The pike is one of the world’s most popular freshwater game fish and millions of anglers target this species using a great variety of 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 northern 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 medium-heavy action, solid reels, and a strong mainline are essential for pike fishing, as are heavy wire or fluorocarbon leaders and strong, reliable treble hooks.
The tackle market for pike fishing is a regular jungle and a lot of gear is pretty expensive. The point of this guide is not to suggest the most expensive stuff out there, but to recommend qualitative and affordable gear that will last you a long time and catch you plenty of fish.
Continue to read this article to get all my very best gear and tackle tips for pike fishing.
Best Pike Fishing Rods
Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Rod – 7′ MH
When using a baitcasting rod for pike, you should use a medium-heavy action rod that can cast out even heavier lures without any issues.
At the same time, using a light-weighted rod is very important, as you’ll be holding it all day and want to avoid fatiguing your arms.
One of my favorite pike baitcaster rods is the Piscifun Torrent. This is a 7′ super lightweight medium-heavy action rod that is extremely durable and sensitive.
Sensitivity is important for those days when the fish are extra finicky, which often is the case when fishing in cold water conditions. You wouldn’t believe how careful fall or winter pike can pick up your lure at times!
This rod is perfect for casting smaller lures of up to around 1.5-2.5 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 Piscifun Torrent is its many high-end features, such as high-density EVA grips or a tuned ergonomic graphite reel seat.
Awesome technology and quality at an unbeatable price. That’s Piscifun for you!
Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod – 7′ M-MH-H
If you prefer spinning gear for your pike fishing, I can highly recommend the Ugly Stik Elite. This is a beautiful and strong spinning rod for lures up to 1-1.5 ounces.
I recommend the 7′ medium-heavy action model, as it really is the perfect fit for medium to large pike.
It has an insane action and strength, lots of backbone, and is an absolute lightweight, which of course equals more sensitivity and feeling, giving you the perfect pike fishing experience.
This is a really solid pick when fishing with lighter lures such as spinnerbaits, spoons, or softbaits.
I was especially impressed by the Elite’s power and strength, which comes in handy when fishing for big pike near snags or heavy vegetation. You’ll be able to haul that big fish right out of there without any problem at all!
It also has a beautiful cork handle, which is something I personally appreciate in a rod. It just gives it a classy look, you know!
Best Pike Fishing Reels
Piscifun Alijoz 300 – Baitcaster
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 super modern, high-tech reel that equals one month’s rent. After all, everyone’s got one, right?
Well, much like with all other fishing gear, even super modern and technological baitcasters can come at a very decent price. They don’t have to cost a fortune!
The Piscifun Alijoz is a perfect example. I have become a huge fan of Piscifun gear, as they have managed to find a way to produce really high-quality rods and reels at insanely affordable prices.
If you’re looking for a solid budget baitcaster to target pike with, this would be it!
The Piscifun Alijoz has the following features:
- a moderate 5.9:1 gear ratio
- braid capacity: 40 lb/205 yd
- mono capacity: 15 lb/190 yd
- 8+1 ball bearings
- weight: 11.3 oz
- max drag: 33lb
- magnetic brake system
- super smooth and low noise running action
- built for big fish and big baits!
When retrieving those heavy swimbaits that pike love so much, 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 allrounder reel. Great quality for a great price!
Daiwa Crossfire LT 3000 – Spinning Reel
The Daiwa Crossfire is a really great spinning reel, which has an amazing level of quality and sells at a very decent price.
The little but fierce Daiwa Crossfire is a very popular spinning reel used by many anglers in both Europe and the US. While being fairly compact, it’s got a lot of power and strength to it and can handle any big old pike with no problem at all!
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.
Qualitative and durable 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 mostly 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 Fishing Line for Pike
Power Pro Spectra – Braid
Braid is your best pick when spin fishing for pike. It’s a much stronger and more durable fishing line than mono that allows you to take full control over a fighting pike on the spinning or baitcasting rod.
