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CARP BITE ALARMS: OUR TOP 3 CHOICES
The exceptionally long rod hung over from the bank and over the water, resting lightly in a rod holder. The angler sat behind the rods, waiting idly, as there was something sure to take an interest in the bait. Something not well known for savage strikes but rather gentle nibbles. With three rods out and each in a different locale, it was only a matter of time before something would take interest.
The prey was the carp, a fish with a very sensitive mouth, incredible patience and movements so small many anglers simply cannot see the fish take the bait. Couple this fact to the better carp fishing being at night, and knowing when a carp is on the line can be difficult if not impossible. Carp can actually ‘mouth’ a bait. If the fish notices something sharp stick into its mouth, it will drop the bait and make for better, safer water.
Over time, carp can become rather spooky and adept at taking bait or spitting hooks. Frustrating anglers knew there had to be a solution.
The solution was born of necessity, and the carp anglers, grown weary of losing their baits to carp on a regular basis, came up the perfect solution – a bite indicator.
ORIGINAL BITE INDICATORS
Years ago, the angler would actually employ a standard sinker to leave the bait on the bottom of the river, pond or lake. From the sinker, a short line would connect to the carp hook, and the carp bait would rest below the hook. The purpose was twofold:
1. The carp could mouth the bait before touching the hook;
2. The setup would allow some degree of slack in the line to allow the carp time to take the hook without tension. The angler would need to watch the line for movement before setting the hook.
This technique, ledgering, was and is a standard way to catch carp. Many anglers across the world continue to use this simple trick to entice the wily carp to the hook and with great success.
However, this is the 21st century, and the fundamentals, while effective, have given way to much more detailed and complex carp rigs. From extremely sensitive carbon fiber rods, high tech reels and updated fishing lines like fluorocarbon and braid, today’s carp angler is more cyborg angler than anything. In no other place is this more obvious than in today’s digital bite indicators.
HOW DO BITE ALARMS WORK
Modern bite alarms, with the exception of the high-end digital models we will be discussing in this article, often come down to one of two types: magnetic roller wheel or piezo vibration.
Magnetic wheel – The alarm works when the carp tugs on the line. Magnets on the wheel pass over a sensor, triggering an electronic response.
Piezo vibrator – Piezo vibrator buzzers are similar to speakers in that piezo buzzers produce a sound when electricity passes through them. The line rests on a ‘Y’ sensor that triggers the current to sound the piezo vibrator.
When the carp picks up the bait and begins to swim off, line is pulled across the bite alarm system. This triggers the buzzer and/or LED system to alert the angler to a fish.
The alarm is only one part of the whole bite alarm system. Other elements needed are:
Bank stick or rod pod – Bank sticks hold the bite alarm for the angler. Rod pods hold the bite alarm and up to three rods for the angler. Rod pods are often more expensive, but the choice of most carp anglers.
Carp reel – Carp reels are designed to free spool – let line pass without drag while activating the bite alarm.
Rod and bait – If you need a bite alarm indicator, chances are you are familiar with these products.
BITE INDICATOR TECHNOLOGY
The bite indicator of today is more like a complex electronic key fob than a bite indicator. The digital bite indicator of today employs LED lights, ultrasensitive movement notification and quick line release. Today’s carp angler has little to no trouble landing their favorite quarry when an electronic bite alarm is clipped onto the line.
Wireless receiver options are also popular, although many require a secondary purchase to the indicator.
WHAT ARE THE BEST BITE ALARMS?
Today’s best bite alarms are going to employ as many modern features as feasible plus other features necessary for the carp angler. We have narrowed down the options for the absolute best bite alarms to the following elements:
LED capability – Since many carp anglers choose to go at night, visible strike indication is ideal. LED lighting is energy efficient, colorful and will not drain a battery as badly as the old incandescent options. Better light systems will also offer a variety of colors so anglers can tell which or whose line has a carp on the other end. This is important, particularly in situations like tournament fishing and when anglers can use more than one rod at a time while fishing.
Sound – Piezo style buzzers only make a single sound. These are fine for the angler who does not want to spend a great deal, but this comes at the disadvantage of no options for sound. The better bite alarms offer a variety of different sound options.
Sensitivity – The better bite alarms will offer some adjustment for sensitivity. Weather and water conditions can vary and vary widely, so the carp angler must be attuned to the changes in one or both. Other elements, such as false bites, snags and the like can also trigger alarms, making adjustable sensitivity key.
Volume – Both for night fishing and if you are in relative close proximity to other anglers, a good volume control is vital and in good form, particularly if you are fishing in a private area, tournament or with friends. Volume control keeps you from being “that angler” that everyone has a strong distaste for.
