Rod’s aren’t something I’ve written about on the blog before. I’ve covered barrows, bait, line and bite alarms but somehow, haven’t got around to covering rods.
When Tackle Fanatics got in touch to see if I was interested in trying out their Warrior Plus range, it was the prompt I needed so I jumped at the chance.
As an avid fan of the budget Fox Warrior range, a ‘pimped up’ version using the same blank but with full cork handles and a 50mm butt ring sounded like a big plus (no pun intended of course…) I also had the chance to try the 4.5lb TC Spod & Marker rod and the Warrior+ net which are both part of the same range.
Here’s a quick video I put together highlighting some of the features of the fishing rod:
My old Warrior S rods are 3lb TC. At the time of buying them I was debating whether to go for the 2.75lb or the 3lb TC. I soon found that heavier leads and PVA bags were becoming more prominent in my fishing and I was glad I didn’t go for the 2.75lb version as I’d have felt rather undergunned.
The 3lb rods just about managed to deliver what I was asking of them but I did consider buying a new set of 3.5lb TC rods. In the end I didn’t bother as the Warrior S 3.5lb rods only came in a 13′ version which for a start wouldn’t have fit in my rod bag! My other issue with a 3.5lb TC rod is the feel when playing a fish, I worried that I wouldn’t feel in contact and the rod would be too stiff.
When I received The Warrior Plus rods, I was really pleased to see that they were 12′ long with a test curve of 3.25lb. For me, this is absolutely perfect and ticks multiple boxes for my fishing.
Being a fly fisherman before I got into carp fishing, I was used to rods with cork handles. I found it strange that cork seemed to be a luxury on carp rods as opposed to a standard feature. It never caused me any issues with my Warrior S rods but the feel of cork on a rod is much nicer and the quality of cork used on the Warrior+ rods is good.
Yes, some filler seems to have been used but this is pretty standard practise and a lot of my fly rods (I have far too many of course) are the same – you only really find limited use of filler on really expensive rods. I think for the money, the guys at Fox and Tackle Fanatics have done a fantastic job of the handles, they feel great.
Another difference with the Plus rods is the 50mm butt ring. For those big caster’s (unfortunately I’m not in that club…), a 50mm ring will give you a bit more distance everything else being equal. They do look nice too. I’m not a big caster but I am a tackle tart!
Some of the other features of the rod:
Fox Warrior S blank
Low rein carbon composition matt black blank with gloss whippings
Anti frap tip ring
50mm butt ring
Full cork handles
Butt cap with fox logo
Line friendly line clip
So, how did the rod perform out in the wild? Remarkably. I mentioned above that I’m not a big caster but was able to use the powerful backbone of this rod to punch my leads a pleasing distance. The recovery of the blank was good and there was still plenty of feel when playing fish.
For the price (£209.99 for a set of 3 at the time of writing), these rods are amazing value. They are exclusive to Tackle Fanatics and you can buy from their website.
I mentioned above that I also had the chance to test out what Tackle Fanatics have called the Spod & Marker Duo or S&M rod. I think this is good idea to combine the two – although I own both a spod and a marker rod, the marker rod is barely used as I do everything with my spod rod.
The S&M rod performed well with good vibration transmission through the blank for feature finding and an action perfectly suited to casting out a loaded Spomb or Impact Spod.
The rod is 12′ in length with a 4.5lb TC blank. It features a 50mm butt ring and a full shrink wrap handle. The only addition I’d like to have seen is a 12″ mark on the blank for measuring water depth but if I really felt like I needed one, I’d add my own mark to it and as mentioned above, I do all my marker work with my spod rod anyway which doesn’t have a 12″ mark and I get on fine so I really am nit picking here!
Like the fishing rods, this is a fantastic tool and represents great value for money at £74.99 at the time of writing. You can buy one here.
The last item I tried out was the Warrior+ net.
The first thing I tend to look at when assessing the usability of a net is the weight of the handle. When I first started carp fishing, I made the mistake of buying a cheap net and the handle was so heavy that it made the process of playing a netting a fish a complete nightmare.
The handle of the Warrior+ net weighs in at just 274g. That’s nice and light which meant picking up and using the net whilst playing a fish nice and straight forward.
The net its self is soft and fish friendly which is really important and it’s 95cm deep which is reassuring for when a fish is in it.
The arms are 42″ long which is a really nice balance between fitting in decent sized fish and fitting in your peg! The spreader block is made from a plastic moulding which feels really solid but as the same time light weight which is a big win.
Other features of the net include carbon fibre arms with metal connectors and mesh-saving angled ends and a stink bag to store it in.
Like the rest of the Warrior+ range, the net is a solid people of tackle and represents fantastic value for money. At the time of writing, one can be yours for only £39.99 – click here to buy.
If there’s one downside to carp fishing it’s the amount of gear involved.
