When I first started fishing for pike, there were so many questions I had about what gear to use, which techniques work the best and where the best spots are to find pike.

It can be agonizing coming from your fishing trip without having caught any pike. And that makes you wonder – Am I doing everything correctly? What might I be doing wrong?

When looking around forums and the web, there are tons of questions regarding pike fishing – techniques, gear, location – and its all scattered.

This is why I have gathered 9 most frequently asked beginner pike fishing questions and answered them one-by-one.

If you are new to pike fishing, this article gives you an idea, what problems you might have down the road – as so many pike fishers have had them beforehand.


1. How to choose a pike fishing rod?

To answer this question, let’s assume that most of your pike fishing is done by lure fishing from the bank.

A great pike fishing rod is about 8-9 ft long and has a fast action with medium or medium-heavy power. This gives you good leverage and hooking ability when the pike strikes. Depending on the size of lures you intend to use, the casting weight of the rod may vary.

I have written a separate article about pike fishing rods and what you need to know before you’re buying one. I would advise you to have a clear understanding of what you need.

2. Should I buy a baitcaster or a spinning reel?

It seems this is one of the most debated questions out there. The beliefs are strong about both reel types and which is more suitable for pike fishing.

But when we strip them down from all the bells and whistles – both the baitcaster and spinning reel fill the exact same task. They both release and reel in the line. So what are the arguments for one or the other?

In the long haul, it all comes down to preference – you can use and like both!

If you’re just a beginner fisher and don’t have much experience in casting – I would consider a spinning reel over the baitcaster. It’s just more beginner friendly. There’s no birdnests to ruin your first casts but you’ll enjoy the excerience just as much.

However, baitcasters tend to have some qualities which I consider to be better for pike fishing.

For one, the baitcaster gives you a bit more maneuverability which can come in handy around tight corners and casting near trees that have fallen into the water.

Also, the spool of the baitcaster is set so the line rolls off straight instead of rolling off like with the spinning reel. That’s a great feature when you’re using braided line as it won’t twist the line.

3. What gear ratio reel should I use for pike fishing?

Although there’s no set rule for which gear ratio reel you should be using for pike fishing, I will go over some great options to start with.

Before choosing a certain gear ratio – what do the numbers even mean?

The first number states how many turns the spool does in one turn of the crank. So if you have a high gear ratio reel like 8.3:1 then your line spool will make 8.3 turns while you only do on full turn with the crank.

For pike fishing, the most versitile gear ratio is a medium speed one. This could be anything around 6.3:1. These are real workhorses that you can use in most situations.

If you would like to know how different gear ratios are used with different types of lures for best results, I strongly recommend you read my guide on choosing the right gear ratio reel for pike fishing.

4. Which Type of line is the best for pike?

When choosing a suitable line for your setup, it’s best to think about what you’re catching. Since we’re talking about pike fishing, we need to consider that they have pin-sharp teeth and are very aggressive attackers.

Over the years I have come to realize that braided line seems to work the best for me. And here’s why.

Pike have a strong and aggressive grip and sharp teeth – therefore, it’s best to use a stronger line that wouldn’t break as easily. And since braid doesn’t have much give, it allows for a much stronger hooking action.

You can always use a stronger monofilament, but in order to pull the same weights, it would have to be much thicker. But the thinner the line, the better it runs off the spool.

I sometimes also use a heavy fluorocarbon line leader at the end of the braid to have a slightly softer first impact. This seems to be the perfect combination for pike fishing according to many other anglers out there as well.

5. How Thich Should the line be for pike fishing?

Depending on what type of line you are using the thickness may vary. But as pike have a very strong attack and want to aggressively break your line, you should opt for a bigger line test weight.

The line you use for pike fishing should never be under 15lb (6,8kg) because even the smaller pike can tare the line through.

I mentioned earlier that using a braided line is great for pike fishing because it’s stiff and strong. There’s also another reason.

When we compare a braided line to a monofilament line, the diameter of the braid is much smaller at the same line test. This means you’re able to pack a lot stronger braid on your spool compared to the mono line.

Fishers often use a braided line with a 30-40 lb (13,5-18 kg) line test as it gives more confidence while fishing that you won’t lose any lures or pike for that matter.

6. Should I use a leader? What type?

This is a definite YES! When you’re out fishing for pike, ALWAYS use a leader.

As I have mentioned before, pike have a lot of pin-sharp teeth that are designed to rip through their prey. This means your mono or braided line won’t stand a chance when a pike bites into it.

Now, there are two very common leaders that pike fishers use:

  • fluorocarbon leader – These are great if you’re looking for a light leader that allows more movement for your lures
  • steel leader – If you need extra strength you might want to consider a steel leader

What advantages does the lighter weight of the leader give you? When you’re using different techniques like twitching, you want your lure to stay horizontal while the pause. Steel leaders may cause the nose of your lure to start diving.

PRO TIP: When using a fluoro leader, go for a line that is 1 mm in thickness – as this will ensure that pike won’t break it.

7. What type of lures should I buy?

Pike is an aggressive predator species who are know to be not very picky about their prey. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not stupid – they’re just cocky.

As conditions vary, you should have multiple types of lures with you, which all work well in certain situations:

  • Crank baits
  • Spinnerbaits
  • Plastics
  • Top-water lures
  • Weedless lures

Keep in mind that pike are more known for their activeness in colder water. Therefore, you should always have some lures that sink or are deep-swimming. Big heavy plastic lures and deep-diving crankbaits are a great option for such occasions.

With colder weather, when the pike might also be in shallower water, you could try some weedless or even topwater lures like the frog.

Spinnerbaits and spinners are great for creating vibration, so have them ready for unclear muddy water.

8. What Are Some Must-have pike lures?

When you ask start asking around, you’ll come up with an endless list of great lures to use for pike fishing. And that may be somewhat discouraging.

The truth is, as with every species so with pike – different lures work better in different waters. Therefore, it’s not as much about specific lures as it is about the lure types and sizes. Get those two right and I promise, you’ll have fun landing plenty of pike.

In case you’re wondering, here are my must-have pike lures which I always keep (and replace if necessary) in my tackle box:

  • Rapala Rattlin 08 – Great fast action lipless crankbait. The vibrating sound heightens curiosity in fish and triggers investigation
  • Rapala Rattlin Minnow Spoon – Another great lure to have for times when I want to play the weeds
  • Rapala Scatter Rap Crank Deep – Boy, can this lure play! Once you start cranking this lure and it gets into deeper waters, it almost feel as if you’re reeling in a fish. And it works well with active pike.
  • Rapala Deep Tail Dancer – When it comes to deep divers – this is the one!
  • Rapala X-Rap XR10 – I think that’s one of the first pike lures, that I bought after searching for the best ones on the internet. And it has proven to be a great purchase
  • Blue Fox Vibrax Spinner – Definentally my favorite spinner lure, works like a charm

As you can tell, most of the lures on my must-have list are made by Rapala. And there’s no other reason for it but the fact that they have been working great for me.

9. How to catch pike in murky water?

Fishing at a lake or river which has unclear murky water may seem a bit challenging at first, but there are actually a few tricks you can use to successfully catch pike anyway.

Pike don’t just use their eyes to hunt their prey. Pike have very well developed lateral lines that pick up low-frequency vibrations from the water.

Therefore, you would need to use bigger and active lures that create more vibrations in the water, thus grabbing the attention of pike more easily.

Most of the lures mentioned in the 8th point deliver just that – they grab pike’s attention!

I really hope that this article helped you with some questions you might have had about pike fishing gear. If you liked the article, please be sure to share it with friends who might also be seeking that information.