Carp Cradle or Unhooking Mat?
Are you looking for a carp cradle that’s easy to transport?
Maybe you’re looking to ‘step-up’ from an unhooking mat?
These are questions that carp anglers like yourself are asking.
We’ve chosen the TOP 6 CARP CRADLES !
Why Choose A Carp Cradle?
Things To Consider
The style and shape
How easy is it to transport and store?
Size – will it adequately hold the size of carp you can expect to catch…
Quality – choose a brand you trust (such as Fox or Nash)
Setting a budget – carp cradles can range from £20 up to £100!
Since their inception way back in 2002, carp cradles are available in a range of styles, sizes and shapes.
One of the most popular are low-profile oval types – such as the Fox Carpmaster Cradle.
"The low-profile allows you to keep the fish as low to the ground as possible."
Likewise, but just as effective, are frame-style carp cradles.
The fish-friendly mesh is effectively built into the frame, allowing them to remain compact when not in use.
One example of this style is the Nash KNX Cradle below.
Both styles offer a strong presence towards caring for the fish – and you!
They also make the whole weighing process easier!
"Frame Style cradles can be stored away compactly"
Why Carp Care IS Important
With ‘Carp Care’ under the microspoic frequently these days, from holding techniques to treating any diseases you may spot, are important in making sure you return the fish to the water safely and securely.
Carp cradles really do provide for this.
The fish can feel secure with the additional ‘wall’ surrounding it – whilst retaining more water than an unhooking mat.
Some can be adjusted height-wise, whilst also provide some padded kneeling areas for better comfort to the angler!
The ‘Asylum Mat’ by Gardner Tackle shows how the walls ‘protect the fish at all costs’.
(This is kind of an unhooking mat/cradle hybrid – so if you’re fond of the mat style, make sure you check it out!)
** A cradle really helps you take those treasured carp photos!
The guys over at Wychwood have produced a superb article that is worth a read >> Basic Fish Care: Are You Doing It Right?
(or, alternatively, we’ve selected a great video below!)
So, let’s count down the very best carp cradles starting with a decent, budget conscious cradle from NGT….
Enjoy This JRC Carp Care Video
NGT Pop-up Cradle Review
"Pop-up style unhooking mats are becoming more popular because they offer a very fast setup"
For beginners, or those who want to sample a carp cradle for the first time – this carp cradle review is for the budget minded and worthy of consideration.
With it’s quick pop-up design and detachable padded mat, this is actually pretty decent.
It can be pegged down which secures it ready for your catch, whilst its light enough to be transported easily.
In conclusion, the NGT Carp Cradle is well worth a gamble on a day session or two!
Overall – a good improvement to an unhooking mat and great value for money.
Leeda Rogue Cradle Review
The Rogue Carp Cradle utilises a ‘frame-style’ design thats again, ideal for beginners.
The 3-leg aluminium frame is stable which can be compacted down to a reasonable size. There are carry straps so you can freely move to your desired location – assisted by strong carry straps.
Nash MK3 Carp Cradle Review
"This is truly a 'Big Carp' cradle."
The ‘daddy’ of cradles, the Nash MK3 is an absolute beast designed to hold big carp!
From a top brand aimed at serious carp anglers, this provides for safe fish retention for unhooking or photography.
It folds down in two sections for ease of transportation with the legs capable of been adjusted to suit your height.
The quality really does help with eliminating back pain often occurring when handling carp out of the water.
A high quality cradle that’s more than capable of handling big carp.
The Nash MK3 is certainly built to last and more importantly, provides excellent care not only for the fish, but better for your back and knees!
JRC Extreme Cradle Review
"The telescopic legs means this is works well on uneven terrain."
They’ve opted for a ‘telescopic leg’ option here – which I suppose makes it easier to fold down and pack away?
The padding uses 420D polyester foam for peace of mind, with a lovely velcro cover (most cradles provide for this).
"The cover really makes this easy to put away and keep its fish-ready!"
This isn’t too shabby – we’re just unsure with the crossed leg design but we could be wrong?
It seems very spacious compared to other models which may not suit those who don’t like to bend down too much.
Overall though, it looks like a robust cradle thats not too heavy on your pocket either!
Fox Carpmaster Review
- Mucus-friendly High Walls
- 80mm Padding
- Velcro Tabs securing the zips
- EVA Grab Handle
- Folds down small for easy storage/transportation
- Zip Pocket
- Dimensions: L 125 cm x W 65 cm x H 28 cm
Another trusted carp brand, the ‘Carpmaster Cradle’ simply sits freely on the ground – meaning there is no frame here.
There is however thick 80mm foam padding and we adore the ‘oval’ shape of this!
The outer material is made from Ven-Tec fabric (100% polyester) with the padding a mix of polyethylene and polyurethane for the chemistry enthusiasts amongst you!
Anyway, this retains carp safely (it does the job intended) for unhooking and taking carpy photos.
The unique design allows one side to be folded inwards so you can kneel down comfortably with the other side sitting proud to protect the fish.
Internal zip baffles gives additional carp protection.
A great cradle for mobile carp anglers.
The sleek oval design is simple to use and makes the carp and yourself very safe and comfortable throughout the whole process – a top job from Fox!
In-Depth Video Review
Avid Carp Folda Cradle Review
"Another low-profile cradle that offers plenty of padding, and straps for security."
- Unique fold-flat design
- 150D Breathastop Material
- Stiff Side Panels
- Removable, wipe-clean Mat
- Built-in Fish Calming Cover
- Webbing Straps & Handles
- Carry Bag Included
- Size: 107 cm x 25 cm x 70 cm
- Weight: 3.3kgs
We’ve discovered that Carp cradles seem to be split into either a frame design, or a low profile ‘folding’ system.
This falls into the latter category – where this cradle has padded side panels that fold neatly so it can be packed away to make storage and transportation easy.
The internal mat can actually be removed – so you can wipe this down ready for your next catch!
It comes supplied with a carry bag, webbing straps – to secure everything, and carrying handles.
Made from durable Breathstop material, there is also a cover to calm the fish.
Overall, this is a pretty standard carp cradle that does the job required.
For anglers that don’t want anything that is bulky or awyward to transport, the Avid Folda Cradle could be the one for you!
Carp Cradle Round-up
That just about rounds up the Best Carp Cradles for today – but we may add to this list in the future!
We’ve suggested a few styles, shapes and carp cradle designs to suit your budget (and relieve your backache!)
Thank you for reading – be sure to check out our fantasitc ‘Carp Rod Glossary‘ to help you decde which carp rod to choose!
Until next time – enjoy your angling!