Best Baitcasting Reels for Pike: Baitcasting for Pike can be tricky without the right reel. You need a baitcaster with exceptional drag power and plenty of line capacity to handle big fish. So, we have hands-on tested some of the top reels on the market to find you the Best Baitcasting Reel for Pike.
If you are in a hurry: Shimano SLX is the Best Baitcasting Reel for Pike.
- The Shimano SLX is an incredibly sleek looking baitcaster...
- This reel is 22% more compact than the Caenan Baitcaster but...
- Packed into Shimano's signature HAGANE metal reel body; this...
Last update on 2023-09-23 / Paid links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Here is our list of the top 10 baitcasters for Pike…
Our Top 10 Picks
- Shimano SLX Baitcasting Reel
- Daiwa Tatula Elite Baitcasting Reel
- Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C4 Round Reel
- Okuma Komodo SS Low Profile Baitcaster
- Shimano Tranx 400 Baitcasting Reel
- Abu Garcia Revo SX Fishing Reel
- KastKing Royale Legend II GT
- Piscifun Phantom Baitcasting Reel
- KastKing Spartacus II Fishing Reel
- Abu Garcia Pro Max Baitcasting Reel
The 10 Best Baitcasting Reels for Pike Fishing
Now, let us move to our in-depth reviews.
1. Shimano SLX Baitcasting Reel
Shimano SLX is one of the best baitcasting reels for pike on the market. It comes with a 6-pin magnetic VBS system that almost eliminates backlash. The 4-bearing system makes the operation of the reel much smoother. While the anti-reverse bearing further reduces any chance of backlash.
The reel uses Shimano’s famous Hegan metal body. This answers any questions about its superior strength and rigidity. Hegan is a strong material that is stiff and durable. It improves impact resistance and reduces noise and vibrations while operating the reel.
The reel comes in three options – a regular gear ratio at 6.3:1, a high gear ratio at 7.2:1, and an extra high gear ratio at 8.2:1.
We tested the 7.2:1 model on our recent fishing trip. The middle-range gear ratio makes it perfect for targeting pike. We spooled the reel with a 15 lbs test to throw weightless Texas rigs and 1/2 oz. jigs.
The casts were more controlled and accurate than many other baitcasters. We were able to cast over 100 feet without any backlash. We caught 10+ pike using this setup on a 7-ft MH rod. The drag system is so smooth and consistent, we were able to reel in all the fish with ease.
2. Daiwa Tatula Elite Baitcasting Reel
As avid Pike fishermen, we’ve used the Daiwa Tatula Elite Baitcasting Reel on many trips. Recently, we tested the 100HS model for targeting trophy-sized Pike in a remote lake in the Canadian Shield region. The water was clear but the Pike were finicky.
So we needed a reel that we could use with a variety of fishing techniques. The Daiwa Tatula Elite 100HS is the perfect option for such situations. You can use it with different techniques from finesse to heavy-duty angling.
During our time with the Daiwa Tatula Elite, we caught several fish, including a monster Northern Pike over 36 inches. The reel helped us bring them in without any problems or backlash.
Daiwa Tatula Elite can intelligently control the intensity of the magnetic brakes. This allowed us to make long casts even in the windy conditions that are typical of the Canadian Shield.
We have also tested Daiwa Tatula Elite One to fish for Pike in a shallow lake near our hometown. The water was clear, but the vegetation offered ample cover for the fish.
So we loaded the reel with a 17 lb fluorocarbon line from throwing 3/4 oz jigs. The T-Wing System helped us make accurate casts, which is vital when fishing in shallow water. We caught several Pike in the 3-5 lbs range and a few weighing over 10 lbs.
3. Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C4 Round Reel
We have tested several Abu Garcia reels over the years for Pike fishing. But the Ambassadeur C4 is hands down the best baitcasting reel for pike we’ve ever used.
We recommend the C4-5600 or C4-6600 model for Pike anglers as these are the right size for throwing heavy lures. We have used both these reels for catching Pike everywhere, from small streams to large lakes.
Recently, we tested the Ambassadeur C4-5600 during our fishing trip to Minnesota. As we were fishing in a large lake, we paired our reel with a medium-heavy rod for throwing heavy lures. The 6-pin centrifugal brake helped us make long and accurate casts.
