Best Rod and Reel Combo for Northern Pike Fishing

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If you are just getting into pike fishing it can be difficult to filter out the bad rods from the good rods and the poor-quality reels from the high-quality reels. Pike are notoriously hard fighting, so it is extremely important that you gear up properly with high-quality kit that is strong enough to tame a huge pike into your net. Even a small “jack” pike under 5lb in weight can give you the runaround and keep your rod bent over while it strips line and makes jumps from the water.

Pike can reach incredible sizes with the biggest recognized record coming from a German lake at a whopping 55lb! A fish like that is not going to give up easily, some serious skill and some serious kit would have been needed to land that monster. If you are the specimen hunter that wants to catch a huge trophy pike, then you are going to need the right kit for the job. The rod and reel you need is going to depend on the environment you will be fishing in, you wouldn’t use an ice fishing rod for casting just as you wouldn’t use a bait fishing rod for ice fishing.

Selecting the right rod and reel for the job is not going to make your fishing skills any better, that is down to practice, however, it will allow you to target your specific environment with the best chances of landing a decent-sized fish. In this article, we have three of the best rod and reel combos for northern pike fishing – one for the lure fisherman, one for the ice fisherman, and one for all-round live and dead-bait fishing. Enjoy!

Best Rod and Reel for Lure Fishing: The Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2

  • Well-priced
  • Lightweight
  • Excellent quality for the price
  • Can be used for spinning of all types and target-species
  • Very strong, being a one-piece rod
  • Reel functions beautifully but costs were cut on materials to keep the price tag down (feels plasticky)
  • The One-piece rod can be a bit too long for some people to transport safely


The Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 is a spinning rod and reel combo that is perfect for the angler on a budget. This combo comes in 5 different lengths and weight variations, with the 6,6-foot and 7-foot variants in a medium-heavy weight being the best for targeting northern pike. This setup is perfectly balanced and comes with lightweight EVA grips, so casting all day searching for that trophy pike isn’t going to strain your wrists.

The Ugly Stik features a clear tip design that is both strong and supple, allowing you to cast heavy lures at distance but also register sensitive bites when you are fishing for the sometimes-finicky-feeding northern pike. This rod gives excellent sensitivity and enough backbone to land even the strongest of pike and musky. The reel comes in 5:2:1 ratio and is extremely smooth-winding with a steady and effective clutch – this is surprising when you consider how reasonably priced this combo is. Sure, you are not going to get a top-quality Shimano reel and the body of the reel feels plasticky, however, everything functions perfectly, and you cannot complain when the price tag is so small.

The only problem you may face with this rod is the fact that the smaller sizes come in the form of a 1-piece, meaning that you could have the issue of transporting a full-length rod at over 6 foot! Our advice is to go for the 7-foot variant if transporting such a long rod is an issue for you, the 7-foot rod comes in a 2-piece form allowing you to split the rod in two for transportation.

Bottom Line

Overall, the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 is the ideal spinning rod and reel combo for northern pike fishing on a budget. This combo brings quality, functionality, and strength to the table all for under the 100-dollar mark. If you are looking for a spinning setup for northern pike or musky fishing, then look no further than the Ugly Stik in medium-heavy weight.

Best Rod and Reel for Ice Fishing: The Shakespeare Glacier Ice Fishing Combo

  • Budget-friendly
  • Great build quality for the money
  • The reel is beautifully built and functions well
  • Extremely compact
  • Reel seat on the rod uses only friction with no screw system, this can be annoying for some
  • The reel has no back-wind feature however the drag mechanism is brilliant


The Shakespeare Glacier ice fishing rod and reel combo is everything you can expect from an ice fishing setup for a reasonable price. The pole is extremely responsive and has a great bend which makes battling northern pike and large lake trout both doable and extremely enjoyable through the ice. The reel feels great in the hand and has a smooth wind and clutch system, however, it has no backwind mechanism which is a pain if you prefer to fight your fish that way.

There is plenty of backbone in the rod to lift up large pike from the depths and there is enough spring action to cushion strong hook pulls and tame any large fish that may be under the ice. This is an extremely versatile rod that functions extremely well for the price, however, there is one issue that may put some people off. The reel seat on the rod uses two catches that use only friction to hold the reel in place. This is usually enough to hold the reel firm when stationary ice fishing however some people have reported it coming loose while walking to their favorite fishing hole. If you are planning on hooking this rod up to a backpack for a long walk over the lake, then we recommend adding a small cable tie before the catches just to be sure your reel doesn’t come loose.

