best carp fishing cradles

The Best Carp Cradles - (Full Guide On Carp Fishing Unhooking Cradles)

When you think of cradles the mind is probably drawn more to crying infants than fish.

But as carp anglers, we should be treating our catch with pretty much the same care and attention.

Carp are designed to be in one place and one place only, the water. When they are on dry land they are very vulnerable.

As you will undoubtedly know, carp can be extremely strong, and if one manages to thrash free of a careless grip, the damage inflicted can be fatal.

This is why you should be using the best carp cradle for the size of fish you are targeting.

best carp fishing cradles

Carp cradles are not created equal however and careful consideration is needed before you make your choice.

This article is going to go through some key features of the best carp cradles to help you make a more informed decision.

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Quick Answer

If you are in a hurry, then you can skip straight to our choices of the best carp cradles below.

Alternatively, please read on for our full guide on everything to look out for in the best carp fishing cradles.


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What Is A Carp Cradle Used For?

Carp cradles are used immediately after you have the fish safely in the landing net and they ultimately provide a handy safe surface to unhook and hopefully (if big enough) weigh your catch on a decent set of fishing scales.

They are made in such a way that they are fairly portable and waterproof. The best carp cradles will adequately support fish up to pretty much any size. 

A decent cradle should also be big enough and protective enough to be able to confidently lift a fish when posing for a camera take and if the worst possible situation happens of the fish escaping your clasp, the cradle will protect the fish from any major damage. 

best carp cradle

An example of a decent carp fishing cradle

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The Features Of The Best Carp Cradles

First and foremost, when looking at a carp fishing cradle, you should ask yourself the following question; Will this fishing cradle keep the fish safe and comfortable?

If the answer is ‘no’ then it is time to move on. Key features that will keep a fish safe are a soft fish friendly surface. Anything that will catch a fin or damage a carp’s delicate body should be avoided.

The fishing cradle should also adequately support the weight of the fish, across the entire length of its body.

There should be no pressure points on the fish whatsoever. This is normally achieved with carp cradles by utilising the same concept as a hammock, or a bed. It is worth considering what type of terrain you normally fish on.

Some carp fishing cradles utilise a frame, which may not be the most stable if you are fishing on a steep bank or rocky terrain. In this case, you may be better off going for a ‘bed’ style carp fishing cradle.

The best carp cradles also have walls to prevent an inadvertent escape by an energetic or lively fish. Whilst carp tend to be pretty sedate once they are landed, it pays dividends to avoid taking any chances, it only takes one drop for a fish to be critically injured.

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Now that we have looked at the safety aspect, let's delve a little deeper and look at things that make a good carp cradle into the best carp cradle.

A carp cradle is a little bit of a barrier to being mobile, however, if you are going to carry one round then it makes sense to make it as light as possible (whilst still bearing in mind the above points of course).

There are several solutions to ensure a little mobility and ease of portability with fishing carp cradles. This normally comes in the form of being able to fold the cradle and stow it in a smaller size when it is not in use.

best carp cradle

An example of a foldable carp cradle

If you are using them correctly, carp fishing cradles will be in constant contact with the fish. As a result water, from the swim and maybe some residue from the fish may rub off onto the cradle.

If left to stand you can imagine what the result will be. Therefore drainage and ease of cleaning is another feature you want to be on the lookout for.

As an additional bonus, drainage holes allow you to pour water on the fish whilst it is in the cradle, which will keep it cool and probably in a little better mood.

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By being waterproof many carp fishing cradles afford the angler the option of being able to submerge the cradle in the water meaning that the carp will never need to be picked up by hand.

Whilst this might look good for a photo opportunity, with particularly heavy fish the weight of your hands can create pressure on their body and ideally should be avoided.

If you are specifically looking for an unhooking mat rather than a carp fishing cradle then please consider the following top 5 best sellers:

Back to Cradles... Here's an example of how easy carp fishing cradles are to use

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The Best Carp Cradles

So, we have seen that the best carp cradles should be large enough to cater to the size of fish you are targeting. They also need to be well padded and ideally be portable and easy to clean.

The following 7 cradles contain all the said features and are considered some of the best on the market.

Overall Best Carp Cradle

Best carp cradles

#1. Fox Carpmaster Cradle

Key Features:
  • 210Denier soft-touch PVC fabric
  • Water drainage holes at each end
  • Extra strong and safe frame padding
  • Low to ground frame allows you to lift the carp easy
  • Easy folding frame
  • Four adjustable legs
  • Leg-lock mechanism
  • Camo retention flap with Velcro securing tabs
  • Supplied in large, heavy-duty carry bag
Specifications:

Standard: Width 125cm x Length 70cm x 30cm High
XL: Width 135cm x Length 75cm x 37cm High

Our experiences as a user:

This great offering from the reputable Fox International is very much up there with one of the best carp cradles on the market today.

The cradle has been very well thought out with both the angler and the safety of the fish very much in mind.

For example, there are no bars at either end for added protection to the head and tail of the fish. A simple, yet effective feature that sets this carp cradle from the competition.

It goes on...