When we hooked a large Northern Pike, the carbon matrix drag allowed us to reel in the fish without any hiccups. The fish weighed in at 18 lbs, which was the biggest Pike we caught on the trip.
These fish are hard fighters and can cause tangles and knots in the line. But, we’ve never had any issues when using the C4.
Another thing we really appreciate about the C4 is its ergonomic design. The compact bent handle provides a comfortable grip. This is crucial when you’re reeling in a large fish.
4. Okuma Komodo SS Low Profile Baitcaster
We have tested the Okuma Komodo SS Baitcasting Reel on multiple fishing trips. First, we tested the reel during our fishing trips to Lake of the Woods in Ontario, Canada. The clear and calm water was perfect for sight fishing for big pike.
So we spooled our Okuma Komodo SS with a 20lb braided line and a 12″ steel leader and paired it with a 7’6″ medium-heavy rod. This setup helped us accurately target the spots where the pikes were lurking. We were using large 5″ white and silver swimbaits to target the larger pikes.
After a few casts, we got a very strong hit on our line. But the drag system offered enough resistance to prevent the fish from running off. The pike put up a fierce fight, but we were able to reel it in. When we weighed the fish, it came in at around 18 lbs.
Next, we tested the reel during our fishing trip to Lake St. Clair in Michigan. Unlike the Lake of the Woods, the water here was extremely choppy and cold.
We spooled our reel with a 30lb braided line and a 12″ fluorocarbon leader and paired it with a heavy action rod. The reel offered the perfect resistance to help us land a hefty 20lb Northern Pike. We found the micro-click drag star system especially helpful in fine-tuning the drag per the size of the fish.
5. Shimano Tranx 400 Baitcasting Reel
Shimano Tranx is a strong and durable reel that comes with the top features at an affordable price. It is undoubtedly the best baitcasting reel for pike fishing.
This reel is built with the special Hagane construction method. It means the reel has a full metal body that provides unbeatable strength and resilience.
On top of that, the CoreProtect feature protects the roller clutch, the body, and the line roller from water damage. This adds years to the life of this reel while ensuring it can sustain harsh saltwater.
While being so strong and durable, it weighs only 11.6 oz! The low-profile construction makes it easy to handle and operate. You can throw the longest casts with the smoothest vigor.
Besides, this reel has a powerful drag system equipped with Heg and X-ship technologies. It offers a max drag of 22 lbs so you can land the biggest targets in the lake, inshore, or ocean.
We recently tested the 400-size for throwing heavy lures in the 5-15 oz range for targeting pike. We were able to catch pike in the 15″ to 25″ range without any issues.
The 5.8:1 gear ratio enables you to reel in big fish with sufficient speed. Accompanied by 5 stainless steel ball bearings and one roller bearing, this reel is super smooth.
6. Abu Garcia Revo SX Fishing Reel
Abu Garcia Revo SX is one of the best baitcasting reels for pike due to its ease of use. It allows you to make the most comfortable casts without any backlash.
This reel is very lightweight as it weighs just 6.6 oz. It is built using a special alloy that makes the reel strong, durable, yet lightweight. The strength combined with durability and ease of use makes it very apt for beginners.
It comes with 10 ball bearings that make casting with this reel very efficient and smooth. The 7.1:1 gear ratio provides an excellent retrieval speed and considerable control at the same time. You can easily cast up to long distances without worrying about backlash or bird’s nests.
The drag system is sturdy and allows excellent performance. You’ll never have experienced such control before. Combine it with the right rod and it is possible to reel in much hefty fish.
We are happy to recommend Abu Garcia Revo SX to both new and experienced anglers. It is more durable than other reels in this price range which makes it very much worth the money. Overall, the reel is very smooth and comfortable to use.
7. KastKing Royale Legend GT
We have used this reel to catch numerous fish in the 5 to 10 lbs range. The drag system is admirable and works very well for the price. It offers a max drag of 16.64 lbs which was enough to reel in all these fish with ease. The 7.0:1 gear ratio works well with light lures for catching swift small to medium-sized fish.
The 12 high-quality bearings make it smooth and efficient. As a result, casting with the KastKing Royale Legend is easy. We were able to throw really long and accurate casts even with heavier lures.
