A New Take on Indication

SO was it swim choice, a rig problem or were the carp simply not there? Every time you wake up fishless or pack away without catching you should have more than an idea, and it’s the job of your indication system to tell you.

If you’re floater fishing you know if the carp are in front of you and eating the free offerings because you see them. You know if they are taking the hookbait on, or spooking at the last minute because you can see what they are doing. The same applies in clear water in the edge, you know when carp are there, and a practised eye will also know when the hookbait is picked up even if it doesn’t produce a carp on the bank.

Even in coloured water if you’re fishing close in you can watch the line in front of the rod tip and you are never in any doubt when a few big fat carp are over your feed, the line is up and down, pulling tight and dropping slack. A rattle on the tip or a sharp jagged pull tells you that the rig has been picked up even if you can’t see it. A rig right under your rod tip means your indication is very responsive, even just from watching the line.

This sort of understanding of what is going on in a swim is the basis of indication, your indication system needs to be telling you about what’s happening or sometimes not happening – and that includes when the rigs are 70 yards out over a spodded area or behind a weedbed 30 yards away, not just when you can see the hookbait or the carp are only a few feet out. Good indication puts you in a position of knowledge rather than a position where you are guessing.

"Have you been cleaned out or are you at the wrong end of the lake?"


So you wake up and your alarms have said nothing all night. Have you been cleaned out or are you just at the wrong end of the lake because you read the conditions badly? You have to guess if your alarms and bobbins haven’t offered you any help. If you had effective indication you might have registered a couple of liners or a rattle at the bobbin that would clearly tell you carp were about and you need to do something a bit better to catch them out. If they were there and taking the baited area on with no resulting carp in the cradle then you need to look at rig length, hookbait choice or presentation, lead size – any number of things that can make an instant difference.

But at least you would know more clearly what the problem was. Otherwise it’s a toss of a coin job pack up or stay where you are, when the reality is you were within a whisker of sticking one or more in the net. But your alarms didn’t do a good enough job to register that and tell you the really important information. Not knowing means you are nowhere.

"Every single odd bleep or pull that can’t be explained is generally dismissed as a line bite..."


If you are always in the habit of dismissing odd bleeps as liners you’ve become conditioned to indication that isn’t actually indicating anything useful at all and you need to think it out again. Every single odd bleep or pull that can’t be explained is generally dismissed as a line bite, everywhere and all the time. Not registering or not being able to interpret indications that have much more significance is the major piece of feedback that helps you progress from blanking to catching or catching a few to catching more.

Even if it’s news you didn’t want, like you had carp going bonkers all night and still didn’t catch, at least you know you’ve got a problem and are only a few tweaks or small steps away from fish on the bank. Indication is about knowing not guessing.

"we’ve learned not to trust or take any notice of what our alarms say"


Kevin’s motivation for developing the Siren alarm family was his belief that we had completely lost effective indication, and I agree with him. Vibration sensing and traditional roller wheel sensing both have drawbacks and what you can’t escape is that all of us have arrived at not believing our alarms until something pretty significant happens – like a spool spins or a bobbin drops back to the floor or pulls up to the clip. Anything less exciting or positive and we all call it a liner… so that tells us our indication systems aren’t indicating what we need them to. When we actually most need them to tell us something constructive – when we aren’t getting full blown takes – we’ve learned not to trust or take any notice of what our alarms say.

The benefit of good indication is something I have been acutely aware of for a long time, and because I tend to fish day sessions (and short ones at that) I need to know whether I am on fish and whether I am getting a response out of them. If I get the slightest encouragement from my indication system then it gives me something to work with, a foot in the door if you like. The common pictured was caught late winter after a very slow line bite on one rod that encouraged me to drop a rod 20 yards shorter, 15 minutes after recasting it was away - indication gives feedback that you respond to.

"I know when I am being picked up because of my indication system."


Am I on fish – have the alarms and bobbins said anything encouraging about being in this swim? Have I been picked up? If so I’m halfway there, and something is prepared to have a go, I might be thereabouts with one of the rods, the bait or presentation might need changing to actually hook a carp but at least we’ve got some feedback to work with. I am absolutely confident that I know when I am being picked up because of my indication system.

A lot of that is down to the R3, because the sensing system really does offer more advanced indication than has been available before. I’ve spent my share of time sat behind a set and spent a long time talking to people on the Nash stand at shows about them. What makes the R3 genuinely different is that it responds to a change in line movement rather than just line movement itself.

If something significant happens that is fish related in your swim the way the line moves over the roller changes. So the picking up of tension in the line from a line bite – a change in the nature of line movement. A rattle at the rod tip from a near miss and a carp shaking your hook out – again a change in the way the line moves. Because the R3 responds to change in speed of movement not just a predetermined amount of movement, it means it is always at maximum sensitivity, any significant change triggers it. The beauty of it is that the R3 therefore won’t get over excited by the rhythmic movement of wave action when the wind picks up in the early hours, or that irritating repeated bounce on the bobbin from weed that keeps making you get out your sleeping bag.

"indications like a carp shaking the hook out can easily be missed because they don’t move the line enough"


Where the R3’s intelligent microchip sensing system really comes into its own is when conditions deteriorate. On a flat calm mill pond any alarm will tell you something when the line has an unexplained pull. But when the wind picks up and you’re on the end of it, old fashioned roller wheel systems have to be adjusted backwards to reduce their sensitivity so they aren’t constantly sounding. Which also means significant indications like a carp shaking the hook out can easily be missed because they don’t move the line enough to sound the alarm at reduced sensitivity. So again we’re fishing for spool spinners not collecting useful information.

The R3 doesn’t suffer the same problem because it is responding to the change in the nature of the line movement, not dependant on the line travelling a pre-determined distance. The fact that people successfully use R3s on flowing water tells you all you need to know about how well they filter out meaningless indication interference. But you get a rattle at the rod top and they won’t miss it. I’ve watched my rods in conditions where the wind and undertow have picked up and within a period of time my bobbins have steadily been pulled up tight to the blank but the R3s have chosen to say nothing rather than sound with pointless bleeps that mean nothing, yet when a bobbin jumps from a carp enquiry they tell you in an instant. Intelligent Sensing is the only way to describe it.

Indication is a big subject, and it’s not just about one product. Reducing angles between the line and the rod tip, using running rigs, taking advantage of the two stage grip clip of the Optics heads to prevent any chance of line sliding through a bobbin clip rather than moving it – there are lots of elements to effective indication.

"Indication gives the feedback you need to make informed choices"


Buying a set of R3s also won’t make you a better carp angler overnight, what they will undoubtedly do is make you a more informed carp angler, so you have an indication system that does exactly what it should do – indicate. It’s then up to you to act on the information you are being offered. Indication gives the feedback you need to make informed choices, and you’d be surprised how much of a difference it makes when you are sat behind a set of alarms aware that when they sound, it means something is going on you need to know about.