aqua World Superbait Live Replacement Bags Assembly 15
Bait wells are standard far on boats sold as "fishing boats". The are very convenient and keep your live bait alive. These units have water pumps that change the water often to keep it fresh for your bait. Fill your bait well with the fish you plan on using for live bait chumming or fresh cut bait. Yes, they are also used to store bait for your fish hook. Portable bait wells that attach to the side of your boat are great if your boat does not have a building bait well. These units are transom mounted with bags that keep bait lively and healthy by circulating fresh water from the top of the bag. Fish scales and other debris are flushed out the bottom thru an overflow channel.

Bait Buckets

Bait Catching Equipment

Frabill Aerated Bait Bucket Cast net full of fish on boat
If your boat is not equipped with a built-in bait well, you can bring aboard a portable unit.These units come equipped with air pumps to keep the fish alive for extended periods. Keep your portable unit out of the sun or you will cook the bait and add fresh water occasionally to keep the water clean. Having bait catching equipment on board your boat is always a good idea. You never know when you will come across a school of bait fish. There are all types of bait catching devices, but the best for boats are cast nets, hand nets with long poles, sibiki rigs. Having extra buckets, coolers, or portable bait buckets with aerators is advisable if you plan to catch bait. For more information of bait catching devices, see our Live Bait page.


Underwater Lights

Scotty 1116 Propak Electric Downrigger Optronics Night Blaster Floating Fish n Lite
Downriggers are used for deep sea fishing, trolling, or to get your chum to a specific depth in the water column. Along with dropping your chum dispenser they also drop your baited hook. For more detailed information on downriggers, jump to our page How to Chum. Back of boat that has lights mounted to lower body illuminating the waterHaving a portable light for night fishing can be loads of fun. Not only do these lights bring the fish to your boat, but you get to see them! The light must be on the water surface or it will not illuminate underwater (into the water), light just on the surface is not good for attracting fish. Underwater lights are great as they illuminate all the way to the bottom (if it isn't too deep). The light pictured above is attached to your boat battery then dropped into the water; the light floats to illuminate the water near your boat. Boats can also be equipped with permanently mounted lights on their undersides. You can also throw a bit of dough ($$$) and get a deluxe light setup on the hull of your boat. My neighbor installs these for a living and goes out reef fishing at night. We were filleting a shark at his dock one night and he left the light on. You would not believe the number of fish attracted to the lights (and the shark blood and guts).

Trolling Motors

Power Pole Anchors

Minn Kota Rt45/s Riptide Saltwater Trolling Motor, 45lb. 12v, 36 Power-Pole Sportsman II Shallow Water Anchors
Trolling motors are great for moving around silently when fishing. These motors easily clamp on to your boat and some models can be permanently mounted. Some models have remote controls that you can attach to your waist. You can chum a spot, then slowly motor off into another spot within casting distance of your original chum spot. Using these motors helps you keep the fish near by; large motors scare off the fish. Power pole anchors attach to your boat and allow you to remain in one spot in shallow water. Unlike and anchor that is noisy and cumbersome, these power pole anchors drop in and out of the water silently, allowing you to move to another fishing spot quietly. Trolling motors help you move silently, so having both on your fishing boat gives you full control of your boat silently.


Fish Finders

Hart And Hart MFG. Drogues 32 Garmin Echo 500c Color Fishfinder
A drogue is used to slow the speed of a drifting boat. These are great for anglers drifting while chumming and fishing. Stabilize your drifting angle along banks or channels with this fishing aid. It slows the boat's rate of drift in 15mph winds and up, slowing your down to trolling speed.

Fish finders help you SEE the bottom and the fish nearby. These units mount to your boat and come in kits with everything you need including the transducer and clamps to mount to your trolling motor (if you have one). Why not know the fish are there? These units are not that expensive, every boat should have one.


