Essential Fishing Equipment For Pike Fishing: A Beginners Guide

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Following on from my article, beginner’s guide to perch and pike fishing. Let’s start choosing the right tackle to buy and use for catching these predators. What essential equipment must we need to start pike fishing?

Well, to begin with, if you plan to do Lure Fishing for pike you would need a rod & reel combo, some line (monofilament or braid) for your reel, a steel leader and an assortment of lures. 

If you want to try bait fishing for pike, instead of lures, you will need some basic terminal tackle such as floats, stoppers, hooks, leads, etc.

To help you narrow down all pike tackle choices, I will share my vast experience and describe what essential equipment you need to start pike fishing – AND also what equipment you should avoid buying!

What is the Best Rod for Pike Fishing?

There is an immense offer of pike fishing rods and reels on the market! And honestly, a lot of the available product range is there only to lure (no pun intended) inexperienced anglers in buying obsolete pieces of tackle.

When choosing your rod, you need to know what you are planning to use it for. Do you prefer a universal rod you can use on all types of fishing waters? Also, utilizing an array of different lures? Or do you prefer a specific type of rod, for example, a jerk rod you will only use for fishing with jerk baits?

My strong piece of advice is – to start with an all-purpose rod. If you are just beginning with pike fishing, there is no point in buying a specialized rod. It’s much better to have a rod that is versatile and not one that is designed for only one technique. Once you have learned what techniques exist and the method you prefer, then venture out for something more unique.

A 2.1 m spinning rod, with a casting weight topping 60-80 g will cover more than 90% of both techniques and lures. Do not choose the most expensive ones, as they are made of high-modulus carbon that can be easily broken if mistreated. To start, a mid-price range rod is more than enough, my personal recommendation is the Ugly Stik GX2!

If you plan to do mainly live bait fishing, you need a stronger rod to carry the weight and should be close to 3.0 m in length. Using a 100g casting weight with a 3m length should be perfect! Check out the mid-range carp fishing rods of 12 ft and a test curve of 3-3.5 lb, they are a great fit for live bait fishing for pike! (And you can also use them for carp fishing)

What is the Best Reel for Pike Fishing?

When choosing your reel, aim for a sturdy mid-range spinning reel in size 4000. Steer clear from lightweight reels, as they will wear off easily when using heavy lures!

There is also an option of baitcasting reels. Personally, I would not recommend this to beginners. It is easier to master the first steps using normal spinning tackle and it is also more versatile than the baitcasting tackle.

If your goal is to do mainly live bait fishing, you need a stronger and more robust reel. A big pit carp reel is also a perfect match for this setup, but you can go with any strong reel in size 4000-5000. While they are slightly more expensive they are worth the money over the long term.

What is the Best Line to Use for Pike Fishing?

Choosing the right line for your reel is essential! For lure fishing, a braided line is a must-have but which is the best braid to choose?

There are numerous braids on the market, and the main difference you will notice is the number of carrier strains. You will notice numbers such as X4, X8, or even X12. The general rule is, that the more strands in the braid, the rounder, and the smoother the braid is. But it will also be more sensitive to abrasion!

I would advise going with an X4 braid for the start. It is cheap, strong, and abrasion-resistant. It may not cast quite as far as the X8 and X12 but if you are looking to get an X8 quality braid my strong suggestion is the Daiwa J-Braid 300M 8-Strand Woven Round Braid Line! Considering the diameter, 0.20 mm should be more than enough. Colour is also not so important, but if you fish in a lot of clearer waters then choose camo colours (grey or green).

For live-bait fishing, braid is obsolete – Don’t use it. Just spool the reel with a great monofilament pick! 0.35 to 0.45 mm is sufficient. 

What Lures Do You Need for Pike Fishing?

In my article on the Best Baits and Lures for predators, I reviewed many lures. Generally, a selection of relatively cheap metal lures should be sufficient enough to take on a normal pike fishing trip. But if you want to prepare yourself for all possible circumstances, then the list of lures is a lot more!

Spinners and Spoons 

You can use them everywhere, in a lot of ways, and you will catch pike. There is no need for ramping up your collection with a lot of colours and sizes. Keep it simple: you need shiny ones for clear water, and brass coloured for murky water. Do not buy spinners under size #3 – the bigger, the better! 


