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Fish cradles aka Fish poachers

Huanzhou Zhu

Senior Member
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.
They do a XL version of the fast mat now.
 

Clive Kenyon

Senior Member
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.
That's the thing with mats. You can flip them over quickly to put the cool / damp side up. If it has been wetted and kept, wet side down in the shade it should be cooler than a cradle that has been left out in the sun as happens over here. I can't speak for how angling has gone in the UK as I have been in France over 10 years, but the French carp anglers simply follow what is shown in the magazines without thinking it through.

Regards your point about dousing the mat; for one thing it will instantly reduce the temperature of the mat if you tip a bucket of river water over it. Dampening a mat will cool it over a period of time due to evaporation. But, in reality a lone angler is hardly in a position to chuck a bucket of fresh water over the mat when he has landed a fish. What does he do with the fish while he is doing that? With my smaller mat I can dip it whilst holding the landing net, but with the bigger one it is a case of keeping it damp and damp side down between fish.
 

Chris Belcher

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 .
I've got a Drennan Quickdraw Specimen mat which has adjustable raised sides but can still roll up and clips to my rucksack - really easy to dunk in hot weather prior to dealing with fish.

Can see how a cradle for Trent type 'bivvy barbelling' could be useful however (if an area is set up with camera and tripod for self takes this speeds up the process and minimises fish stress - esp for night shots etc) and would recommend the Saber Everlevel cradle - its big enough for a 40lb carp but pretty compact / folds flat (similar size to a small korum chair) and v light for a cradle (3kg) as well as having decent leg adjustment (for uneven banks) and a cover flap to keep fish calm. I use one of these on my current carp syndicate (to keep weight down) and its perfect . . .
 

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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.

Long winded? It takes no more time than any other way. So once you’ve stuck your net on the grass with a double figure Barbel in it and you want a photo, or even not but go to unhook it, what protection does the fish have if it flaps around? Sorry but I don’t accept that putting big Barbel on grass is somehow better than a mat or cradle built solely for fish protection.

If cradles can be misused, then how bad can sticking Barbel on the floor get?

I don’t take photos of anything under double (ish) and a lot of my fish go back without leaving the water. Everything is setup and ready to voice control my camera phone before I even take the fish out.

Trouble is, much of the Barbel scene is stuck in the past and refuses to acknowledge the fact that plenty of good stuff can be taken from other aspects of the hobby. Just the mention of ‘Carp’ brings immediate reactions of ‘well that’s no good for Barbel then’.
 

Ady Brayshaw

Senior Member
From the descriptions of the procedures it seems long winded to me in summer heat. My comment was not directed at one particular set.
1. The fish sits in the net resting.
2. The angler retrieves his cradle from a shady area/car if there is one (not much shade on some venues).
3. Sets it up and water cools it if necessary.
4. Sets the camera up (maybe already set up in good weather).
4. Retrieves the fish from the water whilst still in the landing net. Is the fish still ok and still in the net?
5. Photo self take begins.

Cradles just seem unnecessary when a rest in a net and onto an unhooking mat will suffice.

There is generally no problem at all with fish laying fish in long lush grass in wet landing net mesh. Although it does depend on individual circumstances and terrain.

Nothing wrong with carp fishing innovation, it has brought angling a long way over the recent decades.
 

Richard Isaacs

Senior Member & Supporter
From the descriptions of the procedures it seems long winded to me in summer heat. My comment was not directed at one particular set.
1. The fish sits in the net resting.
2. The angler retrieves his cradle from a shady area/car if there is one (not much shade on some venues).
3. Sets it up and water cools it if necessary.
4. Sets the camera up (maybe already set up in good weather).
4. Retrieves the fish from the water whilst still in the landing net. Is the fish still ok and still in the net?
5. Photo self take begins.

Cradles just seem unnecessary when a rest in a net and onto an unhooking mat will suffice.

There is generally no problem at all with fish laying fish in long lush grass in wet landing net mesh. Although it does depend on individual circumstances and terrain.

Nothing wrong with carp fishing innovation, it has brought angling a long way over the recent decades.
I agree 100% with Rob and I don’t even own one of those contraptions.
It’s no more of a faff than you would get with any other mat or any other procedure. You just keep the thing out the sun and dunk fresh load of water in it while your fish is recovering.

There is NEVER a good excuse to lay a barbel on the floor in my opinion and rather than giving peoples equipment a good bashing I would actually be giving Rob a good hi five because he’s clearly gone to trouble and expense to preserve his captures properly. The equipment is only as bad as the Wally the uses it.
 

