Is A Fishing Pole Holder With Bite Alarm Worth It?

It appears the fishing pole holder with an alarm for carp fishing is still struggling to gain 100% popularity and traction in 2024.

Not a clue as to why because bite alarms are a blast to use.

In American carp angling, it seems we are a bit behind the rest of world when it comes to a few critical pieces of fishing equipment that are essential to anyone trying to catch more carp with ease.

I’m shocked it’s not gaining popularity any faster. The additional help this provides when carp fishing is unmatched. As many of you know from other blog posts, I’m newer to carp fishing.

I started this journey about 6 years ago depending on when you land on my blog, but in 2014, I didn’t know much of what I was doing related to carp angling, and I had plenty to learn to say the least.

I’ve had massive struggles in some areas of the sport as many of you know such as ice fishing, specific rig set up failures early into the hobby and just learning the carp fishing gear and hobby as a whole.

I think many anglers or people, in general, underestimate what really goes into a hobby and how much knowledge the human brain is capable of learning and storing over time.

My point is simple, through developing my enjoyment and skills for carp angling over the last 7 years, I’ve blogged about many things and realized I had nothing to praise the life-saving tool of the fishing alarm, also known as a bite alarm or “strike indicator.”

I wouldn’t really consider myself much a blogger either, so I’ll make this as easy as possible for everyone and explain how these amazing tools work and what benefits you can gain from them.

Long story short, if you love fishing for carp, this blog is for you and this item is an absolute lifesaver.

What is This Fishing Alarm or Strike Alert?

Does the rod attach to my pole or my rod holder?

Let’s start by explaining what a bite alarm really is and how it works. I’m going to add that yes, I spend countless wasted dollars on fishing equipment and gear just like any passionate angler so I’m not advocating that you must have this in your selection.

I am going to point out, that it may be plain stupid not to consider however after you realize what it does for you in the grand scheme of carp fishing.

This packs more punch for your money then many other fishing tools will provide. Trust me.

The Two Variations of Bite Alarms

You have the…

The Bite Indicator

A bite indicator is a simple electronic tool that is going to notify you if something is dabbling with your bait. Within the bite indicator family your than going to have a few variations.

Depending on your style will depend on which device you choose to use.

You will have…

Fishing Floats

A fishing float is merely a bobber and been around forever. This would serve as your non-electronic version of a bite indicator. They come In many different sizes and variations as well as various colors.

Some common styles of fishing floats/ bobbers would include the following:

  • Avon
  • Stick
  • Quill
  • Popper
  • Dink
  • Bubble
  • Self-cocking
  • Stick
  • Waggler

Quiver Tips

A quiver tip is merely a way of adding an extension to your fishing rod.

It’s going to add sensitivity to the rod allowing you to notice the strikes or vibrations that much easier. It’s typically only used to for large fish species. This is another old school method.

Now the fun begins. The Electronic Bite Alarm

The Bite Alarm

God Bless Richard Walker for creating this device because it’s just outstanding.

This can be referred to as many things. The carp fishing beeper, bite alerts and strike alert/indicator. A Bite alarm, in a nutshell, is when your fishing line is run through a roller which sends a signal if the fishing line moves using an audible sound and or LED lighting methods.

They attach to your fishing rod. They will be low on your rod between the reel and your first eye of the rod.

These can be simple in nature, or more complex version is available. The more involved you go or, the more money you are willing to spend on your hobby, the better the bite alarm will be and the more control you will ultimately have.

The higher-end models are going to provide you with controls over volume, sensitivity and sometimes even lighting systems.

What’s the Advantage of Using a Bite Alarm for Carp Fishing?

This depends on a few factors such as if you are a beginner or more seasoned with carp fishing.

If you are a beginning, you may want to consider reading my blog post, Complete Guide to Carp Fishing before diving to much deeper into the newer tools and tricks of the trade.

It’s a comprehensive guide that will get you well on your way to catching more carp quickly.

When I began carp fishing, I only used 1 rod at a time. I did this primarily to learn the sport before spreading my attention too thin.

The bite alarm wouldn’t have been 100% necessary in this stage of my carp angling history.

