These rods are incredibly popular, and with technology improving, the market has more and more to offer. Lightweight pieces are ideal for adventurers and people who enjoy fishing on the go.
If you’re an adventurous angler, you’re probably looking to pack as little as possible whenever you’re going fishing. All your gear should be lightweight for you to enjoy fishing to the fullest.
Spinning rods that are too heavy can make the process a bit troublesome if you’re a hiker and adventurer.
In the article below, we included some of the best Ultralight spinning rods. Continue reading as we discuss their features and specifications as well as pros and cons. We’ve also included a Buyer’s Guide with some valuable info on what you should consider when buying such a spinning rod.
Why Choose an Ultralight Rod?
If you ask anyone who’s ever tried fishing with an ultralight, they’ll tell you it’s great fun. On the other hand, many people avoid them because professionals don’t use such rods. However, fishing is their job, and they’re usually not trying to have that much fun anyway. If you are, you should consider an ultralight rod.
As the name suggests, these are lightweight. For this reason, you shouldn’t expect to handle any heavy and big fish with them. You can catch a wide range of different fish with such a pole.
These set-ups have lightweight components such as light tackle-rod, lure, reel, and line. Imagine catching smallmouth using a medium pole and 8-pound line. It doesn’t sound like much fun because it’s not. Instead, try the same thing but on an ultralight with 4-pound test. You’d certainly have far more fun.
The truth is that there’s nothing better for a light strike than an ultralight rod. It provides more sensitivity and feel than its heavier counterparts. If you’re into light lures and lines, you’ll love these poles.
They bend well and provide somewhat more cushion to your line. These rods also assist the drag and help prevent failures and complications.
Some people might find such a rod a bit too delicate, but it’s still strong enough to handle some big bass and walleye.
The best way to figure out if an ultralight rod is for you is to give it a try. It’s hard to describe the experience and performance it provides, so we suggest you give it a shot to see for yourself.
Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Fishing Rod
Best for Beginners
Okuma Celilo Graphite Lightweight Rod
Best by Budget
Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod
Our Top 7 Best Light Action Spinning Rods Reviewed
- Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod
- OKUMA Celilo Graphite Lightweight Rod
- Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod
- Fenwicks Eagle Spinning Rods
- Eagle Claw Featherlight Spinning Rod
- St Croix Panfish Series Spinning Rods
- KastKing Calamus Ultra-Light Spinning Rod
Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod
This Elite spinning rod has 35% more graphite than other Ugly Stik products. As such, it provides higher strength and enhanced feel at all times.
It has a blank construction that’s virtually impossible to destroy due to the combination of fiberglass and graphite. For this reason, the rod is quite versatile and suitable for all kinds of fishing styles.
Elite features the Clear Tip design that adds responsiveness and some more strength to the overall design. On top of that, it comes with cork handles for more comfort, especially if you’re on a fishing trip that might last a long time.
It also comes with one-piece Ugly Tuff stainless steel guides and pop-outs inserts for easier use with all types of line.
- Lightweight construction
- Durable and resistant materials
- Comfortable cork handles
- Lacks some sensitivity
OKUMA Celilo Graphite Lightweight Rod
Celilo rod is made of high-quality materials that allow durability, resistance, and just enough of sturdiness and flexibility. It’s made of graphite, stainless steel, and cork.
The graphite blank construction is strong, but it’s also sensitive enough to let you feel even the slightest bite. It’s tested for quality and reliability to deliver the impressive performance in different water bodies.
It comes with resistant aluminum oxide guide inserts. These are compatible with all lines since they allow smooth performance at all times. This is also one of the reasons why you might see professionals opt for the rod.
Another quite impressive thing is its stainless steel hooded reel seat. It’s resistant and strong, so it keeps the reel in place even during shock and vibration. It also has rear and fore cork grips for enhanced feel and better control.
- Compatible with all lines
- Enhanced sensitivity
- Quality grips
- Could be stiffer in the bottom half
Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod
There’s a reason why this is called a Micro spinning rod, and that’s mainly due to its lightness and flexibility.
The rod is made of graphite composite and acts as an ultralight spinning pole. It’s an ideal piece for beginners who are just getting into fishing smaller fish in different waters.
It features full cork handles that provide good grip even when the rod is wet. This helps you have better control over the pole, especially at times when there’s fish hooked at the other end.
