Fishing with ultralight equipment is fun, challenging, and sometimes it’s your best bet for success. However, shopping for an ultralight rod can bring up some unexpected questions.
Light tackle is specialized. For most anglers, it’s one part of a larger gear collection, and many fishermen have more familiarity with conventional weight rods. If you’ve purchased a medium-heavy baitcasting rod for jig fishing and a sturdy spinning rod for topwater action, for example, you know about different types of fishing rods, but you may find that buying ultralight gear will take a little extra research.
We all like loading up with heavy-duty gear and targeting huge fish. Catching big fish is one of the most exciting things about the sport of fishing, but it’s not the only thing.
Sometimes it’s fun to down-size your gear. It can make fishing really enjoyable because even small fish will put a serious bend in a whippy ultralight rod, and lighter gear can make battling with feisty panfish considerably more challenging than when you just horse them in.
There are also a couple more practical reasons that people use ultralight gear. In some situations, it’s the only type of gear that will lead to success. When you’re targeting heavily pressured fish, it’s often necessary to switch to light line and small lures to attract a strike.
In another case, ultralight tackle is the only way to cast a lure that weighs almost nothing, and some fishing scenarios call for the lightest lures you can imagine. When you need to get a 1/32 oz spinner across a stream or into the middle of a pond, having an ultralight rod in your hand is one of the only ways to do it effectively.
Whether you’d like to level the playing field with smaller fish or you want to size down your presentation to attract stubborn fish, having an ultralight rod when you need one is a great idea.
That’s where this article can help. We’ll dig down into all the important details and give you the information you need to choose the right ultralight rod.
Let’s get started!
Top 7 Ultralight Spinning Rod Picks
This section contains our top picks—seven of the best ultralight spinning rods available. If you’re in the market for an ultra light rod, these reviews will steer you toward some very solid options.
1. OKUMA Celilo Ultralight Graphite Trout Rod (Best Overall Pick)
The OKUMA Celilo is a top-notch fishing rod at an affordable price. It’s made using an extremely sensitive graphite blank, a high-quality handle, and a sturdy stainless-steel reel seat, all of which gives you the solid feel you’ll want when battling fish on ultralight tackle. This rod’s aluminum oxide guide inserts are corrosion-resistant and slick to give you total line control. All rods in the OKUMA Celilo line are made with front and rear grips of premium cork, so they have the same look and feel as high-end rods.
For close quarters like tree-lined streams or ponds surrounded by brush, one of the shorter rods in the Celilo lineup, the 4 1/2′ or 5′ model, for example, may be ideal. If you want to have a little more room to work with or if you know you’ll be going after larger fish, the extra reach and control that comes from a longer rod may steer you towards the 6′ or 6 1/2′ model. No matter which length you choose, you’ll get awesome action and sensitivity at a great price when you chose an OKUMA Celilo ultralight trout fishing rod.CHECK BEST PRICE
2. Shakespeare Micro Ultralight Spinning Rod (Best Budget Pick)
Getting fishing gear that can handle lighter line and tiny lures doesn’t have to cost a lot. Our budget pick is the Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod. Coming from a company that has a well-earned reputation for manufacturing high-quality fishing rods, all the Micro Spinning Rods are made using the finest components. A strong graphite composite blank gives you the perfect blend of sensitivity and power. The premium cork handle incorporates a solid reel seat with cushioned hoods. This rod’s stainless-steel guides are durable and corrosion-resistant, while smooth stainless-steel inserts ensure your line shoots through with ease.
When you need to reach out over current in a fast-moving stream or steer a big fish away from trouble, having a longer rod in your hand can really help. The longest rod in the Micro Spinning Rod series measures 7 1/2′ in length, which can give you a lot of control, even with a bendy rod. A shorter rod may be a better choice if you will be fishing in areas where it’s hard to cast; in that case, the 4 1/2′ or 5′ model might be better for you.CHECK BEST PRICE
3. KastKing Perigee II Rod (Best Premium Pick)
If you’re OK with spending a little bit more on an ultralight rod, there are many great options, some costing hundreds of dollars. Our top pick for a premium ultralight spinning rod is the KastKing Perigee II, and it does not come with a three-digit price tag.
