Monday, 14 January 2008

The History of Billy's Backbiters

The first Drop Off alarm I made was back in 1985 as a final year Technology project at school. I’d just got into piking and needed an alarm and it was either a couple of month’s worth of paper-round money or a trip down to Radio Shack for a bag of bits. This original drop-off had a mercury tilt switch in a kinda egg case with a hair grip as the clip, the little solid state buzzer could hardly be heard if you we’re more than a few feet away but it did the job and after proudly showing off my creation to the lads up the local lakes it wasn’t long before I was knocking a few out for a bit of extra cash in my student days.

As the years went buy I would always knock a few up when asked to by the local Pikers and PAC lads. It would normally be a couple of years between making a few and so I’d always go back to the drawing board each time in my selection of components to use. About 10 years ago I settled on a design that has changed little, this finished design has been based on pike fishing week in week out of a true variety of waters, the reason it hasn’t changed is that this design has stood the test of time and as I walk the banks of the local rivers and lakes I will always invariably bump into someone who has had a set of drop offs and is still using them, many have bought fancy new ones since and binned them after a couple of seasons and returned to using the old faithful’s. It made me laugh the other week when chatting to an old piking mate he commented “You know them Drop-Offs I had of you in 98, well they ain’t ‘arf quiet now”..... “When did you last change the batteries” was my reply, “don’t think I ever have” was his “DOH”.

At the start of this piking season (2007/8) I had a request for a few drop-offs from mates and PAC Region 20 members and so got the bits in to knock up 10 units. 5 we’re spoken for and I thought I’d have a fancy new set myself and punt the others out on the Forum. Well the response was overwhelming and I was inundated with enquiries, especially as there was a whole host of threads on the forums about how un-suitable and un-reliable some of the mass manufactured drop off alarms were.

After having all these enquiries I thought long and hard about the time commitment required in making so many drop offs but decided to give it a go for a limited time to see the response. It seems that pikers out there have been crying out for a decent reliable drop off alarm and so now I find myself in the workshop most nights making my alarms. A twist to the story came when one night whilst going through parts catalogues I came across a crystal blue case exactly the same dimensions as the ones I was already using… “oooohhh” I thought, If I stuck a bright LED in them the whole case would light up and it would be one less hole for water to get in and so the Billy’s Bluenose Backbiter was born. Bits were purchased and the prototype signalled its first run a few days later. I haven’t looked back since. So now I’ve decided that so long as folk want them I’ll make them and give my fellow pikers what they’re after; a tough and reliable drop-off alarm that will see them through many seasons.

Friday, 4 January 2008

Happy Customers

I pride myself with my customer service and make every attempt to provide my customers with everything they want. As a result the feedback I get is always positie and makes all the effort worth while. My list of customers is a 'who's who' of piking with the likes of John Watson, Dave Horton and Jason Davis are using my alarms for all their piking. I guess I must be doing something right as the buisness is building from strength to strength.

You've read my stuff now see what my customers have to say.

(Mathew Gleeson a baby piker and future angling star using Billy's Backbiters)

Sat in a torrential hail & rain storm using livos, the bb's havent uttered a souns until I had an enquiry from a pike, front alarms would have been going off every 5 mins, in the words of Tina Turner "simply the best, better than all the rest" regards Mick.

Mick Gleeson County Durham

My review, I've always used front alarms with rear drop offs, the last couple of years front alarms with fox ps mk2 drop offs, probably a bit overkill. After reading reviews (not one negative) about Billys back biters I bought some and upon the advice of the man himself I discarded the front alarms.

First trip out with them gave me a low double to a livey, second trip gave me 3 jacks and a couple of dropped runs. The arms can be set so they'll allow a small amount of movement from a "lively livey" without getting those irritating beeps from front alarms, a slight adjustment will have the line out of the clip or show a drop back at the first movement and indicate the pick up of a dead. Highly recommended.

Bob Watson
(Gordie bloke

Hi steve, Thanks for your time making the alarms they are superb and I can see these becoming the best alarms in decades, the workmanship and thought you have put into them is second to none. Steve I cannot praise you enough and just want to thank you again and many SLACK lines.

Trevor Jickells Linconshire

The txt from Sam in Northern Ireland made me especially proud...

"Morning Steve! Love the alarms, awesome job, been waiting for something like these 4 a long long time, i've been through a multitude of alarms the past few years and have to say yhtat yours are head and shoulders above everything, ur a legend, cheers Sam."

