Continuing the Group Test series, we take a look at bite alarms. To give a fair test, we have not only picked the 8 variants we see the most on the bank but we have also tried to use a wide balanced selection of price, functionality and, of course, looks.
Bite indication is an essential element of any angler’s approach, and unlike many other disciplines, as carp anglers we insist on suffering the dark nights that can often be very rewarding in need. It is for this reason that we require an electronic alarm that can notify us of what is happening at the rig end, not necessarily what is going on but certainly when either the lead or main line have been moved.
As with any fishing-related tech, price will ultimately decide which one is for you because alarms will more than likely be bought in quantities of two or more, or in a featured presentation set complete with receiver where applicable. The prices quoted on the next three pages are per individual head unit, and simply multiplying that by three will not necessarily work to give you the same price you will be given when looking at a full set. The alarms that we were unable to find an individual price for will state what you actually receive for your outlay.
Sonik SKS Bite Alarms
Relatively new to the market, the Sonik package has been very well received. These roller-wheel varieties are also able to be synched to the supplied bivvy light and as soon as your alarm registers activity the light will illuminate in a matching colour to give you a prior warning as to which alarm is going off.
The head boasts sensitivity, tone and volume controls, which is all finshed in a very nice soft-touch matt rubberised finish.
Retro in appearance, TC designer Katie has her eyes on these and from the testing we have undertaken they work very well. Even in freezing conditions the diamond-shaped roller wheel remained functional. They run off two AAA batteries for ease.
EASE OF USE: 9/10FUNCTIONALITY: 8/10CARPY: 6/10VALUE FOR MONEY: 8/10TOTAL: 31/40
Fox MXR+ Bite Alarm
The very early and original Fox bite alarms had an extremely strong following and we even know of several anglers who still use them.
Sitting at the mid-point range of the new Fox alarms, the MXR+ continues to build on what already was a loyal following. With a dial dedicated to tone and one for volume situated on the alarm head, you can easily change the noise. A weatherproof sealed case keeps the easy to locate and buy AAA batteries safe from the elements.
Utilising this popular variety of battery allows the angler to pick up spares in the blink of an eye as opposed to having to hunt for a specialised battery; good move Fox! A great all-rounder that isn’t too expensive.
EASE OF USE: 9/10FUNCTIONALITY: 9/10CARPY: 5/10VALUE FOR MONEY: 9/10TOTAL: 32/40
Gardner ATT Silent Alarm System Bite Alarm
This is the smallest alarm head on test. Although at first glance you will be quick to note that there is no on/off switch, volume, tone or sensitivity, don’t be fooled into thinking this is just a gimmick. The head turns itself off when pushed into the case, ensuring you save battery.
This silent head has to work with an alarm, of course, unless you are going to sit staring longingly at the LED.
Similar to the Gardner TLB, these can be completely submerged and still work, perfect for waters where you want to limit awareness of your presence. The newer variants also boast an illuminated roller wheel, which we like a lot. If you want something that even your dog could set up then these are for you.
EASE OF USE: 10/10FUNCTIONALITY: 6/10CARPY: 8/10VALUE FOR MONEY: 8/10TOTAL: 32/40
Delkim TXi plus Bite Alarm
The alarm that needs no introduction, and we can bet our bottom dollar that if you don’t have a set, the chances are you have certainly considered them over the years.
Quite possibly the most popular alarm on test, there is no questioning the pedigree from the Delkim stable and if you have read the Delkim interview in this issue you will understand why.
Utilising a square battery, these won’t run out on you in a hurry, even if you chose to have the NiteLites switched on. Running the ever-reliable and incredibly sensitive vibration arm, you have complete control over every aspect of bite indication, including tone, volume and a very detailed sensitivity programme.
EASE OF USE: 9/10FUNCTIONALITY: 10/10CARPY: 7/10VALUE FOR MONEY: 8/10TOTAL: 34/40
Wychwood AVXS Bite Alarm
These are also small, or should we say compact, heads but they are extremely durable, so don’t be put off.
The front is home to three soft-touch rubber buttons that control, on and off, volume, tone and sensitivity. We also like the built-in low-battery warning. No more waking up to find your bobbin hanging on the floor and your rod tip pointing in the wrong direction; well unless you are a heavy sleeper that is.
Similar to the ECU, these boast built-in snag arms that can be effortlessly slid up when needed and retracted when not in use.
A three-head presentation set with receiver can be purchased for £179.99, so this would be much more cost-effective than buying individual items.
EASE OF USE: 9/10FUNCTIONALITY: 9/10CARPY: 6/10VALUE FOR MONEY: 7/10TOTAL: 31/40
Gardner TLB Bite AlarmNow this little fella strikes a personal note with editor Dan Murrell; the first alarm he ever purchased, going back nearly 10 years.
Although it is probably the least popular on test it has survived the test of time and is utilised by specimen anglers as well as carp anglers alike.
Simple in design there is an on/off switch located on the front and an external jack plug allows it to be synched to an ATT receiver. Utilising a traditional roller-wheel setup this bite alarm is as easy to use as it gets.
Oh, and did we mention that it is fully waterproof even if submerged?
A bright front LED illuminates as a high-toned bleep is let out from the stylish body.
EASE OF USE 10/10FUNCTIONALITY 6/10CARPY 9/10VALUE FOR MONEY 7/10TOTAL: 32/40
JRC Radar CX Bite Alarm
We first saw these alarms just under six months ago and as a result we knew that we wanted to include them because they tick plenty of boxes and are cheap.
One of the main reasons we wanted to include them is the fact that for a mid-priced bite alarm, not only are they feature packed but they have also been designed, tested and engineered right here in the UK.
The CX boasts stepless volume, tone and sensitivity for a seamless adjustment. The LED strip on the left signals a travelling light as well as a 20-second latching LED.
The long battery life runs off a 9V and it comes complete with a low-battery warning from the impressive Magneto-dynamic speaker.
EASE OF USE: 9/10FUNCTIONALITY: 8/10CARPY: 6/10VALUE FOR MONEY: 10/10TOTAL: 33/40
Nash Siren R3 Bite Alarm
No it is not a taser, but yes it is an electrical force to be reckoned with. We have read reports that the remote is one of the best around, covering large distances, but until we do our own testing we cannot confirm this.
There are a few new features to this distinctive alarm that we think are well worth a mention. A one-touch mute function allows the user to tighten their line, set the bobbin and make adjustments without annoying other anglers on the lake. The subtle front jack plug will take compatable bobbins and provide a gentle pulsing illumination.
They also boast a patented sensitivity control that utilises a microchip Intelligent Sensing, meaning you are more in tune when it matters.
EASE OF USE: 8/10FUNCTIONALITY: 8/10CARPY: 7/10VALUE FOR MONEY: 8/10TOTAL: 31/40