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19 Jan 2012 at 6.39am
SAFE SACKS Part 1
I have only just realised that this thread has been denuded of its photos thanks to TinyPic going the same way as Photobucket. So here is the thread with the photos restored. Apologies to one and all. (Though TBH the subject of sacking carp is now largely less practised thanks to the widespread use of recovery/weigh slings.) Nevertheless a carp sack is part and parcel of many anglers' fishing gear - I am no exception. Provided you follow a few simple rules, then sacking a fish for anything from a few minute to a few hours will do them no harm, and I have absolutely no problem with their use. Yes, there are risks if safe sacks is not practised but these guidelines will ensure that no harm will come to your sacked prize.
Carp sacks have come a long way since the days of Hessian sacks tied up with bits of string. This photo dates from 1978 when today’s modern carp tackle manufacturers were a distant dream of all anglers. There were no proper sacks or even unhooking mats back then so we carp anglers have a lot to thank the tackle trade for.
Carp sacks come in all shapes and sizes. Thankfully gone are the days when sacks were longer than they were broad! Now we can all get hold of well constructed sack that are designed to actually hold a carp without folding it in half, as they are now broader than they are long. In addition the majority are well designed with tough zips and other fittings. Indeed, some are even fitted with correctly positioned carrying handles.
However, not all sacks are fitted with handles, so if yours does not have them remember to carry the sack to the mat with your arms held wide apart so as not to fold up the carp in the sack.
Unfortunately a few carp sacks are still sent out with thin, flimsy bits of string that are intended to attach them to the bank. Thankfully not all sacks are thus, so make sure when choosing a sack that the security aspect is up to scratch. This Fox sack is perfectly adequate.
If you are at all uncertain, then do as I have done for years and change the flimsy bit of string for a length of tough half-inch polypropylene rope. I like to splice the rope to the fitting on the sack but I accept that not everyone is going to take the trouble to learn how to splice just to customise a carp sack, so instead tie the rope to the security fitting using a bowline. Tuck the free end under the strands for added security.
I generally use a 2m length of rope and at the other end I splice in an eye. Again you can use a bowline to form a secure knot or just tie a simple overhand loop, same as you would if you were tying a stiff rig to a swivel.
Always tie your sack to something fixed and solid. If possible attach the rope to a sturdy tree, root or branch. Learn to tie strong, 100% reliable knots! As you can see from this photo, the fishing was a bit hectic on this occasion!
As an ex-seaman I trust my knots 100% and always prefer to tie my sacks to a solid object like a tree. However, there will be times when you have no option but to use a bank stick. This old Gardner stick is almost as old as me and it has done me proud over the years. The stabiliser comes in very handy too…
Here you can see how I have trapped the loop at the end of the rope under the stabiliser. The bank stick is pushed deep into the ground and the rope is now held securely in place. I am not sure if these ‘old fashioned’ stabilisers are still around, but I am sure you can find a modern equivalent.
19 Jan 2012 at 6.40am
I made up this very handy item of tackle a great many years ago when I was fishing a lake that had no water’s edge trees to which I could tie my sack, and where the ground was too soft safely to hold a bankstick. This is nothing more than a 10m length of rope with a snap link attached to one end.
You can buy these heavy-duty links in yacht chandlers and farmers stores/warehouses. Make sure you buy one that features a safety ring in the narrower end. This guards against the faint possibility of the rope sliding up to the link’s opening and possibly coming away altogether. (Unlikely but it can happen.)
Now select a very solid object within 10m of the water’s edge. A tree, a rock, the tow-hitch of your car…anything will do as long as it is solid and immoveable. Tie the end of the rope to the solid object and then attach the loop in the end of the rope on the sack to the snap link. That sack is going nowhere!
Finally for a belt and braces safety measure, it is a good idea to attach a floating object such as an empty pop or water bottle to the carp sack. However, here a Gardner H-Block marker has been employed. Now in the event that the sack comes away from the bank for some reason you will be able to track it and retrieve it. The H-Block marker float is very buoyant and the cord will unwind if the sack starts to sink. It will then lock in place. The same thing happens if the fish is towing the block, however, when the fish stops swimming the H-Block stays on the surface right above it.
Remember that the longer you leave the fish in the sack, the livelier it will be when you take it out again. As a result you can end up with a very lively carp. This puts the fish at risk and often results in some pretty useless photos as you end up soaked in sweat and covered in slime. So rather than do the photos straight away, allow the fish to rest on its side, still in the sack, for a few minutes, say the time it takes to smoke a fag. This will give its eyes time to adjust to the slightly stronger light. It will also calm down the fish.
