Carp Fishing Bite Alarms
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Carp Fishing Bite Alarms
Chances are, if you’re a seasoned carp angler like we are, you’ll just about be able to remember the days when bite alarms were a rare sight on the bank. Instead, anglers relied upon their eyes, keeping a tight watch on their rod tips and bite indicators in order to determine what was going on under the water. Whilst we still fish with a weather eye on our rod tips and we’d never dream about setting up without a bite indicator, the days when our eyes were our only weapons on the bank are – thankfully – long gone! Although you’ll never quite beat that feeling of watching your float sink under the water, nothing is worse than missing a take because you had your eye off the ball – whether that was because you were preparing your next groundbait mix or because you were putting the kettle on for a well deserved cup of tea. With Angling Direct’s vast range of bite alarms and receivers, you need never miss out on a catch again. A quality bite alarm and receiver set has the possibility to increase your catch rate exponentially, so why not invest in one today to see your catch figures soar?
We stock bite alarms that come in at all budgets, so whether you’re looking for a relatively simple alarm that gets the job done or you’re in the market for something that has all the bells and whistles (literally), we have the alarm for you. However, to give you a better guide of what to look out for, as well as a brief introduction into the history of bite alarms, we’ve collected all our knowledge and experience to present to you here, in our carp fishing bite alarm guide.
The basic principle of the bite alarm hasn’t changed one bit since the day it was first invented. However, thanks to technological innovation, the bite alarms we see on the bank today not only look markedly different from those early offerings but they also operate on a much more accurate set of systems to give you incredibly reliable results time after time. If you’re an official stalwart of the industry then it is likely that you’ll remember the first ever bite alarm to be created: the Heron. The Heron alarm was designed by Dick Walker in the 1950s and, for almost three decades, was considered the very pinnacle of angling technology. This bite alarm operated on a completed circuit system, by which a run on the line would press on a small piece of metal in order to complete the electrical circuit and emit a buzz. Although this was a remarkable system at the time, it did have its faults – one of which being that if you got anything other than a straightforward run then the bite alarm wouldn’t activate. Another of the serious issues with the Heron was its external battery. As you might imagine, this system was not only heavy to transport but it was also compromised as soon as water became involved. For a piece of equipment that was designed to be set up on the water’s edge, this was a serious fault, regardless of the fact that as soon as the heavens opened or a touch of frost was on the cards, this system became completely inoperable.
Luckily, things started to look up for the bite alarm when a plucky young angler by the name of Del Romang got his hands on a Heron and started to experiment. He soon released that, with the technological advances that had occurred in the twenty odd years that had passed since the release of the original Heron, he could make significant improvements to the bite alarm. Soon, Del’s friends were asking him to modify their setups and shortly after anglers around the country were sending off their Heron’s to see what Del could do. It was at this time that Del and his friend Kim Donaldson started up their business – Delkim – primarily manufacturing fishing bait but with Del’s alarm modification business as a nice little sideline.
In the 1980s a new alarm name joined the scene, the Optonic. A variation of the Optonic is still produced today by the Sundridge brand – although it is much more advanced than this early version. Rather than a simple closed circuit operation, the Optonic operated on a roller system. As the line ran it would rotate the roller, giving off a loud beep rather than the quiet buzz that Heron owners had become accustomed to. The longer and faster the run was, the more continuously the alarm would sound. However, the biggest benefit of this new system was that it was finally able to identify runs in any direction – including runs that headed towards you provided you had set up with a bite indicator system. Not only this but for the first time the alarm now had an internal battery pack. Although it would be a handful for years before it became completely water resistant, this ensured that whole system didn’t completely seize up at the first sign of rain and it really set the standard for the bite alarms of today.
However, no bite alarm was safe from Del Romang and he soon began to offer his very own Optonic Conversions. This conversion lowered the amount of power the alarm used, significantly increasing the battery life, as well as increasing the accuracy of the alarm. Surprisingly enough, the creators of Optonic weren’t best pleased that somebody else was cashing in on their product and Del was legally required to stop offering his conversions. This turned out to be the push he needed to focus on the creation of his own bite alarm, which arrived on the market nearly a decade later. This 1990s bite alarm is most similar to the alarms we still see today. It was also the first to operate on Delkim’s patented vibration system, rather than a circuit closure system. Based on the mechanism used in traditional record players, the Delkim alarm could sense the slightest movement of the line, giving superior indication as soon as there was a sign of any underwater activity.
