If you’re looking for a large protective unhooking mat, this one from Cyprinus will give you all of the features you could wish for. At 132 x 85cm when open it’s plenty large enough for anything I’m likely to catch and will easily accommodate a very large carp or even a 20lb plus pike in complete safety.
It’s a ‘beanie’ mat, and for those not familiar with these the outer rim of the mat is raised through additional padding in the form of soft polystyrene bean bag balls which helps to prevent the fish sliding off the mat. Inside this cushioned perimeter the inner surface is well-padded high density foam.
A handy kneeling pad/fish cover is thoughtfully stitched into the mat. This is a double-skinned flap of material which is useful for kneeling on when unhooking and posing for photos over the mat and it can also be folded over a lively fish to cover its eyes to help keep it calm, and therefore safe, while you sort out your scales and camera.
On particularly windy days it’s possible to find your unhooking mat taking to the air, but this mat features 6 plastic D-rings through which pegs can be pushed to pin the mat in place.
The carrying handles are ample for carrying the mat for short distances, but for reaching distant swims I’ve found I can also use the D-rings to clip on an old bedchair carrying strap, so I can carry it over my shoulder. To make it easier to carry the mat folds in half to a size of 66 x 85cm and clips together positively with a small Velcro strap in the middle and a plastic buckle in each corner.
Overall it is a well though-out, quality piece of kit, which is both safe for fish and practical to use, which is all you can really ask for in an everyday essential such as an unhooking mat.
The mat is available direct from Cyprinus by calling 01793 822188 or online from Tackle Discounts at a 54% discounted price of £22.99 against the RRP of £44.99.