My simple answer: You definitely should be using a baitcaster for pike fishing!
There are a few reasons why you would want to use a baitcaster:
1. You are throwing heavy or big baits or your baits are creating a lot of resistance in the water.
- Spinning reels cannot throw heavy baits well and you will destroy them doing so. Hence why everyone uses baitcasters for musky fishing.
2. You want better control and sensitivity with you baits.
- Combined with braid, baitcasters give you excellent feel for what your lure is doing in the water (ie. hitting structure)
3. You want to fish jerk baits.
- If you want to throw a husky jerk (or other jerkbaits) properly, you need a baitcaster. Simple as that.
So when it comes to pike fishing, baitcasters make sense since you are typically throwing 1) bigger lures, 2) jerk baits, and 3) often fishing in and around structure.
My choice for an all-around great baitcaster (best bang for your buck) is the Shimano Chronarch 200 series (E6 or E7). You can pick it up on kijiji for ~$150 in very good shape. Once you start getting into musky or big pike, I would go with the Shimano Curado 300 series.
For a rod, I would go with 7' foot, medium-heavy, and fast action. Find something that you like. A lighter rod will make a lot of difference on the water. The mojo bass rods are pretty cheap and get the job done.