The pike is one of the world’s most popular freshwater predators and millions of anglers target this game fish using various methods and techniques. This best pike fishing gear guide will help you pick the most appropriate equipment for each of the different fishing methods so that you are well prepared and geared up to catch those big pike.
No matter if you are spin fishing, float fishing, or bottom fishing for pike, this species demands strong gear that you can count on during a wild fight. Rods with a medium to heavy action, strong reels, and a thick enough mainline are essential for pike fishing, as are wire or thick fluorocarbon leaders and strong, reliable hooks.
The tackle market for pike fishing is a jungle and a lot of gear is rather expensive. The point of this guide is not to suggest the most expensive gear out there, but rather the most apt and long-lasting equipment that you can enjoy fishing with and that will not ruin your budget.
Continue to read this article to get all my very best tackle tips for pike fishing.
Best Pike Fishing Rods
Best Spinning Rod
Fenwick HMG Spinning Rod
When spin fishing for pike using lures, you should fish with a medium-heavy action spinning rod that can cast out even heavier lures without any issues.
At the same time, a light-weighted rod is very important, as you will want to feel any little tap on your lure; pike can be very careful and tricky hunters at times!
One of my favorite pike spinning rods is the Fenwick HMG. This is a 7′ super lightweight medium-heavy action rod that is extremely fun to fish pike with.
This rod is perfect for smaller lures of around 1-1,5 ounces. These can include spinnerbaits, inline spinners, smaller crankbaits, shads, and softbaits.
Its high sensitivity makes you feel even the slightest of lure movements and a hard pike attack will literally give you a thrilling shock sensation! At the same time, the rod’s strength enables you to take full control during the fight.
Another great plus of the Fenwick HMG is its high-quality Fuji rod guides with Alconite inserts, which minimizes line friction when doing long casts. It also has a really beautiful custom cork handle.
Ugly Stik Elite Spin Fishing Rod
A second spinning rod that I can recommend is the Ugly Stik Elite. This is a beautiful and strong spinning rod for heavier lures of up to 2-3 ounces.
I recommend the 7′ medium action model, as it really is the perfect fit for medium to large pike. It has a brilliant bend to it, lots of backbone, and with its 6.4oz, it’s an absolute lightweight, which of course equals more sensitivity and feeling when fishing with this rod.
This is a really good choice for bigger jerkbaits, swimbaits and softbaits. Despite the considerable weight of those lures, you will be able to make very long casts with this rod.
Finally, its medium power and fast action enables you to set the hook in no time at all, swiftly and safely. A really straight forward rod that is very reasonably priced.
When fishing for pike with a float or on the bottom, you will need a stronger rod with a medium to heavy action. This is partly due to the fact that you might cast out heavy baitfish (on the float) or heavy weights (on the bottom).
And while you could use a heavy spinning rod, I definitely recommend using longer carp rods or dead bait rods. One reason for those choices is that these rods have a heavier action and hence can cast out heavier weights.
Another reason for choosing such rods is that they are stiffer, which also helps when casting out heavy baitfish or weights, as well as leverages a better hooking effect when striking.
Finally, more robust rods like these can handle really huge pike without any problems, as it is more more likely for you to catch bigger fish when using live or dead bait.
Best Float and Bottom Rod
Daiwa Black Widow Deadbait
When it comes to rods for pike fishing with baitfish, the Daiwa Black Widow Deadbait Rod is the ultimate weapon when it comes to float fishing or ledgering for giant pike.
With its length of 11′ and a test curve of 3lb, it makes it super easy to chuck out heavy baitfish or 3-4oz weights, while simultaneously possessing a very light weight. So, it’s an amazing feeling you get when fighting a big and angry fish on this rod!
Best Pike Fishing Reels
Shimano SLX Baitcaster Reel
There are hundreds of baitcaster reels out there and many are really expensive. If you are going for a baitcaster reel, make sure it is a quality one that does not ruin your budget.
It is very easy to go for a hyper-modern reel that equals one month’s rent. After all, everyone’s got one, right? Well, much like with all fishing gear, even super modern and technological baitcasters can come at a very decent price. They don’t have to cost a fortune!