The next must-have lure is the spinner bait. Nothing beats it when fishing in heavy cover, and it is extraordinarily good for attracting pike from a distance. In my experience, using colours such as chartreuse and pearl bring the best results!


From my experience, there is only one more lure you need, and that is a soft swimbait rigged either on a worm hook or a jig head. This is the best all-around lure in existence and can be used from surface to bottom with a huge variety of presentation methods. Fishing with soft lures requires both skill and experience, but if mastered, you might find yourself fishing only with them in no time!

Pearl, white, chartreuse, and fire tiger are the colours to go. Do not buy anything under 12 cm, with 15 cm being an optimal size!

I just love pike fishing!

What Essential Accessories Do You Need For Pike Fishing?

Besides your basic tackle, there are several key items you will need for your pike fishing trip.

First of all, a landing net. With some experience, you will be able to land a pike only with your hand, without any danger both for you and the pike. But for the beginning, it is best to use a landing net. Steer clear from fish grips – they are notorious for damaging the fish, especially if not handled properly!

I strongly advise investing in a landing net with a rubberized mesh! It will not do any damage to the pike and will prevent hooks from getting entangled in the mesh. You do not want to spend a whole fishing morning cutting your landing net with a knife to release the lure. 

Secondly, do not even think of pike fishing without fishing forceps! The pike has horrible sharp teeth and any contact with your fingers will end up not a pretty sight! Solid, long and quality forceps will prevent injury, and will also help in releasing the hooks without damaging the pike. 

Besides forceps, I also advise getting some fishing pliers. They are essential for opening split rings, straightening hooks, cutting leaders, and all other jobs related to your tackle. Check out my article on the Best Fishing Pliers here!

You would also need an unhooking mat if you plan on releasing your catch. Pike are slimy and restless, so it is a tough job keeping them calm when unhooking or measuring. Laying the fish on a good size unhooking mat will benefit both you and the pike!

As a final touch, you need a fishing backpack/tackle bag and a tackle box for your lures (or terminal tackle if you opt for live-bait fishing). Keeping your tackle organized is a big advantage, as it will enable you to quickly adapt to any fishing conditions possible!

A backpack/tackle bag is also a perfect place to store your sunglasses, water, food, camera, knives, and any other stuff you are carrying on your fishing trip.

What Terminal Tackle Do You Need For Pike Fishing?

If you plan to go lure fishing, you will need leaders. Leaders come in several types:

Steel Wire Leaders

The first option is steel wire leaders. They can be purchased ready-made, or you can buy them on spools and make your own leaders (I prefer this option, as I can choose swivels and snaps).

Kevlar Leaders

Besides steel leaders, you can also purchase special kevlar leaders. They are much more supple than steel wire leaders, and are great for finesse presentation with soft baits!

Fluorocarbon Leaders

The third option is fluorocarbon leaders. They have a big advantage when fishing in clear water, as they are near invisible. They are also very stiff, therefore reducing lure tangling (which is very important when fishing with jerk baits). The main downside is that they can get bitten off by pike! I personally do not use them just for that reason. 

If you plan live bait fishing, you will need a rig:

If you prefer the live bait method for pike fishing, it gets a little more complicated. You will need to make up and assemble your live-bait rig, this can be a challenge if you are a beginner. Basically, you will need a pike float, some swivels, beads, lead, and a wire leader with hooks. All of these items are readily available in any fishing shop and if you want you can also purchase a full ready-made rig for a good price!

Final Thoughts

I have listed all of the key essentials that you would require to take for a successful pike fishing trip. There is a lot of pike fishing-related items in the tackle shops which are not needed when first starting, please avoid these unnecessary items – stick to the basics.

Focus on the key essential items I have covered in this article, the rest can wait for now. Go out and spend time catching some pike!

But for starters, keep things simple, and enjoy your time on the water without a bunch of tackle slowing you down. Less is often more, especially in predator fishing! 

Please check out my in-depth articles on Predator Fish and Baits and Lures!

Denis Savretic