RE:In praise of the Chum and Single Malts
Good grief. This is becoming a board of clones.
How 'bout assigning Chums a more fitting elixir and leave the single malts for steelhead, coho and Atlantics? I propose the true potable for chums be Rum! Dark, strong, with 150 proof authority. Very analogous to our beloved canine-studded aggressor of the rain-swollen freshets.
I started fishing for chums down here in Tillamook about 20 years ago, when the word was (promulgated by the self-serving interests of commercial fishermen, no doubt) that they wouldn't bite in fresh water. One day, while trying for early steelhead, I hooked about twenty of the things, one right after the other, and had an absolute ball doing so. These fish, given the fact they didn't bite, seemed remarkably adept at getting themselves snagged in the snoot and certainly caused a commotion when they did. I remember cursing the sun as it set because it marked the end of one of the most enjoyable fishing days I have ever had.
There are a couple of little rivers here with chum runs and it's always fun to poke along these streams when the fish are in and survey anglers for broken rods. This seems a hallmark of the chum--I don't know how many broken rods I come across (broke a 10 wt Sage of mine twice on these things), but there have been plenty.
In regards bright and the fish's table qualities: in Tillamook, when they come in on the tide, they are still bright. Females particularly are silver, but fade very quickly. I've caught bright males, but never with good numbers of scales still attached. The brightest males I catch typically have that black line and side bars already showing, but I think these are better table fish that the brighter females, which seem to go mushy in a hurry.
Several of my friends find chums great for steaking and barbecuing. I like to smoke them, because the have so little fat and keep forever. Friends I send smoked chum to seem to like it, although I stopped killing them years ago when our streams went to catch and release.
so join me shipmates, we'll break into the barrel, and hoist a toast of Nelson's Blood to the piratical Chum