Any angler knows that pike fishing is not for the faint of heart. And if surely does not help when you go pike fishing with a temperamental reel that can fail you at any moment.
On behalf of all three of us (Mike, Tom, and yours truly Thomas), I can confidently say that pike fishing is one of our favorite pastimes. and we have come to realize that the reel you choose plays a big part in your success.
Best Baitcasting Reel for Northern Pike
That is why, thanks to our experience and knowledge, we can bring you this updated list of the best baitcasting reels for pike.
A quick overview:
- Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C4 Round Baitcast Reel – Winner
- Abu Garcia Revo SX – Runner up
- Abu Garcia Revo X – Also good!
Keep reading for a more detailed review!
Other related blog post:
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- How to find top baitcaster reels under $100
- Testing and analyzing baitcaster reels under $200
- Best saltwater baitcasting reels for harsh conditions
Abu Garcia C4 Ambassadeur Round Reel – Heavy duty!
Abu Garcia’s Ambassadeur C4 is our top pick for pike fishing because of its rugged build and everyday workhorse reputation. A reel that works so well for the big boys is perfect for the most aggressive pike you’re likely to find.
The C4 is an improvement on the slightly cheaper C3 reel, with four bearings (hence the name) to make its operation smoother. It also features all the Abu Garcia advanced components that make for a strong sturdy reel that will last for many years.
This reel makes use of Abu Garcia’s Duragear system, which consists of extra-strong brass gears. The two gears are closely meshed to keep wear at a minimum while retaining powerful retrieval capabilities thanks to a 6.3:1 ratio that results in 30″ of line retrieved with every turn of the crank.
For braking, you have a 6-pin centrifugal braking system that gives consistent braking throughout your cast. The pins exert more pressure at higher spin speed and loosen up at lower speeds, thus giving you more control without compromising on casting distance.
The cast control is paired with a synchronized level wind system that controls how the line is wound upon retrieval. It helps to ensure uniform winding, and both these systems mean that there is less possibility of creating an annoying bird’s nest.
For drag, the Ambassadeur C4 has a Carbon Matrix system that ensures more pressure on the line and more control over how you fight your fish. It has a maximum drag setting of 15 pounds, which is perfect for warriorlike quarry like pike.
You should note that the C4 is a full range consisting of five variants, each with different specifications. The difference lies in the size, line capacity, and pricing.
|C4-4600||Right hand||160yd/12lb mono, 155yd/30lb braided|
|C4-5600||Right hand||240yd/12lb mono, 235yd/30lb braided|
|C4-5601||Left hand||240yd/12 mono, 230yd/30lb braided|
|C4-6600||Right hand||320yd/12lb mono, 310yd/30lb braided|
|C4-6601||Left hand||320yd/12lb mono, 310yd/30lb braided|
Features and Specifications
- Round reel design.
- Line capacity – depends on the model.
- Gear ratio: 6.3:1 with 30 inches of retrieve for one turn.
- 4+1 stainless steel bearing configuration.
- Carbon Matrix drag system.
- Compact bent handle and star for drag adjustment.
- 6-pin centrifugal braking system.
- Level wind system synchronized for line inlay and castability.
- Duragear system with high strength brass gears.
- Maximum drag capacity: 15 pounds.
- Smooth operation.
- High drag capacity.
- Durable and corrosion-resistant construction.
- Level wind minimizes the risk of backlash.
- The rigid casing prevents gear misalignment and protects the interior against shock.
- Reasonable pricing for the value.
The Abu Garcia C4 Ambassadeur are great muskie and pike fishing reels thanks to their sturdy construction and durability. You can get one in your line capacity and retrieve your orientation of choice.
Plus, I love that the pricing is very pocket-friendly. Just order one here on Amazon and be on your way to the next pike fishing destination.
Ps. – The Abu Garcia C4 is currently on sale at Bass Pro Shops – Check out the best price here!
Abu Garcia Revo SX – Best overall
The 4th Generation Abu Garcia Revo SX is a rich man’s reel in hermit clothing. What I mean is, it is one of those reels that so outperforms its price range; you wonder why it doesn’t cost more.
Mike is an Abu Garcia fan, and he says that what he loves best about them is the castability and value for money. I have not found fault in this argument yet. Being a Shimano fan myself, I find the Swiss-made Revo SX to be a temptation hard to resist.
Firstly, as mentioned, castability. The Revo SX surprised me by casting weightless lures 70ft and above, even outperforming some $400 reels we tried. It has a velvet-smooth operation, and even in mid-throw, it wasn’t finicky or unsure.
The reel features nine stainless steel ball bearings and one roller bearing of the same material. This is probably the reason why it is so smooth.
