Bite Alarms - How To Choose The Best One For You
By Phil Agate
If you already have bite alarms or just go night fishing for carp, then you will know what I mean by the bite alarm chorus. It's that echo of noises as the sun sets over the lake and everything just seemed peaceful, when you have just made that brew and settled down for the night wondering what it will bring. Beep. Then beep beep. You notice some movement from the bivvy across the lake. It has started. Yes it's the "bite alarm chorus". Soon every angler on the lake realises that it is last chance saloon to re-bait the rods and set up for the night ahead. The beeps are of course coming from the different bite alarms spread around the water as everyone prepares for the night ahead.
Then, like the dawn chorus, it is quickly over. Silence once again settles over the water. All that can be seen is the glow of red, blue, white and purple LEDs reflecting upon the waters edge. The wait is on.
The Old Days
Sometimes I wish I was back in the old days (yes I know I'm old and past it) back to when carp fishing was a rather more peaceful pastime. All you might hear at being a fox, an owl or old ratty plopping into the water's edge or the always exciting sound of monster carp slurping as they suck snails' eggs from the lilies and reeds.
Of course I don't really want to go back to the olden days. Days when if you should nod off, you would miss that run you had been waiting all night for. Or spending all night straining in the wind to hear a coin drop off of the line into a tin can. Or watching a piece of bread dough moulded to the line between reel and butt ring, ready to strike if it rose towards the rod. Not easy in the dark unless there was a full moon!
Nowadays, most serious carp anglers use bite alarms. OK so they are a little more expensive than bread dough and so this web site has been set up to help you decide on the best bite alarms to suit your budget.
Modern Bite Alarms
Bite Alarms are available in a large range of prices from cheap budget alarms to all singing all dancing models, so you need to set yourself a price range. Fix your budget taking into account how many alarms you need and what you need to go with it. Do you need a sounder box? These decisions are easy if all models cost the same, but of course we have to be practical. There are some extremely good and reliable budget alarms on the market nowadays. Take a look at the TFGear alarms for example. Also the Fox Warrior range of tackle is superb value for money. You really don't have to spend a fortune.
So now you have your budget, what features you are looking for? What do they do and do you need them? Let's take a look.
Time To Gain Control
There are usually up to three controls on the modern bite alarm. First off, found on most bite alarms, is a volume control. If you didn't have this you would either be deafening every other angler or you would never hear a bite in windy conditions. Therefore I would say this is a must have. Secondly, the tone control. If you don't have this it makes your alarms hard to tell apart in the dead of night. Set your alarms to different tones so that you can hear straight away which rod has the run.
Finally, a sensitivity control enables you to set how much movement of the line is needed before a bite is registered. This one is I suppose only a nice to have feature, but it is really useful when you are fishing in wind as it stops false bites. It's also great if you are being pestered by line bites caused by small or patrolling fish knocking into your line.
Also on the front of most bite alarms are one, two or even three LED lights. These are usually either red, yellow, green, purple or white. The first LED is to show you when you have a bite. It will only light up as line is taken from the reel. Great if you see it as it happens; you know which rod has the bite. What about if you are in the bivvy though, and only come out as you hear the take. By the time you get there no light is on. The run has stopped.
On some bite alarms the same light will remain on for a while but on better alarms, the second light comes into play. This is called the latching light. The first light switches straight off once the line stops moving, but the latching light stays on so that you know what's going on. Now you know which rod had the take, and if the bite doesn't resume, you have a way of knowing which rod may need re-baiting and re-casting.
Another really useful addition if you can afford it is the remote sounder box. Most modern bite alarms utilise radio sounder boxes, which receive radio signals from the bite alarms without the need for wires. Each alarm is lit up on the sounder box by a different coloured light, so that you know which rod has the bite, even if you are inside the bivvy. Sounder boxes operate at quite a good distance from your rods; great if you have to answer a call of nature during the night.
Finally, you need to consider reliability. Perhaps this should be one of the most important features to look for. You see, it doesn't matter how much cash you have saved, if it doesn't work, it was money wasted. The same of course goes for batteries. They are cheap in Poundland. Need I say more? A battery is no good if it runs out at 3 in the morning. Even if you do realise it's not working before morning and you have a spare, it's no fun changing it in the dark. So how do you find out if a bite alarm is reliable?
Well, the best way is to ask a mate or fellow angler who already owns one. Asking in a tackle shop may result in good advice from the more reputable dealers, but there will always be those who recommend the one that they happen to have a lot of in stock or that they earn the most commission on.
If you ask me what bite alarms to buy I will say Delkim TX-Is and sounder box because that's what I use and swear by. A mate of mine uses Fox Microns and swears by them. Just remember, a recommendation from someone who has owned one for a good time and used it in all weather conditions is worth its weight.
So there you go. Good luck and tight lines. Beep beep.
Phil is a keen carp angler and runs several fishing sites including bite alarms. You can read more about bite alarms and where to buy them at www.bitealarm.net
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