The Shakespeare Glacier is well balanced and highly responsive so you will be sure to register every single bite on your rod tip, no matter how big or small the fish. This is the perfect ice fishing rod and reel combo if you are just getting into fishing for northern pike during the depths of winter. This is also a great rod for children too and can make an excellent starter rod for fishing small streams going after bass and trout. It is short enough to be used effectively by short arms and resembles a full-size rod and reel in a smaller package making it perfect for a child to learn the ropes with.

Bottom Line

Overall, the Shakespeare Glacier ice fishing rod and reel combo is the perfect setup for tackling pike under the ice in the depths of winter. This little powerhouse of a rod has plenty of backbone and flex to tame even the largest of winter pike and it is a pleasure to use. If you are looking for a pike rod for ice fishing, or a starter rod for your kids, then the Shakespeare Glacier is a great choice.

Best Road and Reel for All-Round Use: The St. Croix Triumph with Shimano Sahara Fi Reel

  • Extremely high-quality rod and reel combo
  • Both the rod and reel are beautifully crafted
  • Cork handle on the rod feels and looks great
  • Rod and reel are perfectly balanced for each other
  • Extremely durable, can be used for spinning, float fishing, live-baiting, and dead-baiting
  • A great price for a high-quality setup that will last a lifetime
  • A little on the pricey side for some people buying both rod and reel


This combo is the premium option on our list, and it serves well for all kinds of northern pike fishing from float fishing with dead baits, ledgering with live-baits, to spinning and drop-shotting with lures and jigs. If you are looking for the perfect setup for your pike fishing antics, then this is the one for you. Both the rod and reel are made from extremely high-quality materials and are crafted with premium construction techniques. Materials such as premium-grade cork (for the handle), SCII Graphite (in the rod structure), and Hard aluminum-oxide (in the line guides) have been used in the construction of the Triumph rod and it really shows when you hold this beauty in your hand.

The feeling of quality and precision you get when holding a rod and reel as good as these two is brilliant. When you have such a reliable and precise piece of engineering at your fingertips it allows you to home your skills down to ultimate accuracy and precision. This rod is capable of accurate casting and taming huge pike and the reel has a super-sensitive clutch for the best possible control during a fight, making this the perfect setup if you are targeting trophy-sized northern pike.

The Shimano Sahara Fi spinning reel is a powerful fishing reel that is extremely durable and versatile, which gives you the freedom to use this for float fishing, bait-fishing, and of course spinning for northern pike and musky. The clutch system is super-sensitive giving you excellent drag control at the tip of your fingers and the HGN gearing is extremely smooth, giving you great line retrieval and control when working a lure or spinner in the water. This Shimano spinning reel has a “G-Free” body that uses the reel’s weight to its advantage. The design has allowed the bulk weight of the reel to be shifted closer to the rod which makes for a more balanced set up that gives you more comfort and reduces fatigue during long days spinning.

The St. Croix Triumph Graphite pike and musky fishing rod is a beautifully crafted cork-handled rod that is versatile and durable enough to be used in all manner of pike fishing situations. It is built from premium graphite which gives high-performance in an amazingly lightweight package without breaking the bank. It features a premium-grade cork handle that gives you ultimate comfort during casting that once combined with the Shimano Sahara will give you great balance and grip. The Fuji DPS reel seat has a silver hood that screws down well on the reel mount, giving you ultimate stability without loosening over time. The line guides give allow butter-smooth line lay and casting through the aluminum-oxide, flex-coated guides that have been slow cured for minimum friction.

The St Croix Triumph fishing rod comes complete with a 5-year warranty that is backed by St. Croix Superstar Service and the Shimano Sahara Fi spinning reel comes with a 1-year warranty from Shimano. With the quality of this rod and reel and with a bit of care from yourself, you should never have to use these warranties, but it is always nice to have the peace of mind if something does go wrong.

Bottom Line

Overall, this rod and reel combo is the best of the best and is perfect for the angler that wants to target northern pike or musky in a range of different waters in a range of different ways. IF you are looking for that trophy catch this rod and reel will give you the confidence that once the time comes to land a monster you will have no problems.

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