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Always run UL, L, ML, or at very heaviest M-weight spinning gear.

I’ve gotten into pike fishing more where bigger, heavier baits are the norm so considering trying out a MH or even H baitcasting set up.

Anyone have suggestions as to reels that are </=$150 and beginner friendly?

Is there a go-to classic that’s a good value with a lot of parts around for repairs?

Any features to look for?

Any features to stay clear of?

Thanks in advance,

Efw

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I've always been a spin fisherman as well so when I ventured into baitcasters the first thing I had to ponder was, which side of the reel do you want to crank?

For some reason spinning gear is usually left hand crank and baitcasters are right which doesn't work for me....

A Shimano Curado has been all I need but I'm sure an upgrade would be nice.

I'm sure there's good reasons for right or left crank too but old habits die hard...

Good luck with your search!


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If I were doing it all over, I would just buy a LH baitcaster. No switching hands and more familiar like my spinning rods.

As for good ones, Lew's is a great place to start. Guide told me those are the only ones his clients don't manage to kill after a season or two.

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Shop around and try to find a Shimano Calcutta. For pike I think the little 200/250 Calcutta would be about perfect. I don't think they make it anymore however. eBay maybe. You'll get many many years of use out of it. I keep one on a MH Muskie rod for small bucktails, topwaters and twitch baits.


In the price range you mentioned; I'd probably just look at one of the ABU Garcia reels. A C3 would probably handle about all you need a bait caster to do for a northern.

I prefer round reels over Low Profiles.

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I too like a bait caster for Pike. I cast with both hands with a casting rod as the baits are big and one handed with a spinning because the baits are small and easily controlled. I use a right crank casting real and a left crank spinning, my right hand is much more controllable/dexterous and it is easier to thumb the spool for me with my right and both hands are on the rod anyway..

To tell the truth I would have to look at my rod to tell you the name of the reel, I usually buy from Amazon and buy by the features I like best, number of bearings, ease of maintenance and customer reviews. I still have a couple of Plueger Supremes from the 70's on musky rods that still work but we've come a long way since then.

Last edited by erich; 08/12/22.

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No pike around here, plenty of pikers though

Just me, I don't think one could go wrong with
one of the old fashioned Garcia Ambassadors
that have been used for many decades.
Most use the same basic parts that the decades
old models use, so I don't think that would be a
problem. There's big bass and catfish and drum
and gar and stripers in these lakes and rivers
here that can wreck a lesser reel. I've used the
ones I've had for everything including light salt.
The Ambassadors can be had at most any
pawn shop and yard sale and the ones I've
bought like that just needed a good douche
and oiling.
The old Lew's Speed spool reels are great if
you find any, but I don't know about the parts
situation
Good Luck

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Another vote for Abu Garcia, great to learn on and very durable.

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One vote for Daiwa Saltist, although I have more than a few Abu Garcia reels, the Daiwa's are my favs.


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I’d comment only on the rod. I’ve found for pike medium heavy is an excellent choice. 6’6” or preferably a 7’ fast action model will throw a lure well and also be a great length for trolling.
Heavy action is a bit much.

Osky


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Originally Posted by colodog
I've always been a spin fisherman as well so when I ventured into baitcasters the first thing I had to ponder was, which side of the reel do you want to crank?

For some reason spinning gear is usually left hand crank and baitcasters are right which doesn't work for me....

A Shimano Curado has been all I need but I'm sure an upgrade would be nice.

I'm sure there's good reasons for right or left crank too but old habits die hard...

Good luck with your search!

I had the same issue and bought a left handed Shimano Curado


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I have found a right hand retrieve reel is better for a long day casting, something about switching hands after the the cast helps with fatigue.
I fish for pike a lot and could land the biggest pike in the lake on a small reel, pike are powerful but the runs are short.
My go to is a Calcutta 50 I bought from Japan.
I would highly recommend one of the new small low profile lightweight casting reels with a magnetic brake, easier to learn on than a centrifugal brake.
I own a dozen Abu Garcia round bait casters and they have become trolling reels... technology has left them behind


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Only Shimano for me and try to stick to the higher end…. If you can get up to 190-200 you could get a Curado 200K which is a good solid rebuildable reel.