The easy folding, oval frame design reduces weight and increases the stability of the cradle as well as making it easy to fit on your barrow.

The four adjustable legs allow for the cradle to be leveled even on uneven ground.

If you need to keep the carp safe on its own for a few moments, the Camo retention flap with velcro securing tabs allows for this if it's absolutely necessary.

The icing on a very big cake for this carp cradle is the fact that is supplied in a large, heavy-duty 500 denier carry bag, which will also accommodate the Fox STR Sling if you have one.

All in all, this is an amazing carp cradle that we thoroughly recommend.

A video to show the Fox Carp Master cradle in use:

Here is what we like and dislike about the Fox Carpmaster cradle.

Pros
  • Well thought out design
  • Adjustable legs for stability
  • Retention strap included
  • Large, heavy-duty carry case included
Cons
  • Not the cheapest however you do get a real premium cradle for your money
Alternative Fox Products:
£88.94
in stock
11 new from £88.94
as of 28 June 2022 22:47
Amazon.co.uk
Last updated on 28 June 2022 22:47
out of stock
as of 28 June 2022 22:47
Amazon.co.uk
Last updated on 28 June 2022 22:47

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best carp cradles

#2. Avid Stormshield Safeguard Cradle

Key Features:
  • Collapsible Frame
  • Fully Padded
  • 100% Waterproof
  • Quick Drying Material
  • Fully Adjustable Feet
  • Heavy Duty Carry bag Included
  • Fabric: 80% PVC, 20% Polyester
Specifications:

Standard Dimensions
Open: H 30-40, W 65, L 100cm
Closed: H 20, W 50, 60cm
Weight: 4.7kg (including bag)

XL Dimensions
Open: H 40-50, W 80, L 125cm
Closed: H 20, W 60, L 80cm
Weight: 5.1kg (including bag)

Our experiences as a user:

This fantastic cradle by Avid,\ is a high-quality, lightweight, and durable fishing cradle that is perfect for any fisherman targeting specimen fish. 

The fully padded frame and sturdy nature of the cradle ticks all the fundamentals required.

The material of the cradle is 100% waterproof and quick-dry in nature and the adjustable feet provide good stability.

The included heavy-duty carry bag is a bonus and the collapsible frame makes this great cradle as compact as it can be.

A video to show the carp cradle in use:

Here is what we like and dislike about the Avid Stormshield cradle.

Pros
  • Really well padded
  • Good stability thanks to the adjustable feet
  • Collapsible frame for ease of transportation
Cons
  • No retention flap included
Alternative Avid Products:
£175.99
in stock
as of 28 June 2022 22:47
Amazon.co.uk
Last updated on 28 June 2022 22:47

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Best carp cradle

#3. Sonik SK Tek Cradle

Key Features:
  • HD PVC fish friendly lining
  • Compact folding design
  • Extra thick base padding
  • Velcro tabs secure side walls
  • Protective retention over flap
  • Mesh base
Specifications:

Standard Dimensions
Assembled Dimensions: W 96cm x D 52cm x H 22cm
Transport Dimensions: L 98cm x D 25cm

Our experiences as a user:

This is another great carp cradle with a number of good features added to the basics required.

The cradle has good space-saving properties as the walls secure via the Velcro tabs on the sides.

The retention flap is a nice touch, especially with the unique mesh inspection panel installed within it.

The mesh base is a well-thought-out feature of the cradle as this allows quick drainage of excess water.

To finish the package nicely the cradle comes with a large carry bag for easy transportation.

A video to show the carp cradle from a users perspective:

Here is what we like and dislike about the Sonik SK Tek cradle.

Pros
  • Great space-saving properties
  • Nice viewing feature with the retention flap
  • The mesh base allows for easy water drainage.
Cons
  • Doesn't feature any legs
Alternative Sonik Products:
£31.75
in stock
2 new from £31.75
as of 28 June 2022 22:47
Amazon.co.uk
Last updated on 28 June 2022 22:47
£53.95
in stock
6 new from £53.95
as of 28 June 2022 22:47
Amazon.co.uk
Last updated on 28 June 2022 22:47
£53.95
£69.95
in stock
6 new from £53.95
as of 28 June 2022 22:47
Amazon.co.uk
Last updated on 28 June 2022 22:47

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Saber Ever Level Carp Cradle

#4. Saber Ever-level Cradle

Key Features:
  • Folds away compact
  • Manufactured using super soft PVC waterproof material
  • Fully adjustable Legs with mud feet
  • Lightweight design
Specifications:

Standard Dimensions
Dimensions: 62 x 102 x 35cm (folding to 62 x 51 x 15cm)
Weight: 3.3kg

Our experiences as a user:

This portable fishing cradle is lightweight and folds away compactly saving much precious space on your carp trolley.

The fully adjustable legs with mud feet provide stability on any terrain and it's made using super soft PVC waterproof material for durability.

It comes with a nice retention flap with Velcro to secure it into place and there are two mesh drainage pockets on either end of the cradle.

A video to show the carp cradle from a users perspective:

Here is what we like and dislike about the Saber Ever-level Carp Cradle.

