For those of you who have or are considering the X-Tools system, I have written this article for you.
The original X-Tools system floats are widely considered to be too stiff. They cause fish to have to fight against the float instead of swimming normally while in the live well. We also had a few people post pictures and descriptions of their modifications. As I had experienced the fish stress caused by these floats, I decided to do these modifications as well. I documented the process so that anyone else who was interested could do the same.
I went to my local hardware store and purchased the following:
One 30 foot spool of .105 diamater trimmer line
14 3/16" cable crimps
Total cost for these items was $13.80.
I then took out my X-Tools Culling floats and began the modification process.
Here are all of the items involved in the process.
The first step was to determine the length of trimmer line to use. My calculation determined that 8" per float was sufficient. I cut 7 pieces 8" in length.
For the next step, I removed the center bar from both ends of the X-Tools Culling floats. I used a Dremel to cut the sections and to shape/smooth the ends that I will be using.
After all sections were removed, I began the re-building process. I threaded the trimmer line through one side of the cable crimp, threaded it through the number end of the culling float, then back through the cable crimp. I then used a standard set of dykes to crimp the connection. Next, I threaded two 3/4" sections of shrink wrap onto the trimmer line. For the final step I threaded the trimmer line through a cable crimp, through one clip end of the culling floats and into the opposite side of the cable crimp, and crimped the cable crimp into place.
Finally, I slid the pieces of shrink wrap over the cable crimps and used a lighter to shrink them into place.
Here is the finished product.
The total modification time for all 7 floats was about 45 minutes. I really like the scale and the system, which is why I invested the additional money and time to make them more fish friendly. If you are interested in or have this system, please keep this article handy should you decide to use it.