One such example is the Shimano SLX Baitcast Reel. I am a huge fan of Shimano reels and have yet to find a budget variant that is not of a very high quality and durability! It is safe to say that Shimano produces grant reels for a very good price.
The Shimano SLX has the following features:
- a moderate 6.3:1 gear ratio
- a line capacity (braid) of pound/yds: 30/135
- a long handle for a smooth lure retrieval
- technology that uses centrifugal force for better casting control, greatly reducing the risk of backlashing
- 3+1 ball bearings
- a sturdy drag of up to 12lb (really tough!)
- highly balanced winding
- extraordinary cranking power
When fast-retrieving those topwater swimbaits, jerkbaits or large crankbaits, this reel will do the job nice and tight, every time!
It’s also a great reel for anglers who are not that familiar with baitcasters, making it the ultimate all-round choice. Great Shimano quality for a great price!
Traditionally, anglers have always been spin fishing for pike using spinning reels. They are easy to use, let you have great control during the fight and have a great feel to them.
I love fishing with spinning reels when using smaller lures such as softbaits, spinnerbaits, small crankbaits and inline spinners for pike or perch.
Best Spinning Reel
Daiwa Ninja 4000A
One of my all-time favorite reels is the Daiwa Ninja 4000A. This is a solid and very smooth reel for spin fishing with medium-sized lures.
This real has the following main features:
- 4 ball bearings
- a smooth line roller to prevent line twists
- a soft touch handle for precise and instand retrieving and hook setting action
- line capacity mm/m: 0.28/220
- a long life bail spring
- a spare aluminum spool
To be honest, I think it’s hard to find a reel of a better quality for this price. It really is a great reel that will last you many years and land you many fish, if you take good care of it.
Daiwa Crossfire LT Spinning Reel
I also want to recommend a really great budget spinning reel, which has an amazing level of quality for a really decent price.
The little but fierce Daiwa Crossfire is a very popular spinning reel used by many anglers in both Europe and the US. Here are its main features:
- a gear ratio of 5.3:1
- a line capacity of pound/yds: 12/160
- 1+1 ball bearings
- a weight of 8 ounces
- an aluminum spool that resists distorting
- an advanced tournament front drag system
Especially for beginners, this reel is a great choice. You really don’t need to buy fancy gear for several hundred dollars in order to start fishing and be able to fight and land fish effectively from the very beginning.
Top budget gear like the one that is described in this article will do a very fine job without impacting your budget too much.
After all, it’s really all about your skills, and a little luck, when it comes to fishing. Gear-wise, most equipment will catch you fish if there is some basic quality to it and if you are using it correctly. Never forget that!
Best Baitrunner Reel
When float fishing or bottom fishing for pike using bigger baitfish and heavier weights, I always prefer a baitrunner reel! Their durability and strength just can’t be equaled by other types of reels.
Having a strong reel that can handle heavy retrieving, even against the current in moving water, over a long period of time is crucial when fishing with dead or live bait for pike.
Baitrunner reels can do exactly that. They are tough gear that do not need any special bonus features. They simply do the heavy lifting, while at the same time still being able to bring the fish in smoothly and steadily.
Another great advantage of baitrunners is their two-drag system, allowing you to freespool with the bail closed. This system lets the pike run free and take as much line as it needs to, without feeling any resistance from the reel.
When you are ready to strike and set the hook, you simply start to wind, which will disable the freespool system. That is why baitrunners are the number one choice when it comes to dead and live bait fishing. It’s the perfect system!
Insider tip: Baitrunner reels are perfect for slow-trolling with live baitfish as well!
Once again, I am going to recommend a Shimano reel. I have fished with Shimano reels for many years and never once have I had an issue with them! It’s a brand that has landed me many big pike and I am very fond of it.
Shimano Baitrunner DL 6000
The Shimano Baitrunner DL 6000 has the perfect size for fishing with medium-sized baitfish and weights up to 3 ounces. It offers the following essential features:
- a gear ratio of 4.6:1
- a line capacity of pound/yds: 10-300 / 12-265 / 14-210 / 20-120
- 3 heavy-duty stainless steel ball bearings
- and a weight of 21 ounces
As you can see, this reel is heavy artillery. But this also means that it manages to bring in any size of pike, no matter how wild they are!