Water resistant – Waterproof is a tough term to use because waterproof means no water can get in under any circumstances. There may be some modes which may say waterproof but trust them with a grain of salt. Water resistant is enough to handle drizzles and light rain but not complete immersion for an extended period of time.
Batteries – The LED light system may not draw much electricity, but all batteries will eventually die. There are some models with rechargeable batteries. These are great if you have access to charging. Most bite alarm indicators run on 9v, AA and AAA batteries, none of which take up a large amount of room in the tackle box of a pocket. Having backups is never a bad idea after all.
Complete unit – Some bite alarm systems are sold in separate components, meaning more than one purchase. Anglers are often needing to buy the alarm and a receiver for the maximum opportunity for landing carp. If there is a complete kit, that is the best method.
Quality storage – A better bite alarm system should have a hard plastic carrying case with molded interior to store all of the units and peripheral equipment. After market cases are available as well, but the OEM, original equipment manufacturer, are designed specifically for that make and model.
The current leader in this particular technology is Delkim, and it is fair to say they are the authority on the electronic carp fishing bite indicator technology. In business for almost 30 years, they continue to set the bar for bite alarm systems.
Delkim started in the electronic bite indicator world with the Pieze Vibration Sensing system – the original electronic bite indicator. The system would sound a piezo buzzer when a carp touched the bait and moved the line. Delkim set the standard for bite indicators with this technology.
The beauty of science and technology is that it is always improving upon itself, and Delkim’s new line of strike indicators proves this. The company moved away from buzzers to LED systems some time back and continues to lead, if not pull ahead, of the competition. Their current leading system – the Delkin TXi-Digital Bite Alarm.
Delkin TXi-Digital Bite Alarm
The Txi-D is the first alarm to hit the market in over 25 years – an incredible span within the fishing technology world, and it has done nothing but stir conversation and chatter at the bank side, local fishing shops and in places where stories are swapped.
There is no doubt the majority of the discussion on Delkim’s new product was on the sleek design and futuristic look.
This model did not immediately roll off of the factory line. The R&D team at Delkim spent the better part of a decade working on this particular unit, and the time spent is certainly reflected in the entire system.
The advancements in the system are certainly worth noting. Even though it may be tempting to immediately buy the system, it is best to learn a bit about it before completely jumping headfirst. Treat it like a carp – mouth it (figuratively) for a few minutes.
Features of the Txi-D Digital:
Size – This unit is 30 percent smaller than some of its competition and certainly its predecessors.
LED technology – Five distinct colors: red, white, green, purple, yellow and blue allow anglers to differentiate between rods or owners.
Digital tones – An incredible 64 different and distinct tones available with mute
Patented NiteLite output
The TXi-D Digital is easily partnered with the Rx-D receiver. The receiver has a variety of range settings, pairs easily with a RunLite and Do Not Disturb function.
The alarms 64 different settings run off of a digital radio, which, sadly, will not pick up your favorite hits on the local bands. However, you will get an increased range with better penetration across any number of different obstacles. This includes inclement weather and other conditions today’s 21st century angler may encounter.
These range settings allow the angler to change sensitivity of the receiver dependent upon conditions of the day’s angling. Range checking capability allows for peace of mind with an easy way to determine length away from the receiver.
Battery life and replacement is the bane of any angler with modern technology. Being digital, the TXi-D Digital has extended battery life. Those who have a keenly attuned ear will find tone and pulse replication capabilities to match what is going on at the other end of the line.
Worried about interference from other units, including those using a Delkims? Never an issue – the system has no repeating codes. This means when yours goes off, you will be able to tell the difference.
Lastly, as if the TXi-D Digital was not attractive enough, the units are built in the U.K., home of the finest carp fishing in the world and are designed to handle anything Mother Nature throws at them. Fish in the worst of the worst weather. The TXi-D Digital can handle it. Find your LED color at Amazon U.K. – Delkin TXi-Digital Bite Alarm.
HOW DO DELKIM BITE ALARMS WORK
The vast number of bait alarms on the market depend on the line being pulled across a set of rollers that trigger the alarm. Delkim’s system is unique in that vibrations can trigger alarms without noticeable movement in the line. In deep winter carp angling or when snags are a constant issue, early warning is all but required for success on the water.
Delkim models have incredibly precise sensitivity levels. This means it can go from a simple wind gust triggering an alarm, exceptionally slow and minute bites, wind gusts and the ‘indicator creep’ phenomena – changes in the physical makeup of the indicator due to external forces.
Stiction, static friction, is resistance at the beginning of movement vs. friction, resistance during movement. The Delkim system works to overcome stiction and only trigger an alarm on actual friction. This simple yet important technology means greater hook sets, fights and bragging rights for landing more carp.
