America Go Fishing man holding snook fish

Fish Chum Grinders

Fish Chum & Chumming > Grinders

Ground chum coming out of chum grinderThere are many varieties of fish chum, burley, ground bait, and bait grinders used to make fish chum. You can purchase one or make your own grinder. Typically one of the following is used to make fish chum:

  • Meat Grinders - manual or electric
  • Food Processors & Blenders
  • Manual Meat Mixers
  • Power Drill Mixers
  • Wood Chippers
  • Homemade Grinders - Garbage Disposal Units, Macerator Pumps

Super Bass-O-Matic '76

The most famous chum grinder appeared on Saturday Night Live in 1976. Dan Akyroyd demonstrated how to use the Bass-O-Matic to make delicious bass milkshakes.

Meat Grinders

Meat grinders are not used much these days. Dig around in your garage or basement and you may find grandma's old grinder. Hunters and people who raise there own livestock use grinders to process meat.

Most models, whether new or old, have much smaller plates which makes grinding a laborious job and produces fine chum that disperses quickly. The best grinders for making fish chum are #32 heavy duty meat grinders that have 3/4" to 1" grinder plates; these grinders produce large chunks which is ideal for fish chum. You can buy hand crank manual models or if you plan on making a lot of chum often, spring for a professional electric model, although the convince of an electric model is costly.

Features to consider when shopping for a grinder:

  1. Size - #32 is best
  2. Plates - 3/4" to 1"
  3. Hopper - the larger the better, can it handle a whole fish head?
  4. Manual Hand Cranks - handle or wheel pulley which is less laborious
  5. Electric Models - motor size or for a boat a DC motor to connect to the battery
  6. Base - bolt down, clamp on, or table top
  7. Housing material - stainless steel (corrosion resistant), zinc coated cast iron, or tin coated
  8. Pounds per minute/hour - how much ground meat can be produced per minute or hour
  9. Warranty - the longer the warranty the better the product

Boat models (either manual or electric) come attached to their own cutting board and some come with a gimbal pole attachment for mounting so you can drop the whole unit into a fishing pole holder built into your boat. More expensive electric models come with a DC motor to power the unit from your boat battery.

Manual Mixers

These stainless steel manual mixers are used for making sausage, but why not use them to make fish chum. They have large hoppers and come in many sizes to hold from 20 lbs. to 50 lbs. of blood and guts.

Just add your ingredients and turn the handle to make your magic chum mix. The only drawback to these units is you have to invert the unit to get the ground ingredients out. Have a large pan or container nearby to dump your finished mix. Cleaning these unit is easy, just hose them down and your done.

food processor

Food Processors

Food processors are great for grinding up bread, small bait fish, shrimp, or any thing that is not too bony that will fit in it's intake hole. Just blend it up and package.

Don't use your household food processor, you will never get the fish smell out of it; buy a used food processor at a thrift shop or new one for the sole use as a chum maker.


Blenders are great for making chum except you must do many small batches or you will end up with soup. If you missed it, view the famous Super Bass-O-Matic '76 at the top of this page. Here is another video showing a blender grinding a Tilapia called Will It Blend? - Tilapia-O-Matic.

Or how about this one Will It Blend? - Oysters

stainless steel mixer for power drill

Power Drill Mixing

Using a power drill with a paint mixing attachment mixes up your chum quickly. These attachments can be purchased in any hardware store.

Use them the same as a hand mixer, but they do take a lot more muscle to hold on to them. Reduce the speed of the drill if the mix is light or you will have chum flying from the bucket.

You can mix up your chum in a 5-gallon bucket, put a lid on it and go chumming.


Multi Choppers make handy devices to make chunk chum or to get larger pieces to a more suitable size for processing in a blender, food processor or chum grinder.

This could be messy so be sure to situate your unit out side where you can hose the area after your done.

Wood Chippers

A wood chipper is the most fun of all, that is if you have a lot of fish to grind. Put the chipper into your cooler next to your fish cleaning station, and filler up.

There are cheap, $100, units available that are small and can be put over a bucket or cooler to grind your chum. With a wood chipper it can take 10 minutes to make chum and an hour to clean up the mess if your not careful. One user reports making 12 buckets of chum in 30 minutes with a 5 hp chipper that cost $75.

Use the wood chipper outside as it can be very messy, but fun. Wear an apron so you don't ruin your clothes, the smell is hard to get out of clothes. Some anglers have an annual chum making party, producing enough chum for them for the whole fishing season.

Attention Charter Captains: Go-Green and make chum for their next charter. Setup the wood chipper next to your fillet table and drip your carcases in after filleting. Not only will your be recycling your carcases, but you will put on a good show for your clients! Watch this video to see a wood chipper in action!


Homemade Chum Grinder Setups

Here is the most powerful homemade setup:

  • #32 Meat Grinder with V-belt pulley
  • 1/2 HP Motor

Mount both onto a board and you will be grinding as fast as you can feed your ingredients in. Below are many examples.


Homemade Electric Grinder Setup homemade grinder on wood stand
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Turn your manual meat grinder with a pulley handle into an electric version by adding a motor. Attach a belt to the pulley and the motor and your done. Mount this finished unit on a piece of plywood with legs attached, high enough to allow a bowl or pan to be placed below the grinder to catch your ground chum. Now you have a portable station, ready for your next chum making adventure.


Home made electric grinder
Source: showphoto.

Here is another version of the motor attached to the pulley. See how the motor is elevated to increase the motor speed. It is also mounted on a board so it is easy to move around and store.

Grinder with long motor

This grinder setup was sold in an auction for the estate of Roy Weppler at


Electric motor with two pulley attached to chum grinder

This setup is designed to run at just the right speed for grinding meat and bones. The tension of the belts cannot be too tight or loose, they need to stay in place when the grinder hiccup's when it hits a bone. For the spec's on this setup, check out their website, link under picture.


Grinder with a motor in a box Close up of the motor attached to the grinder in a box
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How about a chum grinder in a beautifully finished box, this guy is ingenuous! Check out more pictures of this grinder in action and details on it's construction.


Homemade Electric Meat Grinder in Cage Homemade Electric Meat Grinder in Cage

This setup was created for making homemade cat food, but it can easily be used to make fish chum. The first picture is the front, see the sheet metal exit ramp so the ground meat is directed to a bucket. The second picture shows the details of the pulley system. This grinder is mounted on an old fish tank stand and the wire enclosure is to keep his cats away from the unit when he is grinding.


Grinder Station
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This grinder was made in 2007 by Mr. Sandman of Martha's Vineyard. He used scrap starboard and a outdoor HD light switch and hooked into it with a 50' of cord. A heavy duty 3/4 hp motor mounted under the sealed starboard turning 1750 rpm to a 90 deg, 30:1 reduction gear coupled to a big meat grinder. The grinder gets about 1 rps of pure power.


Insinkerator attached to a table

This Insinkerator Trolly setup from New Zealand is slick, portable, and not as messy as other homemade setups. This setup was designed for making paper, but it can easily be used for making burley. This setup is made from a insinkerator or a garbage disposal unit, as we call them in the US. Notice how the exit tube goes straight into a bucket.

Another idea I read was to put a garbage disposal unit into an old sink or stand alone wash tub. Put your bucket below the unit and grind away. Note: you do need to adapt the power cord with a wall plug.


Leaf & Limb Grinder setup video for a custom made setup using a leaf & limb chipper.

Grinder made from a gunNow this grinder is a bit unusual, a "Gun Grinder"?

According to the article, this novelty gun was a give-a-way for new NRA members.

I sincerely doubt if it has any practical applications for making fish chum as the exit plate is too small, but it is interesting.

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