Chum Magic: Gary Burghoff’s brilliant fishing invention

The medical proceedings on M*A*S*H seemed to get by on hope, duct tape, and Radar's meticulous organization

As the war waged on, it was easy for the (fictional) soldiers in Korea to think they were in it all alone, with little sent from back home. It was lucky, then, that Walter “Radar” O’Reilly paid such close attention to detail. Radar painstakingly sorted through and delivered precious mail, and often anticipated everyone’s needs before the others were even aware of those requirements.

It’s delightful to learn that Gary Burghoff shared some of those qualities with the character he played on M*A*S*H. Just as Radar foresaw demands before they were spoken, so did Burghoff understand what people needed.

Gary Burghoff understood the need for a better lure. He was an avid fisherman and took the hobby seriously enough to think critically about it. That’s why he invented Chum Magic, a new, innovative kind of lure to attract fish. According to him, it would yield three times as many catches for the average fishing trip!

Here is, in its entirety, the abstract from the invention’s listing on the online Justia Patents database:

“An apparatus and method is disclosed for an enhanced fish attractor device for use on the surface of a body of water to entice fish. The enhanced fish attractor device comprises a body member having a volume for floating the body member on the surface of the body of water. The body member supports a porous container for receiving the chum material enabling the chum material to migrate through the porous container into the body of water for luring fish thereby. An audible generator and/or an illuminator generate an audible output and/or illuminate the body of water to attract fish thereby. An optional plurality of flexible webs extend from the body member into the body of water for simulating seaweed.”

Chum Magic was just one of several patents Burghoff filed throughout his life. He also invented a toilet seat lifting handle and an enhanced version of the classic fishing rod. What a guy!

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