Improving Bite Alarm Indication

Bite indication is one topic I feel must be covered as it can be a very important part when fishing for carp.

Carp in many of the UK waters sometimes feed so cautiously that on occasions they hardly give off any indication on the bobbin. Some carp won’t even run when hooked, they just remain in position while trying to eject the rig. For this reason it’s crucial that we find ways to improve the sensitivity of bite indication. 

So what can we do to improve bite indication?

Photo showing Good bite indication catches carp!High Sensitivity Bite help catch this Mid-double Common Carp

Firstly, let’s start with rod setup. We can receive a better registration of bite indication by setting up the rods so that they are straight with the position of the rig in the swim. Keeping the tip of the rod in line and angled straight down towards the position of the fishing rig in the water will dramatically improve the sensitivity of any bites during your fishing session. In fact, the fewer angles in the line, the better bite indication will be. You need the line to be able to flow through the eyes of the rods fairly easily. This means no rods should be swept to the side and angled on the bank, where the rod is position so that the tip will bend round first before the alarm sounds. This is a bad way to set up carp rods for sensitive sounder bite indications. 

Rod Tips Up In The Air?

It may be necessary to fish with rods pointing up in the air if you happen to be fishing over any large obstacles to reach an area where the carp patrol, or over snags or pads to relieve potential damage to the line or tangles with the objects. An example would be fishing over large lily pads at a short distance out. In this case, the rod tip needs to be high to allow the whole line to be much straighter than having the tips low down where the line is more angled and must drive through the pads to straighten a little before any signs from the alarms can be heard. Yes, having the rod tips high will lower the registration of bites a little but, will still give a slightly better bite indication than two or more huge angles in the line. Also, with this type of situation, you can at least see some twitches on the rods tips if you’re prepared to watch them for a long time. 

Tight Monofilament Lines

Having tight lines can also cause more bite indication problems when fishing for carp using a monofilament line. The stretch in the line caused from setting it tight enables a carp to move the lead up to several feet before any registration of fish bites can be heard on the alarms. How far the fish can move the rig will depend on the distance you’re fishing at and the amount of stretch created in the line. 

You can obtain much improved bite indication from fishing with slack lines. Yes, this does sound crazy, but it will improve the indication of fish bites, mainly because there’s no stretch in the line prior to a fish picking up the lead. Obviously, slack lines may be difficult or impossible in strong flowing water or big winds, but it’s possible to still set the rods with as little stretch as possible in the line. I find it better to let the rig hit the bottom and then just reel in the majority of the slack line from the bow caused by the wind. Then I let the line sink down to the bottom with just a little slack bow from the rod tip before placing on the bobbin. I use a lighter bobbin without the weights on, and slowly tighten the line until the bobbin can just about hold its own weight. 

Tight lines can also be a problem if a fish runs in an arc to the side. In many cases there will hardly be any indication from the alarms. In fact, I have experienced this problem during some fishing sessions. On one occasion, I caught a friend’s fish as it swam over my area and got tangled up with my rig, and he was fishing over 50 yards away!

The fish was hooked by his rig, but it had run sideways in an arc towards my peg, his alarms were dead silent and I actually banked the fish and had to take out both rigs!

I have found in this situation that using a running rig with a heavy lead will almost eliminate this problem and give a much more sensitive bite indication. The carp can still run sideways, but because the heavy lead stays in the same position, it forces more line to spool off the reel which produces better bite registration.


Using Backleads And Delayed Bite Registration

Back leads will cause worse bite indications no matter where or how you set them up. They most often lead to a delayed bite indication because they cause more angles in the line, and angles always cause less sensitivity for bite registration. Heavier back leads also allow some fish to run to the side without any registration at all. This is simply because the line turns or arcs at the point of the back lead and thus doesn’t allow the pull of the line to reach the bobbin. 

For a backlead tip, point the tip of the rod towards the backlead’s position in the water. This creates less angles and improves the sensitivity of the bites indicated. 

Types of Fishing Rigs & Bite Indications

I have found that running rigs offer improved bite indication when compared to fixed or semi-fixed fishing rigs. As explained above, this is because the weight of the lead stays in place as the fish moves further away or to the side. This means more line is needed for the fish to move any distance, therefore, fish bites register much quicker on the alarm. In fact, running rigs should not even give drop-back bite indications because the heavy lead should stay in place, unless the fish drops the rig so the line has chance to “pull” back. This is the reason why I like to use running rigs when fishing up against an island or an opposite bank margin. The only thing I do feel is that you need to tighten up the baitrunner clutch a little more than normal so the fish cannot take too much line off the spool which can allow the carp to find snags before you pull into the fish.

Other Considerations to improve bite indication:

  • Use lighter bobbins
  • Fish at shorter ranges
  • Using braided line
  • Use lighter leads
  • Don’t use back leads, or if needed, don’t place them right under rod tip! 

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