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Old 01-08-2017, 02:18 PM
Bayou Bayou is offline
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Ohio
Posts: 39
Default Pike rod and reel suggestions

Well, this year I finally talked the guys to spend more for a more quality outpost/lake and I'm looking for suggestions on a dedicated rod and reel setup instead of my what I've got now. I'm mainly a walleye guy, say 80% of the time because of the constant hammer handles and few 30's that I've caught and up to this point I have not been serious with the pike.

For the reel, I'm looking at the following:

Shimano Calcutta in either the 200, 201 or 400
Abu Garcia C4 in either 5600 or 6600

I believe the larger spool and higher gear ratio is what I should be looking at? All my walleye and bass reels are Shimano spinning reels as I've had the best luck with. I have a couple Abu Garcia C3's 6500's for shovel and blue cats and I really like them but was wanting other opinions. As for the rod, I'm assuming 7' to 7'6" MH and it will mostly be in a cabelas or bass pro higher end rod. The truly high end rods are expensive and this outfit will be for 2 trips a year. Would like your suggestions and opinions, thanks.

Last edited by Bayou; 01-08-2017 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 01-08-2017, 05:16 PM
Hawker's Avatar
Hawker Hawker is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Sapulpa, Oklahoma, USA.
Posts: 3,154

My "go-to", tried and true Pike rigs for the past 25 years have been 5500 C3 reels spooled with 65# Spiderwire Stealth on 7' MH Lightning Rods & Fenwick HMX Rods. I throw 1 oz rattle traps, spoons (1/2 oz - 1 oz), Musky Killer in-line spinners, jerk baits and swim baits, and of course quality leaders. Personally I don't see the need of a higher speed reel like the C4 based on the way I fish or the baits I fish with, but some folks like the higher speed reels. I fish LOTW at least one week each year and the area I fish provides plenty of mid 30" Pike with an occasional low to mid 40's. Have caught more than a few upper 40" ski on these rigs when fishing for Pike and have zero issues with how well the reels and rods handle them.
Don't know what rods your using with your existing C3's, but if they are not overly heavy rods or Heavy action rods, you may be good to go with what you already have with the exception of possibly changing out your line.
Steve "Hawker" King

In remembrance of those that gave the "Ultimate" Sacrifice!
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Old 01-08-2017, 06:45 PM
Baseline's Avatar
Baseline Baseline is online now
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Northern, MN
Posts: 1,541

I fish LOW and the English river and we always spend time hunting pike. I use my bass gear most of the time. I have a Curado bait caster paired with a Cabelas medium 7 foot one piece graphite bass rod. This rig will stand up to fish at least as big as 42 inches. I haven't had a bigger pike than that, but it has plenty of gas left in the tank for when I do. It is light enough that throwing it all day is no problem.

You could go to a musky set up. I have a Calcutta 400B paired with Cabelas 8 foot medium heavy Musky series graphite rod. I also use this rod for lake sturgeon fishing.
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Old 01-09-2017, 01:06 PM
MrSimon MrSimon is offline
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Glenmoore, PA
Posts: 652

If you've never targeted big pike before, I'd recommend just using your bass gear for the first trip. Maybe get a feel for how you like to fish for pike before dropping $500.

Heck, you might not even like pike fishing. And truth be told, you don't need expensive gear to catch pike in Canada.
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Old 01-09-2017, 01:21 PM
Bayou Bayou is offline
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Ohio
Posts: 39

We go on two trips a year and have used my heavier bass equipment in the years past but honestly I like to have specialized gear for what I'm targeting. This year I will be going to two lakes that hold a higher population of larger pike. So now is the time to get a quality outfit more suited to pike. I enjoy pike fishing or would if they were quality fish, not 20-30".
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Old 01-09-2017, 03:02 PM
SterlingArcher SterlingArcher is offline
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Coleraine, MN
Posts: 29

I'll echo the others...I'm primarily a bass guy, and I use the same gear for big pike when I go to Ontario that I use fishing heavy cover for bass here in Minnesota. A MH-power rod with a sturdy baitcasting reel works like a charm. Gear ratio isn't a huge concern unless you plan on throwing really big spinners or something that can wear you down without a lower gear ratio.

I cast and troll big spoons, Suicks, big cranks etc and have always found the gear to be sufficient.
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Old 01-09-2017, 06:15 PM
BornToFish BornToFish is online now
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Appleton, WI
Posts: 498
Default Northern Pike


I am primarily a walleye guy, but spend a fair amount of time chasing northern pike and muskies. I keep a battery of rods/reels in the boat with me at all times, as I never know what I might happen upon when out on the lake. I keep at least two bait casting rods in the boat for pike and muskies.

One of the baitcasting rods is a St. Croix heavy casting rod fitted with a 250 series reel that is filled with 50 lb braid. This set up works great for me when casting lures around one ounce in weight - e.g. Daredevle spoons or Mepps Musky Killer in-line spinnerbaits. This is my "go-to" rod and reel when casting for "smaller" pike over weeds or shallow rocks.