Modern Bite Alarms
Today, bite alarm accuracy has hugely improved across the board and today there is a huge range for you to choose from, to ensure that you’re able to enjoy the accuracy and security of an ultra-sensitive bite alarm system. All bite alarms operate by slotting your fishing line through the ears of the alarm, although much like the bite alarms of yore the methods used to detect line movement are fairly varied. Roller sensors are still an incredibly popular choice, particularly among slightly cheaper alarms, and their sensitivity has come an incredibly long way since the original Optonic roller sensor. Similarly, modern Delkim’s use an updated version of the patented vibration sensor system that made the original alarms so loved.
Most modern alarms will allow you some degree of control over your alarm’s sensitivity settings. This is vital, as it ensures that you can have the same confidence in your bite alarm regardless of your angling circumstances. For example, if you’re targeting smaller carp species, you’re anticipating nervous or delicate takes, or you’re fishing on a venue that is as still as a millpond, then you might want to up your sensitivity to get a crystal clear picture of exactly what is going on under the water. Similarly, if the wind is howling, the current pulling, and you’re looking forward to some aggressive takes from monster carp, it would be better to lower the sensitivity settings. This way, you don’t risk becoming spooked by false alerts, ensuring that you only respond to positive takes.
Another feature of the modern alarm is the ability to change the volume of the alarm. Whereas traditional alarms had a set sound, modern alarms can be dialled up or down depending on your circumstances. If you’re sat on that mill pond venue again, you can turn down the volume of your alarm – letting the sound carry organically. However, if you’re fishing in a situation when the wind can whip sound from you, a louder alarm noise might be your preferred choice. Some alarms will even let you mute them entirely. This might sound counterintuitive at first, however, when you’re using the alarm in conjunction with a receiver, muting the alarm is often the best course of action. Receivers allow you to bring the sound of your alarm inside your bivvy, ensuring that you won’t be able to sleep through an epic run. Many receivers also offer a vibration function, ensuring that you can enjoy a completely stealthy setup and you’re not at risk from disturbing neighbouring anglers. This is ideal for use on heavily populated lakes when swims are in close quarters. After all, nothing is worse than hearing your alarm tone only to discover that it is your neighbours set on its loudest volume!
You will also find that many of our top end bite alarms will offer different tone settings. This is because many carp anglers will fish with more than one rod in their setup, so being able to quickly and easily identify which rod has the run on is vital. This is especially important if you’re fishing with a receiver, when you’re first indication of a bite is likely to be auditory rather than visual. However, the different tones can also help you identify your bite alarm from others on especially crowded waters, ensuring that you don’t incorrectly respond to every alarm sound you hear.
A final feature you’ll notice is that most alarms will come fitted with LED lights. This was a feature on the very first Heron alarm and it helped to ensure that you could tell which alarm was active at a glance. Today’s alarm LEDs are much more sophisticated than the original systems and many alarms you’ll find will have different latching and running lights. This helps you to identify takes even when the fish has stopped taking line. You’ll often find that alarms are available in a range of colours. You can either buy alarms in different colours, again to make rod identification quicker, or in the same colour. Traditionally, red and blue LEDs were the preferred choice, but today purple and white are in vogue – although, as fashions always are, this is liable to change.
As you can see, there are lots of choices when it comes to purchasing your bite alarms. Since many carp anglers like to fish with three or more rods in their setup, some suppliers will supply bite alarms in sets of three or more. It is worth bearing the need for three bite alarms when you’re budgeting for your setup. Angling Direct offers Direct Credit on all orders over £300, ensuring that you can enjoy the tackle that you need when you need it. We have a range of interest-free repayment options, to ensure that you can choose a service which suits your needs and budget.
We’ve already mentioned some of the names that have been important to the historical development of bite alarms, but there are many more options on the market. Big name carp brands, such as Fox and Nash, have their own dedicated ranges of bite alarms. Similarly, brands like Gardner and JRC have incredibly high performance options that are excellent alternatives to the traditional brands.
As we are all avid anglers, here at Angling Direct, we only ever stock products that we ourselves are happy to use day in, day out, and all of our bite alarms have been hand picked by our expert team for their performance excellence. We regularly review all the latest offerings from all the best brands in the business, too, so if you like to do a little research before you buy there’s no better place to start than our own blog archive. If you do require any additional information about any of our carp bite alarms and receivers, our customer services team are happy to help. Simply visit the dedicated customer services page on our website to find out how to get in touch. We also stock an impressive range of bite indicators for those anglers who like to double up on their bite detection equipment.