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Old 02-11-2011, 15:15
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Default Nash Top Rod Slingmat by Ian Haggett

Nash Top Rod Slingmat by Ian Haggett



Introduction

When I returned to serious Barbel fishing in 2002 one of the many items I needed to obtain/replace was a decent quality unhooking mat. I noticed that one of the Carp magazines had an offer of a free Nash slingmat with new subscriptions. Reasoning that my sons would enjoy the magazine, and that the cost of the subscription was only a couple of pounds or so more than the value of the mat I duly took them up on their offer.


Description

The Nash Top Rod Slingmat is described in the Nash catalogue as 'far more than a top quality unhooking mat, it is a complete unhooking, weighing and return system'. The mat comes in a waterproof outer bag secured by a quality zip and with webbing handles. In this form and dry the mat weighs around 2lbs 6ozs and the whole package measures approximately 17" x 11" x 6" making it easily stored in the car. The outer bag also keeps water from running into the car.



Nash Top Rod Slingmat in Bag

When taken from the outer bag the mat is folded in two and secured by a plastic quick release buckle. Releasing the buckle and opening out the mat reveals a very useful stalking bag (see picture below).



Sling mat as stalking bag


The oval section webbing handles are long enough to allow the bag to be comfortably slung across the shoulders. The top of the bag is secured by two zips which run from the centre of each end of the bag. These are good quality and appear to have quite a soft coating, presumably to ensure no damage to fish when contained within the sling. In this form the sling can be used as a stalking bag, a weigh sling and as a means of carrying fish to the water's edge for release. Opening the zips fully a central padded section measuring 33" x 20" is revealed. This is formed of 2" thick high density foam which should provide adequate protection for our quarry. There are two nylon skirts (on which the zips run) around the padded area which are approximately 9.5" deep at the centres and these are very handy for kneeling on whilst dealing with a fish if the ground is wet.



Slingmat as unhooking mat




A webbing tab is provided at each end of the mat which enables it to be pegged down or can be used to hang it up to dry.



In Use


I like the adaptability of this product, particularly the ability to use it as a stalking bag which I am able to get all the tackle I need in for a summer day's roving. Of course, the inside will get wet and slimy if a fish is caught (not very often from me then!) but this can be overcome easily by packing the tackle in a plastic carrier bag. I can even fit my Harrison 4 piece Avon and a short rod rest in the bag leaving me only a landing net to carry. The quality of the stitching and fittings is very good and I have found it an ideal size for Barbel. When used in the weighsling mode the fish are held very securely but the sling weighs around 3lbs when thoroughly wet, as a result I have found it impossible to zero my Avon scales and have to remember to deduct the weight of the sling after weighing the fish




Conclusions

If you just want an unhooking mat there are many simpler designs on the market which are cheaper. However, I have found this product very adaptable and useful and have no concerns about the quality after 18 months or so of regular use. I would certainly buy another.



Price


In the standard size (which I have) RRP 29.99 and in the larger 'Monster' size RRP 39.95. I have recently seen these on offer at 19.99 and 26.99 respectively.






Ian Haggett

February 2004
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