You’ll find amazing quality and craftsmanship in the whole line up of KastKing Perigee II Fishing Rods. A highly engineered carbon fiber blank produces an ideal action while giving the rod remarkable strength and sensitivity. The finest components are used in this rod’s construction, including premium Fuji O-Ring guides, a solid graphite reel seats, and high-density EVA grips.
You can choose from four rod lengths, including a compact 4 1/2′ model that can come in handy when there’s not a lot of room to cast, and a classic 6-footer that can help you in a huge variety of fishing situations.
A KastKing Perigee II costs only a little more than the other two ultralight rods we discussed here, but when you pick up one of these rods, you’ll understand that it’s a cut above many other midrange rods in terms of quality.CHECK BEST PRICE
4. Berkley Lightning Trout Rod
If you haven’t tried a Berkley rod before, I’ll have you know that you’re in for a treat with the Lightning Trout rod. This ultralight two-piece rod is outstanding when casting and it seems to handle quite a wide range of lure weights really well.
Created specifically with trout fishing in mind, the Berkley Lightning has durability and sensitivity as its two key factors. It features high-quality aluminum oxide inserts that prevent slippage which can sometimes happen with light lines.
The stainless steel guides and the 24 ton multi-modulus carbon blank ensures excellent strength – even in a 2-piece setup!
The rod is available in several lengths including 6’6″, 7′ and 7′ – all with ultra light or light power, ideal for dough baits.CHECK BEST PRICE
5. Fenwicks Eagle Spinning Rod
The Fenwicks Eagle is a very versatile spinning rod available in a wide range of sizes. While some models are larger in size and with medium heavy power, the EA56L-MS-2, 5’6″ rod version with ultra light power truly is one of the lightest spinning rods you’ll find. 3.7 lbs – that’s crazy!
Built with a burled cork handle and a solid yet sensible graphite blank, comfort and control is in the high seat with the Fenwick Eagle rod.
With SS304 chromium-plated inserts and stainless steel guides, you get a light solution which is only half the weight of aluminum-oxide guides.
Top all these goods off with piece of mind thanks to Fenwicks 5-year warranty on their Eagle rods. They back their products because they know they’ll last.CHECK BEST PRICE
6. Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod
The Ugly Stik Elite spinning rod is one of the most popular options out there. With a solid graphite and fiberglass combo blank that Ugly Stik describe as “virtually indescructible”, the foundation for greatness is laid.
The rod is available in a variety of different sizes with different power and action ratings and there are both 1-piece and 2-piece selections available, should you have a favorite.
Geared with lightweight one-piece stainless steel guides and the Ugly Stik Clear Tip design, you get excellent strength in a rod that’ll allow you to feel the slighest hooks.
All in all, the Ugly Stik Elite is a very versatile rod that can do just about any job, but the lightweight models are particularly good for responsiveness and fishing with light lures.CHECK BEST PRICE
7. St Croix Trout Freshwater Spinning Rod
Lastly we have the St. Croix trout freshwater spinning rod. It is the most expensive rod on this list but the quality follows.
The St Croix Trout spinning rod features what is arguably the most advanced blank on this list. It’s made from a carefully designed SCVI and SCII graphite blend, resulting in extreme strength, performance and durability.
Due to the use of a fortified resin system (a process in which the blank is baked in a computer-controlled oven to prevent micro buckling), this rod is measurably stronger than its competition.
Even though the strength is incredible, flexibility and sensitivity are also key factors that are present in this utlralight St Croix spinning rod.
If you’re willing to splurge a bit on your purchase, the St. Croix Trout freshwater rod is an excellent selection.CHECK BEST PRICE