Best Fishing Line for Pike
Braided line is your absolutely best choice when spin fishing for pike. Not only is it much thinner than monofilament, but it is also a much stronger fishing line that allows you to take full control over a fighting pike on the spinning rod.
A third huge advantage of braid is that it is highly sensitive and virtually has no stretch to it at all. This gives you much more direct contact with your lure in the water and lets you feel any little tug or strike by a pike. This can decide whether or not you hook the fish, especially when they are rather picky and don’t really go for the lure wholeheartedly.
Finally, the great strength and abrasion resistance of the braided line allows you to fish heavy cover and snaggy areas without having to fear a line break.
A braided line I have full confidence in is the Power Pro Spectra. It’s a really advanced and high-tech braid of the modern age. It actually feels like mono, but has super strength and smoothness.
I recommend using a 30lb test for pike, as this strength will ensure that you are always on the safe side when fishing; it’s virtually almost impossible to break this line! And when compared to mono, the equivalent of 30lb braid would be a 10lb monofilament. So you can imagine how thin and smooth the Power Pro Spectra really is.
When float or bottom fishing (ledgering) for pike using baitfish, I recommend a monofilament line.
Mono stretches, which can be a disadvantage when fishing for pike with lures. But when fishing with live or dead bait, it’s actually a plus that your line stretches somewhat. Here is why:
- Bigger baitfish can be quite active when rigged to your line, which means that there is always the risk of a live baitfish shaking off or pulling out the hooks and leaving your rig empty in the water. I find that the forgiving stretch of the monofilament line prevents this very nicely from happening.
- When a pike has taken your bait and swims off with it, it can sometimes happen that you miss a strike and create some slackline in the process. The natural stretch of the mono hides this error effectively and can often give you a second chance at striking and hooking the pike right.
My go-to monofilament lines for pike fishing are the 15lb Berkley Big Game and the 14lb Berkley Trilene XL Smooth Casting. Both are superb lines when it comes to strength and durability and offers enough stretch and flexibility to fight big pike very effectively, while at the same time being super strong for their lower diameters.
If you are interested in buying the Berkley Trilene XL Smooth Casting, you can find it for a very good price on Amazon here
Best Lures for Pike Fishing
There is a wide variety of pike lures available and most of them will catch you fish. The most commonly used lure types for pike include:
- inline spinners
My personal favorites when it comes to pike lures are definitely crankbaits and swimbaits, as I can fish at greater depths using crankbaits and topwater using swimbaits.
Best Crankbaits for Pike
The Bass Pro Shops XPS Deep Static Shad Crankbait is a superb lure to use when trolling in deep water. It moves like a baitfish, looks like a baitfish, and has the perfect size for big pike.
I think its close visual resemblance to shiners makes it especially attractive to pike, which is probably why it is so popular and efficient.
You can find the Deep Static Shad Crankbait at Bass Pro Shops (US): here
Rapala is known for making the best crankbaits and their Deep Tail Dancer is no exception to that rule! It’s a beautiful 22g deep-going crankbait with great swimming action and life-like design.
I personally like the Purpledescent model, as this bait looks exactly like the pike’s prey fish in many venues. I love trolling them at medium speed behind my boat. The feeling you get when a pike strikes and your baitrunner reel starts to scream is hard to describe. You simply have to try it out for yourself, it’s great fishing!
Best Swimbaits for Pike
Westin has made quite the name for itself over the last couple of years. Westin lures are extremely efficient and advanced and catch a ton of predators all over the continent.
The Westin Ricky the Roach is a good example of a fine pike swimbait. It has an authentic roach look and movement, thanks to its hand-painted colors, life-like fins, and flexible joints.
Fishing with perch swimbaits is a secret that not many anglers know about. Northern pike love yellow perch and fishing with lures that look like them will catch you a lot of pike!
The Savage Gear 4D Line-Thru Yellow Perch is a swimbait that has a really realistic perch look to it, thanks to its 4D design and colors, joint movements, and S-curve swimming action. A special feature of this Savage Gear lure is its DNA-powered scent; it literally smells like a yellow perch as well!
