Happy 2019 all. Looking for a combo that can cover walleye, pike and musky.
Any suggestions would be great. Would like to stay under $250. Prefer spinning but would consider bait cast.
If your budget is $250...
Get two set ups.
One for waleyes/pike.
The other for musky.
I have great combos I can sell yah for that entry level musky gear. Can get you a great rod/reel for about $120. That would leave $130 for a walleye/pike rod.
I can get together an Okuma 8.5 foot telescoping rod. XH, but it runs a little light. Great rod can throw most baits except for big rubber. Great bucktail/topwater rod and decent for glides. I can pair it with an Abu 6500C4 reel. Or...I can upgrade the reel for additional cost. Shimano 400B.
If you get into muskies, you will want true musky gear. So I'd go the route of two combos with that budget.
This is a difficult combo for both walleyes and musky. Here is a possibility. I prefer spinning reels over bait casters to fish for muskie. I own both.. Unless I am throwing very heavy lures I stick with a spinning reel with 30 lb braided line and homemade 80 lb floroucarbon leaders. I use a larger spinning reel and my favorite is the pflueger president. It costs about $60. I also use a good st.croix medium heavy rod. These cost about #120. So, for about $200 you have a good rod and reel.
For muskies, I mainly use bucktails. I have heard that 90 percent of muskies are caught on bucktails. Most muskies are between 28 and 32 inches. On this rig you might have difficulty with fish over 40 but I have caught several in the 40 inch range with no problem.
For walleyes on the same rig, it would be great if you had an extra spool and could simply change it. Otherwise, I would simply put an 8 lb mono leader at the end of my braided line and fish it that way for walleye.
Not a perfect system but it works.
If you are truly serious about targeting muskies the smallest line you would want to use is 65#. Anything less than that and you’re asking for trouble. Mine are spooled with a minimum of 80#. Those baits are heavy and build up quite a bit of speed during a cast. When they change direction moving from your back cast to your forward cast you create a good amount of stress on your line and it can break. I’ve snapped freshly spooled 65# super braids with some baits. That’s when I stepped up to 80# and up.
As others have stated that's not a one rod situation. Some guys would be pressed for 3 rods for each situation. You don't mention how you intend to fish each, which makes a big difference. If I was in your situation, I would spend $100-$150 on a ML walleye spinning rod and reel that can be used for a variety of fishing. I would then wait until I had at least $200 for a baitcasting muskie/pike rod and reel in 1-4oz or 2-6 oz.
The key to getting the most for your money is to not pay full price. Watch for major sales, Cabelas at times has very good sales. Also Academy, American Fishing, Amazon, the list goes on. Particularly with musky gear you can find it used in good condition. Craigslist, ebay, fb marketplace are good starts. If you find a particular model google shopping is your friend.
If you go with the "ideal" rod for all circumstances, realistically it could be a rod that isn't very good at anything. Start by buying quality gear that will be right for what you intend to use and only have to buy once.
I agree with the others, its nearly impossible to get 1 combo to fish those 3 species. Kind of like trying to find one rifle to squirrel/deer/bear hunt your either way over gunned or under gunned. If you went with a baitcasting setup you could probably get by with 1 reel and then a walleye rod and pike/musky rod. Spoil it with 40lb test braid and use fluro or mono leader when walleye fishing.
If you truly want to stay with one pole for all three, which I think is a compromise for best function, you could use a medium heavy 7 foot bait caster with quality reel. A little too heavy for walleye jigging, but could be used for trolling. About right for pike, but on the light side for muskie. Saying that, many muskie are caught by bass fisherman with that same set-up.
I feel if you want to really enjoy all three species of fish, save a few more bucks and get 3 separate rigs. I realize that doesn't fit the just of your question but why buy one set up and not enjoy the designed functions of poles designed for different species.
Other thoughts about combo rigs. A rig that is light and too small for a larger species will cause the fight to last longer and over stress the fish. This could lead to higher fish mortality if you try to release them. A rig that is too large and stiff for smaller fish will make it more difficult to detect the bite and result in you catching less and lead to frustration.
If you needed to combo part of your request I would combo the pike/muskie rig. For walleye, a quality medium/light 6.6 to 7 foot with 2000 to 3000 size reel is a pleasure to use.
Good luck in your search for a combo that fits all three. If you discover one report back and let us know what you have found.