Friday, May 29, 2009

Don't Miss That Fish! - Make Your Own Fish Alarm

Picture this... its late August, the sun is out, your out on the river and the fishing is alittle slow... so... you put the time to good use and take a snooze. But wait - you don't want to miss a fish!

So you could keep a pinky on the fishing pole to wake you from your bliss...

Or, like this guy, you could use an even more sensitive detector - your BARE FOOT !!! Ha! Now that is fishing at its finest!

There are nice fishing alarms you can buy, too, but in today's tight economy, we can make our own!

I've got a pile of cheap, LOUD alarms for a dollar each. And they are LOUD! Great to toss into the kids rooms on a late Saturday morning to rouse the troops to battle!

One of these is our alarm for the fish strike detector - easy to pop the case, and solder to simple wires to the reed switch inside. Also, use the solder iron to open a small hole for the wires to exit.

There is a cool, flexible-but-strong fluid tubing called "locline" used for moving fluids in CNC machines, etc. that we will use for our movable sensor bar. Here, I've gorilla-glued some locline to the alarm, and have inserted a push-button in the other end that will detect the fishing rod movement. The locline is ~$8 per foot on ebay, and 3 pushbuttons cost $3 at Radio Shack.

Here is a simple prototype I rigged to test the system. Note that the wires exit the alarm, and I have a nut attaching the locline to the frame. A 3" spring steel clamp ($1.50 each from will attach the alarm to our fishing pole holder.

Here is the prototype being tested - note how easily (and firmly) the spring clamp holds the alarm to the rod holder. Works pretty good for a proto!

Here is a final design - a simple framing bracket ($0.20 at Ace) with a 3/8" hole drilled and nut to attach the locline to the bracket.

Now we've attached 2 different style spring clamps to the bracket. I'd recommend using vinyl-coated springs for longer life around salt-water.

Here is a 3rd design with the alarm itself attached to the frame. Note another style of spring clamp - this one is the best one (for our Fish-On and Scottie rod holders) and its vinyl-coated. Also note that we've glued a plastic bracket to the sensor button on the end of the locline - to give us better detection.

Here's the final design! We painted the alarm black for stealth-mode - the fish will never see it now!

Keep in mind what side of the rod holder you want the alarm on when you mount it to the frame. If you use a long enough locline, it won't matter.

Position the sensor button on the side of the rod the strike will pull the rod the most. One thing we found - the alarm batteries corrode in a month or 2 from the humidity on the river.

Other than that, our batteries lasted more than 6 months. You can buy a $50 or $60 unit, or you can make one of these for about $15, and its fun with the kids. Now... back to that nap...