Do I really need an unhooking mat?
In my opinion, you shouldn't fish for pike without one. While laying a pike in soft, wet grass on soft ground might not do that much damage if you're careful, there's no guarantee you'll be able to find such a surface after hooking a fish and pike are remarkably delicate creatures. Thrashing around on the ground can not only damage the fish it will also remove their protective mucus coating which is needed to keep infections at bay.
Putting them on a soft surface, such as the Savage Gear Unhooking Mat ensures their safety. An unhooking mat is vitally important if you're in a boat, where there are usually no soft surfaces upon which to rest your pike when unhooking. The Savage Gear Unhooking Mat is made from thick high density foam to give the pike a soft surface upon which to lay, and that's covered with a fish friendly material that prevents the removal of mucus when the fish is being unhooked.
How big is the Savage Gear Unhooking Mat?
The Savage Gear Unhooking Mat is pretty big - it's 120cm x 65cm, or about 48" x 26". That's long enough and wide enough to handle a pretty massive pike - easily 30-40lb - so should be plenty big enough for most people.
What's it like to carry?
The Savage Gear Unhooking Mat is relatively large and bulky to carry. Fortunately it's just the right size to wrap around the outside of the Savage Gear Rubber Mesh Landing Net, so that's what I do with mine. This makes carrying the two items much easier. The Savage Gear Unhooking Mat comes with two elasticated straps to allow you to join the two together.
What is this unhooking mat like to use?
The Savage Gear Unhooking Mat is great to use. While a little bulky to carry, this spacious unhooking mat provides a great surface and a soft place to rest a big fish and your knees. It's also fitted with a measure, so if like me you often fish alone and without scales, you can get a quick snap of your catch and record its size without hassle, allowing you to safely return your catch as quickly as possible.
Would you buy one again?
Yes, I've got no complaints about my Savage Gear Pro Unhooking Mat. It retails for £25.99, although you can pick them up for a few quid less if you shop around. If you want a decent, hard wearing unhooking mat for pike fishing, this one's a good choice.