Best unhooking mat – overview

  • Your best unhooking mat depends on the area where you hunt and also the type of fishes you go for. These are the most imporant factors when you choose such product.
  • Also when you regularly transport the mat you should consider a model which is comfortable in the set up process.
  • Unhooking mats are very easy to clean. In general, it is sufficient to rinse it with water.

An unhooking mat helps to unhook fish gently without harming the fish. Especially when fishing for carp, it is easier to release the fish from the hook and then put it back into the water. Therefore, an unhooking mat is also commonly called as carp cradle. Even if you would like to take a picture of your catch, you can position the fish gently without having to do this in the landing net or any other surface. Furthermore, the material’s nature also ensures that the cuticle layer of the fish is not harmed.

There are plenty of different types of unhooking mats. Our guide helps you find your best unhooking mat and provides an overview of our comparison table’s most popular products.

Essential Factors to consider while choosing the best unhooking mat

Since the unhooking mat has a lot of contact with the ground and the fish during use and is always wet, the material and the quality should also be durable. This includes a water-repellent coating, a tear-resistant material, and clean tailoring.

Some unhooking mats are also padded, which even allows a gentler unhooking. Especially on rough surfaces, such an unhooking mat is more suitable than a thin unhooking tape measure. In general, the material of an excellent unhooking mat is made of polyester, PVC, or nylon.

One of the most important factors is the weight. Indeed this is much more important, e.g. predatory fish anglers, because here often less tackle is taken, and as a fisherman, you have to be a bit more mobile. Carp fishing, on the other hand, usually has a much more extensive range of tackles, so you don’t always have to pack up your unhooking mat and take it from one fishing spot to the next.

The size of your best unhooking mat is also a crucial factor. Depending on the type of target fish you are hunting, you should consider whether you need a big or a small rug. Here it is similar, as with the weight.

Types of unhooking mats

Unhooking mat rack
The unhooking mat rack – also called carp cradle – is similar to a mobile tub in which you can place your catch. Primarily when you aim to take great photos of your achievement, it is a great choice. The rack is also suitable in uneven areas since most of the market products are adjustable in their height. Also, useful in muddy surfaces and to make sure that your fish cannot escape.

Framed unhooking mat
Similar to the rack but without adjustable legs. Therefore, the mat is less applicable in uneven areas but does provide a similar function in all other criteria.

Flat unhooking mat
The most simple version is the flat mat. Here you have a padded mat without any frame or rack. It only serves the purpose of unhooking your catch. Therefore, it is only useful when hunting for small fishes in even areas.

Depending on where you go fishing and whether you catch quite big fish or not, a different type of unhooking mat is suitable.


When you hunt for larger fishes, you should consider choosing an unhooking mat rack or the framed model since those are usually larger and better prevent the fish from slipping off the mat.

How to properly use an unhooking mat

In principle, an unhooking mat is simple to use. You put the fish on the mat, and that’s it. However, there is one important rule: The mat should always be wet. This applies without exception to all unhooking mats, no matter what material they are made of.

If the unhooking mat is used dry, this can quickly damage the fish’s sensitive membrane and can cause a fungal infection—also the reason why fish should only be handled wet and never with dry hands.

Clean the unhooking mat

The cleaning of an unhooking mat is as easy as the general use of the products. Due to the water-repellent surface, dirt does not penetrate the mat, but only adheres to the surface. Therefore it usually is sufficient to rinse the unhooking mat briefly in water after releasing the fish. Soap or similar is not necessary. However, you should always properly clean the mat’s surfaces so that your best unhooking mat will be durable for a long time.