- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 25, 2007


After last Sunday’s article about charter captain Norm Bartlett’s campaign against chumming in the Chesapeake Bay, comments from area anglers for and against the long-time practice of chumming began to arrive. Bartlett fears that concentrated chum from many boats pollutes the water and depletes the dissolved oxygen in certain fishing hotspots. Because of space constraints, here are just a few e-mails and some of those had to be shortened:

Calvert County’s Barry Marseglia: “Do they consider chumming with clams [as] destroying the water column? If that’s the case, a ton of rockfish have died since the 1970s. I don’t know who in their right mind would ladle chum overboard without first thinking about what they are doing. [Chumming] comes down to getting the fish interested enough to come to the boat, not feed them. The thing about chumming is this: With the electronics and the maps available, nobody needs to chum! I like to chum once in a while, [but] I could easily live without it. ”

Norman Hendrickson of Bowie: “I love to fish the Chesapeake Bay, and have spent many happy hours seeking both rockfish and blues through the haze of a chum slick, but if the problems as outlined in Gene Mueller’s column are scientifically provable, then for the future of the region’s most valuable resource, we need to take whatever measures work, even if that means banning chumming. We do need to be careful, however, as the environmental movement and other groups associated with them, are not adverse to ignoring inconvenient evidence that runs counter to their claims in order to push their agenda.”

Chuck Adams of Pikesville: “Chumming is a good way to catch fish, messy as it is. However, I’m sure it’s not good for the bay. As far as the opposition goes, sometimes we must consider the greater good [a heck of a statement from a Goldwater conservative].”

Alexandria’s Brian Palazzolo: “I fish the Potomac almost exclusively, so I really don’t have a dog in this fight, but my impression is that without some strong scientific support, the assumption that chum is a pollutant is just that: an assumption. If it can be proven that the low-oxygen zones are exactly where the chum boats operate, and water samples from those zones are shown to have a much-higher than average percentage of chum, the theory might begin to hold water.”

— Gene Mueller

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