View Full Version : A Guide To Landing Nets, Weigh Slings & Unhooking Mats

15-03-2011, 19:42
Landing Nets

Landing nets are usually a matter of personal choice and budget. The size of the net will be determined by the size of the fish you could possibly catch. The net should be large enough to safely net a carp of whatever size you may catch in the water your fishing. A landing net of 42" net is required on most waters, and some fisheries insist on this or sometimes larger nets.

The mesh used on landing nets vary a lot and the finer meshes are generally better for carp, especially mirrors, as they are less likely to catch on their scales and damage them. Some landing nets have a larger holed mesh near the frame and a finer holed mesh in the bottom of the net. Try to buy for a fairly small soft mesh. Landing net frames vary in build and the better of these nets will collapse fairly quickly if needed when landing a carp. This allows the fish to be lifted by the net frame, using both hands. This is a much safer way than trying to lift a net full of carp by a long handle, which is bending and looking like it might snap. If the frame doesn't easily collapse, then support it with one hand to take the weight of the fish in the net.

Handles again come in many shapes, sizes and materials, from aluminium ones and two-piece telescopic types, to carbon fibre models of one two and even three sections. Whilst the last ones are much lighter to transport and use, some cheaper models will not withstand the weight of a good carp and may snap just at the wrong moment. If your not entirely sure of the net you should buy, seek the advice of a local tackle and try to get a good balance between weight and strength to suit the net you are using.

Unhooking Mats

This is an essential piece of kit whatever size of carp you are fishing for. You see so many anglers laying their catch on the grass while they unhook them, which may in some cases not do any harm, what if there are sharp sticks, sharp stones under that patch of grass, or even a piece of glass, what happens then ? what if your catch flaps about and bounces off of the grass onto gravel or concrete. ? An unhooking mat need not be an expensive item of kit, and can save a carp from un-needed damage to its fins and scales.
Some better unhooking mats or carp cradles have raised edges to stop the carp from being able to flip off, and some have flaps and covers, some even have Velcro covers to enable them to double as weigh slings, but be careful, as a heavy carp will slide about and pull Velcro apart easily. Whatever type of unhooking mat or carp cradle you choose, it will better than laying a carp straight on the ground.

If you are looking for an unhooking mat that offers really good protection for value, then you could a lot worse than pick up a fox stalker beanie unhooking mat or the nash beanie unhooking mat, both filled with sponge and poly balls, both very good pieces of kit that dont cost a fortune, you can pick them up for between 25 - 30.

Weigh slings

Most weigh slings on the market will serve the purpose there made for quite well, from the lower cost soft net type of sling to the more expensive retainer slings, and again budget will largely determine your choice. Do make sure that whatever type you choose, it is kept in good condition and is not likely to rip as you lift a carp off the ground. Give them a rinse after fishing and hang them up at on the washing line at home, this helps keep any nasties at bay. As mentioned above, some unhooking mats double as weigh slings, and this saves having to move a fish from mat to sling before it can be weighed. If you decide on this type, make sure that the fastenings used will support the weight of the carp and it cannot slide out during weighing.

Anyone feel free to add to this :tu:

the nowed serpent
15-03-2011, 23:31
If you have an unhooking mat that doesn't act as a sling then just lay your sling onto the mat thus saving an extra bit of juggling, this is especially helpful when a grass carp is involved as for some reason this species often doesn't start to really fight until you lay it on the mat to unhook and take your pics :think: No idea why but I've seen this with most grassies, ideas anyone or is it just the ones down south :?: