Unhooking Mats....
3 October 2020


It has come to the DDAS committee’s attention that photos are being posted on social media of members holding fish they have caught at Luckfield Lake, which is great. What isn’t great is that some of the pictures show that there isn’t an unhooking mat in sight over which the fish should be held.

The rules at Luckfield Lake state:

Use unhooking mats for all Carp & Tench over 5lb (Unhook 5lb and under in the landing net off the ground.

Although this is a Luckfield Lake specific rule it really should be applied to all venues where large fish (predominately Carp) are present. There are a large number of Carp and Tench at Lakefield which are over 5lb and they don’t differentiate between a 20mm boilie on a hair rig and a single maggot on a size 20 hook. Therefore, all anglers fishing there should have an unhooking mat ready just in case. We don’t want to have to start policing this rule in a “heavy handed” way and would hope that all anglers will take heed of this warning and take good care of the fish they have caught. We all spend a lot of money buying gear to catch fish, please spend a little on gear to look after those fish once they are on the bank.

A few pointers on photographing large Carp:

• Keep the fish out of the water for the absolute minimum amount of time

• Keep the fish wet, do not wipe away mucus or other detritus on the fish with your hands or a towel, use water to rinse them off.

• Support the fish under the head with one hand and slide your other underneath the tail and round until your fingers can grasp either side of the anal fin. Be very careful not to lift or catch scales when doing this.

• Never stand with the fish, be in a squat or kneeling position with the fish held over the unhooking mat, with larger fish support your forearms by placing them on your knees/thighs (if in a squat position).

• Take two or three photos, if you only take one sods law says it will be out of focus and remember to smile!

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