Carp Care: 5 of the Best Carp Unhooking Mats

This week we will be taking a look at five of the best carp unhooking mats on the market.

Carp care in general doesn’t get enough attention as it should and as long as we’re fishing for carp we should also be responsible for the quality and care of the fish swimming in our local waters.

On most waters these days carp mats are a prominent rule and not having one could get you banned permanently.

Things like carefully transporting a carp on the bank and treating any nicks or cuts with a carp care kit is important. But most importantly having a well padded and well designed carp mat to help you secure the carp for weighing and trophy shots will ensure no harm will come to your target species.

If you’re new to carp fishing or want to know more details on what to look out for when buying an unhooking mat we have included a short buyers guide below.

Hope you find this guide useful and as always if you have any questions, leave them in the comments below.

Let’s get started…

Wychwood Walled Unhooking Mat

  • Includes heavy duty materials to protect mat from damage
  • Comes with a padded kneeling area
  • Designed to be easily cleaned
  • Includes a velcro down, mesh fish cover
  • Can be also used without the wall
  • Carry handles included

Price – £74.99

You can find it here

Trakker Sanctuary Oval Crib

  • Includes a stiff high-sided outer wall
  • Comes with a folding soft thick foam base
  • Includes a removable inner lining that has been designed for easy cleaning
  • Water drainage system design
  • Zipped side pockets ideal for storing carp care kit
  • Carry handles included on the mat
  • Carry bag with heavy duty strap included

Price – £89.99

You can find it here

Fox Easy Mat

  • Includes a fish-safe protective cover
  • Boasts a rapid set up and pack away
  • 50mm foam base
  • Carry bag included
  • Comes in standard (L108cm x W50cm x H15cm) and XL (L119cm x W66cm x H18cm) sizes

Price – £67.99

You can find it here

Aqua Camo Combi Mat

  • Offers ultimate protection with its deep walled foam padding
  • Covered in a fish friendly fabric, a safety retaining flap
  • Designed to have a large surface area
  • Supplied in a sleeve protecting the contents
  • Featuring the new DPM Camo Aquatexx fabric
  • The shoulder strap makes it perfect for stalking when folded in half
  • Dimensions: 5cm (h) x 70cm (d) x 120cm (w)

Price – 79.99

You can find it here

Avid Carp SafeGuard Cradle

  • Has a collapsible frame design that folds shut
  • Fully padded interior and exterior
  • Made from fish-friendly materials
  • Boasts mesh section for better water drainage
  • Comes with cover flap to temporarily secure fish
  • Includes a carry bag
  • Comes in two sizes – Standard (90cm x 50cm) and Xl (120cm x 70cm)

Price – £70.95

You can find it here

Things to look out for when buying an unhooking mat

  • Avoid bean filled mats as these can easily tear and leave a trail of beans wherever you go
  • Unhooking mats that include a mesh fish cover and/or a protective wall are ideal especially if you tend to fish on your own and want to take great photos of your captures
  • Make sure the unhooking mat is a larger size and includes a thick padded foam base
  • Included D rings on the side can be super useful for pegging down the mat on windy days


Thanks for reading our top five unhooking mats for carp fishing guide.

If you have any comments or questions on any of the unhooking mats featured then let us know in the comments section below.

Make sure you subscribe to the blog if you haven’t already and check out another carp tackle review or tackle guide, we know you’ll find them useful!

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CTR Best Carp Tackle Awards 2017

This week we look at the tackle items that we reviewed this year which we feel beat all the others on the market.

Our CTR Best Carp Fishing Tackle Awards 2017 have been selected from our tackle review team and our readers.

Our awards are set out as a bit of fun and merely our favourite items we reviewed this year.

The awards cover the best rods, best reels, best alarms, best bivvy, best clothing range and best gadget we’ve used this year.

We wish everyone a happy new year, a big thanks for reading the blog and we’re looking forward to creating some unique and interesting content in the new year.

Let’s get started with our 2017 tackle awards…

Best Rods – Wychwood C-201 Carp Rods

With most high end rods going for as much as £300/£400, the Wychwood C-201 is the perfect mid range rod option.

The C-201 Carp Rods scream quality throughout and come with all the features you would expect from a high end rod but available at just under £100.

You can find our review of the Wychwood C-201 Carp Rods here.

