A bite alarm is much more than just an electronic accessory – it’s your trusted partner on the bank! When you’re ready to bed-down for the night, your alarm keeps faithful watch over your rig, ready to cry out when a fish decides it fancies your midnight snack. Alarms vary in type and specification, and Angling Direct stock everything from the simplest of on/off alarms to much more complex systems with variable sensitivity settings. We also stock a full range of bite indicators, for those anglers who like to use the old fashioned system in conjunction with those tools that are more technologically advanced.
The right bite alarm has the potential to increase your catch rates exponentially, taking chance out of the equation and making sure you never again miss out on a golden opportunity. Whether you’re looking to invest in your first basic bite alarm, or you’ve spent years on the water and are ready for a cutting-edge alarm of world-class quality, Angling Direct has the bite alarm for you. Nothing is worse than realising you’ve just missed out on the catch of a lifetime because you weren’t paying enough attention to your rod. A great catch is the reason we all head out to the water, and you can rest assured that when it comes to the Angling Direct range of fishing alarms, being let down simply isn’t an option.
Modern Bite Alarms and Their Uses
All modern bite alarms work by slotting your line through a sensor between the ears of the alarm. When the line gets disturbed, from the slightest jostle to an aggressive take, the bite alarm will light up and emit a beeping sound. The method used to identify a run changes with each model of bite alarm, from vibration sensors to roller wheels. However, throughout the models the basic principle is the same and the longer the beep, the more movement your line is experiencing, and the more likely it is that you’ve got a take (rather than simply a fish rummaging in and around your hookbait).
Bite alarms are often used in conjunction with bite indicators – bobbins or hangers that clip on your line between your reel and your bite alarm – which can enable your alarm to alert you drop-backs as well as runs away from you. These can also help when it comes to ascertaining the intensity of the take, too, which gives you clues about precisely when to set your hook and start the battle to bring the fish to the bank. You can also purchase bite alarm receivers. These allow you to set your alarm to mute (where possible) and will alert you by vibrating, lighting up, or emitting a beep themselves.
If you’re using your bite alarms when carp fishing then chances are you’ll want to purchase a set of three (or more). We have options available for purchasing three and four part kits, either with or without a receiver, as well as individual bite alarms. Most of the bite alarms we stock will come with different colour LED options. Many anglers will have a colour preference and like to have all their bite alarms matching – the current favourite colours are purple and white, although this is liable to change season on season, year on year. Traditionally, however, the different colours were created to enable you to differentiate between rods when you get a low light level call from your bite alarm. Many bite alarms will also offer a variety of tonal setups, allowing you to change each bite alarm’s tone independently. These have the same purpose as the different colour options and allow you to quickly pick out your active rod, which is especially useful if you are an angler who likes to have all your colours matching.
This is just the beginning when it comes to bite alarm adjustments. Most bite alarms will enable you to change their volume. If you’re someone who is going to be sat out with your rods the whole time then you might want to lower the volume of your alarm so as not to disturb anglers in nearby swims, for example. If you’re hard of hearing, or you want to make sure you’re woken up in the night, you can raise the volume of your alarm, too. You might also have the option of muting your alarm altogether. This might appear counter intuitive but it is a system that is most often employed if you’re using your receiver in conjunction with your alarm setup.
Bite alarm receivers are a relative new addition to the bite alarm family and it has taken some time for angling companies to perfect them. For many years, investing in a receiver meant that you were more than likely to be woken up in the night by a neighbour’s take, as the receiver would pick up any alarm on the same wave-length as it. However, technology has moved quickly in this area of the industry and you can now buy receivers which can be precision tuned to individual bite alarms. Lots of receivers have a vibrate setting, as well as a traditional beep, which is ideal if you don’t want to disturb your swim at each false alarm. Bite alarm receivers tend to have multiple LEDs, too. You can normally program each of your bite alarms to a different LED colour, whether you want them to match the colour of the LED on your alarm or to line up with layout of your rods (i.e., one left LED, one right LED and one central LED). These allow you to quickly and easily identify which rod is running before you’re even out of your bivvy. Receivers really have revolutionised the bite alarm industry and have become a firm favourite among carp anglers.
