Best Rod And Reel Combos For Northern Pike Fishing – 2021 Buyer’s Guide

| Last Updated June 13, 2021

Weighing up to 63 pounds in size, Northern Pike are trophy fish that are super fun to hunt and are a huge achievement to catch.

Targeting these monsters isn’t easy, but having the right gear can make all the difference.

This article will lay out some of the best rod and reel combos for Northern Pike. 

Comparison of the Best Rod And Reel Combos For Northern Pike Fishing

  • 20-size spinning reel for longer casting with 1 ball bearing
  • Ported aluminum spool for lightweight and extra durability
  • EVA handle for comfy grip and twist-lock reel seat for stability
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  • Durable and lightweight graphite construction with carbon fiber drag system
  • Marine-grade bronze alloy main gear works in all water conditions
  • Level wind trolling reel for big game fish and instant anti-reverse bearings
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  • Durable glass rod core and comfortable EVA grip handle
  • Pre spooled with 6-lb line with a capacity up to 135 yards
  • Inexpensive pricing and changeable left/right-hand retrieve
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  • High-quality reel and spinning rod combo for overall fishing
  • Available in one and two-piece variants with different weight capacity
  • Features an aesthetically pleasing teal color grip
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  • Graphite body and rotor for lightweight and durability
  • Sealed drag system with corrosion-resistant ball bearings
  • Braid ready spool delivers smooth casting/retrieval and better control
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What Type of Rod and Reel is Ideal For Northern Pike?

When looking to introduce a new rod/reel combo to your collection specifically geared towards hunting Northern Pike, you’ll want to seek out several qualities. Although there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to fishing these tough fighters, there are definitely some features that can assist you in the pursuit. 


Ideally, your rod will be a fairly versatile length that allows for long, smooth casts, but also provides the control for more advanced fishing techniques. Somewhere around eight to nine feet would be the ideal standard for a Northern Pike-specific rod.


Your action choice will truly depend on your angling style, but for general fishing with a lure, fast-action is a good route to steer down. This will allow you to hook quickly and effectively without much resistance. Pike thrash and fight quite a bit, so speed is key.


There’s a wide range of power levels to choose from but when it comes to fishing for Northern Pike, medium-heavy is the way to go. This will provide the sturdiness and backbone needed to pull in a big fish without compromising the overall sensitivity of the combo. 

Characteristics of Our Favorite Models

When putting together our list of the best of the best, we factored in several aspects, ranging from budget to special features. Some of the qualities our favorites have in common include the following:


When it comes to a combo, it’s incredibly important to find a set-up that is well-balanced on both ends. The great balance will result in reliable casting and retrieval and will contribute to a great hand feel overall. An unbalanced combo can limit an angler’s control and general performance. 

Quality Drag System Incorporated Into the Reel

A great reel is just as important, if not more important than a quality rod. An easy tell of a high-quality reel is to see how its drag system functions. An excellent drag will provide smooth control and a good amount of stopping power. 

Smooth And Long Casts

Having a combo with the ability to cast smooth-as-butter, mile-long casts can be a huge advantage for Northern Pike fishing. For this, a rod must be of an adequate length and the reel must be of high-quality crafting standards. 

Review of the Best Rod And Reel Combos For Northern Pike

We took the time to put together a list of some of the greatest picks for Northern Pike fishing in in a variety of categories. Check it out! 

Best Overall:
Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2

Shakespeare LUSGXICE26LCBO Ugly Stik GX2 Ladies Ice Combo, 26-Feet, Light


  • Cool design
  • Strong yet sensitive
  • Quality construction
  • Top of the line materials
  • Durable stainless steel guides


  • A little too stiff
  • Handle is a little short
  • Uncomfortable on the wrists

What Recent Buyers Report

UglyStik is a well-known company in the angling world and many of those who went for this combo had owned an UglyStik in the past. Buyers had many great things to say about the rod, praising the high-quality construction and materials. The main complaint among buyers is that it’s not a comfortable rod to use for lengthy fishing trips— the short handle can be hard on the wrists and hands.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We couldn’t resist awarding this GX2 combo our first place spot. It emulates the saying, “simple but effective.” It is obvious that Shakespeare and UglyStik took time and effort in constructing the design of this combo and it shines through in performance. The graphite and fiberglass composite is a construction great for a variety of angling.

