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Swimbait Article


Berkley Culls First Batch Cullshad Swimbaits


Date: 6/30/23
Tackle type: Swimbait
Manufacturer: Berkley
Reviewer: Zander



Introduction: Berkley is literally asking customers to "cull" all the first run Cullshad swimbaits to address a production issue that is affecting swimming action, and launches a process to replace the baits with properly manufactured ones.


Berkley's Cullshad was launched this past Spring and is available in both 6" and 8" sizes


Culling the Cullshad: The Berkley Cullshad is a soft bodied swimbait that features a pre-rigged treble hook connected via a harness to the bait's inner core. When launched this past Spring many anglers compared it to the Megabass MagDraft. Berkley put their own spin on the design with their honeycomb tail design and the infusion of PowerBait scent.


While some Cullshads were fine there were reports that some of the baits didn't swim well at all speeds, especially when slow rolled. Some anglers reported that their baits were not swimming straight, or leaning over during retrieves, and upon investigation by Berkley's quality assurance team the company identified that there were lures in the first run batch that did indeed have issues, and did not meet the company's QA standards.


We asked Berkley about the details of the issues and they stated that the issues include "inconsistencies in the baitís hardness and some deformities, both of which have negatively compromised the baitís action which does not allow it to work as designed."


The Cullshad features a familiar treble hook harness design with Berkley's Honeycomb tail and is infused with PowerBait


So what is Berkley doing about the issue? Berkleyís Senior Vice President of Marketing, Jon Schlosser issued a statement, "We have a responsibility to anglers nationwide to guarantee that each product performs according to its intended design. Therefore, we are proactively taking steps to address the concerns related to the CullShad by implementing a replacement program for affected customers, aiming to ensure their utmost satisfaction in light of the inconsistencies found within the first batch of baits."


We have all gotten baits that haven't performed quite like we hoped, or failed earlier than we expected, but for a bait company to do a complete cull and replacement of their entire first production run is unprecedented. We talked to Berkley and they told us that they have identified the root cause of the issues and are already in production a new round of baits that meet their standards and by the end of August the new round of baits will first be sent to consumers to replace the previously released baits and then they will resume shipping to retailers.


Due to a production issue that potentially affects swimming action Berkley is asking their customers to "cull" their Cullshads


Culling Process: For any anglers that have any of the affected first round baits the process for replacement that Berkley provided is:


Berkley will replace any purchased CullShad at no cost with one that performs as it should. There is no need to return anything but rather follow these simple and straightforward instructions to receive a replacement CullShad in the same color and size that meets the high standards established in the design process:

1. Take a picture of your CullShad(s) on or next to a piece of paper detailing your name and the date youíre submitting the photo.

2. Visit www.berkley-fishing.com/cullshad-replacement to initiate the replacement process and upload your photo.

3. Fill in the required information and click submit. You should receive a confirmation email from Berkley.

4. All replacement requests must be received by July 31, 2023.

5. Replacement CullShad(s) will be shipped by the end of August.


While no manufacturer likes to admit production issues, or issue recalls, doing so quickly is the right thing to do, and it is good to see Berkley address this openly and engage customers directly with a no-cost replacement plan


Our Quick Take: While recalls are common in many industries they are relatively few and far between in the fishing industry. We have seen a few rod recalls but Berkley's re-cull is interesting in that it specifically addresses issues affecting the action of the product versus durability, and that Berkley is addressing the issue in a very public way. Rather than try and hide from the production issues, or work through their network of dealers, they are engaging end-users directly by posting about the issue on their official social media account and on the company's website. When I called Berkley's representatives to get more background about the production issue, and effect on the action, they didn't shy away from the conversation. While no manufacturer or brand looks forward to production issues, and any resulting impact to their brand, it is good to see them take responsibility for the issues publicly, and also try to make it right with a process that doesn't require any out of pocket expenses from anglers. Let the cull begin.










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