I dread to think how long I've had my set of three Fox Micron STR alarms. It must be eight years, if it's a day! I suppose, really, that I should be trying out all the modern alarms in order to be able to tell people what's the best out there on the market, but apart from a couple of single alarms that I've bought for other uses (and one of those is by Fox!), my STR's have been my carp fishing companions for years.
Why? Quite simple, really – they're good and they refuse to let me down!
My God, I've tried to break them. I really do not look after any of my tackle, so you'd think that these alarms would give up the ghost. After all, they contain sensitive parts and electronic circuit boards. However, they're just as good as the day I bought them and I can't see the need to replace them yet. Obviously, if Fox (or any other company, for that matter!), were to send me a new set of alarms, I'd use them and review them, but even then I don't think I'd sell my old STR's. We're like best mates now.
So, what made me buy them in the first place? Well, it would be fantastic if you'd sit there and believe me when I said that I started with a piece of blank paper and wrote down all the criteria of what I was looking for in a set of carp alarms. And I'd love to tell you about all the hours of research I did, flicking through magazine reviews and internet search engines before I made that final decision. But that would be a complete lie. I rang my mate, Spencer Howard of Hooked Tackle & Bait, and asked him what he'd buy at that exact moment. He's a carp angler, sees just about every piece of kit on the market and has no reason to sell me the wrong item. And his advice was spot on.
Having had these alarms for a number of years, I'm not totally up to speed with what's available these days. I've seen alarms with polyphonic ringtones and all manner of flashing lights, but I'll just tell you about the Fox Micron STR's from my perspective.
Even if I ripped my alarms apart, I probably wouldn't be able to tell you what all the parts do, so the fact that the Micron STR's use a four magnet roller wheel is something I found out via Google. From my own viewpoint, I can tell you that this has been more than sensitive enough for my needs, and these alarms have been used for both carp and pike fishing. As I understand it, these alarms were at the forefront of bite alarm technology when I bought them and I doubt whether they're lagging that far behind even today.
Batteries are the “available-in-any-shop 9v little rectangular ones”, which means that you don't have to shell out the equivalent of a couple of kilos of bait just to have back-ups. The on/off switch is a small metal affair and features two settings - low and high sensitivity. I bought some protective hardcases for my alarms, which not only protect them from damage, but also stop you switching the alarms on by mistake when they are in your luggage.
The two dials are for tone and volume. Again, these are quite simple and tough. They don't feel like they're going to break any day yet, which is more important to me than just about anything else in an alarm. You need confidence in all of your equipment when targeting big fish, and that's what you get with the Fox Micron STR's.
I've got three different LED's on my alarms – yellow, red and green. I believe that blue is also an option. I chose three different ones, as it means that I can tell which rod is receiving attention, even with blurry eyes. The LED's latch on for a few seconds after a bleep, which has obvious advantages.
I bought a remote receiver to go with my alarms, not because I want to pop down the pub and get told when there's a run, but simply because it means that I can have my alarms turned down as low as I like, yet still know when I get the tiniest of bleeps. The receiver works well, but is fairly basic, comprising of an on/off switch, volume knob and an LED light. It doesn't need to do much more, to be honest, but I do the like the idea of having one that has an LED for each alarm.
So, would I recommend them? You bet! It's fashionable on the internet to run the big names down, say that they're only in it for the cash and that you'd much rather used a traditional method such as balancing a penny on your line over a tin pot. But I don't subscribe to that. If a company makes a good product, then why shouldn't we say so? And the Fox Micron STR's are a very good product. If I can catch fish with them, whilst failing to break them with years of abuse, then they can't be bad! They may not be the cheapest of carp alarms, but break the cost down over the number of years of use that you'll get from them, and the Fox Micron STR's are exceptional value.
Elton Murphy, 2009
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Fox Micron Alarms For Sale