Who Will Use This Most

The GX2 line is a good pick for more advanced anglers who are planning on hunting the trophies among trophies of Northern Pike. While the rod is fairly sensitive, it really shines in terms of sheer power. It’s great for catching the big boys.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the UglyStick GX2 is an ultra-reliable rod we would recommend to any angler in the world. It’s a no-frills design that leans on strength and durability to make catches. This is a great pick for anglers looking to step up their game.

PENN Squall Level Wind Reel & Rod Fishing Combo

PENN Squall 30 Level Wind Fishing Rod and Trolling Reel Combo, 6.5 Feet


  • Smooth retrieval
  • Sizable line capacity
  • High-power capabilities
  • Versatile design and action
  • Made with high-quality materials


  • Uncomfortable handle design
  • The drag system is difficult to adjust
  • Rod is a little too stiff for some tastes

What Recent Buyers Report

Those who purchased the Penn Squall Level Wind Combo were, for the most part, really satisfied with its performance as a saltwater and freshwater powerhouse. Several anglers praised the combo’s ability to pull in large fish with ease and complimented the sizable line capacity. A persistent complaint had to do with the design of the handle.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Alongside the multitude of fishing combos on the market, this Squall combo stands out for its power and durability. It is clear that the company took time to create a thoughtfully-crafted design and the materials used in construction are awesome. Anglers don’t have to worry about this rod snapping in the fight with a giant Northern Pike

Who Will Use This Most

This combo from Penn is a great option for Northern Pike anglers who need a little versatility— perhaps they like spending time ocean fishing, too. With the combination of an advanced drag system and a powerful backbone, both the rod and reel are suitable for reeling in fish like Northern Pike but also large ocean fish.

Bottom Line

Overall, the Squall line from Penn is a choice that will provide consistent reliability for any angler, freshwater or not, looking to step up their fishing game. From the sizable line capacity to durable rod construction, this is a combo that can pack a punch in the fight with a large fish.

Best for the Money:
Zebco Dock Demon Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo

Zebco Dock Demon Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo


  • Durable and sturdy
  • Very attractive finish
  • Holds quite a bit of line
  • Great value for the price
  • Very compact and lightweight


  • Reel isn’t great
  • A little too short
  • Pre-spooled line is not great quality

What Recent Buyers Report

Those who purchased the Zebco Dock Demon Combo were very happy with the price and several aspects of the setup and not so happy with others. Buyers enjoyed the design, commenting that it was durable and lightweight. Many anglers thought the reel could use a serious upgrade, identifying the fact that the rod is of a much higher quality than the reel.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Dock Demon earns a place on our list because we really appreciate the value of this combo. Despite the below-average reel, this is a pretty sturdy setup and the rod can definitely take a beating. The lightweight nature of the design is also a pro in its favor, making it a good rod for travel or kids.

Who Will Use This Most

Although this probably wouldn’t be the best fit for expert anglers, for those on a pretty strict budget who want to learn more about spinning rods, this is a great training combo. It’s also an awesome setup for kids who may not treat their gear as nicely as it should be treated.

Bottom Line

Although this combo has kind of a dud reel, it should not be overlooked as an option for anglers looking to hone in some spinning rod skills on a slim budget. This pick is durable and has an attractive finish that will stand out on the water.