If you’re sick of feeling like you have run a marathon every time you get to your peg and you’re looking to buy a barrow to help, this roundup is for you.
These days I try to travel as light as possible so I can move easily when required but even though I fish light, a barrow is still absolutely essential.
On some lakes you’ll fish, the car park can be pretty close to some of the pegs so you might get away with it in this situation but in most cases, a bit of a walk is required and it can be back breaking work without a barrow.
You also want to be able to move quickly when you see fish at the other end of the lake and you’re less likely to make the move if you need to carry it all on your back and/or make multiple trips.
You might think that a barrow is a barrow but from first-hand experience I can tell you that’s not the case! A friend of mine bought a cheap one off eBay a couple of years ago and used it for the first time on a weekend session we did at Stanwick Lakes. Can you guess what happened? Yep, the handle snapped and it ended up in the bin!
You don’t have to pay through the nose for a good barrow though and in this post I’ll talk about 4 popular models that all have their own different features so you can choose which one is most suited to your individual requirements.
Carp Zone Barrow
This is the barrow I use and I’ve been delighted with it. As a tight fisted Yorkshireman I like to get value for money and before buying this, did some extensive research and found out that this barrow has a LOT of fans in the carp fishing community.
There are no bells and whistles with this so things like rod rests are not present but what you do get is a well built barrow for not a lot of money.
Here are some of the features at a glance:
Compact when folded
Chunky front wheel which is placed strategically to take as much weight as possible off your arms
Extending side and front bars
Height Adjustable legs with mud feet
2 x cords with grab hooks to secure your gear
Carp Porter Mk2 Fat Boy
The Carp Porter is probably the most well known barrow in the UK. This barrow is very well reviewed and has stood the test of time. It’s based on the standard Mk2 but has a chunkier wheel and a frame with additional reinforcing.
The beauty about investing in the Carp Porter system is that there are plenty of add ons available should you think you need them. The products are also well supported with spare parts available.
The Mk2 Fat Boy comes with a bag, bungees, a spares kit and unlike the Carp Zone barrow, a Y bar to rest your rods on.
Other features include:
Corner locking handle which increases stability when lifting
Height adjustable Y bar to rest your rod bag on
Extending front and side bars to take larger bed chairs
Flat folding design with removable wheel
Compatible with the range of Carp Porter accessories (including the a motor to give you a hand pushing it!)
Although more expensive than the Carp Zone, I still feel like this barrow offers excellent value for money.
TF Gear Juggernaut
The Juggernaut is the only three wheeled barrow in this roundup. It’s aimed at those who carry a lot of kit and/or need to travel a fair distance to their peg and I’ve seen it described as the 4×4 of carp fishing barrows!
Because of the fact that it has three chunky wheels, there is no lifting involved – you simply push it along. Turning is easy with this barrow as slight downward pressure on the handles will lift the front wheel, you then just point it in the direction you want to go.
What you gain in size and ease of pushing though you lose in weight and setup time. The barrow is quite heavy and with three wheels to attach, it takes a few extra minutes to build up but if you can live with that and want an easy life getting to your peg then this could be the perfect barrow for you.
Here are some of the features:
A lower set of handles attached to the standard ones for picking up the back wheels when required over less even terrain
Foot brake to stop the barrow from moving
Fox Specimen Explorer Barrow
In complete contrast to the Juggernaut, this barrow by Fox is built for those anglers who are alwayson the move and like to fish from the barrow.
Although primarily designer for the day session angler, the barrow can be converted to ‘session mode’ and will take a bedchair thanks to the extendable front barrow bag rack.
There is a large, removable bag which has top and side access meaning that even when the barrow is fully loaded, you can access the items inside the bag.
There are also two mesh side side pockets which will each hold a 5 litre water container or items of tackle around the same size. Again, these pockets have both top and side access.
I have to say, I REALLY like this barrow – the design really has been thought out. Another feature I like are the four welded loops which you clip the barrow straps to and the straps aren’t the usual bungee type material so should be more solid as a result.
Coming from a predominantly fly fishing background, bait was something that I needed to thoroughly research and get my head around before being able to use it properly. I’m glad I persisted though because with the right bait, your job as a carp angler gets a whole lot easier.
I think there’s something of an art to baiting well and your learning will never stop. Because there are so many baits available to the carper, I wanted to put this guide together to help you make the right choice for a variety of situations and times of year. Some of this comes from experience but some I’ve learnt from some exceptional anglers such as Tom Maker, Mark Pitchers and Nick Burrage who I’ve been fortunate enough to fish with.
At the end of the guide I reveal some of the different baiting strategies I’ve picked up along the way – this is going to be an in-depth guide so hats off to those who make it that far, you deserve a nice scaly 30lb’er if you do!
