Tim says: Unfortunately, I am old enough to have been carp fishing since before we even thought about putting carp on a protective mat. The best a carp could hope for was a nice piece of grass to lie on.

Fortunately, we soon realised that we needed to care for the carp more and started to use unhooking mats. These have come a long way since those early days, with far better padding and protection.

The Safeguards from Avid take this protection to another level. Based on a cradle design, they not only keep the carp off the ground but eliminate the danger of it sliding off the mat if it starts to flap about, especially if it is on a slight slope. The carp sit very comfortably in the cradle, surrounded by a padded wall and as safe as houses.

I have been testing the larger of the two and although it is quite big to carry it is very light and simple to set up. You take it out of the supplied carry bag, unfold it and you are ready to rock ‘n’ roll.

It is made from fish-friendly material and has a mesh section so that excess water drains away very easily. There is a cover flap to temporarily secure the carp while you sort your scales and camera equipment out and when you are finished the whole thing folds away into its own carry bag, swiftly and easily.

Yes they are a bit bulky to carry but should we worry about that when the safety of the carp should come first? This is a very well made product that does exactly what it is meant to do.

The Safeguards are available in two sizes: 90 x 50cm and 120 x 70cm.

Price: Safeguard £69.99; XL £89.99

Web: www.avidcarp.com