4. Penn Pursuit II & III Spinning Fishing Reel & Rod Combo

Penn Fierce III LE Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo


  • Smooth operation
  • Reasonably priced
  • Consistent performance
  • High-quality drag system
  • Good for beginners and advanced anglers alike


  • No anti-reverse
  • Some noise when reeling
  • Hard to get line to spool evenly

What Recent Buyers Report

Anglers who went for the Penn Pursuit combos were happy with many parts of the rod and reel. Many were particularly happy with the smoothness of the drag as well as the buttery casting abilities in conjuncture with the lengthy rod. There were several complaints, however, about the lack of an anti-reverse switch.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Penn is another excellent company that is highly-regarded within the world of angling. We believe the Pursuit reels make a great addition to our list because they have high-quality standards at a reasonable price. The value is exceptional overall and shines through in the quality-made construction and reliable performance.

Who Will Use This Most

Although the Pursuit combos aren’t our budget pick, these are a great option for anglers looking for luxury, quality performance at a very reasonable price. These combos are easy to use, feel well-balanced and smooth in the hand, and offer great features at a fairly low price.

Bottom Line

For anglers of all skill sets looking for a great Northern Pike combo to add to their collection, the Pursuit line from Penn is an awesome option. Along with great construction, they are known for being consistent and reliable, a must-have in the angling world.

5. Pflueger PRESSP President Spinning Combo Fishing Reel Rod

Pflueger President Spinning


  • Well-balanced
  • Very responsive rod
  • Great value for combo
  • Durable and can handle big fish
  • Super-smooth casting and retrieval


  • Handle is a little long
  • Could use better guides
  • Reel’s line capacity is pretty small

What Recent Buyers Report

Many buyers of the President Rod from Pflueger were pleasantly surprised with this little powerhouse’s performance. Many wrote that despite the rod’s super lightweight feel, it is durable and powerful enough to pull in sizable fish. Some users wished the reel had a larger line capacity, though.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It wouldn’t be right to leave out the President combo from Pflueger on our favorites list for a couple of reasons. First, for being a very lightweight rod, it offers a surprising amount of power. The backbone of this rod is durable and the reel also provides exceptional performance.

Who Will Use This Most

This rod is pretty versatile, which makes it a great choice for anglers who want a combo that can handle fish of all shapes and sizes This rod is also saltwater-resistant, so anglers who spend time at the beach don’t have to worry about switching between freshwater and ocean fishing.

Bottom Line

Besides a minor issue with line capacity in the reel, this combo is an incredible option for anglers seeking out combos that are lightweight and comfortable to use all day. Both the rod and reel provide equally exceptional performance and are pretty durable, too.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying

There are always considerations to make before jumping into a purchase, especially one that will be a larger commitment, like a rod and reel combo. Before making your final decision, consider some of the following:

Casting Versus Spinning Rods

Although both are great tools for angling, spinning rods are obviously much easier to use than casting rods. This shouldn’t deter you from purchasing a casting rod, however, because when they are mastered, they can provide excellent control. It comes down to the time you’d like to spend in the learning stages. 

Bait Choice

Believe it or not, your preference of bait might play a role in what kind of rod you’d like to get. Some heavier bait requires a little more backbone to throw and vice versa. You may want to cater your rod choice to it. 

Boat or Shore? 

The length of your rod matters more if you need to achieve super long casts, an essential for shore fishing. If you plan to be fishing from a boat, you can probably get away with going for a shorter rod, whereas bank fishermen will need something lengthy to achieve the casts needed to target Northern Pike. 


Fishing for Northern Pike is a fun way to challenge your existing angling skills and gain new ones. Now that you have the tools to pick out an awesome rod and reel combo, you’re on your way to your next catch. Happy fishing! 

My name is Jeff and I have been hunting and fishing for over 40 years. I am an avid archery lover, bass fisherman, and all-around outdoorsman. Currently, I'm obsessed with elk hunting but I'm sure I'll move onto a different favorite soon. You gotta love hunting for that reason :) If you have any questions, or just want chat about your latest hunting score or big catch, you can reach me at Read more about Big Game Logic.