I recently upgraded to the Sonik SK-Tek Unhooking Cradle. It’s a unique product that offers the benefits of both a Carp Fishing Cradle AND a Carp Fishing Mat.
We will get into the nitty-gritty details below to help you decide if this is the right product for you.
Is it a Carp Fishing Cradle?
Carp Fishing Cradles can be heavy and cumbersome to set up, the Sonik SK-Tek Unhooking Cradle is made to offer the same benefit of a cradle with walls for fish security, yet it has no rigid or heavy parts. It folds up to be quite compact and comes with a nice storage/carry bag.
Is it a Carp Fishing Mat?
Carp Fishing Mats are lightweight and easy to set up, just flop them down, throw some water on them, and you’re all set. The Sonik SK-Tek Unhooking Cradle is much the same, although it offers a bit more safety and protection for the fish with foldable walls and a flip-up cover to aid in calming the fish.
As you can see, the Sonik Sk-Tek Unhooking Cradle is the perfect solution with the benefits of both a Mat and Cradle, we would classify it as a Carp Fishing Walled Mat.
Sonik SK-Tek Unhooking Cradle Dimensions
I really like the size of the Sonik Sk-Tek Unhooking Cradle. It is big enough to hold up to 3 fish at once yet not so big as to be cumbersome when in transport. Who needs to cradle 3 fish at once you say? With the introduction of the 3-rod rule for carp anglers in Canada, things can get quite busy on the bank.
Dimensions when Packed Down:
- 98cm(Width) – 25cm(Depth).
Dimensions when Assembled:
- 96cm(Width) – 52cm(Depth) – 22cm(Height).
Handling fish becomes much easier when the SK-Tek Unhooking Cradle is paired with the Sonik SK-Tek Floating Weigh Sling. Fish can easily be transferred between the two in order to simplify weighing and photographing those special catches.
Sonik SK-Tek Unhooking Cradle Main Features
Let’s outline the main features of the Sonik SK-Tek Unhooking Cradle:
HD PVC Fish Friendly Lining
The soft PVC material, once wet, provides optimal protection for the fish. It helps preserve the protective slimy coating on the fish and makes it very easy to clean between catches.
Extra Thick Base Padding
The Sonik SK-Tek Unhooking Cradle comes with an HD PVC coated pad insert. It secures in place with velcro tabs and offers plenty of protection for fish while unhooking and taking photos.
Protective Retention Over Flap
This is a feature I would like to see on all carp fishing cradles and mats. It is great for fish safety, especially on very sunny days. The top flips up and velcros into place, so fish are covered. This benefit is threefold. It prevents the carp from slipping out during transport, protects them from the hot sun and aids in keeping the fish calm. When not in use, the top flips over and can double as a knee rest.
Velcro Tabs to Secure Side Walls
The same strong velcro that holds the base pad in place also secures the 4 walls in place. Once fully erected, there is no chance of a fish slipping out as is possible with other carp fishing mats.
Compact Folding Design
I try to keep my gear to a minimum so I can grab it and go on short notice. That’s one thing I really like about this product, it can fold down and comes with a nice compact carry/storage bag.
When the Extra Thick Base is not inserted in the Sonik Sk-Tek Unhooking Cradle, you will notice it has a built-in mesh base for quick drainage. I also love this feature for using the Cradle in the water for photos, you can quickly remove the padded base, and the cradle will still float with the buoyant padded sidewalls. This allows freshwater to come to the bottom for the fish and holds them securely.
These are the main features of this well-thought-out product, below we will cover a few of the added bonuses that aren’t often disclosed.
Sonik SK-Tek Unhooking Cradle Pros and Cons
|Sonik SK-Tek Unhooking Cradle – Pros||Sonik Sk-Tek Unhooking Cradle – Cons|
|Lightweight||Price – Higher than Comparable Products|
|Well Made – Quality Materials||Lack of Weigh Points/Rings on Handles|
|Convenient Side Pocket for Storage||No Tether/Pegging Point for Windy Days|
|Easy/Quick Setup||Blows Around Easily on Windy Days|
|Sleek Sk-Tek Branding and |
Camo Pattern on Outer Material
|Basic Green Material on |
Top and Carry Bag
I had to look hard for cons on this product. As you can see, they aren’t “make or break” features. It is one of if not the best carp fishing mats/cradl1es that I’ve had my hands on and deserves the 5-star review.
Why I use the Sonik SK-Tek Unhooking Cradle
The main reason why I like this product so much is that it can easily be transported from the bank to the water with the fish safely inside. It really cuts down on the time it takes to get multiple photos of fish and accurate weights. Being able to pop it right on my scale and tripod without fear of fish slipping out is a major bonus.
The small pack-down size is also an added feature that simplifies my fishing. No more forgetting to grab my mat and throw it in the vehicle, the Sonik SK-Tek Unhooking Cradle clips on nicely to the side of my Sonik SK-Tek Rod Sleeves for easy transport. Always there, ready to go.
Where to buy the Sonik Sk-Tek Unhooking Cradle
I purchased my Sonik SK-Tek Unhooking Cradle through Carpkit on special order. Some items can be hard to get ahold of here in North America, but it’s nice to see that even Amazon.co.uk is starting to provide shipping overseas on some items.
Check out our Recommended Carp Care Equipment Page for more information on links, stores and current pricing.
Hopefully, this review has helped you narrow down your choice of a carp fishing mat or cradle. I highly recommend a design such as the Sonik Sk-Tek Unhooking Cradle, as it offers the best protection for the fish and ease of use for the angler.