Without further ado, let’s crack on – if you want to read about a specific bait, feel free to jump straight to that section using the links below.
An important part of baiting is accuracy and distance and there are various tools to help you achieve that. Here is a list of what I consider to be essential pieces of tackle along with a link for you to have a look at some of the products on offer from Amazon – a site I find myself buying fishing tackle from all the time these days as all the main tackle brands are available there and the prices are great.
Throwing stick – if you fish with boilies a throwing stick is absolutely essential. You can achieve a great distance with a good stick but it should be used when you’re looking to achieve a spread of bait over a wider area (a popular approach). If you’re looking for accuracy, a spod or catapult might be a better option
Spod/spomb – as mentioned above, if you can cast accurately then with a spod or a spomb, you’ll be able to bait accurately. Have a look at the link below to see what Amazon have but also checkout my review of the Fox Impact Spod too.
Catapult – ah, the trusty ‘catty’! With a good catapult you can achieve good distance as well as accuracy. I find myself carrying a number of different ones and some are made for different distances as well as bait types (you can get boilie ‘pults and particle ‘pults) There is plenty of choice on the market but be careful about buying the cheapest you can find – the elastic won’t last two minutes
Boilies have become the most popular carp bait on the planet (I personally use them more than any other bait). Here’s why I think why:
They’re convenient – shelf life versions super convenient and even frozen boilies don’t need much management, stick them in an air dry bag and hang them from the nearest tree for the duration of your session. Easy
They’re good for the fish – OK OK, I accept that there are still some low quality, shelf life boilies on the market but generally they’re much better than they used to be. The frozen variety doesn’t contain any preservatives and modern day shelf life baits from the big companies have just as much nutritional value than their frozen counterparts. I use shelf life boilies exclusively (mainly Stickybaits Krill in 12mm)
They’re not messy – admit it, none of us like sticky sweetcorn hands
They need zero preparation and last for a long time
They are easy to bait over your spot
They can be adapted and altered in any way you like if you have some basic gear
They are versatile – grind them, chop them, crumb them or use them whole. Use them in a spod mix, a PVA bag or fire them out whole
They catch fish – boy do they do this well
The standard size for a boilie is 14/15mm with 10mm and 18mm also being quite common. My favourite? 12mm. I like boilies this size because 1) it’s a less popular size 2) I don’t fish in France for 60b monsters so feel no need whatsoever to fish with a gobstopper on my rig and also it’s just that bit bigger than a 10mm’er meaning it’s fine to use as a hook bait and tubs of popups are readily available in that size.
I choose Sticky’s Krill boilies because they come in 12mm shelf life, have matching 12mm popups but also have pink and white popups in 12mm that are a different colour but the same flavour – something that I’ve found works quite well.
Don’t be afraid of mixing up your sizes when baiting, I regularly fish 12mm and 10mm together. I use Sticky’s 12mm Krill with the Nash Crab & Krill 10mm red boilies. These come with a small pack of popups so I’ll bait the 12mm and 10mm together giving a different size and colour combination and then the hook bait is a snowman style rig with a 12mm bottom bait and a 10mm red popup so both baits match my freebies.
Flavours & Smell
Flavours and smell in a boilie is a funny thing, some people insist on one type of flavour/smell combo and other on something completely different. I personally like a fishmeal based boilie and the associated smell and flavour as opposed to the sweater baits that might smell great to us but we’re not carp. You see so many people sniffing their baits with a smile on their face because it smells like Baileys or some other human associated thing! Fish might like it too of course but I’ve always had more success with the stinkier fishmeal based stuff so I’ve stuck with it – confidence is a wonderful thing.
You can always alter the flavour and smell of your boilies of course with the various dips and sprays that are on the market. In all honesty I have never really taken to using them – I just haven’t seen a noticeable difference in my catch rate to warrant spending any more time with them. I do know people who use them religiously though and that’s fine, whatever works for you is always there best option.
This is another personal thing! There are various theories about what carp can and can’t see. I remember a talk I saw by Rob Hughes who was talking about the visibility of certain colours deteriorating when certain depths are reached – red was one that you had to be careful with when fishing at depth. From that talk, I seem to remember that pink was a good option from a visibility point of view.
I personally like a bait somewhere in the middle – not too bright and not too dark. Carp have a great sense of smell so I’m more bothered about getting that element right. Let’s also be clear – carp are aquatic hoovers and pure eating machines so if it’s there, they’ll know about it. Whether they eat it or not in a completely different matter!
Time of Year
There are different types of boilies designed to be used at different times of the year. In a nutshell, winter boilies will be made with a milk based base as opposed to a fishmeal one meaning that there will be much less oil content. In cold water, the oil in bait can congeal and put the fish off feeding hard. Baits like Mainline’s Cell doesn’t use a fishmeal base so can be used all year round which has probably contributed to its popularity but there are plenty of other baits that fit in the all year round bucket.
