Keeping fish inspires product sales. Even if you eventually intend to release them, just a short term stay at the Hotel Livewell may require measuring boards, culling clips and rejuvenating chemicals to keep them alive. And if you’re going to drop ‘em in a hot grease bath, it’s still a product-intensive effort, starting with a fillet knife and ending with all sorts of seasoned coatings and deep fryers.
But immediate catch-and-release seems likely to be a low-commerce affair. As tournament circuits require and inspire all sorts of quicker releases, it becomes harder and harder for sponsors to monetize their products at that time. Yet one company seems to have done it, and I don’t know if it was by intent or by happenstance, or somewhere in between. I’d never heard of Brecknell scales until a few years ago. I’d seen plenty of other weighing products, from the old De-Liars, to various digital models, to the accurate-but-not-detailed-enough-for-my-use Boga. Then, suddenly, somehow the Brecknell ElectroSamson became the official scale of MLF. At some point, B.A.S.S. likewise started using them for their catch/weigh/release programs like the Bassmaster Texas Fest. Anytime money was on the line and some third party was weighing your fish, this seemed to be the scale of choice.
I’d been burned by many scales before. Some started off accurate and eventually became unreliable or crapped the bed. Others were never consistent to begin with, weighing a single fish at three different weights over an equal number of attempts. I wasn’t going to invest in this one if it wasn’t going to be at least close to right, so I talked to a couple of Elite pros who I consider not only hard on equipment but also highly critical of anything that doesn’t work perfectly. They both agreed that while it might not be 100% perfect, it’s pretty damn close, and better than anything else out there on a day to day basis. I went to Tackle Warehouse, plunked down the $69.99 (minus the 20% sale price, which still kept me above the free shipping line) and after a year plus I’ve been very pleased. I’m assuming that lots of others have been as well.
I don’t know what the folks at Brecknell paid for this product placement, but I’m guessing it was worth their while, because they are a scale company that now has a toehold in the fishing industry, rather than a fishing company taking a stab at entry into the scale business. Scales are what they do.