Last Updated on June 21, 2021 by Donnell Henderson
In this article, you’ll learn about the best ultralight spinning reels and the features that make them so great.
Are you one of those fishermen who are looking to downsize their gear and get into ultralight fishing? Yeah, sometimes it’s not about catching that big fish, right? There is great satisfaction to be had in the steady stream of bites from smaller fish over waiting endlessly for a nibble from Moby Dick.
The gear you’ll need ultralight fishing are just your basic rod, line, and reel — except that they’re, well, ultralight versions of them. For reels, anything under 8 ounces would be considered ultralight.
Keep reading and I’ll help you pick out the best of the lot so you’ll have a shortlist from which you can choose the one that suits your preferences.
My Top Pick
If you’re in a hurry, the SHIMANO Sedona Fi is my first choice. The ultralight spinning reel is designed with awesome features and the latest technology that every angler would want to have.
- Our Best Ultralight Spinning Reel Reviews
- 1. SHIMANO Sedona Fi — Best Ultralight Spinning Reel
- 2. Daiwa D-Spin Ultralight Spinning Fishing Reel — Runner Up
- 3. Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel
- 4. Abu Garcia Revo Premier Spinning Reel
- 5. Okuma Epixor XT Lightweight
- 6. Ugly Stik GX2 Fishing Rod and Spinning Reel Combo
- 7. KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel
- 8. Okuma Avenger ABF Graphite Bait Feeder Spinning Reel
- 9. Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 4000 XG FB Spinning Fishing Reel
- How to Pick a Great Spinning Reel
- Final Thoughts
Our Best Ultralight Spinning Reel Reviews
In this post we will reveal our thoughts and opinions about the following products:
- SHIMANO Sedona Fi — Best Ultralight Spinning Reel
- Daiwa D-Spin Ultralight Spinning Fishing Reel — Runner Up
- Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel
- Abu Garcia Revo Premier Spinning Reel
- Okuma Epixor XT Lightweight
- Ugly Stik GX2 Fishing Rod and Spinning Reel Combo
- KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel
- Okuma Avenger ABF Graphite Bait Feeder Spinning Reel
- Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 4000 XG FB Spinning Fishing Reel
1. SHIMANO Sedona Fi — Best Ultralight Spinning Reel
The first ultralight spinning reel on our list is SHIMANO Sedona Fi, a masterpiece designed with some of the best features in its category. The spinning reel is based on Shimano’s belief that fishing is not simply about getting the fish out of the water but a source of enjoyment. True to their word, the Sedona Fi feels very firm on the hand and easy to use.
This spinning reel is designed with cold-forged HAGANE that helps to make casting and drawing the line smooth. Besides, the reel also features 3+1 ball bearings that make drawing the line easy while its G-Free Body shifts the center of gravity closer to the water to enhance your balance.
Another outstanding issue about Shimano Sedona Fi is the high gear ratio of 5.0:1, which makes retrieving your fish pretty fast. The reel also packs an awesome seven-pound of drag power that pairs with HAGANE gearing to reduce the risk of losing your catch. With these notable features, Shimano Sedona Fi stands out as one of the best reels for amateur and pro anglers who want to make their fishing excursion spectacular.
- Weight: 7.6 oz
- Gear ratio: 5.0:1
- Line retrieve: 26 in
- Made with cold-forged HAGANE gears for better performance
- Sturdy and durable construction
- Uses double-anodized machine cut spools for higher line capacity
- Delivers longer casting distance using its Propulsion Line Management System
- The reel lacks an anti-reverse switch
2. Daiwa D-Spin Ultralight Spinning Fishing Reel — Runner Up
Weighing only 5.9 ounces, this D-Spin from the Daiwa is one of the lightest fishing reels you will get on the market today. Like SHIMANO, Daiwa has put a lot of effort into research and developed feature-rich fishing gears, such as this spinning fishing reel.
Since Daiwa designed the reel with the main focus on lightness and quality, we found it a great option for anglers targeting small fish. Although it packs a maximum power drag of only 4.4 pounds, most occasional anglers and amateurs find it a perfect option for their excursions.
