Here, listen… What’s that sound like? I’ll tell you exactly what it is. A monster on the end of your line!
As fights with fish go, you can’t really beat a battle with a carp or catfish!
But to hook them, you’ve got to be on the ball, which is why you’ll need the best bite alarms on the market.
I want to help you catch a few big ones, so I’ve assembled a list of solutions to let you know when you’ve hooked a beast.
Table of Contents
- Bite Alarms – A Quick Overview
- Top 6 Best Fishing Bite Alarms in 2024
- Complete Guide to Fishing Bite Alarms
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Bite Alarms – A Quick Overview
Gone are the days of squinting looking at a rod tip. Now you can kick back and relax safe in the knowledge that you’ll hear the fish before you see it.
Here’s the thing.
Bite alarms work. They are pretty black and white. Either you have a bite, or you don’t.
Here are the different types and how they work.
Electronic Bite Alarms for Carp and Catfish
This is the most common type that you will see. Electronic bite alarms might come in different shapes and sizes, but they work the same way.
The line is held as part of a switch system. Tension on the line closes the switch in a circuit. Once the circuit is complete, a small buzzer sounds to let you know that you have a bite.
These are great as you can often adjust the tension required to trip the switch.
Bells are the simplest form of bite alarm.
The way they work is pretty simple. The bell is attached to a point on the rod. When a fish bites, this pulls the line that causes the line to twitch. This twitching moves the rod and therefore causes the bell to ring.
The good thing about this type of bite alarm is that they are simple to use and set up.
And the downside?
You tend to get a few more ‘false’ hits, and they can be trouble in windy conditions.
Visual Bite Alarms
Visual bite alarms are varied. Some will merely make your rod tip a little easier to see, especially when fishing at night.
But the story doesn’t end there.
You can actually get ‘swinger’ style carp bite alarms. These sit in a cradle and are held up by a slack line. When a fish bites, the line is pulled from the cradle, and the alarm falls in a way that is pretty hard to miss.
These are fairly cheap, and if you are looking for an alarm that is visual but not as affected by poor weather, these can be really good.
Now that we have had a quick run-through let’s see some examples of each.
Top 6 Best Fishing Bite Alarms in 2024
Complete Guide to Fishing Bite Alarms
Alright, so you are thinking about buying a bite alarm or two…
You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t?
But you want to know what’s the best? Let me offer you a few pointers while you shop around.
Where are You Fishing?
You may be wondering how this makes a difference. A bite alarm is a bite alarm… Right?
Depending on the location, you might find that one bite alarm performs better than another.
Anywhere with a strong current could pull the line sufficiently to set off a bite alarm. For that reason, you are going to want something that isn’t too twitchy.
Granted, you might have some pretty heavy tackle. If you haven’t, check out my essential carp rod and reel guide, there are some really great options if you are just getting into the sport.
It is natural to assume that electronic bite alarms fit the bill. However, In my experience, including river and sea fishing, I’d say a manual ‘clip on’ style alarm is the better option.
You can attach it further down the rod to reduce sensitivity, and it only takes a minute or two to work out where to place it.
Electronic alarms are the better option for still waters. Aside from a fish biting, there is nothing that will move the line.
What Size Fish are You Targeting?
You find Catfish and Carp in different places.
Catfish can be caught in still waters and flowing rivers. In alignment with my guidance above, you would better be served with a bell-type system when fishing for catfish in moving water.
For carp or Stillwater catfish, any system will work.
The size of the fish is important too. If you are only targeting smaller species or are fishing in a place where bites are delicate, make sure to invest in a great a strong Carp line and a sensitive alarm…
Because its better to be constantly at your rod for the odd false positive than to miss more bites because the bite indicator isn’t triggered.
When do You Fish?
How do the times when you fish make a difference to your bite alarm?
Let me explain.
If you fish at night, you will need a bite alarm that identifies which rod has taken the hit. There’s no worse feeling than being awoken by a bite alarm and then playing a game of ‘guess the rod’.
Look for features on bite alarms, such as lights that are specific to each rod. Most of the systems above have this feature.
Bite Alarms for Different Fishing Styles
Are you a guy (or girl) who sits an inch away from your rod eagerly awaiting a bite, or do you treat your Fishing as some downtime and like to recline away from your rods?
Your answer dictates the type of bite alarm you need.
If you are any considerable distance away from your rods, you will need a loud and obvious system. Receiver-based electronic bite alarms are a good choice.
You will also need a bite alarm sensitive enough to give you enough notice that you need to be back at your rod quickly.
Ease of Use
The final point is choosing a bite alarm that is easy to use.
You are there to catch fish, not fiddle with a bite alarm, so the easier it is to set up and use, the better.
I actually prefer the cheap clip-on bells over any other method. They take seconds to set up and are actually really reliable.
Still, got questions? Don’t worry. I’m here to help.
Here are some commonly asked things about bite alarms.
What’s the best fishing bite alarm?
The honest answer?
Whichever allows you to hook the most fish. This will vary depending on the venue, species, and fishing style. For a technologically advanced solution, look at bite alarms like the Lixada wireless set. They are pretty great and let you set up multiple rods.
For something more basic, and especially for catfishing, I like the clip-on Berkeley-type bells. When you hook a book, old catfish, you can’t fail to miss it.
Want to see some adrenaline-pumping takes with bite alarms. Here’s a quick compilation. Man, this makes me excited!
Do you need a bite alarm for carp fishing?
If you check my list of carp fishing essentials, you’ll see that a bite alarm is pretty crucial.
You don’t have to have one, but I found that I missed far fewer bites once I gave one a try.
Staring at a rod tip is all good and well, but with the wind, the odd picky ‘nip’ at your bait, and bad eyesight, it can sometimes be difficult to tell.
A bite alarm cuts out any doubt.
What is a drop-back bite?
A drop-back bite is when the fish takes the bait and swims up or toward you. Instead of pulling the line, it causes the line to go slack.
Bite alarms are a really effective way to spot drop-back bites. In fact, they are one of the only ways you will be able to spot it. I’ve done some research and found a really cool video that explains what they are all about.
Take a look. It’s less than a minute long!
What is a bite alarm receiver?
A bite alarm receiver is used in electronic systems. It’s a wirelessly connected device that receives information from your bite alarms.
Depending on the model you choose, you can get bite alarm receivers that vibrate or light up without making a sound. These are useful if you are fishing with other anglers around you and don’t want to disturb others.
How do you set up bobbin style bite alarms?
Carefully! No, in reality, they are actually really easy to set up. I find them super effective, and it is almost as much fun as watching a float.
Here’s how to do it:
There are a few different bite alarm systems to choose from, they all work in different ways, but the best bite alarms have one simple function… To help you catch more fish.
Choose your system wisely, in keeping with the species, style, and location, and you should be able to see real rewards.
Which bite alarm system do you prefer? Let me know in the comments below.