You might say that keeping it out of the water for the time it takes to smoke a fag is damaging to the fish. Let me tell you, it’s not half as damaging as the fish flapping about in someone’s arms, falling to the ground, missing the mat and ending up dead (seen it happen), or being damaged by flapping off the mat onto hard ground, breaking a fin or snapping the tail, or being damaged in some other way. No, the fish is far more at risk from being dropped than from the procedure I have suggested.
Even though you now have the fish on the mat you still need to act cautiously as you need to allow the fish to get used to full daylight. You can do this by opening the sack close to its head so that the eye is uncovered. Have the sack ready to drape across the fish if it starts to flap at this point. (If a fish is going to start kicking up it’s most likely to do so when the shock of full daylight hits its eye.)
Gradually expose the head to daylight until the fish has adjusted to the change from the blackness of the sack to the brightness of the daylight. After taking these last two steps you should find that the fish will be far less likely to flap about, allowing you to do the photos quickly and with the minimum of risk to the fish.
At some stage you need to check the bottom of the sack. This can often reveal what the fish has been eating, be it either natural food or your baits. Here you can see the residue of mussels and crayfish that the fish had been eating prior to tripping up on your hookbait.
19 Jan 2012 at 6.40am
Our carp are precious to us so make sure you return them to the weigh sling rather than the sack before you carry them back to the water to be returned.
Finally you must consider the time of year and the weather before you decide to sack a carp. Here are some hard and fast rules that should always be followed.
1) If the lake is very silty, make sure that you do not pay out too much rope as this will result in the sack sinking into the silt. Preferably try to position the sack on a hard lakebed. A small amount of silt is acceptable, but deep silt can be dangerous as the sack will sink into the silt and the fish will not be able to breath and will suffocate.
2) Never sack a fish in shallow water during the summer months. Shallow margins heat up very quickly and the temperature can climb much higher than out in the middle in deeper water. You again put the fish at risk of suffocation if you sack a fish in shallow margins in hot weather as the hotter the water becomes the less oxygen it can hold and I have seen a fish suffocate after less than thirty minutes in such conditions.
3) IF IN DOUBT DO NOT SACK IT!
23 May 2021 at 8.47am
In reply to Post #58
12 Apr 2021 at 8.28pm
In reply to Post #56
I’ve sacked fish and and no issues in doing so nothing here will change my mind
16 Apr 2020 at 3.14pm
In reply to Post #56
Couldn't agree more...
8 Mar 2020 at 10.46am
In reply to Post #55
From my experience rules are there to protect the fish and lake from the muppets out there, and unfortunately, due to a boom in this wonderful past time, there's more muppets now than ever.
One thing that does bug me though, is that there are people at the top who promote returning a fish straight away so as to "not stress them out", that's fine, but you've just stuck a piece of metal in their lip and dragged them out of their home!? I Imagine that's pretty stressful! But if I might play devils advocate here, I can't see why you'd need to sack a fish anymore? Photographing a fish couldn't be easier nowadays, and if its just for half an hour or so whilst you wait for a mate to arrive or the light to improve, or maybe even for the rain to stop, then securing the net in the lakes edge is more than good enough.
17 Jul 2017 at 4.55pm
In reply to Post #54
Not a particularly helpful post...
Sacks are only as dangerous as the peeps who use them incorrectly. (That's not aimed at you btw.)
4 Jul 2017 at 5.43pm
In reply to Post #53
Be careful Ken, don't you know sacks kill fish 🙈😂
3 Jul 2017 at 11.39am
Photos now refreshed after Photosumbucket messed up my account.
12 Dec 2016 at 4.31pm
In reply to Post #51
Yep I also will use sacks !
Always have and always will ! But only if it's special and I try to do it for the shortest time possible !
Personally not ever had a problem !
2 Mar 2015 at 3.34pm
In reply to Post #50
I am referring to a Fox carp Sack in post 38, not the retention sling.
27 Feb 2015 at 8.44pm
In reply to Post #38
What's the exact name of this. When I search for it all I can find is the fox floating retention sling but obviously that's not the one your talking about. Already have the chub version of that I was planning to use. But having read this I'm thinking I should buy the other type also for times I need to hold the fish longer
20 Sept 2014 at 7.19am
In reply to Post #48
...there are highly educated anglers/owners who not only ban sacks but also retainers now.
So not all that highly educated then! On the other hand, I know of one or two lakes that INSIST that you retain the fish for a few minutes, so it's not all bad.
The problem is once something gets a bad name it's nigh on impossible to changes peoples minds unless thier open to alternative views.
Sad but true.
29 May 2014 at 11.31pm
In reply to Post #47
I doubt it BOF...there are highly educated anglers/owners who not only ban sacks but also retainers now. The problem is once something gets a bad name it's nigh on impossible to changes peoples minds unless thier open to alternative views.
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