I've been using Shimano GTE 10000s for just over a season, after replacing some of the aging Daiwas on the rods I use for float fishing deads and un-deads. They're not cheap, but some of the old 8010s I bought 10 years ago are still going, so I'd expect them to last for several seasons.
I always thought the 8010s were a little on the small side, especially using 65lbs braid. The 10000s have a bigger spool, as well as far better line lay than the older variants. The rollers are also larger, although the reel itself isn't much bigger or heavier - something to consider if you ever have to walk any distance with three or four tackled-up rods.
There were three or four different variations of these on offer when I forked out my hard-earned on the premium version. They felt much more solid than the entry-level models, which I guess have been brought in to compete with budget reels by the likes of Okuma.
Friends who've bought cheaper reels have found they can be false economy, giving up the ghost after a season or two. You know what you're getting with Shimano and it probably works out less in the long run.
While I often adjust the baitrunner to cope with wind or flow when float fishing, I never use the drag; preferring to fish with it screwed up tight and backwind if I have to give a fish some line when I'm playing it.
Some people don't get on with the double handles. I've never had a problem with them. I don't usually bother much with maintenance on my reels, but I always close the bail arms by hand after casting, rather than turning the handle, thinking this probably reduces wear on the mechanism.
It also means you can check the braid's going back onto the spool 'tight', which means you can more or less eliminate those dreaded tangles you get when a couple of looser coils come off the reel when you're casting.
So far, these reels haven't developed the clunky spool wobble the older models seemed to get after a few seasons' use. For most pike fishing situations, they aren't far off being the ideal reel.
++UPDATED April 2013... The reels are still going strong after more than two seasons, despite an almost complete lack of maintenance or TLC on my part. The bail arm rollers are still working, despite being out in all weathers, dropped in the mud and - in one case - dunked in a lake.
The free-spool mechanism still retains a wide range of tensions without sticking, despite all of the above. On days when you've got wind or flow to contend with when float fishing with the rod tips up - most of the time on the drains and rivers - I could adjust the tension to just enough required to hold on all but the worst days, when everywhere was hammering through.
Looking around last winter, I noticed most people I fished with or bumped into out and about now use Shimanos of differing vintages for their bait fishing - mostly the 10,000-size. Some fold the handles down when they band the rods at the end of the day, or put them in a quiver to move swim or to a different water.
I thought this would make the handles go 'wobbly' after a while, but I'm assured it doesn't.
Despite the fact I don't fold the handles down on mine, I haven't managed to bend one despite the inevitable bash or two getting stuff in and out of the car.
+++Click here for a review of the other reels I use.