As a fishery manager I’ve long been asked which recovery sling I’d recommend. For equally long I’ve said that I don’t know of one made from the best materials. Well I’ve finally found one!
Before I tell you about it let me say that I like my members to avoid recovery slings as much as possible. This is because the best place for a fish to recover is back in its natural environment, not in a sling! And it’s best to get it there as quickly as possible!
I’ve been told these slings are for use whilst you set up your camera for a self take. I simply don’t accept that. In most cases you should have your camera already set up on a tripod pointing at where you’ll be holding the fish. This should be done before you catch a fish, not after! If it’s raining just cover the camera with a bucket.
This is because a fish that’s been in a sling is likely to be more lively and therefore more difficult to control, which means there’s a greater likelihood of it being damaged.
It will also mean that the fish is more stressed. And a stressed fish won’t recover so quickly, nor will it grow as big.
However I accept that occasionally a sling can be justified, for instance when stalking. You also don’t have to use it for recovery, it could just be for weighing your catch.
So what do I look for in a sling, recovery or not? Most importantly, the materials. These mustn’t allow the slime of the fish to soak in. The slime is the fish’s first line of defence. Remove it and the fish is more prone to infection.
With this Advanta sling the inside is a combination of a rubberised finish nylon, plus rubberised mesh. Rubberised mesh in particular doesn’t soak up the protective slime like normal mesh. As a result there’s also much reduced smell plus it dries very quickly.
The zips are heavy duty, but I’d like them to go completely down to the bottom to make releasing fish easier (they don’t quite).
Some of the other features worth noting are that, in addition to the central weighing handles, there are dual carrying handles at either end for particularly heavy fish. At 115 x 60cms it’s long enough for a monster pike, and it coped very well with Leroy Swann’s 56-14 carp from the Main Lake at Wingham.
There’s also a long retaining cord with a standard bankstick attachment that even fits into its own little pocket, plus hi-vis tape on the 4 floats. These shows up well at night but you’ll need to keep them out of a photograph when using flash.
By the way, the spec is wrong in the Advanta catalogue, one reason why I missed the product in the first place. There’s no mention of the vitally important rubberised mesh, nor of the 3 Velcro tabs along the top to prevent fish escaping. On the other hand there’s no padded shoulder strap (well, mine hasn’t got one anyway!), but there is a carry bag.
I’d like a padded shoulder strap as then the central handle could be smaller so that you don’t have to lift the fish so high when weighing it – and we all know this can be an effort with a lump!
So who the hell are Advanta then, I hear you ask? Advanta is simply the own brand label of Angling Direct, one of the biggest names in fishing retail with over a dozen stores across the country plus a big online presence.
What’s more, because they cut out the middle man, Advanta prices are very competitive indeed. This recovery sling costs just £34.99.
I’m not so much interested in the price, I want the best protection for my fish. Whilst not quite perfect, this Advanta sling is the best I’ve seen at any price.