In the past, I have written several articles on culling bass. The articles were about the proper handling of fish, maintaining proper water chemistry, culling clips and scales. The main theme of all of these articles were to help fishing men and women keep their fish alive. The most important point of these articles was to help increase the percent of fish being released alive and in good health.
Handling fish properly is a no brainer to most people. However, I see people drop or place the fish in the bottom of the boat (on carpet) a lot. Doing so removes the fish’s protective slime and increases the risk of sores and infection. I know at times it is unavoidable to place a fish in this situation, however, it should be limited or prevented if at all possible. Previous articles talked about using chemicals (Catch & Release or Rejuvencade) in the live-well to help replenish the fish’s protective slime and a reduction of stress placed on the fish while in the live-well. One article talked about proper pH and oxygen levels in the live-well. These chemical levels can be maintained in the live-well with the help from the Fish O2 by T&H Marine (www.thmarine.com) or devices like it. The article about culling covers the culling tags I prefer which are the Berkley colored culling cords with hole-less clips from Pure Fishing. The scale I use is either the X-Tool scale or the new Berkley Culling scale from Pure Fishing. (Go to article archives to read past articles.)
I give this history to explain how much time I have spent trying to keep my fish alive in tournaments and during the process of culling fish. However, I am still running into one problem over and over. The problem is which fish to cull next. It seems like every tournament I fished in 2008 in which fish were culled I had two fish that were twins. I used my balance beam to decide which fish to cull next. The problem was it may be several hours before culling again. “Old-timers” had set in and I forgot which color tagged fish to cull, resulting in me rebalencing the two smallest fish again. This is a major problem for two reasons: wasted fishing time and re-handling the fish 3, 4 or 5 times. Rehandling the fish places stress on the fish handled as well as the other fish in the live-well being moved around to catch the two smallest fish to be culled.
I had set out to solve this problem of keeping up with which fish to cull next several months ago. My wife and I went to Bass Pro Shop to look at and possibly buy the Ardent culling tags. These tags have a round float attached which is a weight recorder. It will record weights up to 15 pounds. The first problem I had with these tags was Bass Pro Shop did not have any in stock and the second is that the ball on the tag is a big float. Referring to an old article, my experience with tags with floats causes more stress to the fish, are hard to keep in the fish’s mouth if you use hole-less clips and make smallmouth bass thrash and jump in the live-well as well as out of the live-well when the live-well lid is open.
When I returned home from BPS, I had an email from the person who invented Accu-Cull Culling System. I called the inventor after looking at the product on the internet and told him I would purchase one of his units. After receiving the unit and using it, I concluded it would solve my problem. The Accu-Cull unit is all plastic so water is not an issue and no parts will rust. The Accu-Cull unit is easy to mount on the live-well lid, another compartment lid or does not have to be mounted. The Accu-Cull unit keeps the weight of one to seven fish and up to 9.99 pounds for each fish. I agree with the inventor. He told me, if he had a bass over 9.99 pounds then he did not think it would ever be culled. The Accu-Cull unit works with colored culling tags or numbered culling tags. It is numbered one through seven as well as colored: white, green, orange, yellow, red, blue and grey/black.
The Accu-Cull Culling unit is going to work for me whether I am only trying to keep up with the next fish to cull or keeping up with the total weight of the whole limit.