Why does anyone need a good fishing alarm? This was a question I once wondered about myself, but some time and experience on and around many different waters taught me that sometimes this was a really great piece of fishing gear to have.
One of the really cool things about fishing is just how many different styles are out there. Growing up in Iowa, Dad often took us to nearby Hannen Lake, and then when we were older it would be Maki Bay in Ontario, a really out of the way resort we’d have to boat into on the Lac De Mille Lacs lake system.
Based on our early experiences we were all about the northern pike, the largemouth bass, and to a lesser extent the walleye. In other words, we went after fish that hit the lures hard, required a lot of casting with crankbaits, and plenty of action. Then Grandpa tried to teach us trout fishing. Good luck not setting the hook at a test nibble when you’ve been conditioned to set at the smallest tremble or change. But the family time fishing was worth it.
As we grew we took different routes but it was interesting seeing and experiencing all the many different ways that fishing took place. I was in high school before my first experience with jigging, in graduate school in Alaska for ice fishing, hit a lot of back country where smoked carp was a big thing, and eventually got back to active fishing with sea charters years later – but during all that time of lazy carp lines, setting up fishing rods inside the ice fishing shack, suddenly the idea of a good alarm made so much more sense!
By far and away the most popular and widely rated fishing alarm on Amazon and many other online retailers, the electronic bite alarm from FREETOO has proven itself again and again in the field to be one of the best options. If you’re going to be moving around the ice shack preparing a meal or doing anything while the line is in the water, setting up multiple lines for carp, or preparing any setup where you want to have the line out while being able to keep your hands and mind free, then you want a FREETOO fishing alarm on your line waiting for that distinctive unmistakable tug.
Available as an individual alarm or in a pack of three, this alarm comes with an LED light for easy spotting while night fishing as well as a loud and clear sound alert. While often lifted up as the prime example for a perfect alarm for carp fishing at night, this can work for catfish, trout, or any fishing set up where your rods are set up in holders with the bait out in the water.
These are easy to clip on the rod, and they will not damage the fishing line. This model hits particularly good marks for holding still even in a strong wind and not giving off false alarms while giving off sound and light when an actual fish firmly bites the hook.
These are powered by energy saving batteries and are easy to use while providing consistent and reliable service.
These are very simple and traditional alarms, showing that sometimes going the old way or the traditional route can be just as good (or even better) than many of the newer options out there. This 20 alarm bell combo means plenty of inexpensive alarms that can be attached to the line and you don’t lose anything too expensive if you end up losing one.
These metal bells are the traditional early form of a fish alarm to let you know when something of size grabs the bait and tugs at the lure. While not perfect (these aren’t the best option on a really windy day, especially when the winds are swirling in nature), there’s a reason this design was the considered the original design to create a carp alarm, and it was effective. In fact, there are plenty of us who remember gerry-rigging something like this with a bell and bread bag tie while setting up camp during some childhood Midwestern summers.
The attached plastic comes in green, red, or silver, and the bells are small at only 1.6 cm but they are effective and will let you know when it’s time to stop the camp chores and rush over to shore to grab the line and (hopefully) dinner!
Taking the conventional bell alarm a step further, the bite alarms from YYGIFT are a combination of bells and an LED light attached to the plastic for easy spotting and identification in the dusk or at night. This definitely makes night fishing easier after setting up your rod and moving about the shore or your campsite while waiting for that distinctive ringing bell to let you know supper might be on the other end of the line!
Every alarm has twin bells, a plastic clip, and a little LED bulb attached to the plastic clip. They are extremely easy to use and very effective. When fish strike the hook, or even just suck it up and try to leave, you’ll know! The lights make it easy to find, and means night time doesn’t have to shut down your fishing efforts.
While these are very popular fish bite alarms among the ones available on Amazon, there are some potential cons. The lights are just for viewing – they don’t give any indication of when a bite happens and once the lights turn on, they’re on until the juice runs out of button batteries. These are inexpensive and easy to replace so you can keep using the same ones as long as you have a few more button batteries to replace out any that are burned out.
The one other complaint: some anglers have argued that their clips just weren’t that good and while the lights were exceptional, they had to rig up their own clips to make them more reliable. Not everyone had this experience but it came up enough that we need to be able to mention it for you to make a knowledgeable buying decision.
Lixada offers a high end wireless fishing bite alarm that allows you to set up four rods that all feed into one receiver so you can know when and where the bite is and run over to take care of landing dinner. This is a high end kit that is for the anglers that understand how technology can be used to improve the outdoor experience – and this definitely goes a few steps beyond the simple clip and bell setup.
While marketed as a carp fishing alarm, this kit works for any situation where you need to set up rods, be alerted when something’s going on, but allowed to shift your attention elsewhere whether reading a book, setting up camp, or enjoying some beers with the friends.
The transmission range of these alarms is up to 120 meters (approximately 360 feet) and the illuminated swinger lights make it easy to spot the rod that is getting the action and make your way down to them. The lights can come in four different colors depending on preference and what you find easiest to see. The colors are blue, green, red, or yellow – so you can make them really stick out.
While most anglers are incredibly happy with this fish alarm, and see it as the next level when it comes to finding an ideal fish bite alarm, and it’s consistently performed at a high level often enough to make our list of the top performing fish alarms. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see this one keep moving up in the future.
A solid fishing alarm that can be sold solo or in groupings of three and five, these are audio and visual alarms that are designed to get your attention when that fish strikes the bait.
