Due to the time it can take for a bite to develop when fishing for carp or other specimen fish, one of the most essential items of kit an angler should have is a good bite alarm, or more commonly, because of the use of multiple rods, a set of alarms. They are invaluable when night fishing for carp but do come at a price, so what are the best bite alarms for fishing?
Alarm technology has come a very long way in a short space of time. Gone are the days when anglers would have big wires stretching from the alarm head back to the bivvy or shelter. Now many alarms can even be silent at the head end, with all the indications coming wirelessly to a receiver.
Whilst probably one of the more expensive tackle items for carp fishing, modern bite alarms do feature some impressive technology, with most being able to be adjusted to detect the slightest of indications, especially when paired with the best bobbins. Volume, tone and LED lighting colours are all things that are now customisable on the majority of alarms on the market, even budget carp fishing alarms of less than £50.
Best bite alarms at a glance
• Best bite alarm receiver - Wolf Icon Qi - View offer on Total Fishing Tackle
• Best budget bite alarm - Fox Mini Micron - View offer on Total Fishing Tackle
Powering this vital tech has also been made significantly easier in recent years, with indications given for low battery and some options now even chargeable via USB or even controlled by a Bluetooth connection to the user's mobile phone.
Here we will run through the best bite alarms on the market, so you can decide which is the one for you...
Best bite alarm for sensitivity
The latest version of what is now an iconic carp fishing bite alarm. The Delkim TXI-D features
- Unrivalled sensitivity.
- Incredibly durable in all weather conditions.
- LED colours are not adjustable, with popular colours often hard to get hold of.
Best bite alarm for adjustability
The premier alarm in the Fox range and one of the best (and most expensive) options on the market,
- An alarm for all seasons, conditions and situations.
- Customisable LEDs.
- Larger than some other top-end alarms on the market.
Steve Neville Alarms haven't changed much over the years and have remained a very popular cult
- Simple to use.
- Strong and durable.
- Batteries require screwdriver to access.
Best bite alarm for versatility
If you're looking for an alarm that has the most modern technology and features, the Nash Siren R4
- Feature-packed, technically advanced.
- Perfect for boat fishing.
- Buttons rather than dials may not suit all anglers.
The Qi is the flagship model in the Wolf range of alarms, and for good reason. Designed and
- Rechargeable battery.
- Strong receiver.
- Not the most discreet/visually pleasing alarms on the rests.
Best phone operated bite alarm
Whilst relative newcomers to the tackle market, the New Direction Tackle K9 alarms are certainly
- Mute function is a real winner.
- Can be controlled from your mobile phone.
- Not the cleanest-looking alarms on the rests.
You would be hard-pressed to find a carp angler that hadn't heard of the ATT alarm from Gardner.
- Very compact.
- Ultra reliable.
- With no sound at the alarm head, you need to make sure you don't forget your receiver.
The original Microns were regarded as one of the best alarms of the time, and you'll still come
- Great build quality and ultra-reliable.
- Compact design makes them easy to move about.
- Can't be linked to a receiver.
Best bite alarm for features
The premium offering from Prologic is their R2L alarm. A totally waterproof alarm, it is built for
- Customisable snag ears built in.
- Infra-red technology for sensitive bite detection.
- Relatively large alarms in comparison to others on the market.
Feature-packed with lots of clever little tech additions, the Carp Spirit HD5 alarm punches way
- Memory function saves your preferred settings.
- Remote range self-testing means receiver is reliable.
- Incorporated snag ears would have been nice.
What to look out for when buying a bite alarm
All bite alarms perform the same function, and whether you spend £10 or £300 on one, they will all register a bite. However, the more expensive alarms have more features, are fully waterproof and will last much longer than cheaper options thanks to their construction.
If you are an angler that usually does day sessions with the odd overnight trip now and again, there is no need to spend a fortune, budget alarms are fantastic quality and will be up to the job perfectly. If, however, you go in all weathers and for longer periods, it's best to look for a waterproof alarm with reliable sensitivity settings so even in the worst conditions, you can fish effectively.
All quality alarms will allow some level of adjustment to volume, tone and sensitivity as standard. So the choice really depends on how precise with these settings you want to go. LEDs on many alarms nowadays are now adjustable, too, so you can have the whole set in matching colours or chop and change so you can identify each rod easily.
One of the essentials for modern-day bite alarms is the facility for a receiver. This means the angler can turn the alarm down at the head for stealthier fishing and keep the receiver by their side so they never miss a bleep. All receivers these days are wireless, yet some vary in range and signal strength.
LED: Light emitting diode, this will light up when you get an indication on a bite alarm.
Roller Wheel: A small wheel in or on the alarm head where the line sits. When the line is moved, the wheel moves in conjunction with it, triggering the audio and visual cues of the alarm.
Bobbin: Small plastic or metal item that clips on the line to keep tension on it.
Snag Ears: Strong metal bars that can be mounted on your bite alarms in order to keep your rod secure, preventing it from being dragged off the rest.
Receiver: An electrical box that wirelessly connects to the bite alarm. It provides audio signals to alert the user to a bite.
Sensitivity: A setting on a bite alarm that alters the amount the mechanism must move to trigger an indication.
Tone: A setting on the alarm that will alter how the alarm sounds.
Bite alarm FAQs
How do you set up a fishing bite alarm?
Setting an alarm up couldn't be simpler. There is a metal screw thread at the base of the alarm head, which attaches to either a bank stick or pod system. Your rod then sits on top of the alarm, with the line running over the detection mechanism, which is generally a wheel or plate, depending on the manufacturer. A bobbin indicator is clipped between the alarm and the reel to create some tension to emphasise line movement.
What do all the settings do?
Modern alarms tend to come with a variety of settings such as sensitivity, volume, tone and the ability to vary LED colour.
Changing the colour is purely for aesthetic reasons and won't affect how the alarm performs. Some anglers choose to have their alarms in different colours so they can identify which rod has a bite during the hours of darkness.
Tone and volume merely change the sound and volume the alarm makes. Tone can make your alarms more identifiable to you depending on how you set them up. Volume is personal preference, with some people choosing to have their alarms silent and others at full volume if they struggle to hear them.
Sensitivity is the only setting that directly impacts how an alarm performs. By adjusting the sensitivity, you are determining how much movement is required to trigger the alarm. Some anglers opt for the highest setting, meaning a minimal amount of movement is needed, in particularly windy conditions, a low sensitivity setting can eliminate any annoying false bleeps.
What is a receiver and do I need one?
A receiver is an electronic box with LEDs and a speaker that works the same as your bite alarm. Once they have been connected, every bleep on your alarm will transmit to your receiver. They are particularly useful if you are set up in a swim where the rods are quite far away, you struggle to hear, or you have to step a safe distance away from the rods. Some offer a vibrating function, a great way of alerting people who are deaf they have got a bite.
Author Aidan Bordiuk is an enthusiastic angler who enjoys all fishing disciplines from match fishing to beach casting. He is currently occupying the position of Commercial Content Writer at Angling Times.