APA008: Buying my first pike rod and reel

Alan Hobson sent this question to me on facebook:

What advice can you give me on buying my first rod and reel? I will be fishing mainly rivers using paternostered dead baits. I visited Walkers of Trowell and viewed a 2.75 lb test curve, 12ft Fox Royale Predator Rod priced at £70 and a Fox Eos 10000 priced at £50.

Thanks for the question Alan. There is plenty of choice in the rod and reel markets. In general, the more you pay the better the quality of fishing tackle. That said, you don’t have to pay a lot to get a good rod and reel that will last many years. Your budget is more than enough for a first rod and reel.

Pike Rods

I have fished the river you mentioned in your question (name omitted). It is one of the larger and more powerful rivers in the UK.

You will need a powerful rod and I would recommend looking at rods with a test curve of 2.75 to 3 pounds. I’m sure a 2.75lb rod will be strong enough but, given a choice, I would go for the extra strength of a three pounder. You certainly don’t want to go below 2.75lb.

Having said that I doubt that many people would notice the difference between 2.75 and 3 pound in most of their fishing, but it could make a big difference when taming a pike in a strong current.

Pike rods need to be strong enough to control a large fish, yet soft enough to cast large baits. They also need to be forgiving enough not to pull the hooks out of a pike’s mouth when playing the fish at close range. For these reasons a good pike rod will have a mid to through action. Do not buy a carp rod with all its power in the tip (also called a fast taper).

What does this mean? Put simply, where does the rod bend? A rod with a through action will bend almost from the handle. You can feel the rod bending in your hands. Rods with a fast taper bend towards the tip. They are good for casting carp rigs into the distance.

Twelve foot is the right length of pike rod for dead baiting on rivers. You need the length to be able to pick up the line quickly in the strong flowing water. The length will also help you to reach over bank side vegetation.

I haven’t used the Fox Royale Predator rod that you mention, but I do own some very good Fox gear including a lure rod, bite alarms, and lots more. Based on my experiences I would have no doubt a Fox pike rod will be up to the job.

    Here are a couple more pike rods you should consider:

  • Wychwood Agitator 12ft 3lb (The Tackle Shop – Gainsborough) – These are recommended by plenty of anglers I know
  • Shakespeare Sigma 12ft 3lb (Amazon affiliate link) – I use one of the Shakespeare Quadra carp rods which is a previous version of the Sigma with a nice through action and plenty of power

Here is link to an Anglers Mail review of 12 foot pike rods from a couple of years ago that might be of interest.

Pike Reels

I couldn’t imagine using anything other than a baitrunner reel for piking. It’s not that I fish with the baitrunner on all of the time, but you will need it when fishing on a powerful river as the current will just pull the line out of your clip if you fish with an open bail arm.

The baitrunner also comes in so handy when setting up the rod and after netting a fish. The line can peel off and get in the way when messing around with an open bail arm.

I have used Shimano and Daiwa baitrunner reels for a number of years with no problems. The Shimano’s stand out as the better quality, with a nicer line lay and a smoother feel.

Thanks for the question and good luck with the river piking.

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