Another outstanding feature of the lightweight fishing reel is its high-performance Digigear that rocks a gear ratio of 4.9:1. Although retrieving fish might be slow because of the ratio, it is more powerful. Furthermore, the spinning reel is available for both right-handed and left-handed people.
- Weight: 5.9 oz
- Material: Composite
- Gear: Digigear Digital Gear Design
- Available for both right-handed and left-handed people
- Designed with a long line capacity of 190 yards
- Composite construction and small bearing drive makes the spinning reel ultra-light
- Digigear Digital gear makes the reel powerful and durable
- Smooth ball bearing drive
- Sold affordably
- Easy to use
- Not effective when targeting large fish
The Pflueger President PRESSP30X is one of the fishing reels that are very popular on the market today. This is mainly contributed by the fact that the spinning fishing reel offers a lot of great features. Besides, if aesthetics is a priority when selecting fishing reels, this ultralight fishing reel will be an awesome find.
The spinning fishing reel is designed with nine ball bearings and one roller bearing to enhance its performance. The bearing system makes it easy for the spinning reel to move smoothly when casting and retrieving the line. Another awesome thing about these bearings is that they are designed from stainless steel, meaning that they are very strong and corrosion-resistant.
The body of the fishing reel is designed with graphite, which helps in two ways, making it light and corrosion-resistant. This is why this reel has become a great option for saltwater fishing.
Although lightweight, Pflueger President PRESSP30X reel packs a maximum drag power of six-pound. We also found its gear ratio of 5.2:1 very effective even when retrieving a stubborn fish out of the water. To cap it all, this fishing reel is available for both right-handed and left-handed anglers.
- Weight: 8.3 oz
- Material: Graphite body and stainless steel bearings
- Maximum drag: 10 lbs
- Available for both right-handed and left-handed anglers
- Designed stainless steel bearings and graphite body for better resistance to corrosion
- Strong and durable
- Easy to use
- Less durable compared to our top pick
Mention Abu Garcia to anglers, and most of them will tell you that it is one of the best brands in the fishing gear niche. One of the most revered products from Abu Garcia is this Revo Premier spinning reel. It has a lightweight construction, so you can enjoy fishing with it the entire day and take home a large catch.
The fishing reel is constructed using an IM-C6 frame that makes it rigid, strong, and lightweight. Indeed, it weighs only 7.5 ounces, meaning that you can fish for a long time without fatigue. The reel is also very easy to use, even for new fishing enthusiasts.
With its Carbon Matrix System, the spinning reel delivers up to ten pounds of drag power. When it combines this with a gear ratio of 6.2:1 and stainless steel bearing, you are sure of enjoying smooth casting and retrieval. Furthermore, the reel uses an Amgearing System for additional smoothness when retrieving the line and durability.
- Weight: 7.5 oz
- Material: Stainless steel and carbon
- Gear ratio: 6.2:1
- Uses computer-optimized gear design for a more efficient gear system
- Designed with a carbon matrix drag system for consistent drag pressure
- Uses Rocket pool lip design™ for better line control
- Lightweight construction
- Durable construction
Most lightweight fishing reels are designed for anglers targeting small fish, but some models, such as this Epixor XT Lightweight from Okuma, can hunt the big ones. The Epixor XT is part of the next generation of Okuma’s long-standing family of spinning reels. We were particularly impressed by the ergonomic design of the spinning reel because it makes it possible to fish without getting tired.
One of the most notable features of the spinning reel is the aluminum spool that works with stainless steel bearings. Furthermore, the reel comes with a graphite rotor and side plates that make it light but strong.
The spinning reel comes with a slow oscillation system that provides a superior line lay when retrieving the line. Besides, it uses Torsion Control Armor (TCA) and an anti-reverse bearing design that increases the efficiency when retrieving fish. This means that you can enjoy increased strength to retrieve fish and reduces the risk of frame twisting.
