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What is a bite alarm?

An electronic bite alarm, sometimes referred to as a ‘buzzer’, is a piece of fishing equipment that gives the angler an audible signal when fishing line is passed through it i.e. when a fish picks up the bait.

Commonly associated with carp fishing, and to some extent pike fishing, bite alarms are now commonplace is all sorts of freshwater fishing, including fishing for barbel, roach, zander, tench, eels and big bream.

A bite alarm is usually used when legering (fishing with a weight, rather than a float) and means that the baited hook is being ‘watched’ 24 hours a day. As modern specimen angling often consists of using more than one fishing rod, and a session can last for days at a time, this is particularly important. Even the keenest of anglers cannot claim to watch a float or rod-tip for that amount of time!

Most bite alarms work on the principal of the fishing line resting on a set of rollers. When line is pulled through the rollers, the bite alarm makes a noise and, usually, an LED lights up to give extra indication. There are more sophisticate alarms on the market now that dispense with the need for rollers, but the idea is much the same.

Usually, between the bite alarm and the reel, the angler will use some kind of additional weight to add tension to the line, such as a swinger or a hanger (bobbin). This is so that is a fish picks up the bait and swims towards the angler, creating a slack line in effect, the weight will drop-back and set the alarm off in the same way as if it were being pulled forward.

A basic bite alarm will usually have at least an On/Off switch and volume switch, whereas top of the range ones will offer sensitivity controls and tone controls, or even a choice of polyphonic tones (similar to how a mobile phone works), remote control sounders and even a theft alarm! If you enjoy the type of angling that requires the use of a bite alarm, then a set of bite alarms is

Nowadays, the angler is offered a bewildering array of bite alarms, so the key is to determine what YOU need before you buy. I’ll cover choosing a bite alarm in a separate article, but the basic idea would be to set your budget, write down what features you actually need and work from there. As bite alarms are often bought in sets of two or three, it’s worth spending some time to get it right. Obviously, this site is the place to look for the best deal once you know what you want!

Up until fairly recently, the choice was very much between Fox bite alarms and Delkims. In the same way that a Liverpudlian would a Liverpool or an Everton fan, most carp anglers were either Fox or Delkim men. Nowadays, however, the choice is a lot wider, although Fox and Delkim are probably still considered the key players. Most carp and pike tackle manufacturers offer at least a basic bite alarm, whilst serious relative newcomers to the market include Prologic and the Matt Hayes Total Fishing Gear. One UK manufacturer that has been around a while and gained quite a following is Good Fishing Ltd., whilst Steve Neville alarms have also stood the test of time.