Some anglers will continue to use the same boilie all year round, the theory being that if it’s worked well through the spring and summer and the fish like it then why stop using it for the winter. My view on this is that confidence is massive in fishing and can give you a real edge so if changing boilies in preparation for the winter will knock your confidence, it probably make sense to stick with what’s been working for you regardless of whether it’s a milk based on fishmeal based bait.
One thing you do need to think about when using boilies in the winter is your baiting strategy – I’ll cover this later in the section about bait application but you need to remember that fish hold up in certain areas and feed much less in the winter so piling in kilos of bait on a spot isn’t the one when temperatures are low.
Which Boilies are Best?
In my freezer/fishing cupboard at the moment are bags of Sticky Baits Krill and Mainline Cell. These are proven baits and used by some of the best anglers across the country. I have a lot of confidence in both. Outside of the two big bait makers, there are also great baits available from companies such as Nutrabaits, Trent Baits and Active Bait Solutions just to name a few. As I say though you won’t go far wrong with anything from Sticky Baits or Mainline. You can find a great selection of their products on Amazon using the links below – there are some great deals to be had.
Particles have been used to catch carp since the beginning of the sport. The name ‘particles’ is a catch all for any sort of natural, food bait. Examples include:
Particle baits can be very cost effective especially if you’re happy to put the work into preparing them yourself. Preparation is key because for most particle baits, they can be used in their raw state – some form of soaking and boiling is required. Different baits require different preparation required so please do your research first. To give you an idea of what’s involved though, here’s a video by Hinders detailing how to prepare hempseed. I’ve done this before and you end up with a lovely bait that carp adore.
Preparing your own bait also enables you to add things to it – flavours, colours, salt etc which can make your bait stand out on the lake bed.
Mixing different particles together is always a good idea – I like the analogy of the buffet, if there’s only pork pies there and you happen not to like pork pies you’re going to go hungry. If though there’s also some pizza, sandwich, crisps and buns you’re much more likely to like something and have a munch – it’s the same with fish, offer them a few different things and increase your chances of getting them feeding! It’s also a good idea to mix up colours and sizes and I always try to match my hook bait with something in the mix. If I have two rods over a spot, I’ll have a different hook bait on each rod but again each will match something in the mix. Don’t be afraid to mix other types of baits with your particles too – a mixture of boilies, hemp and sweetcorn is super simple and massively effective.
It’s probably worth keeping in mind that if you’re baiting a spot with a lot of particle to attract fish into the area, keep your rigs short as the fish will be moving slowly across the spot.
If you don’t want the hassle of having to prepare your particles, there are ready made bait available off the shelf but you’ll pay more for them. I find myself though sticking with sweetcorn these days, it’s cheap, all carp love it and there are some excellent plastic baits available to fish over the top of it. I buy frozen bags from the supermarket which are around £1 and contain 1kg of sweetcorn. Where else can you get a kilo of bait for a quid!?
Here is the rig I fish over the top of sweetcorn, shown to me by Mark Pitchers. It’s super simple, well balanced, requires no putty to anchor down the corn (the a size 4 SSBP hook is just right to balance two pieces of the plastic) and it massively effective. The plastic used is the Evolution Plastic Corn Stack. Simply cut off one of the ‘grains’ for a size 4 or use all three for a size 2 hook.
No post about bait would ever complete without mentioning live baits i.e. maggots and worms. I personally think both are underused, particularly worms – doing things different in carp fishing can be a serious edge. I’m not actually going to talk too much about them though. Why? Because I came across this Carp TV video on YouTube where Joe Morgan talks all about carp fishing with worms and he does a better job than I ever could so, over to Joe…
Maggots do tend to be used more than worms but mainly in winter when they’re particularly effective. It’s worth pointing out at this point that if the lake you’re fishing contains a lot of smaller fish of any species, you might want to think twice about fishing with maggots as it will attract every fish in the lake and could ruin your chances of carp bite. If though the lake contains mainly carp, maggots could be a great bet.
There are various different things you can do with maggots including:
Flavour them (turmeric is good!)
Use them in your spod mix (dead or alive)
Put them inside a PVA bag
Use them in combination with other things as hook bait e.g. side hook a couple of maggots onto a corn rig if you have both corn and maggots in your mix
Use a maggot clip to bunch up a good number of maggots on your rig
I mentioned earlier using maggots dead or alive. Both can be advantageous in different situations – sometimes, a pile of wriggling maggots can be irresistible to fish but if you’re fishing a lake in which the bed is made up of deep silt, live maggots can bury themselves in it. Carp do of course feed in silt but you lose some visual impact.
Should you go for red or white maggots? Well, I have always fared better with red so stick with them. That doesn’t mean that white won’t work and I’d still fish with white maggots over some other baits but again it’s your choice – whichever you have more confidence in is likely to yield better results for you.
