The learning curve can be steep if you’re new to carp angling. One of the most important aspects I learned after hooking my first carp was that more gear was required to land and handle these big fish safely. I ended up releasing my first carp in the water as I didn’t have a big enough net or a mat to ensure its safety on the bank.
The bigger a fish is, the harder it falls. We can all take a few steps to purchase additional gear to prevent unwanted damage to fish. Since my first capture many moons ago, I have used various carp care products from various brands and manufacturers. This page outlines our top picks to save money and headaches about buying expensive or inferior products.
Best Carp Fishing Mats
A quality carp fishing mat is one of the most important items any carp angler should have. There are various styles to choose from. Simple fold-out flat mats, sling-style mats up to full-on cradles.
Sonik SK-Tek Unhooking Cradle
I’ve used many different carp fishing mats over the years and wish I’d upgraded to something like the Sonik SK-Tek Carp Fishing Cradle sooner. It provides more safety for handling fish while on the bank and quickly doubles as a weigh sling in certain situations.
I prefer a soft-walled mat to ensure fish don’t slip off while unhooking and taking photos. These provide the best of both worlds. They fold up and are easy to transport yet provide the same protection as a full-on cradle.
For more detailed information, check out our Full Review of the Sonik SK-Tek Unhooking Cradle.
Best Carp Fishing Slings
Another important piece of equipment for carp fishing is a quality Carp Fishing Sling. Slings serve multiple purposes. They not only aid in weighing fish safely, but they also ensure the fish stay healthy and safe for longer durations in the water as you prepare for handling, weighing and photographing those special captures.
Sonik SK-Tek Floating Weigh Sling
When I first upgraded from a keep sack to a sling, I opted for a cheap NGT Sling. Although it was low budget, it worked well for many years. I even use it as a backup sling still. I didn’t realize how many small features it was missing until I upgraded to the Sonik SK-Tek Weigh Sling.
The added features of fixed rings on the handles, deeper mesh, closed top, built-in retainer cord and bankstick anchor make life on the bank much easier.
For more information, check out our Full Review of the Sonik SK-Tek Floating Weigh Sling.
Best Carp Fishing Scales
Choosing the best scales for carp fishing can be a tricky task. Digital, analog, high end or budget. I’ve tried many of these options, and I can confidently recommend the scales listed below after comparing them.
Reuben Heaton Scales
Although these scales come with a hefty price tag, they are well worth it. Durability and accuracy are what you pay for. You never know when that fish of a lifetime will cross the net cord, and it would be a shame if you didn’t have quality scales to record it correctly.
I recently experienced the pain of not having the proper scale. I was on a family camping trip, so I tried saving space and the amount of gear I was packing. I chose to take my RH Micro Weigh Scales and leave the larger RH at home. Unfortunately, the first fish I caught was over 30 lbs. The spring inside snapped as the smaller scale swung around to 27 lbs, so I will never know if it was a PB fish or not. I will never head out without my proper scales again.
Best Carp Fishing Weigh Tripods
Although they aren’t a necessary piece of equipment on the bank, weigh tripods can simplify things immensely if you’re weighing and recording a lot of fish on the bank. I recently upgraded to using a weigh tripod as I enter many online tournaments where accurately weighing fish is paramount. I was pleasantly surprised at the tripod’s quality and durability.
Cygnet Sniper Weigh Tripod V2
The price of the Cygnet Sniper Weigh Tripod V2 is comparable to other tripods on the market but has some added improvements. The quick adjust legs are a refreshing bonus to the design, no more fiddling with thumb screws that could strip over time. As you can see in the video below, the tripod will hold up to any fish you throw at it.
With a solid metal block, heavy-duty stainless steel hook and 25mm aluminum materials used in its construction, this tripod is well worth the price tag.
For more information, check out our Full Cygnet Sniper Weigh Tripod V2 Review.
Best Carp Fishing Landing Nets
Lastly, the most important piece of carp care equipment is a proper carp fishing landing net. Although it is an integral bit of kit related to carp care, landing nets are in a league of their own, so we dedicated an entire page on the Best Carp Fishing Landing Nets on our Recommended Carp Fishing Gear Page.