The big questions
1. How much do you care?
We should all care about the safety of the carp we catch, right? Well, if you’re a belt-and-braces kinda guy or gal, then the Avid Carp Care range will definitely be to your taste. Take the Carp Cots for instance: they’re lightweight, but unashamedly not the smallest mats. So, if you’ve got a bit of room on the barrow, then you’re going to love the extra protection that they offer.
2. Why buy a Carp Cot?
Well, in common with the Fox Easy-Mats, the Carp Cots have sides that are supported by a hidden framework. This style of mat ensures that carp can’t flip off the padded internal section and onto the ground. We reckon that these tall-sided mats are perfect for all anglers, because there’s no legislating for the actions of a wild animal once out of its environment, but especially so for those of you who are less confident in your handling skills. If you’re a novice, or occasionally have difficulty controlling a bucking carp on a standard flat mat, then the Carp Cot range will suit you perfectly – less stress for you,
and less stress for the carp too.
3. Off to France? Need a mat with extra capacity?
Luckily, Avid makes a Carp Cot XL (£84.99), as well as the standard Cot (£74.99). It’s 10cm longer and 15cm wider than the standard (which is a good size itself at 100 x 50cm and 36cm deep). You’re adding around half-a-kilo by buying the bigger mat, but that really shouldn’t be a big deal when you’re loading that van for the big French trip!
4. You really should be looking at Avid retaining slings too.
Why? Well, first of all, they fit over the top of the Carp Cots, raising the height of the sides for that little bit of extra protection (clever stuff, Avid). Also, they feature magnets that sit along the support bars helping to keep the sling neat and compact when you’re trying to get an accurate weight for a lively fish. Aside from that, they’re similar to most of the decent slings on the market, featuring soft mesh material, integrated floats on the support bars, retaining cord and stink bag. Avid makes two sizes, which fit the two sizes of Carp Cot: the Standard (110 x 50cm and retails for £39.99) and the XL (130 x 60cm which retails for £44.99).
5. Is ultimate mobility important to you?
Allow us to point you in the direction of the Mobile Rolla Mat (£44.99). It’s a classic carp mat, the likes of which you’ll have seen from Aqua and Trakker over the years, perhaps inspired by the original Cypry Products mats, which spawned the sought-after Nix mats. Anyway, we digress. The Mobile Rolla Mat is thickly padded and of more-than-adequate dimensions for 90% of your fishing. It rolls up and can be clipped to your rucksack by means of two carabiner clips for transport. We can see this mat appealing to the hard-bitten veteran. Someone who is ruthless about saving weight and space and who is also likely to be an old hand when it comes to controlling a lively carp on a mat without sides. avidcarp.com