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Fish cradles aka Fish poachers

Ady Brayshaw

Senior Member
I was wondering what the forum members think of fish cradles? Owners have the best of intentions when it comes to fish welfare. However, in the heat of summer, the green colouration and material of construction, can easily absorb heat, upping temperatures, that can cause heat stress to species such as barbel .
 

Tony Stone

Senior Member
By cradles, do you mean the metal framed cradles that are raised off the ground?

I use a Korum Multi mat with sides, but I will always dunk it in the river/lake before putting a fish on it regardless of the air temperature.
 

Tony Stone

Senior Member
I wouldnt use them myself, too bulky to carry. As I said I prefer my Korum mat, folders up and easy enough to take a dunk in the water.
 

Bill Walford

Senior Member & Supporter
As Tony says Ady the metal framed ones are too bulky to lug about and on some of my local still water clubs they are banned. I did use a Korum Fast Mat but found it a little short for the larger Trent fish I occasionally catch so that now gets used for Tench and I bought an Advanta Protector Quick-Cradle which is similar to the fast Mat but a bit longer.
 

Jon Young

Senior Member
Landing mats get really hot in the sun as well. You need to wet them up if they’ve been sat in the sun before putting a fish on them.
As for cradles I can’t stand them. Used to fish a carp lake that supplied them and nets for each angler. I just found them a nightmare to get the fish out the net and into a sling to weigh. Was too awkward to lift the fish and pull the net out then lift the fish up so slide the sling under with one set of hands. They’re good at keeping the fish safe especially the ones with the cover you can pull over to stop the fish flipping out.
They are way too big and bulky for the river anyway so wouldn’t ever use one
 
Most have a velcro fastening cover (mine does). I keep that on until I have a fish in the net, then pull it back and put a fresh bucket of water into the cradle.

They‘re great for fish care and self-take photography as I have everything set up and framed before I catch a fish (assuming I’m on at least an overnight session, short sessions I’ll just take a roll up mat and roving kit). Obviously you’re not going to carry it far but that doesn’t matter when you fish somewhere that has vehicle access.

Like any other piece of kit they’re only as good as the person using them, and if someone leaves anything in the Sun that is going to touch a fish then they’re an absolute numpty. Common sense required.

Handy when you have a VERY lively double figure fish that doesn’t want its photo taken like this one on Sunday!
2BF94E92-F156-4D91-8FF1-4A6D25D23F58.jpeg
 

Clive Kenyon

Senior Member
I have come across these in France and discovered the water to be way too hot for the fish's welfare. One was stood out in full sun with the ambient temperature at over 30C and the water in the cradle was much warmer than that. I asked the angler to test the water. He was shocked and immediately emptied it out and folded the contraption up.

I too refer to them as fish poachers. Some anglers are clueless.

Just to add to this; leaving unhooking mats out in the sun then plonking your net and fish on the hot mat is just as bad.
 
I have come across these in France and discovered the water to be way too hot for the fish's welfare. One was stood out in full sun with the ambient temperature at over 30C and the water in the cradle was much warmer than that. I asked the angler to test the water. He was shocked and immediately emptied it out and folded the contraption up.

I too refer to them as fish poachers. Some anglers are clueless.

Just to add to this; leaving unhooking mats out in the sun then plonking your net and fish on the hot mat is just as bad.

I thought they all had drains in, the one I use (Sonik SK-Tek) does, so only a small amount of water sits in the bottom. They’re not meant to fill with water, the exception I know of being the Korum Fast Mat, which I’ve seen used for terrible fish care several times last season. Filled with water and Barbel left to float upside down in them to ’recover’.

Ike I said, common sense but some people are just devoid of that.
 

Clive Kenyon

Senior Member
I thought they all had drains in, the one I use (Sonik SK-Tek) does, so only a small amount of water sits in the bottom. They’re not meant to fill with water, the exception I know of being the Korum Fast Mat, which I’ve seen used for terrible fish care several times last season. Filled with water and Barbel left to float upside down in them to ’recover’.

Ike I said, common sense but some people are just devoid of that.
The ones I have seen have very little water in them which exasperates the problem. And as they sit higher than a mat any escapees will have a nasty fall.
 
The ones I have seen have very little water in them which exasperates the problem. And as they sit higher than a mat any escapees will have a nasty fall.

They're not tanks to keep fish swimming around in. So what about literally every other mat that has no water on it and just gets a wet down before a fish goes on, as though that’s going to instantly reduce the temperature right down? The temperature of the water in the bottom of a mat is going to be nowhere near the temperature of the material section. Nobody shoule be putting a fish anywhere near either without fresh water from the river, mats should be left folded in hot sun and cradles covered. Again, pure common sense.

Yes they sit higher than other mats because they have sides that are specifically there to stop fish going anywhere! What’s the likelihood of losing a fish from a cradle v the usual flat mat? Plus the actual height I’m holding that fish is no different to if it was a mat on the floor, I’m kneeling down.
 
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Joe Winstanley

Senior Member
I don't use them myself, but I know plenty of do for carp fishing. Only a halfwit would leave one out in the sun filled with water and I've never seen this done. Generally they are kept in the shade, or unfolded and only brought out and filled with water when a fish is resting in the net. But then the carp waters I fish are far from prolific and most sessions are odds on for a blank. I don't really see a use for them in barbel angling given the bulk.
 

Ady Brayshaw

Senior Member
I don't use them myself, but I know plenty of do for carp fishing. Only a halfwit would leave one out in the sun filled with water and I've never seen this done. Generally they are kept in the shade, or unfolded and only brought out and filled with water when a fish is resting in the net. But then the carp waters I fish are far from prolific and most sessions are odds on for a blank. I don't really see a use for them in barbel angling given the bulk.
I agree Joe. The increasing popularity of these cradles seem to have come from carp fishing. Carp and Tench of course having a higher tolerance of lower dissolved oxygen levels and to some extent heat. The procedures described seems to be fairly long winded. I would have thought for barbel far better just to rest in the landing net and onto a cooled moist mat or long grass.
 
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