As I learned the sport and developed, my confidence grew, and I was okay with using 2 rods, then 3 and have even used 4. When you have 4 rods out in the water all cast in different variations such as direction and depth, it’s almost impossible to be 100% tentative to each line.

On a day of lousy fishing, you would be perfectly fine without a bite alarm with 4 rods or not.

It’s for the good days of carp fishing when the bites are coming in at rapid fire. It’s entirely impossible for you to react quickly enough or even notice what’s going on without the bite alarms.

Without them, you are likely to just be reeling in constantly and re-baiting because chances are something’s already taken your bait, or you have lost your chance at setting the hook.

This is why you commonly see manufacturers selling these in packs of 3. You are going to want one for every line.

The Benefit of Relaxation

The first step in any problem is to admit there is a problem. I’ll admit, I have a problem with fishing. I think about it when my wife is speaking to me, and I attempt to fish any free chance I have.

If the wife asks me if I want to go to dinner on an evening, if I know carp fishing may be good, my response is typically “Gone fishing”.

I also have some OCD. This causes me to want to perform at optimum levels anytime I fish, but eventually, I grew a little tired of my hobby causing me stress. I realized I needed to loosen up some.

With that being said, I’ll admit, I like to have a frosty beverage from time to time when I fish as well. Where it’s permitted of course. In the Midwest, if you’re not being ridiculous or getting rowdy, you will be left alone for the most part.

So again I ask, do we have any beer drinkers reading the blog? You don’t have to be a beer drinker for this analogy to hold true. The point is, with the bite alarms, you can kick back a little.

Sure, you have initial scouting, set up and pinpointing your cast in the perfect spot. What about after? Wouldn’t it be nice to not be standing down checking for slack or any strikes every 5 seconds?

The bite alarms allow for this level of relaxation. Use your favorite fishing chair and kick back so to speak. A reliable bite alarm will have your back when it’s time to execute and do the work for you.

It’s almost like having a fishing secretary.

Other Applications and Benefits of Bite Alarms when Carp Fishing

Of course, the bite alarms were not just designed for the 3-pole carp angler. They have many other useful applications that you can exploit and take advantage of. Let’s look at some of those options.

Night Fishing With Bite Alarms

We covered before how many of the bite alarms will come equipped with the ability to change volumes in addition to coming equipped with LED lighting. This is huge If you are wanting to expand your fishing adventures into the night.

Night fishing is one of my personal favorite ways of fishing in general. Not just carp fishing. Using these to your advantage for night fishing can make it a breeze. You don’t need the same visibility control and don’t have to be 100% tentative of what is happening to your line.

Hell, although it’s not recommended you could probably get away with not even having proper lighting or headgear if you equipped all your rods with a decent bite alarm.

Camping experience May Improve Using Bite Alarms

If you haven’t read any of my other blog posts, I’m also a huge fan of camping. In Illinois, we have a “club” so to speak about 60 miles south of Chicago, where you buy a slip for the year and have access to private waters and camping.

My wife hates camping because I typically only fish and want nothing to do with roasting marshmallows over an open fire. I’m not saying that bite alarms are going to allow you to devote 100% attention elsewhere outside of fishing.

What it does allow however is some interaction and you to break your concentration a bit and have a good time enjoying the family.

For the younger anglers out there, I know what you thinking. Yes, bite alarms will allow you to plant your face back into your cell phones and mobile device, so you don’t miss your most recent tweet or Facebook news feed update.

So we have covered how the bite alarms or strike indicators can benefit your overall enjoyment levels, but we haven’t included any best practices for using them so let’s dive into that.

Using Bite Alarms With Free Running Spool

I don’t know if any of you have ever lost a fishing rod or been so amazed at a pole going straight into the water, but I certainly have with carp fishing and with catfishing. Why did this happen?

I had no bite alarms, and I didn’t have the luxury of keeping my spool, free spinning. Just meaning, the bail was shut, and we were going with the old “wait for the pole to bend over method”.

Early in my carp fishing days, I typically went with a fellow carp angler who is also a good friend. Sometimes we were 100% devoted to capturing a trophy fish, and sometimes we were socializing and having a good time.