There are quite a few different models of curado…. 70,150,200,300….. had to do with spool size/line capacity.

I prefer the higher end because they can be serviced easily and rebuilt….. most of the stuff below 150$ is kind of a use and throw away product…. My reels will last for years and years with maintenance.

I take mine every 2 years and throw them in a flat rate box and send them to a guy who does a complete tear down and deep clean…. Replaces any worn parts for like 20$ each….. money well spent.

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Sorry…. I missed the Pike part of it…. In that case I would go with a Shimano Tranx in the 300 or 400 size…. (FYI 301 and 401) are the left handed models…. Super strong reels meant for throwing bigger baits but still a low profile/lighter weight reel.

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Used Shimano Curado and Chronarch 201 reels for the last twenty years fishing salmon and steelhead in the rivers. Fished for pike withe them too over the years.

Setting up a new king salmon rod with a Tranx 201HG. Came in the mail yesterday. Put 30lb braid on it and took it to the river... I am loving it so far.

I think the 200/201 is a great size for pike and had no issues casting large/heavy baits. Personally, I would not go bigger than the 300/301.

What pound line do you intend to run? Braid or Mono?


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Originally Posted by haverluk
Used Shimano Curado and Chronarch 201 reels for the last twenty years fishing salmon and steelhead in the rivers. Fished for pike withe them too over the years.

Setting up a new king salmon rod with a Tranx 201HG. Came in the mail yesterday. Put 30lb braid on it and took it to the river... I am loving it so far.

I think the 200/201 is a great size for pike and had no issues casting large/heavy baits. Personally, I would not go bigger than the 300/301.

What pound line do you intend to run? Braid or Mono?

I use the tranx for my heavy lure pike rod. like it

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Originally Posted by irfubar
I have found a right hand retrieve reel is better for a long day casting, something about switching hands after the the cast helps with fatigue.
I fish for pike a lot and could land the biggest pike in the lake on a small reel, pike are powerful but the runs are short.
My go to is a Calcutta 50 I bought from Japan.
I would highly recommend one of the new small low profile lightweight casting reels with a magnetic brake, easier to learn on than a centrifugal brake.
I own a dozen Abu Garcia round bait casters and they have become trolling reels... technology has left them behind

agreed. My two biggest pike came on my walleye rods on 8 lb plus many more over 36 inches. Two to three runs then they're done. Biggest mistake people make is the first time you get them to the boat and reel in too much line and they make an explosive run again.

Heading over to Noxon in a few weeks for pike

Last edited by ribka; 08/26/22.
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Originally Posted by ribka
Originally Posted by irfubar
I have found a right hand retrieve reel is better for a long day casting, something about switching hands after the the cast helps with fatigue.
I fish for pike a lot and could land the biggest pike in the lake on a small reel, pike are powerful but the runs are short.
My go to is a Calcutta 50 I bought from Japan.
I would highly recommend one of the new small low profile lightweight casting reels with a magnetic brake, easier to learn on than a centrifugal brake.
I own a dozen Abu Garcia round bait casters and they have become trolling reels... technology has left them behind

agreed. My two biggest pike came on my walleye rods on 8 lb plus many more over 36 inches. Two to three runs then they're done. Biggest mistake people make is the first time you get them to the boat and reel in too much line and they make an explosive run again.

Heading over to Noxon in a few weeks for pike

Be sure to try a white spinner bait with a chrome willow leaf blade at Noxon.... wink


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I would buy a Curado K.

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Thanks everybody. I’ve got a couple Curado Ks in my watch list on EBay that look to be pretty good deals and well within my budget. Thinking I’ll upgrade if I do well with it.

For rods to go with my first reel, I’m between this TFO:

https://www.amazon.com/TFO-TFD-Fish-Casting-Rods/dp/B01N2YPUQO/ref=mp_s_a_1_21?c=ts&keywords=Fishing+Rods&qid=1660790288&refinements=p_89%3ATFO&s=hunting-fishing&sr=1-21&ts_id=3409871

And the 1-piece 7’ MH-fast here:

https://www.amazon.com/St-Croix-Rods-Triumph-TCR60MF/dp/B08KGW5DR4/ref=mp_s_a_1_7?keywords=st%2Bcroix%2Brods&qid=1661774857&sr=8-7&th=1&psc=1

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