Tried & Tested – TLB Alarms
(Gardner TLB Carp Bite Alarms).
Review By James Turner (Crafty Carper magazine, October 2010)
The TLB Alarms from Gardner are a good seller and ideal for any specimen carp angling situation. They are small, lightweight, strong, durable and reliable, as well as looking the part. To top all this off, they are hand-made in England! They are simple and easy to use, are good quality and have been designed to give that touch of individuality.
I took them on the bank to give them a proper Tried and Tested review, as well as testing out the incredible waterproof quality that Gardner boast about.
TLB Bite Alarms
I found the alarms to be very easy to use, and with the aid of some 2.5mm transmitters they quite simply tuned in to my ATTx receiver. The Gardner website states that these alarms are tough as old boots, and I’ve got to agree, as I managed to drop one of them; it got muddy, wet and bashed about in the car and yet it still gave out the lovely screaming tone when I had a run.
I chose to test the stainless steel version, and when they arrived I’ve got to say they certainly looked the part, and for the ultimate in tartiness I opted for the blue LEDs.
Now when it comes to stainless I can be a bit of a sucker, but the TLBs in the polished stainless steel finish really do look amazing – I know it’s only a small touch but it really sets them apart from the plainer-looking bite alarms on the market. The blue LEDs were also very bright and stood out at night, which is a massive plus for me.
Gardner Video - In the following video you get to learn a bit more about the TLB Bite Alarms and see and hear them for yourself.
They are only small in size and pack away nicely into a pull-cord protective pouch, which can be put over the alarm whilst still on the sticks or buzz bars. The size of the alarms is 65mm high x 46mm wide and they have a depth of just 36mm; now to me that’s pretty small and I was a little wary of breaking one, but they stood up to everything I had to throw at them.
The 2.5cm jack plug socket to the bottom left corner is perfect for any transmitters you wish to plug into them; rather than have the transmitters sitting directly below the alarm and maybe trailing in the mud, they are kicked out to one side.
To switch them on or off is very simple, just use the stainless flick switch to the right-hand side of the roller housing – they are that easy to use – this does the job perfectly and is in keeping with the stainless steel finish.
Whilst fishing I did encounter some rain, although it wasn’t as heavy as I wanted in order to give the alarms a workout in some horrible weather conditions. Due to this (and with the Gardner website video of the TLB working underwater in mind) I took it upon myself to accidentally drop one of the alarms into the lake. It took me about 5-6 seconds to retrieve it from the margin, and I then screwed it back into my bankstick and replaced the hanger, etc. I switched the alarm back on, ensuring my bobbin was set correctly, and gave the line a little tweak, and to my utter amazement (and relief) the alarm sounded just as perfectly as it did earlier in the day.
Gardner Video - In the following video you get to see the TLB Alarms in action, UNDERWATER.
The TLBs don’t have the capacity to adjust the tone, volume or sensitivity, but were perfect for what I wanted. The ATTx was used at night and removed in the day because the alarms were plenty loud enough for me to hear whilst sitting in the bivvy, without being too loud and disturbing other anglers on the lake. The tone of the alarms is pretty neutral and it gives quite a confident sounding beep, not shrill and weak, and definitely not over the top. With regard to sensitivity, although it wasn’t adjustable I didn’t have any worries about it missing timid takes because the setting is pretty universal.
I enjoyed using the Gardner TLB alarms and was pretty confident in them before I tested them, after hearing a few people’s opinions. After use I was more than 100% confident in using them, and what topped it off was the fact that they really looked the part on the bank, I’m not the biggest of tackle tarts but these bad boys really are an item of tackle you need to acquire if you want to make it in the tackle tart stakes.
As well as looking good, the usability was great, as they were effective and very easy to use. I have absolutely no negative points about the alarms, although I do usually prefer a bit more control over the volume and sensitivity. The volume issue can be easily solved by using some speaker plugs to ensure the alarms are quiet at night, so you will only be able to hear the receiver. With regard to the sensitivity though, they weren’t over sensitive in the way of getting indications from the wind, and they registered bites perfectly. All in all they are quality, and for the price you really can’t argue. They are well made and work just the way they should, without the addition of a large price tag.
Well done to all at Gardner for producing a quality piece of kit.