Robert West

Senior Member & Supporter
These fantastic creatures are mostly in the captors care for a brief moment. Whatever you use in there protection has got to be beneficial be it a cradle or a mat. I unhook my fish in the net it never leaves the water until Iam ready
I use a Cradle mostly carp fishing most venues it a must or a high sided mat, my mats stay rolled up until required, both receive a good soaking before use as do my hands most forget about the hands if Iam holding one of these fantastic creatures I always cool my hands down.
 
I agree 100% with Rob and I don’t even own one of those contraptions.
It’s no more of a faff than you would get with any other mat or any other procedure. You just keep the thing out the sun and dunk fresh load of water in it while your fish is recovering.

There is NEVER a good excuse to lay a barbel on the floor in my opinion and rather than giving peoples equipment a good bashing I would actually be giving Rob a good hi five because he’s clearly gone to trouble and expense to preserve his captures properly. The equipment is only as bad as the Wally the uses it.

Thanks for that. At the end of the day we all fish for Barbel because of our love of this awesome fish, and looking after them is always the first priority. On the local river I’ll take a normal beanie mat as obviously carrying a metal framed cradle around isn’t happening, but given the option, when I can use the cradle I will. It‘s not about right or wrong, I just believe it’s a better way of doing it.

Unfortunately, numpties are numpties and can make a mess of anything. I don’t know if anyone else heard about the recent capture of a big Carp (50+) from Bluebell lakes, the guy posted a video of it hung from a tree in a sling that wasn’t even zipped up (next to the tree trunk as well!) and rightly got a load of stick. The worst bit of the story is that his mate apparently told him to rest it in the sling for 10 minutes, meaning in the water - the guy hung in the tree to ‘rest‘. I know it’s almost unbelievable but they really do walk amongst us.
 

Damian Kimmins

Senior Member
Nice bit of long grass for me - each to their own.
 

Ady Brayshaw

Senior Member
I agree 100% with Rob and I don’t even own one of those contraptions.
It’s no more of a faff than you would get with any other mat or any other procedure. You just keep the thing out the sun and dunk fresh load of water in it while your fish is recovering.

There is NEVER a good excuse to lay a barbel on the floor in my opinion and rather than giving peoples equipment a good bashing I would actually be giving Rob a good hi five because he’s clearly gone to trouble and expense to preserve his captures properly. The equipment is only as bad as the Wally the uses it.
Richard there's been quite a few repeat captures over the years, many of which have been caught in better condition, as they have grown. Nothing wrong with unhooking a fish in a wet net on grass. It's been done for years that way. I think that these cradles can do more harm than good. Especially those that don't realise what they are doing and have purchased the item because it seems to be the done thing. It seems to me just another way of levering money out of (in the main) well meaning anglers. I'm not a fan of silly rules at fisheries. But If I had my own I'd ban their use.
 

Richard Isaacs

Senior Member & Supporter
Richard there's been quite a few repeat captures over the years, many of which have been caught in better condition, as they have grown. Nothing wrong with unhooking a fish in a wet net on grass. It's been done for years that way. I think that these cradles can do more harm than good. Especially those that don't realise what they are doing and have purchased the item because it seems to be the done thing. It seems to me just another way of levering money out of (in the main) well meaning anglers. I'm not a fan of silly rules at fisheries. But If I had my own I'd ban their use.
But that’s not the fault of the item Ady that’s the anglers misusing it.
You wouldn’t want to ban bank sticks if some anglers started using them for spear fishing 🤔

It’s just a cradle and used correctly can do no harm yet will do a lot more good than dumping barbel on the floor which is more likely going to contribute to your poor conditioned fish.
 

Ady Brayshaw

Senior Member
But that’s not the fault of the item Ady that’s the anglers misusing it.
You wouldn’t want to ban bank sticks if some anglers started using them for spear fishing 🤔

It’s just a cradle and used correctly can do no harm yet will do a lot more good than dumping barbel on the floor which is more likely going to contribute to your poor conditioned fish.
I guess we're going to agree to disagree on this one Richard. I bet some anglers would use bank sticks for spear fishing if the opportunity arose 😁but I can't see them being banned🤭.
When I saw the cradle in the local tackle shop my first thought was of an accident waiting to happen. Jon and Clive's experience and observation backs up my initial thoughts.
 

Bob Watson

Senior Member
Perhaps if these cradles came with a free floppy hat they'd be readily acceptable??

I really haven't read so much tripe about an item of fish care ever before. A fish cradle usually doesn't hold water, at least the ones I've seen don't, they usually have mesh sections at either end to allow water to escape.

The standard practise is to have a bucket of water next to the cradle to wet things down before the fish is placed in it. If people don't that's not the fault of the item, the same people could very well be capable of laying a fish on dry sticks, idiots are idiots are idiots no matter what they use and do!

I'm really quite dumfounded by some of the comments on this thread.
 

Damian Kimmins

Senior Member
You know people are for persuading when you tell them they dump their barbel on the floor!
 
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