Anderson Outdoors

712 S. Commerce

Kilgore, Texas


CalCoast Clip-N-Cull

So far I have only used these clips in a few tournaments. At this point I have mixed opinions.
Note that all the pictures below are from the CalCoast marketing materials.

Pros:  Clips open with one hand and lock securely on fish's lower jaw without puncturing lip
Cons:  Possibly damages lip, May cause problems with water flow over gills 

One of the main reasons I have purchased this culling system is the old style "diaper clips" don't seem to work for me. 

First, the old style clips are a little cumbersome to get attached for several reasons.  Once you get the clip opened, you have to decide where to "clip" the fish. You can either punch a hole in the fish's lip or run the clip against the gill plate.  Either option risks injuring the fish.  I don't personally think the small hole in the lip is a big deal.  However, after 6-8 hours in a live well with other fish, that hole can get a little streched out.  The resulting big hole might cause survivability issues for the fish.  Also, if you decide to clip the fish between the gill plate and the gills there are two problems.  You risk damaging the gills, and if the fish is 5 lbs or bigger some of the clips aren't long enough.  I'm not sure the latter is a really big deal, as I haven't caught many 5+ lb fish that I ended up culling before the tournament day ended.

Another issue is getting the cull tags to stay on the fish.  I think the fish have figured out how to open the old clips.  Well, not really, but I have had problems keeping them on fish.  And what good to cull tags do just floating around loose in the live well?  I really like the fact that the Clip-N-Culls have stayed on all day. In one particular case I caught a 3.5 lb largemouth around 7:30 am and the clip was still secure when we got to weigh-in at 3:00 pm.  In the past I have also had problems when multiple bass were in the live well together and the cables got wrapped around each other, enabling the fish to pull our of the clips.  This does not seem to be an issue with the Clip-N-Culls.  We will have to wait and see how this works with five bass in the 4-5 lb range all in the same live well...

I have had one situation so far where I think the clip may have damaged the fish's lip.  I'm not sure if it was clipped too tightly or if the fish having had it attached all day had managed to twist and turn in the well so much that it caused the damage.  What I do know, is that the fish's lip was noticable softer in the area where the clip was located.  Instead of being firm and hard, the lip was "mushy".  I am going to keep a closer eye on this in the future and I'll follow up with what I find.

I think a lot of thought went into the design of these culls.  As I mentioned they are designed to be opened and closed with one hand.  Also, instead of using nylon cord which can rot or steel cable which can rust, the cables on these are made of something like 100lb mono encased in rubber tubing.  The floats too seem to be of a slightly better material than the customary foam floats that seem to deform after accidentally setting a cooler down on them or letting the live well door close on one.  Also, they have a built-in weight hangers.  These allow you to add weight to the bottom of the cull to help keep the fish upright, like a weighted fin clip.

These culls come with a bag, which to me is totally useless.  Not sure how many people carry their culls in a seperate bag, I just clip them to the handle on my worm bag.  That way they are always easy to get to both in my boat or if I'm fishing in someone else's.  It is a nice thought, but the money could have probably been put to better use if they included a balance beam or a clip system for your livewell.

I also had some concerns that the size of the clip might interfere with the fish's ablility to get good water flow over its gills.  So far this does not seem to be an issue.  However, I have some tournaments coming up which will really put this to the test.  Lake water here is Texas easily gets up to 95 degrees at the surface and it is a constant battle to keep the live wells cool and oxygenated.  Any incumberance to the fish's ability to breathe will be quickly evident now that summer is here.

UPDATE 8/7/17:

I have now used these clips in a few more tournaments.  So far I have not had any fish die due to the clips.  I have noticed that if the clips are not completely closed (meaning to the tightest setting), the fish can get them loose, especially larger fish.  I really like the ease of opening and closing them with one hand.  Also, unlike all my other culls, the floats are keeping their shape and have not faded.