Weighing at 7.5 oz, it may be slightly heavier than other baitcasting reels. But, it is strong and durable enough to endure the rough conditions you may come across while fishing. Rest assured that this reel will serve you well for a long time.
Overall, the KastKing Royale Legend is a reliable and efficient baitcasting reel. One thing to note is that it is relatively cheap. So it is perfect if you want a high-quality anti-backlash baitcaster without spending a ton.
We suggest you go for it if you want to improve your casting experience. You’d be delighted by the long and accurate casts that you’ll be able to pull off with this reel.
8. Piscifun Phantom Baitcasting Reel
Piscifun Phantom is an excellent baitcasting reel for beginners! It comes with a 7.0:1 gear ratio for a smooth and fast retrieval speed. Combined with centrifugal and magnetic brakes, you get excellent control for long and accurate casts.
First, we tested this reel on a windy day in Lake Wylie. It had enough power to cast into the wind, and the magnetic brake system delivered the perfect resistance to avoid any backlash.
The 6+1 shielded ball bearings made the retrieval process incredibly smooth. We hooked a 10 lb largemouth bass, and it handled the fish with ease. The max drag of 17 lbs really helped in reeling in the fish without any problems.
Next, we tested this reel during our saltwater fishing trip to the Gulf of Mexico to catch some redfish. The spool size was big enough for our needs, and we were able to load plenty of line for casting in deeper waters. The brake system worked great on the redfish’s aggressive runs and helped us land numerous fish within just a few hours.
If you are a beginner, you will extremely love this reel’s lightweight design. At only 5.7oz, it is easy to use and maneuver. You cast for hours without any arm fatigue. It really makes constant casting more bearable!
We can say that Piscifun Phantom is a top-rated baitcaster for beginners. It offers excellent performance, durability, and value. It is so easy to use and handle, even if you are a beginner, you will enjoy reeling in fish with ease.
9. KastKing Spartacus II Baitcaster
The all-new KastKing Spartacus II is an amazing baitcasting reel for taking on any kind of fish. Thanks to its sleek and lightweight design, you will find it suitable for different fishing conditions.
We recently took this reel on a fishing trip and we were blown away by its performance. We found the 7.2:1 gear ratio perfect for targeting all kinds of fish, whether it’s chasing pike, bass, catfish, or walleye. The 4-disc carbon fiber drag provided enough power to stop even big fish with ease.
The 5-button magnetic brake system helped reduce the chances of bird nests. While the Double Tapered Control Chute line guide reduced the line friction.
But, what makes KastKing Spartacus II stand out is its smoothness. The 7 + 1 ball bearings and CNC anodized aluminum spool allow you to cast with ease. The aluminum main gear is very robust and lightweight. So, it proves very helpful in the smooth flow of the fishing line while casting or retrieving.
All in all, the Spartacus II is an affordable baitcaster that offers everything you need in a reel. The low profile design and powerful drag make it extremely effective.
10. Abu Garcia Pro Max Baitcasting Reel
Abu Garcia Pro Max is a great option if you’re looking for an affordable baitcaster that can handle heavy fish and long casts. With its 7.0:1 gear ratio and 18-pound maximum drag, you’ll be able to reel in big catches with ease.
One of the things that set the Abu Garcia Pro Max apart from other baitcasters is its durable design. The brass outer cast provides excellent support to the gear. While the double anodized aluminum pool makes it corrosion-resistant. The 7 stainless steel ball bearings and a roller bearing mean you can count on a smooth retrieve.
We recently picked the Abu Garcia Pro Max Low Profile baitcasting reel and took it out for a test run. We were targeting redfish and speckled trout in saltwater. Overall, the reel performed exceptionally well even in such tough conditions. The Magtrax brake system ensured we didn’t experience any backlash.
The Abu Garcia Pro Max is also ergonomically designed for comfort. The handles feel sturdy and stable even when your hands are wet. And at just 7.3 oz, it’s one of the lightest baitcasters on the market. Overall, the Abu Garcia Pro Max is a versatile and reliable reel that you can use in a range of fishing conditions.
How to Choose a Baitcasting Reel for Pike Fishing?