Get even more inspiration about pike lures and check out this article I wrote: 7 Best And Most Authentic Roach Fishing Lures
Best Pike Leaders
When it comes to pike leaders, I prefer using thick fluorocarbon leaders for spin fishing with larger lures and faster trolling with crankbaits, as it is very unlikely that the like will devour the entire lure. I am a big fan of really strong fluorocarbon leaders, which is why I recommend 50-60lb leaders. It’s just not worth taking the risk using thinner fluoro leaders.
For smaller lures, I always use wire leaders. Smaller lures are easily inhaled by the pike’s enormous mouth, and so bite offs are much more likely when the pike has the entire lure or bait in its mouth or down its throat.
Similarly, when it comes to baitfish, a pike often has the time to turn and swallow a prey fish before you set the strike. And so, when fishing with dead or live bait on the float/bobber or bottom, wire leaders are the way to go!
I prefer multi-strand steel, or titanium wires of a 20-30lb test for my pike fishing.
Best Pike Hooks
When fishing with dead or live baitfish, or with large you have to make sure to use strong treble hooks, as pike have very tough and bony lips and jaws. Couple this with their violent head shakes and you understand why so many pike are lost due to broken, fallen, or shaken off hooks.
Super sharp and super strong trebles will reduce the risk of losing fish immensely and gives you that feeling of utter reliance and trust, which is so important when you are about to hook that big pike!
I recommend using treble hook sizes of 2/0 and 3/0 for pike. This may sound a little too big, but larger hooks will most certainly land you more fish, as a pike’s mouth is really big and wide. A larger hook will find its way into the fish much faster and easier than a smaller one would.
The Gamakatsu G-Finesse are amazingly sharp and resistant trebles that will hook each and every pike perfectly.
Best Landing Nets for Pike
Anglers in the UK and Europe usually prefer carp landing nets for big pike. My go-to net is the NGT 42? Landing Net. I use this net myself for big river pike and, of course, when carp fishing.
This net has a soft-mesh net material, which is essential for fish care. It also comes with an ultra-strong handle, making it easier to net and land big pike.
Additionally, this landing net has a stink bag, which can be a life-saver when driving home with a wet and slimy pike net. Trust me, I have been there!
For bigger pike that you cannot land with your hands, it is a good idea to bring a large landing net with you to the bank. Big pike can explode when coming close to the shore and you do not want a 20lb+ fish to keep swimming away from you.
With a wide and deep net, you can safely land those big fish and take it from there. No charging off into the depth again, and you can keep the pike in the water for as long as you need to.
Such big nets also allow you to keep the fish in the water until you release it again if you manage to unhook the fish rather easily. This certainly benefits the fish, especially during the hotter summer months.
For those big American Northerners, I recommend the Frabill Power Stow Knotless Net. It has a smoothly sliding 48-66” handle and a large heavy-duty hoop of 40×48”. If you are choosing a net depth of 48”, it is safe to say that any pike, no matter its size, will fit in this net!
Helpful Tools for Pike Fishing
An unhooking mat is always recommended when fishing for bigger fish species. It makes handling them on the bank so much easier and protects their sensitive skin.
For big pike, a rather large mat is a good investment, which also helps you to easily measure your catch on the ground.
I can strongly recommend the NGT Lightweight Landing Mat. It’s a really large mat (110cm x 60cm) packed with foam on all sides for a 100% secure handling of even the biggest of pike.
Longnose pliers are a great tool for unhooking pike without having to put your hands into the pike’s teeth-filled mouth. Every fisherman should have pliers with him when fishing for pike!
Finally, wearing armor gloves is another, highly effective way of not getting injured by those razor-sharp pike teeth. They can also keep your hands clean when handling a fish, as pike are extremely slimy creatures.
Additionally, they make a firm grip and a quick and smooth release of your big trophy pike possible.
I have a pair of high-quality stainless steel work gloves that are cut, and hence also pike teeth resistant. These comfy gloves are a simple and effective way to protect your hands and handle the fish safely. They also come at a very affordable price.
Related Pike Fishing Articles
- Best Pike Fishing Line (For All Methods)
- Best Fluorocarbon Leader