Specialist fishing means various things to different people. To a carp angler, it's someone serious about catching special big fish of that species only, while to others, it's about targeting specimen-sized perch, roach, bream, tench, chub, pike, zander, catfish or barbel.
Fish care has become important, and having the right accessories is vital. When they get to the bank, the first thing on an angler's mind is to have the correct kit to reduce any stress on the fish they catch and keep them out of the water for the shortest possible time.
With specimen-sized fish able to live for over twenty years, they need to be treated with utmost care. If this approach is taken seriously, there will be no detrimental effect, and they can continue to grow and enjoy their full life expectancy.
Carp cradles and unhooking mats are critical to specialist anglers, regardless of their regime. All types of anglers should use an unhooking mat or carp cradle when targeting big fish. Carp anglers often use a carp cradle with sides and covers to protect fish from slipping out before weighing or photography.
Unhooking mats can be rolled up and don’t take up much room when transporting gear to a swim. Both products protect fish from getting damaged while on the bank. In addition, they play a crucial part in keeping what you catch quiet and unharmed before being returned to the water.
Most carp cradles and unhooking mats incorporate a cover, so whatever the fish does, it’s always protected. It’s also advisable to keep pouring water over fish to stop them from drying out too much.
Specialist anglers have used weigh slings for over three decades now, which follow from unhooking mats and cradles at the stage when scales are needed to record the weight of your catch. Slings have straps or handle hooked onto all the different scale designs, including digital or dial models.
Carp.com's collection of fish care products from Fox, Korda and Nash include unhooking mats, cradles, weigh slings and medical kits. The latter is compact and easily stored in a tackle box, good for treating mouth and body sores.