Plastics & Foam
Why would a fish possibly try to eat a plastic piece of sweetcorn!? Well, they do and I’m a big fan of the benefits that plastic baits bring to the table.
First of all you can get sinking or floating versions. Secondly, they come in all sort of shapes, sizes, colours and flavours. Some of them even glow in the dark! Thirdly you can flavour them how you wish (try Hinders Betalin & Black).
Here is a list of my favourite uses of plastic baits:
Use popup plastic (such as a sweetcorn imitation) to tip off a boilie and negate the weight of the hook
Fish a corn stack mentioned above over a simple spod mix containing sweetcorn or just sweetcorn on its own which is still massively effective
Use Korda’s plastic popup maize critically balanced with a PVA stick of sweetcorn
Have a look at the video below for how to make your sweetcorn PVA friendly – pretty neat and you don’t see many anglers doing it which can give you a nice edge
As well as the more obvious plastic corn and maize you can also get plastic maggots, casters, bread, pellets, hemp, tiger nuts, luncheon meat, worms, dog biscuit and even mussels!
You can also get selection boxes containing different plastic baits – have a look here to see what’s available.
So, we’ve covered plastic so onto foam baits. Foam like plastic soaks up flavour well and comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colours. You can also cut it to suit your requirements. The most common uses of foam baits are:
Zig rigs – foam is massively buoyant so is perfect for fishing zigs
To critically balance a rig – that might be by drilling out a boilie and inserting some foam or using a piece of yellow foam on the hair of a sweetcorn rig
To tie flies or ‘zig bugs’ as they’re known in the carp fishing world
Look out for a future blog post where I’ll be tying my own zig bugs and showing you how to do the same – its cheap to get started, doesn’t require masses of skill and is very rewarding
How could I write a piece about the best carp fishing bait without covering pellets?! Along with sweetcorn, this is one bait that all fish just seem to love. When fishing for stocked fish, the likelihood is that they have been raised on pellets so that goes some way to explaining it.
Pellets are produced by a huge range of companies and are available in a whole host of size from 1mm to 20mm. There are oily version, flavoured versions, soft and hard versions – basically, if you know what size, consistency and make up you want, you’re likely to find a pellet to match your requirements.
With pellets, I also like the fact that you can get them with different breakdown speeds which is great for a spod mix as you can have a mixture of crunch and slop in there.
My favourite uses for pellets in fishing are:
Mixing different micro pellets and fishing them in a solid PVA bag
As mentioned above, using them as part of a spod mix
Using a chunky pellet on the hair – this isn’t done often so again can be a nice edge
Using micro pellets on a method feeder (what, you don’t fish the method for big carp?!)
Using a mixture of sizes and breakdowns for margin spot feeding
The most common pellets you will come across are halibut, carp, trout, expanders, hemp, soft feed and CSL.
Now that you have a good idea about what baits are available, it’s now time to talk about some of the ways you can use them. I’m going to use boilies in these examples but most strategies aren’t bait specific so pellets, particles, naturals etc would work equally as well.
Strategy 1 – the ‘greedy guts’ method
There is generally always one to two fish in every lake that like a good old feast. When they come across a dirty great plate of food they just have to eat it. It’s those fish we are targeting with the greedy guts strategy.
The mechanics are very simple – find your spot and pile a couple of kilos of boilies (or your preferred alternative bait) on it. If you’re spodding, you need to be accurate here as the effect we’re looking for is as if you’d just tipped the bait over the edge of a boat in one go onto the spot. Clearly the easiest way or achieving this is with a boat but that’s not always possible. Get your rig in the middle of the pile and sit back and wait for the big lad to come along and find it.
Strategy 2 – catch out the careful ones
This is in some ways opposite to strategy 1. What we’re looking to do here is catch out those cautious fish who are holding back from the main pack in a feeding situation. These fish tend to ‘snatch’ at the edges of the spot so bait up, get one rod in the middle of the spot and then a second at the edge with the straggler baits ready to surprise Mr Careful Carp.
Strategy 3 – give them a snack, not a feast
I like to fish for one bite at a time and I prefer to do that with a small amount of bait. That could be anything from a couple of broken up boilies in a PVA bag next to my rig or a couple of spods over the top. What it’s definitely not is filling in a spot and then sitting on it for days – that’s definitely not my kind of fishing.
It might sound like a complete contradiction to strategy 1 but it’s important to have different tactics in your armoury to suit the lake you’re fishing on and the conditions on the day.
I hope you enjoyed this overview of carp fishing bait and it’s given you a few ideas to apply to your own fishing.
Choosing the right bite alarm can be a tricky affair – I know, I’ve been there. Not only is there lots of technology to try and understand but the models on offer can be quite overwhelming and with the price of a quality alarm set, you need to get it right or it could be a costly mistake.