Best Rods runners up: Daiwa Longbow DF, Fox Warrior S and Free Spirit CTX

Best Reels – Shimano Ultegra 14000 XTD Reel

shimano ultegra 14000 xtd

The Shimano Ultegra 14000 XTD Reels are well designed and well built throughout. One of the main features is the instant drag, going from taking line to a tight drag when playing the fish with a single turn.

The reel includes a unique slow oscillation and brilliant line lay, which means the line can pull off the spool fast, this can be great for distance casting, making the reels ideal for most European type waters.

These are excellent carp reels for the money and most likely, the best carp reels you will find for under £150.

You can find our Shimano Ultegra 14000 XTD Reel review here.

Runners up: Daiwa Windcast, Fox FX9 and Wychwood Riot-S Black Big Pit

Best Alarms – Delkim Plus Alarm

Delkim Bite Alarm and Illuminated Hangers

The main feature that sets a Delkim Bite Alarm apart from the rest is that Delkim use a vibration sensing technology. The vibration sensing technology is exclusive to Delkim and offers you more accurate sensitivity options which could result in more fish on the bank in theory.

The Delkim Plus Alarm includes 20 sensitivity options which is handy in different weather conditions and fishing at different distances evidently avoiding false bite indications.

You can find out more about the Delkim plus alarm range in our Delkim 25th Anniversary Plus Bite Alarm review.

Runners up: Gardner ATTs, steve neville mk2 and Nash Siren R3

Best Bivvy – AQUA Camo Atom

The AQUA Camo Atom became our overall favourite bivvy in this years best bivvy 2017 guide.

Boasted as the most compact, lightest pram hood bivvy available on the market it was a clear winner of the best bivvy award.

It’s purposely designed with the mobile angler in mind but is also perfect for small swims, canals and river fishing.

Runners up: Avid Tardis, Trakker Tempest and Chub RS Bivvy

Best Clothing Range – Trakker

trakker tshirt

The Trakker clothing range includes waterproof coats, joggers/combat trousers, t-shirt, hoodies.

All of the range items compliment each other and look great on and off the bank. Our top picks are the Aztec Hoodie and the Core Multi-Suit.

Runners up: Nash, Fortis and Fox

Best Gadget – RidgeMonkey Modular Bucket

ridgemonkey modular bucket

The RidgeMonkey Modular Bucket is essentially a modular, multi compartment bucket, ideal for separating bait and tackle.

The two lidded trays included can be kept inside or attached to the outside the bucket for extra convenience whilst on the bank.

The RidgeMonkey Modular Bucket is a super simple gadget perfect for separating and organising items such as lose feed, stick/bag mixes, hookbaits and ready to go rigs.

Runners up: Korda Tackle Safe, RidgeMonkey Action Station and Jag Hook Sharpening Kit


Thanks for reading our CTR Best Carp Tackle Awards 2017.

We hope you enjoyed it and if you have any comments, please leave them in the comment section below.

Make sure you subscribe to the blog if you haven’t already and check out another carp tackle review or tackle guide, we know you’ll find them useful!

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10 of the Best Beanies Designed for Carp Anglers

In this week’s guide, we explore ten of our favourite beanies designed for carp anglers.

After the success of last week’s guide into winter carp fishing clothing we decided to explore deeper into the ever popular beanie.


A beanie is a ideal item of clothing for keeping you warm on the bank and with so many stylish, well designed beanies available to us anglers over the last few years, there is so much more choice when buying one.

We’ve put together this guide with help from readers, including some well known carp anglers.

We asked them what their all time favourite beanies were. We created this list in no particular order of the most popular. To be unbiased, we chose one beanie per tackle brand.

Let’s get started!

Avid Carp Bobble Hat


Quick Summary

  • Stylish Avid stamp style logo
  • Knitted bobble
  • Internal fleece thermal layer
  • Quality knitted stitches
  • Available in Burgundy and Olive Green

Find it here

Navitas “Anson” Beanie


Quick Summary

  • 100% Acrylic
  • Heavy knitted stylish pattern
  • Woven patch detail
  • One size fits all
  • Available in 5 different colours (Grey, Yellow, Blue, Wine, Black)

Find it here

Fox Chunk Beanie


Quick Summary

  • Stylish design
  • Fits well all items in the Chunk range
  • One size fits all
  • 100% Acrylic
  • Available in Grey and Teak(Brown)

Find it here

Trakker Plum Beanie


Quick Summary

  • Can be worn slouch-style or folded up
  • Leather embossed Trakker logo patch
  • One size fits all
  • Plum-coloured beanie hat
  • Worn by pro angler such as Darrell Peck

