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Tool Review

Ardent's SmartCull is exactly what the name implies... Smartly Designed


Date: 12/22/08
Tackle type: Tools
Manufacturer: Ardent
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 9.00 + EDITORS CHOICE!

Introduction: Ardent introduces the SmartCull, a two stage culling system designed for tournament anglers to better manage fish in the livewell. The system allows anglers to cull by both color and weight and is designed to be both faster and easier to use than traditional marking systems.

Ardent SmartCull Specifications

Amount per pack 6
Material Impact Resistant Plastic
Additional Features Adjustable weight recording system, floating ball design, records up to 15lbs. 15oz., large clip design
Origin USA
Price $39.99

Impressions: When tournament fishing every second counts and each moment spent weighing fish is one more minute that your line isn't in the water. Ardent wanted to design a better way to cull fish than the current systems that are available. The company sought to create a system that was both easier to use, quicker to implement, and more accurate. 


Ms. Casey introduces the Ardent SmartCull


The SmartCull was first introduced at ICAST Las Vegas earlier this year, and was an addition to the company's line of accessories which also includes the "Rigger" multi-tool. We were handed a set of SmartCull balls by Jake Tippee who actually designed the system. Our first impression was that the balls looked very high quality and quite unlike the grease marker or colored tagging clip systems we were used to. The Ardent SmartCull helps anglers cull by a combination of metrics.


The SmartCull balls are constructed out of durable impact resistant plastic


This two stage system allows anglers to cull fish by color and weight. There are six buoyant, impact resistant balls in a set that don't require the need to use any accompanying markers or charts. Why six you might ask. Well, if you're culling that means you already have five fish in the livewell. The sixth ball allows you to set the weight of the sixth fish, toss it into the livewell while you find the ball with the fish that weighs the least to cull.


The two stage system allows anglers to identify fish by color and weight


Real World Tests: The sample we received at ICAST from Jake was a preliminary set and the silk-screening on the balls was not final. We purchased two more sets from Monster Tackle and conducted a four month long field test on the California Delta fishing for both largemouth bass and stripers.


Weights are dialed in by depressing the locking mechanism and rotating the dials


The SmartCull balls have two dials on each ball that are numbered from 0 to 15, thus you can record up to 15 pounds and 15 ounces. Setting the weight on the balls is both very quick and straightforward which is a good thing since seconds are all you can afford during a tournament.


An enlarged clip makes hooking fish on easy


Simply push one half of the ball in and then turn to select the proper number for the weight of the fish and when released it will lock into place. Attached to the ball is a durable stainless steel clip and a nine inch stainless steel cable with a protective rubber coating. The clip can either be inserted through the lower opening beneath the gills of the fish or pierced through the lip of the fish.


Anglers can go through the gill plate or pierce the lips of fish


Either way will hold fish in place but we actually found that piercing the fish in the lip, or even putting the clip through holes created by the original hookup caused less irritation to the fish. bass didn't seem to be affected negatively by the clip at all, stripers on the other hand seemed to be more sensitive and the lips of the fish would turn red. When it came time to release the fish they swam away confidently however.


Once clipped in the fish can be dropped and retrieved quickly in livewells


The Ardent SmartCull is extremely quick to use and saves time on both fronts. When it comes to dialing in the weight of the fish it only takes a quick rotation of the sides versus maintaining charts or using cards and markers. When it comes time locate the fish to cull it is as simple as reaching into your livewell and identifying the fish by ball color then checking the actual weight.


Large numbering makes it easy to dial in the correct weights


Our entire staff fell in love with this product as it allowed us to retrieve fish quickly at the end of field tests. The balls are highly buoyant and it has never been easier to extract fish from the livewell and release them. Because anglers are only weighing fish once versus weighing them over and over again for comparison the overall stress is reduced on the fish as well. 


Wires are crimped firmly in place and held up well in our durability tests


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