The best carp cradle should, ultimately, protect the carp from any damage during the unhooking, weighing and photographing process.
There are many styles of cradle, including low profile where you kneel on a pad low to the ground. Others, known as cots, are raised by building a fish-friendly fabric into a frame.
Whatever cradle you’re looking for, I’ve chosen many styles, shapes and sizes to suit your preference.
If you’re looking to ‘step-up’ your fish care from the standard unhooking mat, check out my list of the best fishing cradles below!
NGT Pop-up Cradle
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.
NGT Pop-up Cradle Features
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
Leeda Rogue Cradle
Best Cradle - Value For Money
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.
In conclusion, this is a great cradle suited for beginners that may not want to throw money at an expensive cradle.
On the other hand, we’d have no hesitation using this for on a day session.
Great job from Leeda here.
Leeda rogue Cradle Features
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)
Nash MK3 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!
Nash mk3 Cradle Features
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)
more Nash Cradles
Below, I’ve highlighted some additional Nash cradles that you may prefer over the MK3.
JRC Cocoon Hi-Care Cradle
They’ve opted for a ‘telescopic leg’ option here – which 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).
This isn’t too shabby – I’m just not overly keen on the crossed leg design but we could be wrong?
The cradle is very spacious compared to other models of a similar price. However, it isn’t as tall as others so may not suit those who don’t like to bend down too much.
Overall though, this is a robust cradle thats not too hard on your pocket either!
JRC Cocoon Cradle Features
Size: 120cm x 69cm x 43cm
Tough, Nylon Carry Bag
Easy to Transport
Small Outer Pocket for unhooking accessories
Alternate JRC Cradle
Not a cradle but the JRC Beanie Mat is also fully padded for the ultimate in fish protection.
Great for day sessions where you can stay mobile as you stalk carp around the lake.
Fox Deluxe Carpmaster Cradle
Best Cradle - Editors Choice
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!
Fox Carpmaster Cradle Features
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
In-Depth Video Review
Related Fox Cradles
I’ve includes some alternate cradle options below, although the Carpmaste Deluxe is my choice!
Fox XL Carpmaster Cradle
Water drainage holes at each end
Easy to clean
Easy folding frame
210Denier soft-touch PVC fabric
Avid Carp Folda Cradle
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, the Avid Carp Folda is a, standard, decently priced 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!
Avid Carp Folda Cradle Features
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
More Avid Carp cradles
If the Folda cradle isn’t quite what you’re looking for, I’ve selected a couple of similar cradles below.
Carp Cradle - Amazon's Current Best Sellers
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!
JRC Carp Care Video
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?
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!)
Until next time – enjoy your angling!
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Last update on 2020-04-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API