If you’re new to carp angling there can be some pieces of gear and terms that are quite unfamiliar. When I first started using bite alarms for carp fishing years ago, I was told I should use them in conjunction with bobbins.
This brought up many additional questions. What is a Bobbin? Why would I need a Bobbin? Are Bobbins Necessary or just another gimmick to get me to spend more of my hard-earned money?! Now that I’m more experienced on the subject of Bobbins and Bite Indication, I will answer all these questions and more below.
What is a Bobbin for Carp Fishing?
A carp fishing bobbin is an integral piece of gear for accurate bite indication. When combined with bite alarms they provide integral details to anglers about what is going on below the surface. The main purpose of the bobbin is to apply pressure and tension where the line passes over the bite alarm. This will increase the effectiveness of bite alarms and provide additional indication in case of a drop back or other small movements of the line.
Anatomy of a Carp Fishing Bobbin
Bobbins come in many different shapes and forms. There are many different brands and some are far superior to others. We will outline the parts of a carp fishing bobbin and their importance to help you best decide which set to buy.
The head of the bobbin is where it attaches to your fishing line. There are many different styles of heads or clips on carp fishing bobbins.
Sometimes it’s a personal preference in deciding the style of the head for your bobbins but in my experience, some are much more effective than others. You will note some have clips and others have small set screws to adjust how tight they hold onto the line. I myself prefer the simplicity of well-constructed clips.
The body of the bobbin is another integral part. You will note with cheaper bobbin sets the bodies are very light and don’t offer much of an advantage in increasing indication. The more expensive sets are heavier and more useful in many different conditions such as fishing in heavy wind or current.
Other parts of the body between bobbins that differ are colour, shape and features. Many anglers choose to match the colour of their bobbins with that of their alarms. Some more advanced bobbins also have isotope slots or LED lights for use at night and in low light conditions.
Many sets of bobbins have additional weights that are either inserted into the body of the bobbin or simply screw onto the bottom. The additional weight allows anglers to fine-tune the weight of the bobbin to certain conditions they’re faced with in order to maximize bite indication.
Sometimes high-end bobbins are just weighted perfectly and have no need for additional weights or fine-tune adjustments.
The more expensive sets of bobbins also have better chains and clips for attaching them to your bite alarms, rod pods and bank sticks. There’s nothing worse than setting up on the bank and realizing that the chain is broken because you opted for a cheaper set of bobbins. Been there, done that.
In the image below you can note the cheaper style chains to the left and the more expensive robust chain construction to the right. The Delkim bobbin on the far right is an electric connection for acting as both a chain and powering the lights on the body of the bobbin.
The connector is the part of the bobbin that attaches the chain to the bite alarm. In the event of a big take or run, the bobbin will fall off the line and hang on the chain that is connected to the base of your bite alarm. Once again there are many different styles of connectors on different sets of bobbins.
Some have quick-release connections that you can leave attached to your bite alarm at all times and simply clip the chain onto when you’re ready to fish. Some are made of metal and some are plastic, some also connect via the 2.5 mm output port on the bite alarm to provide battery power for illumination.
Why Should You Use Bobbins for Carp Fishing?
There are a few different reasons and benefits to using bobbins in tandem with bite alarms.
Increased Bite Indication
With the added pressure on the line that carp fishing bobbins provide, bite indication will be greatly increased. If you watch closely you will note the slightest movement in your line. Without bobbins, line bumps and slight pickups would go undetected. Knowing those fish are in the area can give an angler the added advantage of staying put instead of moving or recasting and possibly missing out on fish that are presently feeding.
Prevent False Indication
When fishing in certain conditions such as slight wind or current. If your line is slack and pulled back and forth it can result in false indications. It can be quite frustrating having your alarms continuously beep. If you apply bobbins to your setup in these situations, they will hold your line taught and prevent those slight frustrating false indications.
Drop Back Detection
Bite alarms are great if a fish picks up your rig, hooks itself and bolts off in the opposite direction. If a carp comes along and picks up your rig and swims back towards shore, there can be no indication whatsoever. This is another great reason to add bobbins to your setup. With bobbins, as soon as the fish comes towards you and your line goes slack, the bobbin will drop and immediately pull the line back across the alarm, notifying you immediately.
