A bite alarm can be a very important part of carp fishing, especially against bigger carp. That’s because they’re able to stay calm when they’re hooked and can even spit out the hook. If that happens, you might miss your chance to set a new personal best.
The bite alarm gives you crucial indicators by beeping, along with the movement of the bobbin. Understanding these actions is key to landing bigger catches.
First, you need to know how to set up your alarm correctly. In order to do this, you will need the right equipment:
As well as having the gear, you need to make sure that it’s all compatible, otherwise it might not work.
Feed the bobbin or hanger into the alarm thread.
Screw the bobbin or hanger into the rod pod or the bank sticks.
Face the bite alarm away from the water. This may need some manoeuvring into position or an extra bolt to secure it.
Use a rubber washer to prevent it from stripping your thread.
Once set up, ensure your line is running through the bite alarm, then adjust the options on the alarm to suit your needs.
Keep the tip of the rod low, so the wind doesn’t set off the bite alarm incorrectly.
Don’t overtighten the alarm, as this can cause damage.
Traditional bite alarms had a set sound, but most modern ones have a volume control. Bear in mind that you may be around other anglers who may also be using an alarm, so try not to have your volume setting too high. It could cause annoyance or make others think they’ve got a bite. It might be great for you to know that you’ve caught a fish, but the rest of the world doesn’t need to know.
It should be loud enough for you to hear from your bivvy, but that’s about it. If you’re too far away to hear it at a low volume, then it might be a good idea to invest in a receiver.
Some bite alarms allow you to set different tones. This has two benefits:
A low tone setting reduces the chance of the sound travelling, which can be irritating to other anglers around the water.
Some of these modern alarms also have a sensitivity setting, which allows you to adjust how reactive your alarms will be.
If you’re going after big fish that may only make a slight tug on your line, you may want to turn this level up. But you don’t want your alarm to be going off every 30 seconds either, as this can be misleading and frustrating. Finding the right balance is key. Since all conditions and set ups are a little different, it’s really about trial-and-error. Here are the things to look out for:
Line: Braid and fluorocarbon lines sit lower in the water than monofilament, so you can afford to set the sensitivity higher without the wind making false alarms.
Tackle: A heavier bobbin and terminal tackle will let you set a higher sensitivity since the wind won’t pull the line as much. On the other hand, if you’re using ultra-light tackle, the fish will make a bigger impact, so you can lower the alarm’s sensitivity.
Range: If you’re fishing at long range, the fish will make less detectable vibrations, so you’ll probably need a higher sensitivity setting.
Water: In rivers or canals with boat traffic or debris, you can get a lot of false alarms just from the flow of the water. That’s when you want to turn the sensitivity down.
Wind: While you can control your own setup, the wind will probably dictate the sensitivity setting more than anything else. Remember that the direction and speed can change at any time, so you may have to adjust the setting during throughout the session.