The point I’m trying to make is that you will make mistakes and you will miss things when carp angling from time to time.

They are a large fish packing a lot of punch. That’s why American is slowly treating the sport with much more respect and more and more anglers every year are trying to pursue carp fishing with a lot of grit.

Using free running spool is the exact purpose and application that can make these bite alarms so powerful. You can leave your line in the free mode allowing the fish to take the bite without feeling the tension.

The fish is happy (briefly), and you are so glad knowing your pole isn’t heading for the lake.

Use a bait runner reel which will allow you to have this method available. If you don’t use this method, you will just want to keep your drag at the lowest possible setting to gain the most significant benefit of using one of the electronic alarms.

Sensitivity, Noise and LED Lighting

We haven’t covered how to maximize the benefits of the sensitivity, noise levels and LED lighting, so I wanted to touch on that briefly.


This is going to be entirely up to you I personally like sensitivity maxed out. I don’t mind tapping into other species of fish if that’s what it boils down to. It’s almost like receiving a text message using these devices, so I prefer the sensitivity to be maxed out, so I hear and have a chance at every possible fish.

This doesn’t mean you have to, however.

Let’s assume your camping like our previous example and have your poles near your tent or the fire you have going. If you only want to go after the carp if you know it’s a definite, strong hit then you can adjust the sensitivity downward.

The choice is yours.

Noise Levels

This is also 100% up to you. These can actually be reasonably loud devices, so I keep mine at about 60% noise level depending on my surroundings. If I’m doing other things such as setting up other rigs or fishing on a windy day, I may turn the volume up.

At times, when I’m down to one pole in the water, I may even get locked in decide just to mute the alarm altogether.

LED Lighting

This is much more beneficial for night fishing, so if you prefer to never night fish, it’s not absolutely necessary.

The other huge benefit of this is what do you do when your fishing with three poles all equipped with the “carp beeper.” Are you sure you will know which alarm was just sounded? Using the LED lighting feature will make this easy. You will hear the signal, navigate which pole as the light indicated and set your hook.

Easy as 1,2,3.

Don’t go cheap with these Folks

I’m a spender and a penny pincher all at the same time. I’ll buy needless toys related to fishing on Amazon on a daily basis it feels, but sometimes I try the poor man’s version of a toy or tool before realizing that I need the version that’s reliable for a particular tool.

The same applies here. The cheap versions tend to flake out have issues very early. I originally purchased 3-4 of the 10 dollar models and went through them like a 12 pack of Michelob Ultra.

If you’re going to get yourself a bite alarm, get one that is reliable.

Bank Fishing Vs. Boat Fishing

Theoretically, you can use these alarms from the bank or a boat, but I have noticed they are better equipped for bank fishing. Bank fishing allows cleaner set up for your rod holder placement and you can really maximize the benefits of the strike alarms.

With that being said, they are just as effective fishing off a boat, but I’ve realized I typically don’t have more than 1-2 poles when I boat to fish for carp which means I can focus on one line much more relaxed.

Either way works.

What’s The Best Bite Alarm You Can Consider?

I would say to try your own taste and see what works best for you. A must-have for these bite alarms at minimum is sensitivity controls, volume controls, and LED lighting. I’d also look for strong reviews because anglers definitely have gone through my struggles as well buying multiple of the cheap version to continue to have them falter.

I’ve had great luck with the 4 pack combo from Lixada. You will be ready to fish with 4 poles and comes with all the necessary features to make it a worthwhile purchase.

So, do you plan on placing a bite alarm on your fishing rod, the next time out on the water?

To wrap things up, not everyone needs a bite alarm attached to there rods. Are they awesome?


Are they worth the investment? You bet.

They have many benefits that we have laid out in this blog to consider. It will improve your overall carp fishing game and allow you to relax a bit as well. In summary, be sure to make sure to read reviews and spend a little extra on a reliable bite alarm.

Buying 5 sets of the cheap versions that ultimately cost the same as a good model and cause you frustration is not worth any anglers time.

Do any of you have any experience using bite alarms or have a favorite method and model you choose to use? I’d love to hear about it, and I’m sure the readers would too.

Make sure to leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading.

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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