Pros
  • Drainage pockets on either end of the cradle
  • Folds away nice and easily
  • Fully adjustable legs making it sturdy on uneven ground
Cons
  • There is no carry bag included
Alternative Saber Products:
£42.99
in stock
3 new from £42.99
as of 28 June 2022 22:47
Amazon.co.uk
Last updated on 28 June 2022 22:47
£44.95
in stock
2 new from £44.95
as of 28 June 2022 22:47
Amazon.co.uk
Last updated on 28 June 2022 22:47

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Best Budget Carp Cradles

#5. Leeda Rogue Carp Cradle

Key Features:
  • Excellent comfort and protection to fish
  • Suspends the fish inside the cradles hammock
  • Stable three leg aluminium frame
  • Compact folding design
  • Velcro cover and carry straps
Specifications:

Standard Dimensions
Dimensions: 62 x 102 x 35cm (folding to 62 x 51 x 15cm)
Weight: 3.3kg

Our experiences as a user:

This carp fishing cradle is in the hammock/frame style but has quite a few nice features to ensure a safe experience for the fish. 

Three legs give ultimate stability preventing inadvertent tipping or overbalancing of the cradle whilst it is ‘under load’. Each edge features a soft mesh drainage hole, so cleaning should be straightforward.

When the fish is placed in the centre its own weight creates a natural wall leading to the centre so it should keep your carp nice and secure.

A video to show a review of the Leeda Rogue Carp Cradle:

Here is what we like and dislike about the Leeda Rogue Cradle.

Pros
  • Folds away neatly
  • Three legs for extra security
  • Good value for money
Cons
  • No carry bag. Not as much padding as the more premium models
Alternative Budget Carp Cradles:
£24.99
£29.99
in stock
as of 28 June 2022 22:47
Amazon.co.uk
Last updated on 28 June 2022 22:47
£37.95
in stock
4 new from £37.95
as of 28 June 2022 22:47
Amazon.co.uk
Last updated on 28 June 2022 22:47

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best carp cradles

#6. NGT Carp Cradle

Key Features:
  • Soft 210D PVC waterproof material
  • Padded with PE board and thick sponge
  • Rigid outer, very soft inner mat
  • A detachable foam mat in bottom for superb fish protection
Specifications:

Standard Dimensions
Dimensions: ‎88 x 55 x 21 cm
Weight: 2kg

Our experiences as a user:

This carp cradle will keep your fish as snug as a bug in a rug. It is a bed-style carp cradle, meaning that the base of the cradle rests on the ground.

The fish will remain safe however as the base has very thick padding. The high-sided walls present any inadvertent ‘escapes’ so your fish will be safe and secure as you unhook it.

This carp fishing cradle is fairly substantial even when folded flat so if it is mobility you are after it might be a little too big. But that said the carp will be grateful for its bulk, as it is mostly padding.

The fishing cradle also has drain holes, so you’ll be able to sluice it out prior to packing it for next time.

Here is what we like and dislike about this NGT carp cradle.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Very thick padding
  • Good value for money
Cons
  • No legs and no carry bag
Alternative NGT products:
£54.95
in stock
6 new from £54.95
as of 28 June 2022 22:47
Amazon.co.uk
Last updated on 28 June 2022 22:47
£52.95
in stock
2 new from £52.95
as of 28 June 2022 22:47
Amazon.co.uk
Last updated on 28 June 2022 22:47
Last updated on 28 June 2022 22:47

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best carp fishing cradles

#7. Large Deluxe NGT Carp Unhooking Cradle

Key Features:
  • Soft 210D PVC waterproof material
  • 4 adjustable legs with large mud feet
  • Aluminium main frame - Light, yet durable
Specifications:

Standard Dimensions
Dimensions: 115 x 70 x 35 cm

Our experiences as a user:

Carp fishing cradles such as these are designed for serious specimen anglers. It is built like a tank.

It comes with two pairs of legs with independently adjustable feet, so can be erected on most terrain. The frame is constructed of sturdy and lightweight aluminium, so you can avoid backache when you are carrying it down to the swim.

The hammock part of the carp cradle is made from sturdy and waterproof PVC, meaning that water doesn’t soak in, it is also pretty soft on the carp’s body.

The cradle also features a cover, so if you need to turn your back for a minute you can do so, safe in the knowledge that your fish will remain exactly where you left it.

Here is what we like and dislike about this NGT carp cradle.

Pros
  • Very soft waterproof material
  • Very rigid outer frame
  • Strong, adjustable legs
Cons
  • Just lacks the feel and quality of the more premium models

Conclusion

Gone are the days of unhooking carp on your knee or on a patch of grass by the swim, and we must say this is a positive step forward. Above all, what anglers should be concerned with is fish safety, and then aesthetics.

With the best carp cradles, you hopefully will get both. By keeping your catch safe and secure you will be ensuring the future of the sport and perhaps more importantly of each individual fish that you catch.

Thanks for reading.

Tight Lines!

All of the fishing tackle featured in this article can be found at one of the following online shops...

Anglingdirect.co.uk

Fishingtackleandbait.co.uk

Amazon.co.uk

Northeasttackle.co.uk

Ebay.co.uk

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