Why do I need a Weigh Sling?
It is essential that carp, whilst absent from its natural environment, receives the best medical care and handling that they deserve. This will mean that not only will the next fisherman find the carp in perfect condition but the proper handling of the carp, along with all the right equipment, will also ensure that the carp is able to continue growing correctly and maybe even become a giant in the carp world.
It is very important to be well organized whilst fishing for carp so that everything runs smoothly. So having your scale, unhooking mat, weigh slings, a bucket of dam water and carp medicine (Kryston Klin-ik or Gardner Medic Plus) nearby and ready for action is vitally important. You will want all of this ready and close by so that a quick unhooking, weighing and treatment of the carp can occur, so that the carp can be returned to the water as quickly as possible. (Read here for more information on caring for carp wounds).
A Sling is designed for weighing the carp and as a short term way to safely hold the fish to release it safely back into the water. It is not designed to replace a carp sack which works totally different and is a specialist item in itself.
Lots of care is needed when we catch a carp, so we can return him to his natural habitat once we have completed what we need to do. Once you have the fish in the bank still in the Landing Net, you should already have the unhooking mat and sling ready. Always pour water over the unhooking mat and Weigh Slings before use. Use water from the dam and always keep a bucket of lake water on hand throughout the whole process to keep the carp as wet as possible.
Always make sure that before you lift a carp in anything i.e. the Landing Net or the Sling that the fins (Dorsal Fin, Pectoral Fin, Pelvic Fin and Anal Fin) are lying flat against the body. If the fins are pointed in the wrong direction, they can be injured or even snapped, if the fish's weight is exerted in the wrong direction. Keep the fish low to the ground if he is in the net and place him carefully on the mat.
When you have carefully removed the hook, run a quick look at the mouth of the fish and the fins to see if there is any damage or sores. Antiseptic gel such as Gardner Medic Plus, can be used to treat puncture holes from the hook, any missing scales, fins that are torn, and so forth. This will help the fish recover more rapidly from any injuries that he has incurred from being caught.
Next transfer the carp quickly into the sling. Safety is important so place the sling on the unhooking mat and carefully roll the fish out onto the sling making sure that the fins are all lying flat against the body. Zip both sides of the sling closed, if your sling has zips, so that the carp will be secure if he decides to flip flop and struggle so that he won't be harmed. If a carp starts to become really restless you can cover its eyes to help him calm down.
Now transfer the carp to the scale in order to weigh him. You don't really have to weight every fish, but if it looks like this fish might be in a category of your best catch, it is a good idea to weigh him, and get a picture. If the fish is not close to your record fish that you have caught thus far, it is always a good idea to skip the photo session as it will limit any chances of the carp getting hurt. The weighing of the fish should take only seconds, and once you have recorded the weight, he can either photographed or returned to the water.
When taking a picture of your fish, cradle him low to the ground, and hold him in the central parts of his body. Hold the fish just above the unhooking mat so if he does slip out of your grip, he won't have to fall far. If he does fall any distance, internal organs can be permanently damaged. If the fish is very large, it is appropriate to have two other anglers to either side of the fish, called 'goalies' to be sure the fish is not dropped. Never underestimate the power of any fish to wiggle powerfully enough to slip out of your hand, because they are all muscle and can be very strong. The 'goalies' help to ensure that the fish will not be dropped. Just make sure that you always have every possible way covered that the fish could slip, jump out of your hands, or any possible means of escape covered.
Picture taking sessions should be kept to a minimum, particularly when the temperature is high, and it is important to keep the fish wet from the water bucket. When you are ready to return the fish to the water, place him into the sling again making sure that all of the fins are pointed in the correct position and zip up the sling completely as before. Carry the fish back to the water, keeping it low to the ground, then place it into the water, where you can unzip the sling at that time, and let it swim away into the water on its own.
Good quality Weigh Slings and other handy tools for weighing your carp can be bought from this web-page.