The conventional reel seat is durable and easy to use. It comes with cushioned hoods for enhanced smoothness since they’re compatible with most line types. On top of that, it also features stainless steel guides with inserts made of the same material.
- Good grip
- Durable construction
- Ideal for beginners
- The tip might move in the wind
Fenwicks Eagle Spinning Rods
This one is made of graphite and is among the most durable choices on the market. It’s tested for resistance and quality so you can expect longevity from its construction.
It has B2 Burled cork design that looks much like traditional cork, but it’s more resistant to chipping and typical signs of wear. These provide an excellent grip and enhanced control over the pole at all times.
Another thing worth mentioning is the combination of stainless steel components. Its guides and inserts are made from the material, so they make the rod compatible with different lines. These are lightweight, corrosion-resistant, and strong.
It’s a versatile piece that has enough sensitivity but also the backbone to tackle different fish with ease. This makes the pole ideal for beginners and everyone who’s looking for simple handling.
- Suitable for beginners
- Resistant handle
- Made of graphite and stainless steel
- The tip isn’t as resistant
Eagle Claw Featherlight Spinning Rod
If you’re looking for quick response in a more traditional rod, you might want to consider this Eagle Claw model. It’s a two-piece that measures 6’ and has ultra-light power.
It’s made of fiberglass, so the overall feel is enhanced for you to notice even the smallest bite. The construction also provides forgiveness, which is essential for beginners and recreational anglers.
It features cork handles for comfort and excellent grip at all times. It’s a sure grip while the design matches the rest of the pole. Similarly, other components add to the overall attractive appearance of this Eagle Claw model.
This one has five guides, plus the tip for more sensitivity. It’s suitable for 2-6 line pieces.
- Resistant handle
- Durable fiberglass construction
- Enhanced responsiveness
- A bit too slow for some species
St Croix Panfish Series Spinning Rods
All the rods in the Panfish series are made of premium-quality SCII graphite along with high-strain SCVI graphite. This gives the construction optimal weight, balance, and sensitivity.
This one is designed to perform in all bodies of water and specifically for bluegill, crappie and other panfish. For this reason, it’s suitable for beginners since it’s relatively easy to use and allows you to feel even the smallest bite.
The rod features Pac Bay Minima guides that save up to 20-30% of weight than what you’d get with ceramic guides. This also enhances the sensitivity of the entire pole. It also features Pac Bay Minima reel seat along with a custom insert for better control.
Its cork handle helps with the overall grip and control, especially in wet and slippery conditions.
- Quite sensitive
- Quality components
- Great for beginners
- Could be stiffer
KastKing Calamus Ultra-Light Spinning Rod
This is considered among the lightest rods available. It’s ultrathin and ultralight, so it’s ideal for trout, panfish, crappie, smallmouth bass, and other such species.
It’s IM7 graphite blank with a strain rate of 650K. It has premium components such as titanium guide frames and rings along with 2-piece graphite reel seats.
Another thing worth mentioning is its EVA handle that’s comfortable and helps with the overall ease of use. It’s quite resistant so it won’t show any signs of wear as quickly. EVA foam wraps the handle as well as split fighting butt, so there’s an ideal combination of comfort and balance.
It’s a two-piece that’s 6’0’’ long and great for on-the-go fishing. It’s simple to travel with, and its enhanced sensitivity helps beginners feel the bite much easier.
- Weighs only 2.5 ounces
- Easy to travel with
- Quality components
- Might be too sensitive for some
Features To Consider
Action describes where will the rod bend under load. Fast-action rods are stiff throughout the body, bending only near the tip. On the other hand, the slow-action rod bends near the handle and reel seat. It curves for most of its length.
Ultralight rods usually feature moderate action. Such a rod offers a tip that’s sensitive and bends quickly. Still, if it’s quality-made, it has strength in the blank that will prevent it from bending all the way.
If an ultralight is built as fast-action, it will bend beyond the tip but still have enough control allowing you to tackle even some larger fish.
A moderate-action ultralight bends and extends along its entire length. It doesn’t provide as much control, but it has impressive shock absorption.
Power is essentially the force of the rod. Along with action, power can tell you a lot about how the pole will perform.
