Using Fish Chum When Spearfishing

By David Fialkoff •  Updated: 07/30/21 •  4 min read

There is a very controversial topic in the diving community over the use of fish chum when spearfishing.

Using chum when spearfishing is guaranteed to attract fish to your area. However, is this method of attracting fish to your dive spot allowed? Is it cheating? Let’s find out.

What is Fish Chum?

Fish chum is usually known as stink bait or ground bait. Most of the time, chum combines fish carcases and other morsels with a very strong fishy aroma that will attract other fish to the area. Stink bait usually contains blood and some oily parts of fish that emit dead fish in the water. The type of fish chum used depends on the species that you’re targeting, and the location that you’re diving in.

Is Chumming For Fish Illegal?

Chumming is illegal in some regions because it can pose danger to humans by luring sharks to feed. The state of Florida made it illegal to chum when shark fishing. There are other regulations from the FWC that prohibit you from using chum to target certain species of fish.

What Can I Use For Fish Chum?

There are various forms of fish chum out there. Most chums include ground-up pieces of dead fish, menhaden oil, oats, sand, and anything else that can put a bad stench in the water.

The stinkier the chum is, the better it’s going to work at attracting fish to your area.

Using Frozen Chum Blocks

Frozen chum blocks are an easy, effective, and relatively cheap way to attract all sorts of fish. Most species of fish will quickly pick up the scent and come to the area of the chum slick.

The most effective way to use a frozen chum block is to tie it to your boat and leave it in the water when fishing or spearfishing. This creates an oil slick that drifts in the direction of the current, and fish of all sorts attract to it.

Live-Bait Chumming

Using live bait to chum is when you throw dozens, even hundreds of live baitfish into an area. Other species of fish hear, see, and smell these new live baitfish being thrown into the water and quickly come for an easy meal. This method is commonly used when fishing for pelagic fish that don’t really stay in one area – they are always moving.

Does Using A Chum Block Work?

The answer is absolutely, yes. Using a chum block will certainly attract fish to your area when fishing or diving in salt water. The more chum you use, the higher the chance of large fish coming to your area to hunt.

But you need to be careful when chumming for fish, as this does attract sharks.

What’s A Chumming Flag?

A chumming flag is something you can use to let other boaters near you know that there’s chum in the water, which increases the likelihood of sharks being in the area.

Chumming flags are not required by any state rules or regulations, they are simply just a courtesy to other boaters nearby.

If a nearby boater sees that you have a chumming flag up, then they may be less likely to fish or dive in the area, as there is a risk for sharks to be there.

Here’s what a chumming flag looks like:

chumming flag


Chumming for fish is definitely going to increase the number of fish in the area that you’re fishing or diving in. However, there are risks associated with this. When using chum, you need to be aware that there are likely going to be sharks nearby.

When effectively using fish chum, you will be able to catch more fish and you’ll get to see the fish all fired up going for the free food that you’re giving them.

Hope you enjoyed this article! Let us know about your favorite type of chum in the comments below.

David Fialkoff

David Fialkoff is the founder of Spearfishing.Live, a site that's dedicated to the sport of spearfishing. He is a full-time digital marketer and loves to spend time chasing fish underwater on the weekends.