Delkim bite alarms are widely considered to be the top of the range option when you’re looking to make an investment into your angling – and once you’ve seen the history of bite alarms it’s not hard to see why. At their most sophisticated, a single Delkim bite alarm can set you back upwards of £80. On the cheaper end of the spectrum, you can purchase a Fox bite alarm for a little over £20. This might not give you as many tone, volume, and sensitivity options as the Delkim but it’ll still let you know when a fish is running away with your line. Other brands to look out for include Gardner, Nash, Steve Neville, and Sundridge – which is the brand that now produces the famous Optonic range of bite alarms. These all offer a range of prices.
The History of Bite Alarms
Things have really come a long way since the first electronic bite alarms hit the angling market in the 1950s. Designed by Richard ‘Dick’ Walker, the Heron bite alarm was popularly considered the height of angling technology for almost three decades. The modern angler would probably have trouble recognising a Heron as a bite alarm, save for the two tall ears which have remained constant throughout bite alarm history. Rather than operating in one compact box, the Heron had to be attached to a separate battery box, which would light up and emit a quiet buzz should your line begin to run. There was no choice between light colour (red was the only option available) and no way to change the tone or sensitivity of the alarm either. As you might expect, this system was less than waterproof and many anglers reported it failing more often than it was successful. In the 1970s, a plucky young angler by the name of Del Romang (latterly of ‘Delkim’ fame) got his hands on a Heron and modified it.
Word of the success of the modified Heron soon got around and before long Del was inundated with requests from other anglers. Plenty of other anglers set about converting alarms for themselves and their friends at this time too, although none were as successful as Del.
In the 1980s, a new bite alarm emerged on the market: the Optonic. Optonic bite alarms are produced by Sundridge today and, although they are significantly more advanced than these early models, they still operate on the same basic principle. Where the Heron indentified a run based on the closing of connection, the Optonic operated based on a roller system. As the line ran across the roller it would create a connection that would light an LED and give off a beep – a significantly more sensitive system that could positively identify a run, no matter what direction the carp headed towards. In fact, the Optonic was the first bite alarm which, when used in conjunction with an indicator, could also register a fish running towards your rod as well as away from it. The look of the Optonic also set the standard for modern bite alarms and these were the first bite alarms that would allow anglers to sleep through the night – safe in the knowledge that if they got a fish on they would be told about it! However, once again Del Romang saw room for improvement and began to offer conversions that not only lowered the power used to operate the alarm but also increased the reliability. However, the designers behind the Optonic weren’t happy about the conversions and, after a short legal battle, Del stopped his service and set to work creating his own bite alarm.
Almost a decade later the first Delkim bite alarms came on the market, designed by Del Romang himself. These operated on a vibration system, making them the most sensitive bite alarm to have ever have been produced. Since the first Delkim’s were released in the early 1990s, bite alarm technology has come on leaps and bounds – with plenty of other manufacturers also trying their hands at creating their own versions.
As you can see, the history of bite alarms is one area of fishing tackle where innovation occurred rapidly, recently, and not without contention! If you need a little assistance choosing the perfect alarm and receiver for you, we have a comprehensive Bite Alarm and Receivers Buying Guide on our blog to really whet your appetite. We have a series of bite alarm reviews in our blog archive too, from anglers both within our team as well as external organisations, so you can really research before you buy. Our team are always on hand if you need any extra assistance, either in your local store or on our customer services page.
We scour the UK market day in and day out to ensure we’re offering you the lowest prices across the board, while at the same time keeping our range topped up with the latest products. Bite alarms are one of the quickest developing areas of the tackle industry and lots has changed since their conception in the middle of the twentieth century. However, you can still see some of the old classic names (albeit with re-mastered technological improvements) on our store, as well as top of the range innovative new offerings.
We’ve been in the game for long enough to see thousands of bite alarms come and go, but it’s only after ticking all the right boxes that any fishing tackle makes it to our collection. As the largest tackle retailer in the country we are in the privileged position to be able to select the finest products from the market’s leading brands. The process of picking the products we stock is one we greatly enjoy, and we always take into account their proven performance and value for money before they end up on our shelves. That’s why you’ll find all the leading names in the industry among our permanent collection, along with plenty of others, which have earned unshakable reputations for reliability and stellar value for money. We also stock a range of bite alarm accessories – including hard cases for storage, replacement batteries, and bolts for buzz-bar attachments.
With Angling Direct, you need never miss out on a bite again.
Angling Direct: Serious about your fishing…