When carp fishing every angler should put some thought into keeping the fish healthy and alive when its out of the water. If all the carp die or are injured from anglers not taking due care then a lot of peoples fun can be wasted. Don’t let that person be you!
Some carp can live up to 20 years if anglers take care of these fishing allowing them to grow to unreal sizes and provide many exhilarating moments for the angler catching them. To give carp the best chance of survival and the chance to grow it is essential that you take care of the carp when it is out of the water. Carp fishing unhooking mats are the answer. Every carp angler should have and use one properly!
What are unhooking mats
Unhooking mats provide a soft area to lay the carp when unhooking. Unhooking mats are usually made from foam material or small foam balls (like bean bags) covered by a waterproof outer shell. Unhooking mats can be bought cheaply and are extremely valuable for protecting your prize catch.
Unhooking mats can come in different sizes depending on what size of carp you are targeting. If you are targeting fishing up to 15 pounds your mat won’t need to be overly large but if you are targeting they massive fish swimming in our lakes and ponds then of course you’ll need to opt for a larger mat that will provide supports in all areas.
A decent unhooking mats outer layer will be waterproof so they can be easily cleaned after each session to avoid grime and that carp undesirable scent in your car or home.
Unhooking mats are lightweight and most can be folded or rolled up so they can easily be transported in your car or to the desired peg so you really have no excuse.
Why use unhooking mats
Unhooking a fish is when the fish is most likely to sustain damage. Fish that are hurt will not reproduce and grow as they should which can result in less trophy worthy fish. Now I know no real carp angler wants that. Unhooking mats are soft and spongy mats that you will lie the carp on when unhooking.
No matter how soft you think the ground or grass is an unhooking mat should still be used to reduce the risk. This will prevent the chance of the carps scales getting damaged from stones or objects left on the ground.
If the carp caught decides to put up a bit of a struggle on the bank the soft unhooking mat will stop the carp from banging itself on the hard ground which could cause internal damage.
Your unhooking mat should be placed as close to the bank as possible so the carp can be taken effortlessly from the water to the water without lifting it long distances.
Keep the mat wet
Every angler should know to keep their unhooking mat wet or at least damp. Keeping the mat damp will mean when the carp is placed gently on the mat the protective membrane on the carp skin is not rubbed off by the mat. I’d also definitely advise to wet your hands before touching the fish for this reason as well.
Most mats outer layer will be made from some sort of plastic so no they odd sunny days we get here in the UK your mat could heat up quite substantially. Although unlikely this could burn the fish which is something everyone should avoid.
On hot days ensure you are constantly to wet your mat to ensure you are ready when that monster bite comes. I’d advise to keep a bucket of water beside your mat so you are fully prepared and this can also mean you can wet the fish when it is on your unhooking mat to prevent the carps skin drying out.
Unhooking mats care
Unhooking mats will pick up dirt and grime pretty easily from lying on the ground and coming into contact with the carps slimy body so after every session (no matter how good or bad) you should take some time to clean off your mat.
Give your mat a good rinse in warm water with some fairy liquid and then hang it outside in the sun. The UV light from the sun will kill any remaining bacteria on your mat and prevent a smelly mat. Make sure you rinse the fairy liquid off thoroughly before hanging it outside.
Washing your mat is essential to reduce the chance of spreading infection between waters and fish.
Have some respect for the fish you love catching.
Unhooking mats are essential in carp care. They can be bought fairly cheaply and are invaluable in keeping your prize catch healthy. You should now understand the importance of owning one and the benefits it will bring. If you have any questions or anything to add please feel free to leave a comment below.