In a hurry? To see our recommendations at a glance, here’s a handy comparison chart along with a link to where you can buy each one. For more detail about the alarms and why they’ve made it into this roundup, keep reading…
Bite alarms are an absolute must in carp fishing, not only do they let you know when a fish has taken the bait but they also alert you to activity in the area in the form of line bites. Also, there’s nothing more special than hearing the sound of your buzzers going into overdrive as a fish rips off with your rig!
The focus of this roundup will be on the premium end of the scale, models that have stood the test of time. I truly believe this is the only way to go with bite alarms – ever heard the expression ‘buy cheap buy twice’? Well, I bought cheap and bought 3 times. I started with a budget set, then replaced that with a mid-range set and ended up replacing that with a premium set. It was a false economy, I should have just bought what I always knew I’d end up with right at the beginning. I recommend that you do the same.
So, what is the difference between a budget and a premium set of alarms? Well, in the main it’s the quality of the components and resulting reliability. You’re also buying into the technology. When you buy a set of alarms, you’re also paying for all the R&D that went into bringing the product to market. The production cost per unit is likely to be quite low but the proprietary features generally aren’t which is why good quality sets can be expensive.
Hopefully by the end of this post you’ll have all the information you need to make your decision. I’ve put a lot of work into finding and comparing different parts of each set being reviewed. So, without further ado, let’s get into the first bite alarm and the one I ended up investing in, the Delkim TXi Plus.
Delkim TXi Plus Review
This alarm is probably the most well known and talked about bite alarm on the market. Founded in the 1970’s by Del Romang and Kim Donaldson, the company is still very much a family affair who’s sole focus is around bite alarms. Their product range includes alarms, indicators, cases and snag bars. Technology used in their alarms includes the Delkim Radio system and a unique, Piezo vibration sensing system. The benefits of this over a roller based system is that the line doesn’t have to actually move for the unit to indicate activity.
Features of the TXi
2 x sensitivity ranges (high and low) Anti theft alarm – should somebody turn the unit of in an attempt to steal it, a loud siren sound should alert you to it Variable tone range allowing you plenty of choice (I personally have it on around number 4!) Wide volume range – from number 1 to number 6, believe me these things go loud should you wish to set them that way 6 LED colour options – purple, red, white, blue, green, yellow – ensure you match the colour to your bobbins for maximum carpiness and bank-side respect LED night mode – these look super cool when it’s pitch black outside Good weatherproofing 2 year guarantee
Whilst I was researching this alarm prior to me actually investing in a set, I came across a couple of negatives. A few people mentioned that you can get false bleeps when it’s raining and the alarms can actually be TOO sensitive. I have experienced some false bleeps when it’s pouring it down but it doesn’t happen all the time and it’s never bothered me in the slightest. I’ve also managed to avoid the alarms being too sensitive, there’s a high and low sensitivity setting along with a 1- 6 dial to turn up or down the sensitivity within the high or low setting you’re in. A quick tweak to those settings and no false bleeps regardless of the weather. I want my alarms to be sensitive though, I like to know when things are happening in the swim.
The units feel well made, the battery life is superb, the multi-tone sounds beautiful and they look the business. Syncing up with the RX Plus Pro receiver is really easy too.
The NTX-R alarms are Fox’s top spec bite alarms. I’ve been on tutorials with a couple of the Fox consultants (Mark Pitchers and Tom Maker) and both used and rated these alarms. The main piece of technology used in this unit is the D-Tec Sensing System (DTSS) which do away with the need for reed switches, these parts are normally the first to break in other alarms.
A particularly cool feature for the tackle tarts amongst us is Colour Sync meaning that the LED on each unit can be set to whatever colour you wish. Got a new set of shiny bobbins? No problem, simply change the colour on the NTX-R and boom, they match! This might sound like a trivial thing but with the Delkims, once bought into a colour scheme you’re stuck with it so choose wisely. FYI I went for green Delks and yes, I also have green bobbins – it’s a must!
Other features include:
Drop back differential Volume control with silent mode Tone control Anti-theft system Intelligent Sensitivity Control Power out socket Range test facility Auto night light 1mm weather resistant seal
Unlike the Delkim alarm, the Fox NTX-R uses a roller wheel containing 4 magnets to detect line movement. Some people are sceptical about roller wheels in general because they can freeze in super cold conditions but in reality, this is rare.
The receiver used with this alarm is the Fox NTX Receiver and you can buy either 3 or 4 rod sets which come with the receiver and a hard case.
Less popular than the Delks or NTX-R’s but still top end bite alarms and those who use them rarely move away from them which speaks volumes about the quality of the units. A lot of thought has gone into these alarms. As well as all the things you’d expect like volume, tone and sensitivity adjustment, there are some unique features such as a light to indicator to signal a low battery and a mute button on the side which will give you 30 seconds to get your bobbins set without annoying everybody else on the lake – brilliant!