While they might look a touch bulky at first, these are extremely light weight, doesn’t hurt the fishing line at all, and can be used with multiple types of fishing line without issue.
The batteries are long lasting and the alert light is a bright LED blue, making it easy to spot even after nightfall. Many anglers have used this particular alarm and raved about its effectiveness and easy of use, not to mention that the batteries these devices use are good to last for up to two years.
While there are many good reviews of these fish alarms, it is worth noting that there are a couple recent reports that indicate these are a bit too sensitive and in very blustery areas can sometimes be set off by the wind. This is definitely something to keep an eye on as that would be a serious defect, especially if you fish in windy areas or run into a particularly windy day.
Booms Electronic alarms are a siren and buzzer setup of a fish bite alarm that will get plenty of attention once the fish takes the bait. The alarm waits for that clear shift in tension in the line, letting it know it is time to make noise. There is a black volume knob that allows you to adjust the siren as needed for proper alertness without being too noisy or loud for anyone else who might be around.
These alarms have a bit of a reputation for being sensitive, which is good most of the time but can be an issue with strong currents or very strong swirling winds. This is the biggest knock against this particular brand, although the majority of reviews have been quite positive overall.
Made from ABS plastic and powered by three alkaline batteries (LR 44 cell batteries), and the rubber clip secures the buzzer to the fishing line without doing any damage.
These are pretty widely used and while having an overall very positive rating from many happy anglers, it is worth noting the negative instances to get a balanced understanding of the potential pros and cons of this specific unit.
This electronic fish bite alarm is designed to be easy to clip on to the line, effective in informing you whenever a hit occurs, and the combination of a strong but simple design makes this model particularly effective. The fishing line won’t be damaged, and once it goes off you will be able to unclip it and begin reeling the fish in!
While this bite alarm has been talked about most from avid carpers, the truth is that they are a good match for anyone who needs a good alarm while setting up multiple lines and needs more than a small bell to let them know it is time to spring into action. The siren creates a loud chirping that is impossible to ignore.
Each one is powered by three small button batteries (LR44/AG13), and while the pack comes with 10 replacement batteries as a bonus backup, early reports from experienced anglers have been strongly positive. These alarms work well, give off very few false positives, and the battery life seems surprisingly long, making those bonus batteries an even better overall deal.
What to Look for in a Fishing Alarm
There are many different types of fishing alarms out there and you definitely want to do your homework to make sure you get one that meets your specific needs. While many of us grew up with bells hooked to the line, it isn’t hard to figure out the obvious issues that come with this type of setup. Lots of swirling wind and you’ll be hearing it ring all day. There’s also trying to spot your rod at night if you had to set up by shore and take a bit longer to get back than you would have expected.
Many of us enjoy a slightly more modern fishing bite alarm, one with some LED blinking lights that can cut through the darkness. This is doubly helpful when there are clouds at night or no moon, or you set rods on a river bank among the trees.
Not a lot of natural light in that particular situation.
Think about what is most important to you in a fish bite alarm, ask other anglers you trust what they use and make an informed decision based on your research and budget.
For further guidance you can re-read our reviews from earlier in this article or read on to the FAQ lesson to learn more!
Fishing Alarms FAQ
Q: Just what is a fishing bite alarm?
A: An alarm attached to the line after the bobber and bait has been cast (or in some cases just the bait), so when a fish bites the hook the alarm goes off, letting the angler know it is time to grab the rod and set the hook.
Q: Aren’t these just for carp or catfish?
A: While fish bite alarms are most well known for carp fishing because of the way bait is set, the line is cast, and then left for long periods of time until a bite takes place, fish alarms are good for any set it and wait for a hit type setup. While catfish and carp tend to the most common species for this style of fishing, it works for any “set it and forget it” style of angling.
Q: Where are the (company name here) bite alarms on this list?
A: If you’ve used another brand and been happy with them, fantastic! There are often dozens upon dozens of really good or solid companies out there producing great outdoor products and I’ve certainly had the experience where something worked great for me…then found out I was the anomaly. However, many times when not on a list there are enough negative reports in comparison to others in the niche that we don’t feel right endorsing it.
Then again sometimes we simply don’t know about a new product or we just miss one – this does happen. If you have one you’ve used successfully for years, don’t feel like you have to change. Always use what has worked for you!
Q: Which is better: an LED electronic fish bite alarm or a traditional bell and bulb?
A: This is completely a preference thing, but there’s a reason the clear trend is moving towards electronic alarms.
Q: What happens when the battery wears out on electronic fish alarms?
A: All of the ones on this list are designed to be opened so the batteries can be replaced, extending the practical life of these important little pieces of fishing gear.
Q: Where’s the best place to buy this?
A: If you have a trustworthy local outdoor store, especially one with plenty of top notch options, that’s great and we’re always about supporting small businesses, but often your best option is going to be to buy through Amazon.
Some Final Thoughts…
There are plenty of choices out there when it comes to getting the right fishing alarm. They are generally an inexpensive piece of equipment and while more necessary for certain types of fishing than others, they are a nice bit equipment to have especially if you are looking to work several rods at once to maximize the area of space you’re fishing on. These are good for any season, any type of fish you’re going after with non-active fishing, and if you know any angler who loves carp fishing or setting lines for catfish, then these are doubly good.
These are some of the best fishing alarms currently available on the market and you will certainly be able to find one that suits you or the angler in your family from this list!
Beginner’s Guide to Fishing Alarms Video