Thursday Focus - Fish Care

Fish are fragile things, even though the fight they can put up on the end of your line, and the damage the larger specimens can do to your tackle, may make that hard to believe! The issue with angling is that it involves taking fish out of their element of water, and anything out of its element is at risk.

As responsible, considerate anglers, our goal should always be to watch the fish we've brought to the bank, weighed, and photographed swim off strongly, an insouciant tail swipe making it clear that the fish in question has learned from the experience, and plans to be even more of a challenge to the next angler.

While many observers worry that the process of playing in a fish is cruel and risky, statistics show that most of the harm that comes to fish as a result of angling happens on the bank, when a lively or panicked fish injures itself by thrashing on the ground.  This kind of injury can easily be prevented with the use of an apporpriate unhooking mat, which offers a protective, padded, gentle surface between fish and bank. Unhooking mats that are more deeply padded also seem to act to calm particularly lively fish, and are an essential part of any predator angling kit.

For some fish, the experience of being caught and landed, coupled with time spent out of the water, can be much more stressful than it is for others.  These fish will need to be safely held in the water before being finally released, to give them a chance to get sufficient oxygen through their gills, and recover from what, for them, was quite an ordeal, even if the angler in question was as considerate as possible with them.  In these instances, a cradle, which allows you to support the fish in the water until it's strong enough to swim off safely, comes in very useful, and avoids the distressing experience of watching the fish you've landed die just moments after release – something no angler ever wants to go through.

Finally, a fish care basic on any bankside is a weighing sling, which keeps the fish calm, cool, and supported while you get it on the scales.  Weighing a fish in a sling is a simple process; simply zero your scales with the sling attached, and avoid faffing about subtracting the weight of the sling from the weight with a fish – which relies on remembering what the sling weighed in the first place!


AAA Fish Care From Angling Direct

At Angling Direct, we put fish welfare at the heart of everything we do; it's why we actively support higher education programmes that provide the next generation of fish farmers and fishery owners with the skills they'll need, and why we produce informative videos talking you through how to make the most of your angling in a way that's safe and effective.

It's also why we stock a large range of fish care products, from well-known brands like Trakker, Nash, and Aqua, as well as many developing brands, many of whom only seem like newcomers, but, in fact, have a wealth of angling involvement behind them.

We've chosen a “Triple A” group of fish care products for this piece; an unhooking mat and a combi cradle from prominent angling name Aqua, and a weighing sling from our growing Advanta range of affordable, high-quality angling essentials.


Aqua Combi Cradle


Tell Me About It

 Crafted from high-quality, ultra-durable PVC, with an Aquatex coating, this combination cradle offers a multitude of practical, fish safe possibilities, giving you an option for almost every bankside scenario in one easy-to-use angling essential.

The Combi Cradle can either be used as a cradle, or a standalone unhooking mat, and a unique two piece construction sees the main body of the cradle stow snugly inside the mat, making it easy to carry, and meaning that the cradle body can be removed, and the mat alone taken effortlessly along as part of a bare-basics stalking kit, should the opportunity arise.

With four pegging rings, a durable, hard-wearing backing, and a fully zippered retaining flap, to help quieten fish, keeping them calm until they're strong enough to have the flap opened, allowing them to slip swiftly back into the water, the Combi Cradle can be easily and safely set up at the water's edge, and offers complete protection against the rough ground of a bankside, ensuring that your session ends with a gleaming fish streaking away beneath a rippling surface.

What Do People Say?

 The Combi Cradle is a hard-wearing piece of equipment that makes appropriate fish care easy, without taking up too much space.

A good option for larger carp, the Combi Cradle ensures every session goes smoothly for you and the fish you catch.


Advanta Eco Weigh Sling

Tell Me About It

 This extra strong, crescent-shaped weigh sling is perfect for checking out those larger specimens, and seeing whether you've landed yourself a new personal best, with the high sides holding lively fish securely while you get an accurate weight.

Made from heavy duty nylon, the Eco sling can handle most subsurface heavyweights, whilst still being lightweight and compact.

A mesh drainage panel on the bottom keeps the sling from becoming waterloggd, yet ensures fish stay cool and damp during their time out of the water, which ensures they'll recover quickly.

Using the Eco Weigh Sling makes it easy to life even large, fesity fish onto your scales, lowering the risk of the fish being dropped, and shortening the time it needs to spend out of the water.


What Do People Say?

 Anglers love the fact that this weigh sling is incredibly easy to use, and have found it strong, durable, and fully fit for purpose.


Aqua Deluxe Unhooking Mat

 Tell Me About It

Anglers love the features of the Aqua XL Unhooking Mat, but wanted it in a more travel-friendly size.  Especially for those anglers who regularly visit hard-to-access swims, a more compact mat, that offered the same level of protection to larger fish as the Aqua XL, without quite as much bulk, a smaller profile unhooking mat is an angling must-have.

Aqua responded brilliantly, rising to the challenge with the Deluxe Unhooking Mat, a deeply padded, oval shaped mat featuring densely layered foam, and a fish friendly PVC surface, all presented in a durable, hard-wearing Aquatex retaining cover.

Four heavy duty carry handles mean that the mat can be carried, complete with fish, to a spot that's suitable for getting a quick photo, or over to where your scales and weigh sling are set up, while handy straps give a small, compact pack down size.

Once set up on the bank, the Deluxe Unhooking Mat is clearly large enough for most of the coarse species you're likely to catch, with plenty of protection against any bank's rougher edges.


What Do People Say?

 Having the functionality and protection of the Aqua XL in a more compact design, that still offers all the protection fish need while they're out of the water, makes for an easy unhooking experience wherever you are, and ensures you can go after large fish in secluded swims, without worrying about how you're going to get a decent unhooking mat down to the water.


Focus On Fish Care With Angling Direct

 As you can see from this small, basic selection of our vast range of quality fish care products, Angling Direct are keen to promote responsible, sustainable angling, and present the best possible image of our sport, and its participants, to the wider community.

Doing the best for the fish you catch isn't expensive, and a decent unhooking mat, rehab cradle, and weighing sling needn't take up too much room in your rucksack.

There really is no reason not to invest in the fish you catch by ensuring that you have the means to look after your prize catch the best way possible.

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