Refrigerator/Freezer Units

Fishing and Dock Carts

Engel Usa Portable Md14f Refrigerator/freezer Taylor Dock Pro Carts With Pneumatic (inflatable) Wheels
You can buy compact portable refrigerator and/or freezer units for your boat that hookup to your boat's power source. They come in many sizes from a carry on unit to large units that can sit on your deck or be installed in a cabinet. Use these units to keep your chum frozen and your bait fresh. They are also great for holding your beverages. Fishing carts and dock carts are great for hauling all your stuff to your boat. The one on the right is my cart, it has fishing pole holders on the back holding the umbrella parts. I modified this fold down cart by attaching fishing pole holders, reinforcing the sides, and changing the handle. In this picture I was not going fishing on my boat but to the beach with friends. We love fishing carts so much that we created a whole page Fishing Carts.



Electronic Chum Dispensers

If you want to impress your fellow anglers, get yourself an electronic chum dispenser. Popular in Europe and other parts of the world, these devices bring a whole new dimension to chumming and are a whole lot of fun.

Traditional method of getting the chum out into the middle of the water required using sling-shot type devices, homemade catapults, or torpedoes. These methods of delivery are not very accurate and waste a lot of chum.

Inspired by radio controlled boats, these electronic chum devices can deliver your chum precisely where you want it. Often referred to as Bait Boats, these delivery systems run on batteries, have remote controls, and are build with a hopper that holds chum. Using the radio control unit, you maneuver the bait boat to your chosen spot, and with a flip of a button, you can precisely drop your chum.

Some Bait Boats come with fish finders allowing you to use the boat as a mini-fish finding machine. I have also seen boats with attachments on the back that allow you to hook your line to it and drop your line right into the chum slick dropped by the boat.

There are many cool looking styles and sizes, some are even camouflage colored.

Having all this fun comes at a price. The cost of these units vary widely, from a few hundred dollars to upwards of $2,000. As with most things in life, the more features the higher the price.

Here is a video of a bait boat fishing.


When shopping, questions to ask include:

Some name brands of bait boats include:

  • RC Bait Boat
  • Viper Icon
  • Dyna Craft
  • Lakestar
  • Jabo
  • Microcat
  • Procat
  • Stealth
  • Angling Tecnics

If you would like more information and read some good reviews on these delivery systems, check out this blog at This site also contains links to eBay listings if you are interested in purchasing a Bait Boat.


Homemade Chum, Burley, and Groundbait Dispensers

Homemade Potato Launcher

Shore anglers have come up with new ways to use a homemade potato launcher?as a bait on the hook launcher and as a chum disperser. Getting your bait and chum past the surf can be a challenge, but not with a potato launcher! Or should we call it a bait launcher.

Making a Potato Launcher is easy and inexpensive and can be ready in 24 hours. Here are the materials you will need and watch the following video for instructions.

2 feet 4" PVC pipe
5 feet 2" PVC pipe
4" Female Adapter
4" Coupler
4" to 2" Reducer
Universal Ignitor Kit (gas grill part)
PVC Glue
Electrical Tape

A simple method is to cut up 2" by 2" pieces of PVC pipe that are capped off on one end, then fill each with fresh chum and freeze. Now drop a 2" chunk of frozen chum into your potato launcher, push it all the way in with a stick, then fire away! Your chum will be launched a hundred or so yards out into the water. To make this work even better, put your baited fishing line in on top of the chum block, open your fishing line bail, then fire?your line will be shot out into the water with the chum. How cool is that!

Go to You Tube and search for "bait launcher" or "potato launcher" and have fun watching some inventive designs. You can go all out making propane powered launchers or compressed air launchers that shoot your bait out even further.

Homemade Bag Dispensers

You can use simple household items for a cheap chum dispenser.

  • Onion Bags
  • Women's Nylons or Stockings
  • Cheese Cloth
  • Mesh Bags
Whiffle Bat and ball


Homemade Whiffle Bat Dispenser

Don't forget the old whiffle ball bat thrower. Take a kids whiffle ball bat, large fat barrel type, cut the top off with a hacksaw, then plug the hole at the handle end with silicone and/or duck tape.

Use the bat as a shovel and thrower for tossing live baits out as chum. Another popular method is to fill the bat with sour grain or range cubes to chum for catfish.



Homemade Crate Dispenser

West Marine Fish Recompression Basket
Click Picture to Buy

Here's an idea, why not take this ready made recompression crate sold by West Marine (you can buy this by clicking the picture) and add a lid to the bottom of it?now you have a great dispenser for chunk chum dispensing at lower depths.