Find it here

Mainline Striped Beanie Hat


Quick Summary

  • Discreet Mainline ‘Est. 1990’ Mainline logo
  • One size fits all
  • Stylish hooped design in grey and brown

Find it here

Chub Vantage Peaked Beanie Hat


Quick Summary

  • Chunky and warm ribbed knitting
  • Knitted peak and knitted logo
  • 100% acrylic
  • Brown and orange colours

Find it here

Korda Oversized Beanie Hat Dark Green


Quick Summary

  • Warm chunky knitted beanie
  • Functional and fashionable
  • Korda logo label
  • Available in a carpy green colour

Find it here

Wofte Maroon Heritage Beanie


Quick Summary

  • 100% soft touch acrylic
  • One size fits all
  • Lightweight
  • Available in Maroon, Olive and Oatmeal colours

Find it here

Diem Knitted Bobble Hat


Quick Summary

  • Stylish looking beanie
  • Snug fit
  • Diem Branded Logo
  • Available in Green and Black colours

Find it here

Shimano Beanie Hat


Quick Summary

  • Embroidered with 3D Shimano Tribal logo
  • Warm, trendy & comfortable
  • Peaked beanie with visor
  • One size fits all
  • Available in Light green

Find it here


Thanks for reading our guide to the best beanies designed for carp anglers. If you have any questions on beanies, give us a comment below and we’ll do our best to answer them.

If you want to read more guides like this one, check out our tackle reviews, tackle guides and carp fishing tricks and tips.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog to receive our weekly guides sent straight to your email inbox, it’s easy we promise!

We would love to hear your feedback on our blog, what would you like us to cover next? A tackle guide? A tackle review? More tackle news? Feedback will help us improve our blog so please leave your feedback below.

The Trakker Sanctuary Retention Sling Review

This week’s review is the Sanctuary Retention Sling by Trakker.

This review covers everything from the sling’s uses to all it’s main features that makes this product the best retention sling on the market.

I’ve been using this sling for a few months now so I wanted to share everything I’ve learnt from using this product and how it can help with your own fishing.

What are the uses?

Trakker Retention SlingWhat’s great about the Trakker Sanctuary Sling is that it has so many uses.

Its main use is to retain the fish, whether it’s just to give the fish a rest after a long hard battle or if you’re setting up your photography equipment for a shot with the fish.

Also if the lake rules allow it, you can use the sling to retain the fish at night so you can get photos in the daylight and you know that the sling is 100% safe for the fish.

As well as using the retention sling to retain fish, this product’s also designed for you to transport the fish and allow you to put the fish back with ease.

The retention sling also comes with metal loops at the top which has been designed for weighing the fish. The sling also has a continues zip so there’s no worry the fish will fall out when moving or weighing the fish.

What sizes are available?

The Trakker Sanctuary Retention Sling is available is two different sizes. The standard size is large enough for any sized carp you will find in the UK but if your fishing abroad or fishing for catfish the XL is ideal.

How good is it?

After using this product for a few months now you can tell this product screams quality. I haven’t had any issues with it at all and it has made some elements of my fishing easier.

This sling is used by lot’s of pro anglers such as Darrell Peck so you know buying this product you will get something that’s built to last.

What are the main features?

Top of the Trakker sling

  • Quality mesh material for quick drainage and dries out extremely quickly
  • Plenty of room (big enough for large carp and catfish)
  • Lightweight materials
  • Comes with a cord drawn Aquatexx waterproof carry bag
  • Comes with a long 580cm removable retention black cord with brass thread which is ideal for attaching a bank stick to the other end
  • One continuous double zip to prevent the fish from escaping
  • Strong carry handles
  • Carpy green design
  • Four extremely buoyant floats

Is it value for money?

It’s not cheap product but I believe with all the features included, quality materials and durable build quality, this product is value for money and would highly recommend it to anyone I know.

Where can I get it?

You can find it in all good tackle shops or you can find it on amazon for a little cheaper.


Thanks for reading this week’s review of the Trakker Sanctuary Retention Sling.

I hope you enjoyed reading it and if you have any questions on the sling I would be happy answer them in the comments below.

If you liked this review be sure to check out my other carp tackle reviews and check out my new series FAQ tackle where anyone can ask a tackle based question and you will get an experienced informative answer back.