The Excitement Factor
One of my favourite sights as a carp angler is when the bobbin drops then seconds later slams up against the alarm as it screams off. That little drop back as the fish picks up your bait is a telltale sign that things are quickly about to get exciting!
When to Use Bobbins for Carp Fishing?
Bobbins can be used in many different situations and are almost always beneficial to the setup. They provide the most benefit when paired with bite alarms for carp fishing.
When Fishing at Distance
If you’re targeting areas farther away, bobbins will help detect minute movements in your line. The farther away you are, the more slack your line will be, this will greatly decrease indications from your bite alarm. Watching your bobbins will tell you much more about what is going on between your rod tip and the hook bait.
In Areas with Floating Weed
Come late summer and fall, large weed beds can become dislodged and begin to float across vast expanses of water. These weed beds can become entangled in your line and slowly move your entire rig and hook bait setup far from where you actually placed it. Most alarms come with sensitivity settings that prevent indication from very slight movement of your line. A bobbin will quickly pull up tight to the alarm and stay there to indicate when this is happening so you can adjust your tactics accordingly.
When Fishing on Rivers with Current
When fishing without bobbins on rivers where the current gently ebbs and flows, your line can quickly become slack and slight indications on your alarm can be affected. When bobbins are used in these situations they will hold pressure on the line and prevent it from constantly moving back and forth.
When Fishing Near Snags or Large Weed Beds
Bobbins are great for providing that all-important first indication that there is something going on at the end of your line. When fishing near snags or weed beds it can sometimes be too late by the time your alarm sounds. The vigilant angler will be rewarded with more fish when paying close attention to the movement of their bobbins and be ready to strike and guide hooked fish away from these hazards.
How to Use Bobbins for Carp Fishing?
Bobbins are fairly straightforward to set up. They attach to your rod pod or banstick setup just below your bite alarm. This will prevent them from falling in the mud or water in the event of a take. There are some tips to set up your bobbins for optimal indication which we will touch on quickly here.
Setting Your Bobbins for Optimal Indication
I see many newcomers to carp fishing adjust their setup so their bobbins are too high or too low. This will decrease the amount of indication they will give. If it’s too high it will decrease take indication, also if they’re set too low it will decrease drop back indication. You will want to set your bobbins so they hang about half to one-third of the way down your bite alarm. This will give them ample room to move both up and down.
Adjust the Bobbin Weight if Possible
Depending on the conditions you’re faced with it can be beneficial to use bobbins with adjustable weights. You can fine-tune the weight to prevent false indications from environmental variables such as heavy wind and current yet still be sensitive enough to detect dropbacks and liners. There are many different brands and styles of bobbins on the market, some of my favourites are bobbins that have additional weights that can be added to fine-tune their performance.
Use the Line Clip on Your Carp Fishing Rod
The line clip on your carp fishing rod is a great tool to get your bobbins set in the optimal spot. If the angle of your line from the butt ring to your reel is too steep, the bobbins will simply slide down the line towards the reel and become taught. If you simply pull your line up from your reel and set it in the line clip on your carp fishing rod, the line will travel from the line clip to the butt ring in a straight line. This will allow the bobbins to clip onto the line without sliding back and forth.
Adjust the Tension of the Bobbin Clips Properly
If your bobbins have a tension adjustment for the clips on the head where they attach and hang on your line, be sure to set it properly. You don’t want them too loose or they may fall off the line with the slightest of movement, but you also don’t want them so tight that it’s hard to unhook them in the event of a take. There is a fine point right in between that you should aim for.
As you can see there are many fine points to bite indication. All can be beneficial but are not always necessary. It will take time to learn the ins and outs as you test out different bobbins and decide which suit your angling style best.
Are Bobbins Necessary for Carp Fishing?
Although bobbins are not 100% necessary for carp fishing. You can see as outlined above that they are definitely beneficial. I fished for years without them and still had a lot of success on the bank. Now that I’ve used bobbins and can see their many benefits I find it hard to fish without them.
If you’re on the fence about whether they’re the right choice for your angling setup I strongly recommend trying a cheaper set, once you see the benefits for yourself I’m sure you will upgrade to better bobbins in no time.