- Bearing: 7BB+1RB Stainless Steel bearing
- Body and rotor: Corrosion-resistant graphite
- Gear ratio: 5.0:1
- Stylish and bold design
- Uses torsion control armor to increase strength and reduce the risk of frame twisting
- Designed with slow oscillation system and cyclonic flow rotor
- A great option for both pros and novice anglers
- Available in different sizes
- Easy to use
- Not ideal for saltwater fishing
Are you new to fishing or want to go for your first fishing expedition but do not know where to start? Well, look no further than this Ugly Stik GX2. Unlike most spinning reels that are sold separately, this one combines both the reel and rod. In addition to helping you make some significant savings because of the combination, the reel is very attractive and easy to use.
The rod is designed using fiberglass and graphite that makes it light and sturdy for fishing applications. Furthermore, it is available in several lengths, giving you greater flexibility to select the preferred option.
The guides used on the lightweight fishing reel are made of stainless steel to prevent corrosion and for longevity. The reel has three ball bearings set to make casting and line retrieval smooth. Furthermore, the reel is equipped with an anti-reverse bearing that helps to secure the hook and prevent the baited fish from getting away.
- Material: Aluminum, graphite, fiberglass, and stainless steel
- Number of gears: Four
- Gear ratio: 5.2:1
- Uses a machined aluminum spool for smooth line management
- Lightweight EVA grip for better line control when casting and retrieving
- Sold together with the fishing rod
- Strong and easy to use
- Some new users indicate that the knob feels hard when new
The KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel is another popular fishing reel mainly recommended for anglers targeting small fish. However, KastKing designed the spinning reel with some great features that make it a great option even for professional anglers targeting larger fish.
The spool of the reel is made from CNC-machined aluminum and also comes with additional grooves for lube retention. To make it stronger, KastKing designed the shaft and bearing with stainless steel. Even with these high-quality materials, the spinning fishing reel is very light.
Another feature that makes this fishing reel stand out is its great line capacity that makes it possible to fish in deep waters. To increase casting and line retrieval efficiency, the fishing reel uses a Shark Fin Braid Ready aluminum spool that does not need a backing line when spooling. This makes using this fishing line pretty easy and satisfying, whether fishing for fun or targeting a huge catch.
- Maximum drag: 39.5-pound
- Material: Graphite, aluminum, and stainless steel
- Gear ratio: 5.2:1
- Good for both freshwater and saltwater fishing
- Shark Fin Braid Ready aluminum spool eliminated the need to use a backing line
- Suitable for both new and experienced anglers
- Uses a KastKing Intrusion Shield System (KISS) to keep dirt and water from the spool and rotor
- Strong and durable
- Noisy when reeling large fish
Okuma makes our list again with this Avenger ABF Graphite Bait Feeder Spinning Reel, which has become very popular with seasoned anglers. The fishing reel is designed to allow anglers to easily disengage the spinning reel spool so that the bait runs freely and only engages once the fish has taken it. We found the spinning reel a great option, especially for anglers targeting trout and catfish.
One of the most notable features of this reel is the On/Off auto trip system. Once you have cast the line, the reel allows you to disengage the secondary drag for better bait control. To disengage the system, you only need to use the On/Off lever at the back of the fishing reel. Although some people find it hard to use at first, it becomes pretty easy and enjoyable with time.
The Avenger ABF reel is designed with a corrosion-resistant graphite rotor, side plates, and frame that helps to make it light yet strong enough to pull out your catch. Also, it uses Okuma’s CFR: Cyclonic Flow Rotor technology that keeps water from the internal parts. This helps to increase the fishing reel’s efficiency and reduces the risk of corroding metallic parts.
- Drag: 6-20 pounds
- Material: Corrosion resistant graphite
- Bearing: 6BB + 1RB
- Uses a rigid metallic handle to reduce flex
- Designed with a corrosion-resistant body, rotor, and side plates
- Comes with a 2-drag system for better bait management and line control
- Requires some time to understand how it works
The last piece on our list of the top lightweight spinning reels is this Stradic Ci4+ 4000 XG FB Reel from Shimano. The spinning reel is designed with features that make it efficient and elegant. Therefore, if you are looking for a way to combine style and functionality, this might be one of the best options.