Another instant favorite is the spool braking system. Abu Garcia uses its proprietary Infini dual braking system. It is a combination of a centrifugal and magnetic brake, both of which allow for a wide range of adjustments.
While the Infiniti system has a slight learning curve, you can cast any type of bait when you get the hang of it.
It also has the DuraGear brass gearing system, which is far more robust and more durable than other generations. The spool features the unique Infini design that contributes to the strength and rigidity of the whole reel. It has proven to handle extreme strain very well so far.
If you’re ready for another shocker, hear this: It has an insane 24 pounds of maximum drag pressure! I just love this fact. When going for the aggressive pike, I can just relax and let the drag do all the hard work for me.
This is the advantage of the Power Stack Carbon Matrix drag system, and I also found it to be smooth and consistent.
Features and Specifications
- Infini dual braking system, a centrifugal/magnetic adjustment combo.
- Power Stack Carbon Matrix drag system with a max drag capacity of 24lbs.
- X2-Cräftic alloy frame.
- Extended 90mm handle.
- Ten stainless steel ball bearings.
- Strengthened brass Duragear system.
- C6 carbon side plates.
- 6.6:1 gear ratio which retrieves 27” of line per crank.
- Line capacity: 175/10, 145/12 or 100/15 mono, 190/20, 140/30, or 100/50 braided line.
- Retrieve: Right
- Weight: 8 ounces/226.7g.
- Dimensions: 7 x 5 x 3 inches.
- Super heavy-duty construction.
- Powerful drag system.
- Great castability.
- Durable construction.
- Top-notch dual braking system.
- Impressive line capacity.
- During fast retrieve, the worm gear protrusion can get uncomfortable.
You can tell that I was on the whole very impressed by the Revo SX, which cannot be said for previous Revo generations. I found it to be a low profile, lightweight, unassuming baitcaster that performs like a tank.
You can get yours here on Amazon and see why we are all so enamored with it.
Ps. – The Abu Garcia Revo SX is currently on sale at Bass Pro Shops. You can get the best deal by clicking here!
As the most affordable bait caster of the amazing Revo series, the Abu Garcia Revo X offers the best value for money if your budget is on the lower side. It comes in a variety of configurations, including high speed, left hand retrieve, and wide spool.
No matter the configuration you choose, the Revo X from Abu gives the best performance you can get for under $100. It may not be silky-smooth as its pricier cousins, but it is perfect for day-to-day pike fishing thanks to sturdy and robust construction.
It features an X2 Craftic alloy frame, same as the Revo MGX, which makes it extremely lightweight and strong. It also makes the reel highly resistant to corrosion and rust.
Braking is provided by an entry-level MagTrax magnetic braking system that offers enough adjustment options. However, I realized that due to how free-spinning the spool is, you will need to take the time to set it just right.
Drag is provided by a hybrid carbon system, which technology is quite new and unproven. In my case, I found the 18-pound maximum pressure system responsive and up to any task.
It also carries the Duragear D2 oversized gears present in other offerings from Abu Garcia. They help to make it as powerful in retrieve as it is, although some people would dearly love to see the end of those ugly gearboxes (I included).
One model nicknamed the Revo X Winch with a 5.4:1 ratio, especially appealed to me due to its retrieve power. You can order your preference in gear ratio, retrieve configuration, and line capacity.
Features and Specifications
- X2 Craftic alloy frame.
- MagTrax magnetic braking system.
- Carbon/aluminum/synthetic washers drag system with a maximum of 18 pounds of drag pressure.
- Available in a variety of gear ratios and spool design.
- Oversized D2 Duragear system.
- Matt-black powder paint finish.
- Rubberized knobs
- Extra-long 90mm handle.
- Excellent castability.
- Smooth retrieve.
- Different configurations are available for customized specs.
- Powerful retrieve.
- Great value for your money.
- The braking system is not the best, although it is quite good for the price tag.
You don’t have to spend hundreds to get a decent bait caster. Abu Garcia has given as much as they dare to this little marvel, and I think that it has the best quality of any <$100 reel. If such is your budget, go on and get it here on Amazon or for just $79 at Bass Pro Shop! You won’t regret it.
Interested in a good pike rod?
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Pike are pike, and not many compare with them as far as aggressive and fighting spirit are concerned. As apex predators, they aren’t hard to bait but are a nightmare to land. In our experience, having one of these excellent baitcasting reels for pike will give you the edge you need to get them.
Niels Thomas is a wildlife expert and fishing fanatic that works with major fishing brands like Deeper Sonar, Abu Garcia, Berkley, PENN, BassPro and Pure Fishing. Through sharing the best fishing tips, tricks, gear reviews, locations and much more he hopes to inspire fishing fanatics to start their own journey towards becoming the King of the Catch!