October 5, 2022

The 13 Fishing Radioactive Pickle

The “Radioactive” What??

One of the most innovative fishing tackle manufacturers, 13 Fishing, has rolled out another ice fishing product whose name is as eccentric as its function is revolutionary – The Radioactive Pickle! No, this isn’t a preserved cucumber from Chernobyl, it’s an ice fishing rod and reel combo unlike any other, both in appearance and performance.


The most obvious feature of the Radioactive Pickle is the color. The radiant neon green color almost begs for sunglasses. If you’ve ever ice fished in low light conditions, nighttime, or a dark hut, you’ll understand function in its color. And you will catch more fish when you can both feel and see the bite. Let’s get past the color and examine the unique features of this amazing new ice rod and reel combination.

The rod tapers to a flat tip that is both strong and sensitive for improved strike detection. The 27-inch ultra light model has 6 premium ALPS thin-wire guides, including the tip, plus a hook keeper. It also features a high density Japanese Split-Grip Tennessee Handle, much like your favorite open water bass rod might have. The store displays have zip ties to fasten the reel to the rod, but the manufacturer’s design is to use the provided rubber grommets to slip on the handle to secure the reel to the rod handle. This requires a special tool (not included). I much prefer the simplicity and feel of using electrical tape to attach the reel to the rod.

The Free Fall Ghost Reel is equally beneficial, eliminating many ice fishing annoyances. The first is line twist. Line twist won’t happen with the in-line design. This will give the most natural presentation to your bait. There will be no more helicoptering of your lure.


The oversized handle makes cranking the reel with cold or gloved hands easier. The star drag is also easy to access and makes for easy adjustment instantly, should you hook in to some unexpected monster. The free-fall drop lever is conveniently positioned at the top of the reel and rests right below where your index finger lays when gripping the handle. Depress the lever and the lightest of jigs will drop through the water column. Release the lever and it instantly stops. This feature enables you to stop the fall of your bait if you mark fish on your electronics or to set the hook if you get a strike from a fish on the drop. There is a small dial on the side of the reel to adjust the drop speed to the weight of your bait. I tested this feature on the lightest of my jig collection and was amazed at how easily and smoothly the lure drops.


Other features of this reel are its high strength composite frame, a 2.5:1 gear ratio, 3 plus 1 ball bearings and a tangle-free spool cap. The tolerances between the spool and the frame are tight which greatly reduce the chance of your line getting caught on the internal mechanisms of the reel. The line capacity will vary with the type and strength of line you choose. I loaded about 40 yards of Hi-Vis Gold 6-pound Stren line to which I tie a 3 to 4 foot fluorocarbon leader.

The Radioactive Pickle is available in ultra-light and light actions and 25 or 27-inch lengths. Retrieves are left-hand (assuming you hold the rod in your right hand) and one model is available in right-hand retrieve. Together, this rod and reel combo balances perfectly in your hand and seems like an extension of your arm. If you are a serious ice fisherman looking for the ultimate in performance with innovative yet practical features, look no further than the 13 Fishing Radioactive Pickle Ice Combo.

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John Scherrer

Erie, PA John is a freelance writer and a life-long Erie resident who has fished across North America. Fly fishing, light spinning tackle, and ice fishing are his preferred methods to fish his home waters of Lake Erie.

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