The spinning reel uses Shimano’s latest technology while building on the previous advances. It comes with X-ship technology and double bearing gears that make retrieval smooth even when handling the maximum load. The X-ship technology also reduces friction between the spool and gear to help increase the durability of the gearing.
To enhance your fishing performance and make the excursion more enjoyable, the Stradic Ci4+ 4000 XG FB Spinning Fishing Reel has two additional features — a built-in Dyna-balanced rotor and a Fluidrive II system — which make casting the line and pulling out the hard-fighting fish easy.
- Drag power: 7-pounds
- Line retrieve: 31-inch
- Weight: 7.2 oz
- Gear ratio: 6.0:1
- Designed using the latest Shimano technology
- Hagane gearing and Hagane body make the reel strong and effective
- Smooth casting and retrieval
- X-technology helps to improve gear durability
- Shimano’s propulsion line management system makes casing and retrieval smooth and durable
How to Pick a Great Spinning Reel
After reading our reviews of the leading ultralight spinning reels, you might still be wondering how you’ll pick the right one. To help you with the question, here is our comprehensive guide that lists the most important things that you need to consider.
Why Ultralight Spinning Reel?
As the name suggests, these reels are superlight, and anglers use them to cast weights to lure and catch fish. The main advantage of using these spinning reels is to reduce the weight that you have to hold on your hand at any moment when you go out fishing. This implies that it is pretty easy to fish for an extended period without tiring your hands.
Another advantage of using an ultralight spinning reel is that they make it easy to target small fish using light lures and baits. Particularly, you will find them very effective when it is impossible to use heavy rods. This is why most hikers or occasional anglers find the ultralight spinning reels a great option when going on fishing excursions.
Things to Consider when Buying Ultralight Spinning Reel
To select the right ultralight spinning reel, it is paramount to consider its features that determine performance and durability. So, here are some of the most important features to consider:
The size of the line and spool are very important when deciding the type of ultralight spinning reel to buy. Notably, this capacity is dependent on where you will be fishing and the fish of interest.
If you will be fishing in deep waters and target large fish, you should go for the fishing reel with a bigger line and spool capacity. However, a standard line capacity should be okay if you only target small fish close to the river bank.
As the name “ultralight” suggests, these reels are very light. But because you might find some sellers tagging models “ultralight” even when they are not very light, the rule of the thumb is to go for those that are no heavier than ten pounds.
Good reels should be designed with quality materials for strength and durability. Because we are talking about ultralight spinning reels, some good materials to consider are graphite and aluminum. Other materials that you should consider are stainless steel and hardened carbon.
Remember that if you will be fishing in salt waters, the materials you select should be corrosion resistant.
When a fish is caught on one end of the line, it starts a fierce battle to try and free itself. If the fish is large, the pressure can be quite substantial as you try to reel it out of the water. This is why you should only go for the ultralight spinning reels that come with strong and ergonomic handles.
Notably, a lot of fishing gear companies have joined the industry and are releasing hundreds of products to optimize profits from the growing demand with little focus on quality. To pick the right spinning reel, you should consider only buying from the manufacturers that have made a name for designing top-rated and high-quality products.
So, make sure to do some research, digging into the mission and vision of the brands that make the fishing reels of interest. Some great brands that you should consider are Pflueger, Abu Garcia, Daiwa, and Shimano.
Having the right fishing reel is the first step in making your fishing trip successful. As we have demonstrated in this post, an ultralight spinning reel makes it easy for you to fish for longer and enjoy every moment. The ultralight fishing reels that we brought out in this post have impressive features, are designed by the top brands, and you can count on them to get high-value for money.
Although we stand with the nine ultralight spinning reel options that we reviewed in this post (they are outstanding in every way), the SHIMANO Sedona Fi stood out from the pack. In addition to being super light, the spinning reel is strong and comes with excellent features.