Pike is one of the most challenging freshwater species to catch. Your fishing gear can make all the difference between success and failure. So you must take your time and choose the right baitcasting reel for your trip.
Considering some of these key factors can help you make pick a reel that meets your specific needs.
When choosing a baitcasting reel, one of the factors you need to consider is the brand reputation. With so many brands, each offering different models, the brand reputation becomes key to picking a quality reel.
We suggest you pick a reel from Shimano, Abu Garcia, Daiwa, or Okuma. These are amongst the most reputed brands offering a range of baitcasting reels.
Shimano is recognized for its high-end construction and advanced features. While Abu Garcia is known for its affordable yet premium quality reels.
You must take the reel size into account when you’re looking for a new baitcasting reel for Pike.
We suggest you go for a medium or a large-sized reel as it offers enough drag and line capacity for catching Pike. Remember, a larger reel provides more power and line capacity, but it can cause fatigue if you are out for a long time.
Here are some of our rule-of-thumb guidelines to help you pick a reel size.
- Pick a 3000-size reel if you plan to go after smaller Pike in ideal fishing conditions.
- Pick a 4000-size reel if you plan to catch smaller Pike in choppy waters or windy conditions.
- Choose a 5000-size reel if you are targeting large Pike in smaller lakes with calm waters.
- Choose a 6000-size reel if you are going after a trophy Pike or fishing in big water.
You must also consider your rod specification while deciding the reel size. If you have a heavier rod, you will need to pick a larger size reel to balance your setup.
There are two primary reel shapes: low profile and round.
Low-profile baitcasting reels are more compact and easier to handle. You can use them comfortably even for long periods. But, most low-profile reels don’t offer as much line capacity as round baitcasters.
Round baitcasting reels can usually hold more fishing line due to their traditional round shape.
We suggest most Pike anglers pick low-profile baitcasting reels as they are ideal for casting accuracy. So, it reduces the chances of your line getting caught on obstacles or brush.
If you’re planning to throw very long-distance casts or fish on a big lake, we suggest you pick a round reel.
Backlash occurs when the spool turns faster than the line during a cast. It is a nightmare for anglers, especially beginners, as it causes the line to tangle or knot up.
But many modern baitcasting reels come with anti-backlash features to prevent or reduce backlash. So you must consider the anti-backlash features when choosing a reel for Pike fishing.
The magnetic braking system is a common anti-backlash feature that we found on many reels that we tested. The spool tension knob is another common anti-backlash feature.
The braking system is designed to reduce backlash and improve casting accuracy. So it is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a baitcasting reel.
Magnetic and centrifugal brakes are the most common types of braking systems found in baitcasting reels.
Both systems are effective, but here is a quick summary of the differences between them.
- Magnetic braking systems use magnets to control the spool speed.
- Magnetic brakes are better suited for lighter lures and finesse fishing.
- Magnetic brakes are easier to adjust and better suited for beginners.
- Centrifugal brakes use internal pins to apply pressure to the spool.
- Centrifugal braking systems are better suited for heavier lures and windy conditions.
- Centrifugal brakes offer more precision and control.
We suggest Pike anglers pick baitcasting reels with magnetic brakes as they are more consistent and easier to adjust.
Line Recovery Rate
Line recovery or retrieval rate refers to the amount of line that a reel retrieves with each turn of the handle. Basically, it is how fast your baitcasting reel can pick up the line.
Pikes are known for making powerful runs. So, we suggest you pick a baitcasting reel with higher line recovery rates. It lets you quickly reel in your catch before it has a chance to run.
The gear ratio of a baitcasting reel refers to the number of times the spool rotates during each turn of the handle. A high gear ratio, over 8.0:1, means faster line retrieval. While a lower gear ratio, below 6.0:1, means slower line retrieval but with more control.
You should pick a reel with a high gear ratio if you are planning to fish in deep water or throw longer casts. The high gear ratio will let you quickly retrieve your line without losing your catch.
We suggest most Pike anglers pick a baitcasting reel with a gear ratio in the 5.8:1 to 7.2:1 range. It offers a balance between line retrieval speed and control.
We often find it tempting to buy the cheapest reel that we find online. But remember, most cheap reels are neither durable nor reliable. Most of the cheap baitcasting reels also lack many essential features like anti-backlash control.