Like the NTX-R’s, you can select what colour you want the LED to be which is nice.
One of the major stand out feature of this alarm is that it has a vibration sensor as well as a roller wheel giving you the best of both worlds. Simply switch to the one you want to use and away you go – the vibration is better for snag fishing or fishing in really cold conditions to avoid any missed takes if the roller wheel freezes up.
Early models had a nylon locking collar which was prone to breaking but Ace fixed this and now use a stainless steel locking nut and stud.
The RX One is the receiver Ace have produced to pair up with this alarm.
Steve Neville mk3 Bite Alarms
These alarms are a bit of a carp fishing icon and almost have a cult following. That’s not to say that it’s simply nostalgia that sells these units because it’s not – they’re well built, reliable and have some good features but you’ll find less bells and whistles than on the alarms reviewed above.
Working on a roller wheel system and bite indication is highly sensitive because of the 4 magnets used in the wheel. The range is particularly impressive with a 500m maximum range (although you should never be this far from your rods!) The alarms have a built in receiver so can be used with the Steve Neville receiver and you also get an adjustable volume control, silent mode and a system to avoid false bleeps.
Which Bite Alarm?
So, having heard about some of the high-end alarms on the market, which one is for you? Well, I’d say that all the units featured in this roundup are in a similar price bracket and reliability should be a given. The Ace i3 has the most features but can be hard to get hold of. The Neville’s have less shiny features but look great. It depends what’s most important to you. As I mentioned earlier, I ended up buying the Delkim TXi plus’. Why? Because Delkim have a great reputation, they are a bite alarm specialist, look great, have plenty of features and have you ever heard a screaming, dual tone run of a Delk? It’s better than the most beautiful music you have ever heard. Have a listen…
See what I mean? Beautiful!
To help you make up your mind, I’ve put together the following comparison table.
Welcome to 2016. I hope everybody had a good Christmas and New Year with plenty of food and drink! This is my first blog post of the new year, and I just wanted to go back and reflect on what happened in 2015 (which as you’ll see wasn’t much!) and also discuss what my plans are for 2016.
So, going back to 2015, I wrote a blog post similar to this right at the beginning of the year called 2015: The Year of the Carp. Well, it didn’t quite work out how I thought it might do when I wrote that post. My fishing time was severely limited – I have a busy job and a young family so my free time is somewhat limited and at a premium. I also have other hobbies that need to share any free time I do get. So my carp angling was limited, and I only managed two sessions all year. Those sessions were 48-hour sessions though so decent length sessions, and both were quite productive.
Both sessions were at Brandesburton 3&4, a venue I’ve spoken at length about on this blog. 2014 was out first ‘year’ on there and in all honesty we struggled – we didn’t have night permits so were fishing days only. Last year though we decided to put our hands in our pockets and get night permits and I’m glad we did as the two sessions we did manage to squeeze in ended up being very productive indeed. Between the 2 of us over the 2 session we managed about 30 bites (not all landed unfortunately) compared with a single bite across more (day only) sessions the year before. We shared the same peg in both sessions which allowed us to figure a few things out like when the bite times were. Once we figured that out, the penny dropped why we didn’t catch much the year before – we were always there at the wrong time of day!
We also found some good spots so when we’re fishing that peg next, we know exactly where to be casting to. We got takes from multiple spots, which is really good. They were marked down in my diary and pictures taken. So those sessions were good to us, but if you read the blog post from last year, I said that I had certain targets that I wanted to achieve this year, and only one of those has been ticked off.
Those targets included catching a bigger fish than what I previously caught at Brandesburton, that was the one that I ticked off. I did that in the first of those two sessions. One of the other targets was to catch a 20lb fish from a local day ticket venue. I didn’t get the opportunity to fish that venue last year, so unfortunately I didn’t manage to achieve that.
I also wanted to catch a fish on the fly which should be straightforward as I fly fish for trout and grayline so I kind of know what I’m doing when it comes to fly fishing, although I need to do a little bit of research into how to catch carp on the fly. But I think I could have done that if, again, I’d have had the opportunity which unfortunately I didn’t get.
The other thing that I wanted to do was start rolling my own boilies and catch a fish on them. Again, I didn’t manage to do that. I fell into the trap of not preparing properly for sessions and the day before going to the local tackle shop and picking up the boilies that I always use, which are the 12mm Sticky Baits Krill which I am a big fan of. When something works, it’s hard to change but I did want to start rolling my own bait. I was going to use the DIY packs from DNA Baits but I never ended up investing in the equipment and due to my poor organisation I carried on buying last minute shelf life boilies.