There is also an important phenomenon known as stiction or static friction, which can be defined as resistance to the start of movement, as opposed to simply friction, which is resistance to movement after motion has started. As stiction is overcome and the line starts to move, there is a short burst of vibrations that actually adds to the effectiveness of the Delkim vibration system and further ensures that no bites are missed.
Delkim is certainly a leader in the bite alarm industry, but there is one drawback to the exceptional technology – it does come at a price. The expense may be enough to make even the most die-hard angler think twice. Fortunately, other options abound.
Fox Bite Alarms
Bite alarms are like lots of angling products. There are adherents to certain makers and have been for some time. There are some who find Delkim secondary to the Fox Bite systems.
Fox Bite is another leader in the bite alarm market, and many will argue the company is on the same level as Delkim when it comes to quality and manufacturing. Fox has the Micron RX+ system with a set of functions that equal that of the Delkim.
Features of the Micron RX+:
Size – Compact, yet powerful.
LED technology – Five colors: Red, Green, Blue, Orange, Purple and White with twin-color switch
Digital tones – Eight total tones with pitch adjustments for a variety of sounds to match angler preference
Sensitivity settings – Adjust eight different sensitivities from fresh, unfished waters to high pressure, wary carp
Fox offers some incentives to convince anglers with the main one being free indicator heads with multiple rod purchases.
Unlike the Delkim, the Fox Micron RX+ runs on standard AA batteries, meaning if battery life is low, alerted with a cyan LED built in, the angler need only make a fast replacement without needing to stop the day’s carp catching. The digital system also means the necessity of replacing batteries is infrequent depending on the amount of use.
Do not be afraid to use the Fox Micron RX+ either. The units are sealed in a waterproof case, so be it in a typical U.K. drizzle or hard rain, anglers can concern themselves more with the day’s catch rather than the safety of the system.
The Fox system is available at Amazon U.K. – Fox Bite Alarms.
ARE NGT BITE ALARMS ANY GOOD
Carp anglers can be cheap, but most would prefer the term frugal. By frugal, we mean they want the quality and best. The best may not break the bank, however. For the frugal carp angler, there is the NGT makes some of the more reasonably priced alarms. These alarms lack all of the finer, more technological advances of its common competition, but the tradeoff are alarms that work and work well.
Do not confuse reasonably priced alarms with cheap bit alarms. There are cheaper bite alarms to be found for certain, and the carp angler certainly caught more than their fair share of carp well before the advent of wireless or electrical bite alarms. The addition of wireless technology has only made the art easier.
Both the Delkim and Fox systems require deep pockets and die hard anglers. For the weekender or occasion entrant into the carp world, there are options that will not break the bank or upset the spouse. For these, there is the NGT Dynamic Wireless Bite Alarm.
NGT Dynamic Wireless Bite Alarm
Their best seller, the NGT Dynamic Wireless Bite Alarm Set 3+1 has all of the functions of higher priced models including a larger LED system.
Features of the NGT Dynamic Wireless Bite Alarm Set 3+1:
Seven LEDs – the most of any bite alarm we have tested and reviewed.
Volume and tone control – Varies for anglers who choose distance while fishing
Battery powered – Alarm uses a single 9v battery, NCT Dynamic receiver light uses a single AAA
Weather resistant – After all, good fishing can happen in difficult weather
This information does not really address the question: Are NGT bait alarms any good? Here are our thoughts on the matter as a whole:
Are you able to go carp fishing – Do you have the day off of work, are retired or simply in need of a carp fishing excursion?
Do you have a rod, reel and bait for carp fishing – You are fishing after all. These things are somewhat necessary.
Do you have a location for carp fishing – There is a definite lack of carp found in most home bathtubs and toilets as a general rule.
Do you know how to carp fish – If you can cast your bait into a body of water known to hold carp, you are good to go.
Do you know how to land a carp – Carp can be massive fish, and anglers need to know how to land carp safely to return them to water if necessary.
The NGT Dynamic Wireless Bite Alarm is currently available at Amazon U.K.
If you can answer ‘yes’ to all of these questions, then the answer you seek is obvious. Are NGT bait alarms any good? The reply is an overwhelming yes.
Carp, as far as we know, do not follow trends on bait alarm systems, are not particular to any specific bite alarm system available on the market, cannot use the Internet to search for bite alarm systems or read. Therefore, it is safe to say the NGT bite alarms are perfect for anyone interested in carp fishing.
Consider – carp fishing as a sport and for sustenance has been around for considerably longer than electronic bait alarm systems, yet anglers have always produced carp consistently.
We hope this brief glance into these top bait alarm systems will help you choose one and put more carp onto the bank.