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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Best Rod for under £100? The Wychwood C-201 Carp Rods Review

wychwood c201 carp rodsThis week we review the Wychwood C-201 Carp Rods.

It’s been a long time since I upgraded my carp rods so choosing the right rods for my own fishing was very important. Although I was happy with my old JRC rods it was time for a change and went with the Wychwood C-201 Carp Rods.

There were three factors when choosing my new rods; build quality, features/functionality and design. Those 3 factors had to fit into my under £100 per rod budget so finding the right rod was a tricky task. With most high end top quality rods going for as much as £300/£400, the Wychwood C-201 is an ideal mid range rod option.

The cork handle option has an old school look but has all the modern features you expect from a carp rod. The cork handle option is not just a design feature, playing a fish and casting feel great when using a cork handle.

The overall weight of the rod is superb, the lightweight carbon makes casting easy and smooth. The 3lb test curve option is surprisingly strong whilst still giving you a bend in the tip when needed to reduce hook pulls and line breakages.

The rod includes 50 mm butt rings allowing the line to flow through the rod with ease, easily adding more distance to my cast compared to my old JRC rods.

The rods balance well when paired with a Shimano 1400 Carp Reel and look a stylish combination too.

Worth the money?

I have been using these rods for a few months now and I would have to say these are the best carp rods I’ve ever used and are well worth the money. This review will be kept up to date if any issues or any other features are noticed with these rods while in use.


I believe if you’re looking for a top quality, stylish carp rod then I would highly recommend these C-201 Carp Rods by Wychwood.

Check them out in your local tackle shop or you can buy them a little cheaper online, I recommend Amazon or eBay.

Thanks for reading our review of Wychwood C-201 Carp Rods.

If you have any comments about these rod please leave them in the comments below, I’m sure we can help.

If you enjoyed this review make sure you subscribe or simply check out one more carp tackle review, tackle guide or a carp fishing tricks or tips post, we know you will find them useful!

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Wychwood Solace Fishing Brolly – The Review

wychoodsolacebrollyreviewThis weeks review is the Solace Brolly from Wychwood.

We find out what situations this brolly is ideal for and why using a brolly is more effective than using a tradition bivvy.

We cover all this brolly’s top features, so you can determine if this brolly is the one for you and your style of fishing.

Why use a brolly?

Why use a brolly instead of the tradition bivvy you’re asking, well there are numerous situations where a brolly can come in very useful.

wychwoodbrollyMost brollies can virtually fit into any swim, big or small, which is ideal for tight swims, canals and rivers. The Solace is also ideal for quick overnighters and also setting up in the rain because is so quick to set up.

Brollies recently have become very popular in carp fishing because their overall size and weight is very minimal which helps you be mobile if needed.

Packing away quicker can really help you get on the fish, if you spot them on the other side of the lake and you need to move quickly a brolly is ideal.

Top Features

Below is a list of the top features of Wychwood’s Solace brolly.

  • Super lightweight
  • Comes in 2 different sizes – 50 and 60 inches
  • Quick to assemble
  • Storm poles for windy/stormy days
  • A heavy duty groundsheet
  • Quality ground pegs
  • Ultra water proof materials
  • Quick push/pull brolly mechanism, helping you setting it up in seconds
  • Comes in a lightweight bag
  • Packs down well which makes it ideal for smaller cars or if you’re tight on space
  • Comes in a dark green colour which blends into your natural surroundings

How much room does the brolly have?

As much as the Solace is compact and can fit into tight swims, you can easily fit a bed chair in there and there’s still enough space for a few tackle/clothing/food bags.

How does it react to rain and wind?

The brolly comes with a device they call a rain bar which guides the rain down the sides of the brolly which is a unique feature you may not find on any other brollies.

It also comes with some very strong storm poles which makes the brolly very stable in any extreme conditions.

Where can I find the Wychwood Solace Brolly?

You can find the Solace Brolly in most local tackle shops or for convenience you can find it online from places like amazon.

The conclusion

wychwoodsolacebrollyThe Solace Brolly by Wychwood is a quality piece of kit which is ideal for day and night fishing. I’ve personally have owned this brolly for a few months now and I’ve had no issues what so ever and overall am very with the quality and structure of the brolly.

I hope you have enjoyed this review of the Wychwood Solace Brolly. If you have any questions about this brolly I will do my best to answer them in the comments below.

If you want to find more carp tackle reviews like this review please take a look at my other reviews I’m sure you will enjoy them and tight lines.

The Review – Wychwood Exorcist Big Pit Reels

wychwood exorcist big pit reelFinally when I got around to updating my regular carp reels to something more big pit style I really did my research, looking at all the big pit reels on the market and the Wychwood Exorcist Big Pit reels really did stand out for me for many reasons.

There was many factors I looked for when buying a new reel such how much line you can get on the spool, smoothness, ease of reeling action and of course price. The Wychwood Exorcist reel comes available sizes the 65 holds 290m of 18lb line or the 75 holds 320m of 18lb line. Your thinking the reel must weigh a lot heavier with larger line capability but your wrong, the Wychwood Exorcist Big Pit are very light weight which makes casting a joy.

The Features

Some of the features of the reel are 12 ball bearings and an oversized main shaft, which in english means the reel is very easy to use, smooth and so far I’ve had no issues with the reel’s core mechanism. The reel has very large spool, by having a large spool the faster the line can leave your reel, so in theory this will allows you to cast further and with ease.

The first time I used these reels are really noticed the difference, casting long distances and reeling back in was a real joy. Other features on this reel include a very well designed line clip that makes clipping the line to the spool easy and hassle free, once you have finished your fishing session.

The Biggest Factor For These Reels

I would say one of the biggest factors when looking to buy new reels is price and these reel’s by Wychwood gave me personally all the features I needed for large waters at a very good price compared to the others reels on the market. You can get these reels for just under 70 pounds which compared to reels by companies such as Diawa which can set you back a couple of hundred pounds, these reels are a great bargain.

In conclusion these reels by Wychwood are top quality, great for casting long distances and you buy them for a very good price. You can buy the Exorcist Big Pit reels from all good tackle shops or you can simply find them from amazon like I did.

If you want to know more about these reels you may want to check this very informative video below.

If you have any questions about these reels please leave a comment below, I would be very happy to answer them and be sure to check out my other reviews.