On the other hand, a high-end reel will have all the latest features and technologies. But you may not even need some of those features which are targeted toward seasoned anglers.
So, a mid-range reel from a reputed brand like Shimano, Abu Garcia, and Daiwa can often meet all your specific needs. You can easily find a mid-range reel that meets the demands of pike fishing in the $100 to $300 price range.
If you are looking for budget options, you can check out our pick of the Best Baitcasting Reels Under $150.
Why a Baitcasting Reel for Pike Fishing?
Baitcasters are often the preferred choice for targeting large predatory fish due to their strength and power. That’s why we suggest you use a baitcasting reel for Pike fishing as it can handle large fish like Pike better than spinning reels.
Here are a few more reasons why many anglers prefer using baitcasting reels for Pike fishing.
- A baitcasting reel allows you to make casts with greater accuracy and control.
- Baitcasting reels can handle heavy lines and lure better than most other types of reels.
- Baitcasters allow you to easily adjust the drag as per the changing conditions.
- Most baitcaster reels can better withstand the stress of Pike fishing due to their durability and strength.
You can check out our pick of the Best Spinning Reel Under 100 if you are looking for a new spinning reel.
What Gear Ratio for Pike Fishing?
The gear ratio for Pike fishing depends on many different factors.
- Your fishing style and the fishing conditions of the trip.
- The type and size of lures you plan to use.
- Size of the fish you are targeting.
So we have described a few common Pike fishing scenarios to help you pick the right baitcasting reel.
- A 5.8:1 to 7.2:1 gear ratio is suitable for most Pike fishing trips.
- Pick between a 4:1 and 5:1 gear ratio if you plan to use large swimbaits or heavy jigs.
- Pick a 7.2:1 or 8:1 gear ratio if you plan to throw fast-moving lures such as crankbaits or spinnerbaits.
What Size Reel for Pike Fishing?
A medium-sized baitcasting reel with a line capacity of 150-200 yards of 20-30 lb test is the right reel size for most Pike fishing situations. You can use it to fish in big lakes and target larger Pike without running out of your line.
But keep in mind, the right reel size for your Pike fishing trip depends on the weight of the line and lures you will use and the size of the fish you plan to target.
What Line Should You Use on a Baitcasting for Pike?
We suggest most anglers use braided lines for pike fishing due to their thinner diameter, higher strength, and increased sensitivity. In our experience, a 20-30lb test braid is an excellent choice for pike fishing.
A fluorocarbon line is nearly invisible underwater so it is a good option if you plan to fish in clearer water. A monofilament line is an excellent option for beginners as it is more forgiving than other lines.
- Known for its strength, durability, and sensitivity.
- A thinner diameter allows you to make longer casts.
- Can handle the weight and power of even a big pike.
- Low stretch and high sensitivity allow for quick hook sets.
- More expensive than braided and monofilament lines.
- May break during a fight if not handled carefully.
- Low chance of the line breaking while fishing.
- A thicker diameter can affect your casting distance.
- You may find it harder to feel the bites and set the hook.
Shimano SLX is the Best Baitcasting Reel for Pike Fishing as per our reviews. But all the baitcasting reels on our list are excellent for pike fishing.
All these reels have been extensively reviewed and tested in the field by seasoned anglers and guides. So you can trust any of these reels to help you successfully catch Pike. Each one of them offers enough power and line capacity to get the job done.
Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C4 is an excellent pick if you are looking for a round baitcasting reel. Okuma Komodo SS is a great option if you need more line capacity to fish in deeper waters.
Shimano Tranx 400 is a high-end option. But it comes with many latest features and Shimano technologies. If you are a competitive angler looking for an edge, then Shimano Tranx 400 is the right reel for you.
Abu Garcia Revo SX is a premium reel at a budget price. Many experienced anglers vouch for its performance.
We have been reviewing and testing fishing equipment for years. Let us know if you have any questions about our reviews or methodology. We are always happy to answer any queries that we get.
We hope you like our pick of the Best Baitcasting Reels for Pike Fishing. Our goal is to help you choose the right reel. You can reach out to us if you need more help picking a reel that meets your specific needs.