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 the questions that carp anglers like yourself are asking.
We’ve chosen the TOP 6 CARP CRADLES below, which offer a mixed variety and good value for money.
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!
Why Choose A Carp Cradle?
Since their inception way back in 2002, carp cradles are available in a range of styles, sizes and shapes.
There are low-profile oval types – such as the Fox Carpmaster (not too expensive either!).
Alternatively – but just as effective, are the ones ‘built into a frame’ such as the Nash KNX Cradle(this is a top cradle btw!)
Both styles offer a strong presence towards caring for the fish – and you!
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!
Do You Want To Learn More About Carp Care?
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….
NGT Pop-up Cradle Review
For beginners, or those who want to sample a carp cradle for the first time – we begin with a budget cradle!
With it’s quick pop-up design and detachable padded mat, this is actually pretty decent.
It can be pegged down to secure everything ready for your catch – whilst light enough to transport easily.
Quick Folding Pop-up Design
Only 1.65kg – including carry case and pegs
Detachable, well padded mat
Size: 108 cm x 50 cm x 20 cm
This NGT Carp Cradle is well worth a gamble on a day session or two!
Overall – a good improvement to an unhooking mat.
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.
3 Leg Aluminium Frame
Large enough for a 30-40lb Carp
Perfect for light travellers
Size: 102 cm (l) x 66 cm (w) x 30cm (h)
Not bad this – seems well built and as before, well suited to a quick day session on venues where cradles are required.
Nash MK3 Carp Cradle Review
The ‘daddy’ of cradles – this beast is 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.
Very safe for large fish
Relieve Backache or Knee Trouble
Strong, Robust Frame
Good Water Retention
Size: 100cm(l) x 68cm(w) x 36cm(d)
A high quality carp cradle that’s more than capable of handling big carp. Built to last and more importantly, provides excellent care for the fish and the angler’s back or knees!
JRC Extreme Cradle Review
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).
Size: 120cm x 69cm x 43cm
Tough, Nylon Carry Bag
Easy to Transport
Small Outer Pocket for unhooking accessories
Yeah, 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 – apart from that, it looks like a robust cradle. Not too heavy on your pocket either!
Fox Carpmaster Review
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.
Mucus-friendly High Walls
Velcro Tabs securing the zips
EVA Grab Handle
Folds down small for easy storage/transportation
Dimensions: L 125 cm x W 65 cm x H 28 cm
A great cradle for mobile carp anglers. A great oval design that is simple to use and make the carp and yourself very safe and comfortable throughout the whole process – a top job from Fox!
Avid Carp Folda Cradle Review
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.
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
Overall, this is a pretty standard carp cradle that does the job required – and if your after something that isn’t bulky – this has to be considered!
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!
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