How to Setup a Fishing Bite Alarm

how to setup a fishing bite alarm
how to setup a fishing bite alarm

How to Setup a Fishing Bite Alarm 

Bite alarms are a carp anglers bread and butter. Whether you’re day fishing or night fishing, bite alarms give anglers the freedom to move away from their rods, work on their rigs, or relax on their phones without worrying about taking their eyes off the tip of their rod.

Bite alarms are essentially a detection system that are attached to a bank stick or rod pod. A rod sits upon the device with the fishing line placed between the alarm’s sensors. Once the bite alarm detects movement or vibration in your fishing line, the alarm will emit a beeping sound and LED lights will visually notify the angler. As bite indication is one of the most important aspects of carp fishing, it is essential that you set your bite alarms up correctly.

Equipment you will need:

Rod rest and Bank sticks/ rod pod - A rod rest/rod pod is a platform that anglers use to keep their rods off the floor. Bite alarms are screwed into the platform with rods placed upon them.

Bite indicators (Bobbins or swingers) - Bite indicators are used in conjunction with bite alarms. They are simply weighted clips that attach to the fishing line in order to keep tension and help anglers identify bites. They give anglers subtle information about what is happening to their rig under the surface. For more information on bite indicators, check out our bite indicator and fishing alarms guide.

It goes without saying, but can be easily forgotten; before you leave for your fishing trip, make sure that you have turned your bite alarms on to check they are working and take some spare batteries with you.

Setting Up the Fishing Bite Alarm

  1. Place your rod pod or bank sticks on the ground and screw a butt rest into the thread
  1. Feed your bite indicator (bobbin or swinger) into the bite alarm thread and screw the bite alarm into the rod pod or bank stick. The bite alarm should be facing away from the lake.
  1. Once your alarm is set up, cast out to your chosen swim and rest the rod on to the bite alarm, making sure your fishing line is running through the sensors of the bite alarm - Be sure to engage your bait runner on your reel to ensure your rod doesn’t end up in the water.
  1. Clip your bite indicators to your fishing line - and you’re ready to fish

Alarm Settings

Modern alarms come with a plethora of features that allow you to adapt to your specific surroundings and situations:


All bite alarms come with volume control, which is particularly helpful when fishing in close proximity to others. It can be quite an annoyance on a quiet fishing lake when anglers don’t realise that their bite alarms are too loud. You may want people on the other side of the lake to know you’ve caught again but a constant blaring alarm isn’t best practice. Be sure to set your volume to a setting where only you can hear it, or even better, invest in a receiver.


Alarms that have a sensitivity setting are very useful, especially for anglers in the UK. If you’re fishing in windy conditions on a water with a strong current, the sensitivity setting will allow you to choose how reactive you want your alarms to be. Additionally, if you’re targeting large fish that may only make a slight tug on your line, you will want to increase the sensitivity of your alarms.


Bite alarms that have a tone setting are great for anglers that fish with multiple rods. It allows you to distinguish between your own rods and also other anglers’ alarms who may be using the same brand of alarm. A low tone setting will also reduce the chance of the sound travelling around the lake and annoying other anglers.

Checkout this brief video demonstrating  how to setup a fishing alarm: 

When to strike using a bite alarm

Once the rods and bite alarms have been set up, anglers need to resist the urge to strike at the odd bleeps. These are often fish swimming into the line or the wind blowing the line around.  Striking too early not only disrupts your swim, but means you will have to re-cast and set up again.

A steady alarm sound combined with your bobbins moving up and down will indicate a fish is hooked. Be sure to keep an eye on your bobbins as they can be quicker to react than your alarm, and if the fish is hooked and swimming towards you, your alarm may not sound; your bobbin will fall to the ground, which is referred to as a ‘drop-back’. In this instance you will need to pick up the rod and wind in quickly to pick up the slack of the line and hopefully obtain a solid hook hold.

 For more information on bite alarms, check out our bite alarms & accessories page at eTackle.

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