This has to be one of the biggest areas within carp fishing that everyone can influence and have a hand in improving. Fish care not only covers how we care for fish on the bank but also the angling situations we deem responsible to fish in, we wouldn’t purposely fish behind a set of reeds or in the middle of a snag where
losing or damaging a fish is a high probability. In the same way we all try to do our best to prolong the life of our quarry caring for and returning them with any sores treated with anti-septic giving the fish improved chance of growing older.
New XL High Care Mat
The High Care mat is a cradle designed to give the fish as much protection as possible when out of its natural environment. I use mine on both long and short sessions, it doubles up nicely to carry everything on short sessions, only problem is when I pack away everything ends up wet – This isn’t always such a bad thing as a wet mat means the session was productive and I haven’t blanked. The lid with its 4 velcro points still fastens after numerous sessions and holds everything in when carrying my tackle to the bank. It also works well for its intended use of keeping the carp from leaping out especially when carrying a fish back to the lake. Many of the fisheries that I fish, especially the syndicates now stipulate cradles only. I see this was only a matter of time and a small price to pay for the on-going care and survival of our quarry. The new XL High Care Mat has been improved on our earlier version.
Feedback from various sources were that the sides collapse after prolonged use, whilst I have encountered this the norm for many fisheries was to stack them on top of each other which only contributed to the problem. I would normally carry the cradle to the water, float it in the margins and lift the fish back into the lake, this could prove difficult as lifting from the cradle wasn’t always easy as it often comes down to the accessibility at the water’s edge. We have listened and these issues are a thing of the past, the new cradle has reinforced sides which I am sure will stand the test of time. The cradle still features the velcro lid along with a pocket for storing items such as forceps, anti-septic etc. It also has a thicker padded base than its predecessor and the foam inner has a plastic cover to prevent it from becoming waterlogged. Each end now has a zip so when releasing fish rather than having to lift them from the cradle in awkward situations it’s just a matter of floating the mat, unzipping and sliding the fish back. Care has been taken and a material overlap covers the zip from the inside so damage cannot be inflicted from the zip as the fish is slid back in to the lake.
Gone are the days of trying to wrestle the net arms from the sockets. Simply inserting your arm between the two carbon arms and releasing the tension easily allows the folding block to drop and swing out of the way. The net can then be easily removed from the pole to allow you to transport your catch to the unhooking mat.
The spreader block is also recessed to accommodate an isotope for easy location at night also aiding in knowing where the spreader block is when bringing a carp to the net at night. I am a fan of the weed green mesh, whilst it’s only a colour it looks better than the harshness of a black mesh. Whilst seen perhaps a tackle tart factor you wouldn’t believe the amount of anglers at the carp shows spending the extra time looking at the net because they liked the colour. The product is available in both 42” and 50” and both come with an “Anti Stink Sleeve”.
Specialist Plus 42”
I use one of these for the majority of my fishing due to the versatility afforded with the two part handle. It is excellent for boat work offering manoeuvrability in tight spaces.
Much of my short session fishing is done accompanied by this net as it folds away and is compact for transportation. This net incorporates a new carbon composite heavy duty spreader block replacing the earlier ‘easily broken’ spreader block.
This net doesn’t offer the quick release folding block mechanism of the Roamer or the split handle offered by the Specialist Plus but it does offer great value for money. The net does come with a nylon stuff bag and boasts the new carbon composite heavy duty spreader block employed in the Specialist Plus.
Zip Mat & Euro Zip Mat
I tend to use the Euro Zip mat for the majority of my stalking and short sessions, along with the Specialist Plus split handle net as it folds down and fits inside for easy carrying when walking and looking for fish.
The zip mat also fits nicely into the euro zip mat, when stalking one is ideal for sitting on in amongst the undergrowth leaving the second free for its intended purpose.
Offers a large padded area for protection with a polyball filled surround. ideal to help keep the fish on the mat. There is also a kneeling flap, ideal for some of the boggier waters you come across.
Standard & Maxi Unhooking Mat
The maxi and standard unhooking mats are lightweight and like the zip mat are ideal for stalking and short session fishing. Not as versatile as the zip mat but they offer protection for unhooking fish