And this the other day from Colin Allchin

"Having spent the summer chasing tench (which meant I caught a lot of bream) and with Sepember being so warm I've only just got around to sorting out my kit for the off on Thursday. I brought 3 BBB's plus 3 separate drop arm indicators last season and great bits of kit they are as well. I wanted a few of the orange covers to slip over the indicator heads so dropped Steve an email. He responded to my mail and posted them out 1st class mail and FOC the same day.

Now that's the way to run a business, top man.

I should also say that the wireless option on the BBB's is great. I use the ATTX V2 system and can switch between using it on my Delkims and BBB's depending on circumstances (sometimes I use the BB rear indicators and Delkims and others the BBB's so it means I can use the same remote system to cover both alarm types). It goes without saying I never leave my rods but sometimes you don't want the whole world knowing what going on.Top kit."

Dave Horton notches up his 20th THIRTY - Well done Dave
A big hearty congratulations to Dave Horton who has notched up his incredible 20th 30pounder. A truly magnificent achievement from one of Pikings true gents.

Dave recentley passed this incredible milestone which has capped an incredible season for the 'Pink Piking Pixie' from Harlow. Dave has been using Billy's Backbiters throughout this season

Bloody, well done Dave. Top bloke, top piking.

Andy Williams talks about his Billy's Backbiters
Having owned quite alot of drop off alarms (backbiters) i decided i would treat myself to two of steves alarms with the attx system. On arrival a quick inspection showed the alarms to be very well made on turning them on i was surprised at how loud the alarms were the volume control being a very good add on.

On first using the alarms i couldn't find anything to pick fault with the standard arm being great for close to medium distance and the new weighted arm fantastic for long range legering i must admit though i do like the gardner clip that steve has modified.

Just a note on the ATTX if you like to fish in secluded places and like to keep everything quiet this system is great ive been using it since the beginning of december and would find it hard now to do without so if your after a brilliant backbiter with a full remote system you know where to get it i think steve must have got hold of some of lumbys pixie dust as since owning them ive had some great days fishing.

Andy Williams (Nottingham)

"Steve - Big cheers for the Backbiters,used them throughout the 07/08 winter season and they've proved to be a valuable asset to my pike fishing approach.Very efficient, innovative, super loud and i've found the construction to be positively bombproof !

The blue version has proven to be a real boon when fishing wind stricken swims during those twilight hours. Many thanks for the 'modifications' first rate workmanship. First class back biters from the upper top draw........

Tight lines all and keep working for the clampdown !"

Simon Blaydes (Lincs Fen Ferret)

Probably all been said before however, I got mine today and gave them a test, they worked so thats a good start. Was surprised by how robust they are and how simple also to set up. Very well thought out and piker friendly. Why cant the big companys do something right instead of ripping us off with absolute SH*TE time and time again.

Steve bown in making these and marketing them for the same or less than 99% of the garbage on the shelves has proved one man can better a multi million pound company and embarrass them into the bargain. well done that man, a superb product that must surely put all others in the shade.................
Alex Cairnie (taken from the P&P forum)

I have just recently recieved 3 of your blue backbiters and i would like to take this opportunity to compliment you on them, i am very impressed.
Brian (Coventrey Zed Head)

After a long search for the Utopia Bite Alarm here are comments made on the PAC forum;

"Billy's Backbiters fit the bill.

They meet all my original requirements apart from sounding at the movement of the indicator. I've had a play with them and you can set them so the bait only has to be moved a small amount to sound the alarm, not like a mecury tilt switch for example which needs a greater amount of movement.

He's even started offering volume controls as an added extra to meet my requirements. Top man!The degree of sensitivity you can get from the line clip is unrivalled when compared with anything else I've seen and it will be suitable for both my Piking with lives and deads and my zandering too."
Mark Ross.

"At last, somebody has used his years of experience to produce exactly what Pike Anglers have been asking for - a backbiter that does the job! It's robust, it's functional, it's loud and it's BLUE! Well done Steve!"

Mike Kelly

The BBBB's are spot on. Got mine just before xmas and had them on the sticks for a full week - didn't bring em in overnight - left them on the sticks overnight out in all weather - not even a bit of condensation in them. Loud as you like - can't miss it nor the light. Superb bit of kit - you won't go wrong with these.
Paul Sheridan

"Once again, many thanks for those Steve, I’m very pleased with them."
Jason Davis

"I've received the backbiter off you, and it looks a great bit of kit."
Dave Reilly

Hi Steve, I just received my 2 backbiters and am very pleased with them."

Ian Rimmer

"Hi steve,they really do look the dogs whatsits."
Paul Mart

"first 3 arrived today safe and sound, look great"
Mike Crimp