When it comes to an ultralight model, its power is also ultra-light, which means that it will probably bend under slight load. Even if you opt for the fast action model, you’ll feel even the smallest fish. Keep in mind that ultra-light power doesn’t mean that the rod is weak.
In most cases, ultralight poles are around 7 feet in length. Anything longer than that comes at the cost of accuracy, so it’s recommended you stay at around 7ft.
As always, with a long rod, you could cast further away, but you shouldn’t expect the cast to be as precise. On the other hand, short rods are spot-on accurate though they cannot cast as far.
Those that are ultralight are also somewhat short. Their reels cannot hold as much line either. As such, they can’t cast that far but expect them to be accurate.
If you’re looking for maximum distance, you should opt for a rod that’s close to 7ft. Long length and stiff backbone is an ideal combination to look for if you want more distance.
Because these rods are so thin and lightweight, they can only handle tiny lures and light lines. Look for a line weight of two to six pounds and lure size from 1/64 of an ounce.
Light line is quite tricky to manufacture since friction can destroy those rather quickly. For this reason, ultralight rods must have quality guides.
The key here is to try and minimize friction as much as possible. Even if the fish you’re targeting is small and lightweight, you’ll use it more than once due to friction.
Even some of the heaviest lines break due to heat, so you can only imagine how a lighter line would react. For this reason, make sure to pay attention if the guides on the rod are well-made.
Nowadays, we come across a variety of materials such as graphite, carbon fiber, and fiberglass. Some rods have composite construction where you have more than just one material providing strength and backbone.
- Graphite – this material is ultra-light, stiff, and strong. Its high stiffness makes it quite sensitive as well. Such rods are highly durable.
- Fiberglass – it’s heavier than graphite but also a bit more affordable. In most cases, it’s not as sensitive and stiff, but it’s strong. It’s among the best choices if you’re fishing for crappie.
- Carbon fiber – this material is the stiffest among them all. It’s the lightest and strongest but also the most expensive.
Choosing a handle is up to you since comfort if very much about preference. There are several materials to choose here though cork and EVA foam are the most popular. Cork is warm and gives the rod an attractive look. Still, it’s not as resistant. EVA foam is extremely durable, soft, and cool to the touch.
What Are Ultralight Reels Used For?
These are primarily made for crappie, trout, panfish, and other such small game fish. With these rods and reels, you won’t be able to target such heavy fish, but rather small ones. Larger species might come across, but this gear is more suitable for tiny fish.
With these reels, you should use 2-lb test mono and whatever up to 6 lb mono. Using a thick and heavy line with a light lure won’t result in an impressive cast. Instead, you should use something lighter.
This goes as far as you want and you can stop it any time. Still, casting small baits is fun, but losing them due to a thin line is annoying and troublesome. To avoid it, you can use your favorite lure with a 15-lb test braid.
This is something you can experiment with to some extent. If you’re a new angler, have some fun and try things until you find what works the best for you.
What Are Ultralight Reels Made Of?
The best models are made of lightweight aluminum, fiberglass, and graphite. The reel has to be built well and completely sealed to keep the freshwater and saltwater from soaking and corroding the inner gears.
Keep in mind that the ball bearings should be stainless steel. The housing should be sealed, so the ball bearings are protected from dirt and sand.
The spool should have a gripping surface. It would allow a braided fishing line without the backing of monofilament. Its drag system has to have high levels of adjustment along with high carbon content steel shaft.
All gears meant for durability and strength should also be made of quality materials. Only those that are quality-made can prevent a snapped line and lost fish.
Final Thoughts for Best Ultralight Spinning Rods
Ultralight rods have many benefits and are fun to use. They’re ideal for beginners and everyone who wants to catch fish for fun.
These models can be a bit tricky to understand because they’re flexible and sensitive. However, if you give them a chance, you’ll have the best experience with lots of different lines, lures and fish species.
If you’re struggling to find the best one for you, we suggest you consider the Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod. It’s among the best choices thanks to its quality components and the perfect balance of sensitivity and backbone.
Still, consider the important factors we’ve discussed in our Buyer’s Guide. Ultimately, it’s up to you to choose, so make sure to think about all the most critical features and specifications.
The ultralight rods we’ve reviewed above are the best that the market has to offer. Each is a good choice, so just pick the one that would suit you the best.