So I did manage to tick off one of the four, but to be honest I’m still happy that I had a good couple of sessions at Brandesburton and caught some nice fish, not huge fish but nice. There’s not really any huge fish in there, they only go to mid-20s. I still haven’t caught a 20lb’er from there, but I want to to carry on trying to do that, and I won’t stop until I do. I’ve had a few nice mid-doubles which have all been really nice-looking fish but I do still want that elusive 20.
So that was last year. Going into 2016, some of the same targets apply really. Because I’ve increased my PB at Brandesburton, I do want to catch that magical 20-pound fish from there, which if I manage to get more sessions in this year, which I’m hoping to do, should be a realistic target. There are though people on there that have been fishing the venue for a few years that haven’t managed to catch a 20-pound fish yet. On the other side of the coin though there are also some people who will go there and catch more than one 20lb fish in a single session so it’s absolutely realistic if we put the work in.
The day ticket lake, I don’t think that I’ll be able to fish again this year. To be fair, there’s a booking system in place, and the way I plan my free time is not that much in advance, so it’s hard to work around that sort of system. I don’t really want to be ringing up on the first day of the month to book for the following month. That doesn’t really work for me so I probably won’t carry that target into this year. But certainly the one around Brandesburton, I will.
Regarding the bait, I’m not sure about that yet. I need to think about it. It would be nice to start rolling my own bait so I could customise it and all that kind of thing, but in all honesty I’m happy with the Sticky Baits Krill. I’ve got confidence in it. It works for me, so I’ll probably continue to use that. And I like using shelf-life baits as well, whereas if I roll my own, that will more than likely be freezer bait.
One target that I will carry from last year into this year is capturing a carp on the fly. I really do want to do that. Like I said, I fly fish already, and that’s another passion of mine so I’m sure with a bit of researc, I’ll be able to figure out what they’re likely to take on the surface. I tie my own flies as well so I’ll be able to tie something up that’s suitable for carp. So that target will be carried into this year and I’ll report back once I’ve managed to achieve it (if I manage to achieve it, hopefully I will but we’ll see!)
So that’s it. That’s a reflection of last year and a brief plan of this year. My night permit is about to come through for Brandesburton. Hopefully, from spring time onwards we’ll be getting back up there. It’s a three-hour round trip, so normally, we do slightly longer sessions. Hopefully, we’ll get a decent amount of weekend sessions and full weekend sessions this year. We’ll see if we can catch that magic 20lb’er.
The club that own the fishery, Hull and District Angling Association have done quite a lot of work on it recently. It’s now got an otter fence and I believe that they’re doing some work on the path around the lake this year, because sometimes it can be quite hard to push a barrel around. So the venue is improving all the time. There’s a waiting list for permits and so it’s becoming a bit of a popular venue. It can be busy on a weekend, but still, the lake is absolutely stunning, and I’m still massively in love with it and until I achieve what I want to achieve on there I’ll continue to fish it. It might take me another year, it might take me another 10 years, I don’t really care! As long as I’ve still got a passion for it, and I’m still chasing something, then I’ll continue visiting and writing about it. If I do catch it this year, we’ll see what happens. Hull and District have other waters that I can potentially look at a night permit for.
Syndicates are another option but because of the amount of time that I do have free to fish, it probably wouldn’t be financially viable for me to join a £500-a-year syndicate. But that is an option. It might be that I’ll start traveling further afield to look at certain day ticket lakes going into 2017 if I achieve everything I want to achieve in 2016 in Brandesburton. But I’m not sure yet.
We need to see all this new pans out. If it goes to plan, then next year could look very different. If it doesn’t go to plan, then so be it. 2015 didn’t really go to plan. I’m not too concerned about that. I’m still having fun, which is ultimately what it’s all about. And hopefully, it will be a good year. And of course, I’ll be keeping you up to date on the progress in blog.
Regarding the blog, content-wise, I want to continue to write about my ups and downs and carry on being completely open and honest about my angling. I do want to start doing some different types of content, so reviews are one thing I want to focus on. As a good Yorkshireman, I research products in depth before I buy them – I want to make sure I’m getting value for money! I always appreciate reviews from bloggers as well as people on social media and forums etc… so I think that type of post offers a lot of value to readers of a blog. If there is anything in particular that you want me to review, then let me know, and I’ll try and do that but also, if you have got any suggestions for the type of content that you want to see on the blog, then please let me know. I want to make sure that I’m producing content that resonates with everybody, that’s on topic, and that’s ultimately valuable, and that can help you in your fishing as well.
I want to increase the emails I send out, so I’ll be looking to send certain pieces of content through email only. So if you haven’t subscribed, please do that. There’s a link at the bottom of this post and also at the top of the right-hand side of the blog. You just need to put your email address in that, and then you’ll get updates when a new blog post goes live plus some additional content that I’ll be sharing via email only. So please do that and good luck in your own fishing for 2016.