Catfish –to strike or not to strike 1.The question

 
In the decade and more that me and my boys have been targeting and researching specimen catfish and its habitat,  it soon dawned on me that the biggest question from most serious catfishermen was .. “when should I strike.” When the indicator or alarm makes the slightest noise in other words “single beeps” to “short bursts of beeps”  or should I wait until the alarms makes a “continuous fast nonstop series of beeps” or “ machine gun sounds”..in other words when it is clear “the fish has hooked itself”? Of course if there’s no alarm the sound of the reel is the tool to gauge the bite.
Even when fishermen arrive on guided trips during fishing excursions and we have to assist them with this part of the fishing sequence it is always the most difficult part to explain as I believe every bite is unique and only experience of various factors should be considered at various locations habitats and periods. Most rely on us to tell them when to strike but we leave most serious fishermen to select their preferred method of terminal tackle and leave it up to them to decide when to strike. When they are not that successful I we will take over and show them our method- if they request us to. Of course some guys never learn and will not even do this on the last day of their trip. 
For this reason only I found that the beginner catfishermen or the fishermen that allows us to indicate to them when to strike are by far more successful with the amount and sizes of their catfish on our river trips. Without question the amount of crap that are fed to each other by organised or competition fishermen are something to laugh about. You get very intelligent people but as soon as they start talking fishing strategies they sound like sci-fi movie script writers. There are many reasons for this and I will write about this phenomenon separately.
What is generally agreed upon is that the catfish don’t really want to feel resistance on the line when it first takes the bait therefore the line needs to be given until a specific point and that is the point of debate. It seems that by far the majority of league anglers and competition anglers for catfish believe the catfish have to “really swallow” the bait before they strike. Upon asking them what the catfish is actually doing with the bait during the period when the alarm goes off they get a bit vague and seems to ignore the realities. This fishing normally takes place in dams where the obstacles are much less than in rivers so they get away with this practice..But what is the catfish doing while it is clearly busy with the bait when the rod tip is moving and line is being stripped off the reel before the angler strikes. ...very little anglers can tell you besides the ones that have physically filmed or observed this behaviour. I have!
The answers I got from fishermen so far include mostly the following;

 
1-“The catfish needs to swallow the bait properly first so I let him run with the line for a while”.This means the catfish has a swallowing problem. Or it is scared to swallow its food. To the contrary any one that has a little knowledge of the ferociousness of a catfish hunt or attack or eating habit swill know it is nonsense.
2-“They have to swim a distance and then really swallow the bait is another r answer”.  This means the catfish once again does not want to swallow food and swim with it before something makes it decide that it is now time to swallow. Now what that is, I DONT KNOW. Also nonsense as catfish is on top of the food chain and they know they have to swallow food as there are many hungry cats in the area. They have big mouths because they eat big food. Further the anglers that have heard catfish swallow small fish and prey on the surface will tell you that it is a sudden aggressive and noisy action.
3-“They first want to investigate the bait before swallowing it so they nibble on it”...Is another answer 
Etc.
What is your opinion on when to strike?