Another huge advantage of braid is that it is highly sensitive and virtually has no stretch to it. This gives you much more direct contact with your lure in the water and lets you feel and react to any content by a fish, no matter how careful it might be.
Having this extra sensitivity can make all the difference between hooking a fish and missing a bite, especially when they are finicky and don’t go for the lure wholeheartedly.
Finally, the great strength and abrasion resistance of braid allow you to fish heavy cover and snaggy areas without having to fear a line break.
A braided line I have full confidence in and have used for many years is the Power Pro Spectra. It’s a really advanced and high-tech braid of the modern age.
I recommend using a 30lb test for pike, as it will ensure that you are always on the safe side when fishing; it’s almost impossible to break such a pound test!
It’s also considerably thinner than mono, as a 30lb test braid equals the diameter of a 10lb mono line! So, what you get here is both ultimate strength and stealth!
Berkley Trilene Big Game – Mono
If you prefer a monofilament line when spin fishing for northern pike, the Berkley Trilene Big Game is a solid pick!
I also like to use mono when trolling or float fishing for pike with bigger live baits.
Mono stretches, which can of advantage when fishing with live, moving baitfish. Here is why:
- Bigger baitfish can be quite active, which means that there is always a risk of a live baitfish shaking off or pulling out the threble hooks and leaving your rig empty in the water. I find that the forgiving stretch of a mono 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 correctly.
My go-to mono line strength for pike is a 12-15lb test. I use a 13lb test for spin fishing lures and a 15lb test for fishing with live or dead baits.
Both are superb choices when it comes to strength and durability and they both offer enough stretch and flexibility to fight big pike very effectively, while at the same time being super strong for their lower diameters.
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.
Big, deep-diving cranks are great when casting or trolling for deepwater pike in deep lakes.
Swimbaits, on the other hand, are your perfect pick when fishing for pike in shallow water, both from shore or boat.
Best Crankbaits for Pike
Rapala’s Super Shad Rap is a superb crankbait to use when trolling in deeper 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 the pike’s prey makes it especially attractive, which is probably why it is so popular and effective.
Another excellent Rapala lure for trolling pike is the Deep Tail Dancer! It’s a beautiful 4 1/2 inch crankbait with great swimming action and an amazingly life-like design.
This crank can dive down to a depth of 50 to 60 feet, which makes it perfect for large and deep lakes.
I personally like the yellow perch design best, as yellow perch are the main type of forage for most pike. It just makes perfect sense to match the hatch and it has served me very well over the years!
I love trolling them at medium speed behind my boat. The feeling you get when a pike strikes and your baitcaster or 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
The BassDash Swimshad is an excellent swimbait for big predators like pike and musky. These lures have an amazing swimming action and come in high-viz, natural colors.
The BassDash is available in two sizes; 4.5 and 7 inches. The smaller variant is great for casting from shore, while the bigger one is perfect for casting or trolling from a boat.
No matter which one you prefer, expect some serious action from this swimbait!
Truscend’s jointed swimbaits are another favorite of mine for pike fishing, mainly because they look so much like real baitfish.
I fish a lot with live shiners and these immitations look just like the real thing! They also move super realistically, making this slow-sinking swimbait a top pick for pike in somewhat deeper water.
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.
RELATED ARTICLE: Check out this in-depth article for even more tips on the best wire leaders for pike
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 give you that feeling of utter reliance and trust, which is so important when you are about to hook that big pike!
I recommend using a size hook 2 or 4 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 Net for Pike
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 old northern pike, I recommend the StowMaster Tournament Series Landing Net. It has a total length of 116” and a large heavy-duty hoop of 36×38”. With a net depth of 48”, it is safe to say that any pike, no matter the size, will fit in this net!
RELATED ARTICLE: Make sure also to check out this in-depth review on the best pike landing nets out there!
Helpful Tools for Pike Fishing
Long Nose Pliers
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.