You could also tie a big fish carcass to the inside and lower to the bottom. Be sure to put a lot of slices in the carcass to release scent. Once the crate hits the bottom you don't have to worry about loosing your presentation. Not lid required for this method.




Homemade Milk Crate and 5 Gallon Bucket

Here is a homemade dispensing setup by a Major Woods of Connecticut that he posted on The Hull Truth forum. He makes his own chum and freezes the ground chum in 5 gallon buckets.

Put the frozen 5 gallon chum bucket up-side-down (remove lid) into a milk crate that has cut up pieces of swimming noodles tied to the top to keep the crate afloat. Make sure you tie a strong line to the crate so sharks don't walk away with your dispenser. See the shark in his picture.


Homemade PVC Dispenser

PVC Dispenser Homemade

You Will Need:

3" PVC Pipe
1 End Cap
1 Screw-on End Cap
PVC Glue
Braided Line or Stainless Steel Wire
Drill & Hacksaw


A PVC dispenser can be made inexpensively using 3" PVC piping. Cut a length of pipe with a hacksaw to the size you desire, then drill holes about 1" apart around the tube.

Use PVC glue to secure an end cap to the bottom of the unit. If you want the unit to sink you could glue a weight inside the end cap before gluing it to the tube.

Next use the PVC glue to glue a screw-on end cap to the tube. Drill hole in the screw-on cap, thread your line thru the hole, then make a knot in your line below the cap which will serve as your line connection.

Creating a loop then knotting the line on the inside of the cap makes it convenient for attaching any length of line to the unit when chumming.

If you use stainless steel wire, you would thread both ends of the wire through the end cap hole, then secure the two ends to a large washer or bolt so it doesn't slip back through the hole and holds securely.


5-Gallon Buckets

You can make your own chum dispenser by drilling holes in a 5-gallon bucket that has a lid, then tie a line to the handle, fill it with your favorite chum, toss it in the water, then ties the attached line to a structure or boat.

The bucket will float which is fine for chumming, but if you want it to sink put a brick in the bottom before you add your chum.


Plastic Bottles

bottle_dispenserYou can make homemade chum dispensers from ordinary household plastic bottles such as juice containers, milk jugs, soda bottles, or water bottles. The dispenser shown here has a built in handle, so just need to tie a line to it. If there is not handle you will need to drill a hole in the lid then thread a line thru the lid and tie it off.

You can either drill lots of hole in the bottle and add your chum at your fishing site or fill the bottle with chum and freeze, then punch holes in it when your arrive at your fishing destination.

After you fill the bottle with chum, tie a line to the bottle and throw the dispenser in the water. Be sure to tie the dispenser to a structure so you don't loose it.




Paper Bag Bombspaper bag

A cheap easy chum dispenser can be made with a brown paper bag and a rope or string. This homemade chum dispenser works like the famous Chum King dispenser.

Take a paper bag, drop in a rock with the size depending on the water and depth of the drop, fill with your chum mix, tie off the bag with your string, then toss into the water. Let the bag bomb drop slowly into the water to your desired depth, allowing it time to soften in the water, then give it a big tug. The tug will cause the saturated bag to burst under the weight of the rock and release your chum. Now pull the bag out of the water to avoid littering.

Depending on whether you are freshwater or saltwater fishing, you can fill your bag with bread crumbs or an other chum mix you desire, just go use anything too wet or you will not get the bag deep enough before it bursts.


Homemade Cane Pole DispenserPole dispenser

Bass Pro Shops Cane Poles with Kit - 8' - 2-Piece - Rods
Click Picture to Buy

Make your own homemade Cane Pole Dispenser by purchasing a cane pole then drill a small plastic cup to the end of the pole.

Fill the cup with chum and slowly extend the pole over the water and drop the chum in the area where you will be casting.




The Ultimate Bait BombBait Bombs made from stainless steel on chains

This Bait Bomb is made by Colin Gray of South Africa call him at 0824408681 and maybe he will make you one. They are attached to buoy's while spearfishing to attract Sharks hence the need for chains. Fill the dispensers with chunk bait, carcases, or fish heads to attract the Shark and other big fish.
For more information and image sources

Bait Bomb diagram









gold line
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