I also keep a St. Croix medium heavy musky rod in the boat that is fitted with a 300 series reel that is filled with 80 pound braid. This set up works great with heavier lures such as bigger spinnerbaits, topwaters, twitch baits and smaller crankbaits. This is one of my "go-to" rod and reel when casting for larger pike or muskies.

I often have a St. Croix heavy or x-heavy rod in the boat that is fitted with a similar reel as the medium heavy. This combinations works great for heavy rubber baits, larger crankbaits or jerk baits. I use this combination when targeting the biggest fish in the system. This is not a good situation for standard bait casting reels that a bass fisherman might use.

Your selection of rod and reel might be in part governed by the size of fish that you are targeting - it often is for me. But, your selection may also be governed by the size/weight of lure that you intend to throw. The size of fish being targeted and the size/weight of lure can be somewhat (but not always) correlated to one another.

Good fishing and tight lines!!
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Old 01-11-2017, 08:55 AM
yoopertrout yoopertrout is offline
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 583

I've caught a lot of my biggest pike on walleye gear. I've fished pike with musky gear, usually in lakes where both exist. I've had some luck, but I've found lots of times, pike don't seem to want food as big as muskies want. Seems like a number 5 mepps performs well a lot of the time. In real cold water, sometimes even smaller is better. A few years ago, I bought a cabela's salt striker rod and reel that was on sale. It's light saltwater gear (spinning reel.) It's heavier than walleye gear but lighter than musky gear. I works well for pike. I'd recommend something like that - a heavyish spinning set up. The only time you should need musky gear is if there are going to be lots of pike well over 40 inches, or if they really are going to want a big heavy bait.

Good luck. Have fun.
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Old 01-12-2017, 08:38 PM
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Further North Further North is offline
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: NW WI
Posts: 1,976

My name is Further North...and I'm a pike fisherman.

I'd rather catch a pike than a bass, a musky...or a walleye.

Why? I think a 40" plus pike is harder to find, harder to catch...and a better fight than a 40" plus musky. YMMV.

My pike gear is what I'd describe as heavy bass, or light musky.

The difference between a normal bass rig, a walleye rig and a pike/musky rig is really in the drag on the reel - you're gonna want enough to slow down a 15 lb. fish on a regular basis, and be able to turn a 20 lb. fish...and that drag's gotta be smooooooth. For the rod...you're going to want to be able to throw spoons and other lures that weigh over an ounce long distances...but still be able to set the hook if you get hit way, way out there...but still have enough sensitivity to pick up a fairly subtle hit out at the end of your cast.

My main rig is a 7' 9" Temple Forks Outfitters MH, fast action with a Shimano Calais DC on it. Reel has a 7.0:1 retrieve ratio, which seems to be the sweet spot for the lures I throw and the cadence I real at.

I run 50# or 65# braid to either a heavy fluorocarbon or tieable wire leader. Fot the fluorocarbon, go 40# at the lightest and 80# is not out of the question. Use real leader material, it's harder and will resist some of the abuse better than regular fluoro...and it'll kick mono's fanny. If you go to tieable wire, I recommend Tyger Leader in at least 30#. 50# is OK but probably overkill most of the time unless you're in musky water.

Don't skimp on the leader, check it often and don't be shy or cheap about tying on a new one. If you blow a 20# pike because your leader is worn or got nicked hard by the last fish you had on...you're gonna be angry at yourself...

For either of the above, Use an FG knot (look it up on YouTube) to tie the leader to the braid, then tie on a hefty clip or swivel/clip to the end of the leader. If you can't manage the FG knot (some folks can't stand tying it) go to a Albright knot or an Alberto. Check your line to leader knot very well before you start throwing...ask me how I know this...

If you are throwing spoons or in-line spinners...use the swivel. Trust me.

I do not believe in the "bigger lure gets a bigger fish" school of thought for either pike or musky, have caught plenty of both throwing 1 oz. spoons and 7" soft plastics while guys on the same boat caught fewer and smaller fish throwing lures that were a foot long and weighed 3 ounces...fishing in the right place and getting your presentation in the "spot within the spot" is much more important.

...if you want to really step things up, try an 8 wt. or 9 wt. Fly rod, and something that looks like these:
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I think I'm angle parked in a parallel parking world.

Last edited by Further North; 01-12-2017 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 01-13-2017, 02:57 AM
Mike Borger's Avatar
Mike Borger Mike Borger is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: The Great White North
Posts: 1,321

Lots of great posts in this thread. The only thing I'll add is, I love using heavier spinning gear for a lot of my pike fishing.

Now this may be personal preference, but in a freshwater configuration
A.It's impossible to find a rod with enough balls and
B.The handles are universally too small for my liking.

My absolute favorite pike spinning rod is a 7' med/hvy St. Croix Avid saltwater spinning rod rated for 10-20lb test. I love them so much I now have 4 of them. Paired with a 4000 Stradic CI4 this is a dream combo casting for pike!

There are plenty of other similar lightweight inshore saltwater spinning rods on the market, it might be something to check out.
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