Best Ultralight Spinning Rod | Light Fishing Rods

Even if you’re a seasoned angler, every now and then, you’re not looking for your next trophy—you’re hitting the water just for the excitement of it. If you’re looking to find a little of that excitement fishing for smaller fish like bass, crappie, trout or perch, you might want to give an ultra-light fishing pole a try.

Of course, once you decide to give an ultra-light setup a go, you’ll quickly discover that the market is crowded with ultra-light spinning rods. Many of them are a subpar at best, while a select few are well-made. It’s not rare to end up with a rod that will probably snap as soon as it hooks its first fish.

If you want to steer of clear of those, but don’t want to sift through hundreds of reviews, you’re in luck, you’ll find some of the best ultralight spinning rods on the market right here.

 

 

Our Top Pick

If you’re short on time and don’t have time to stick with me to the end, I’d highly recommend St. Croix’s Triumph spinning rod, which without a doubt, is the finest ultra-light spinning rod in the market today. If you can swallow the steep price tag, this rod will impress. I’ve reviewed it first below.

 

 

The Best Ultralight Spinning Rod 2019 Reviewed

St Croix Triumph Spinning Rod

St. Croix’s rods easily outmatch their competition by a mile and even give some other premium models – such as Fenwick—a run for their money. It isn’t an exaggeration to say that this rod is the best ultralight spinning rod on the planet, at least at the time of this writing.

 

Key Features

  • Graphite construction with a 6’ length
  • Aluminum oxide guides
  • FUJI DPS reel seat
  • Excellent slow-cure finish
  • Line rating of up to 6 lbs.

 

What I like about this product

It has premium mid-modulus graphite SCII construction which offers great strain. The guides are aluminum oxide and feature black frames. You can expect exceptional performance from this rod, and it delivers.

The actions and tapers are fine-tuned and well balanced. The combination of sensitivity, strength, and power is matchless, and regardless of the offering size, the casting is perfect. The handle is high-quality cork with enough length for a comfortable grip for any size of hands.

In so many words, this model offers everything you could ask of a fine quality ultralight rod. If you’re not concerned about the price tag, the quality and performance of this rod are very tough to beat.

 

What I don’t like about this product

It doesn’t feature split handles, and if that’s what you’re looking for, my next pick, the Fenwick rod on this list, might interest you.

 

 

Pros

  • Outstanding sensitivity and strength
  • Perfect casting
  • Five-year manufacturer’s warranty
  • Top of the line handles and guides

 

Cons

  • Steep price

 

If you’re looking for the best ultralight spinning rod on the market that will last you decade without breaking, you can’t really go wrong with this purchase.

 

Overall Rating – 4.9/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Fenwick Elite Tech River Runner Spinning Rod

Fenwick’s rods are synonymous with premium quality. This rod is probably one of the most expensive ones in our roundup, but if you’re willing to pay top dollar, this rod can easily go toe-to-toe with any of its competitors.

 

Key Features

  • Graphite blank
  • Available in 5’6” to 8’ lengths
  • Titanium guide frames
  • Split-cork spinning handle

 

What I like about this product

With its high modulus graphite blank, fast and balanced action, solid all-weather cork grip, split handle, feather-weight titanium guides, and a one-of-a-kind hidden handle design for maximum comfort, this fine rod is worth every penny.

The right mixture of backbone, action, and rod length lets you flawlessly haul trout, panfish, small walleye, bass, and bluegill. It’s as strong as they come and casts perfectly, so no complaint there.

 

What I don’t like about this product

This rod doesn’t have any noticeable flaws except maybe the fact that it comes with a high price tag.

 

Pros

  • World-class build quality
  • Extremely lightweight and comfortable
  • Unbreakable and light guides
  • Excellent handles which provide great grip

 

Cons

  • Pricey

 

If you’re searching for impeccable build quality, a weatherproof rod, and functionality that won’t disappoint, this fine rod fits the bill.

 

Overall Rating – 4.9/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

DAIWA Spinmatic Spinning Rod, Ultra-Light

If you’re on the hunt for a rod built to take some punishment from the weather, the Spinmatic Ultralight spinning rod from Daiwa should be an attractive option for you. It’s supposed to be weatherproof which mostly means the cork handle will provide you with a secure grip, whether you’re fishing in a cloudburst or a drizzle.

 

Key Features

  • Ultralight with 4 to 7’ of length
  • Graphite blank
  • Cork handles
  • Nine aluminum oxide guides
  • Fuji reel seat for holding any ultralight spool

 

What I like about this product

While it’s weatherproofing might be it’s selling point, this rod has plenty more to offer. The guides are aluminum oxide and meant to be cut-free, which means your line won’t get frayed or break because of grooves forming inside the guides.

The reel seat is Genuine Fuji, which will securely clamp your ultralight reel. Finally, the blank is graphite, the action is fast, and it has backbone to spare – or as some like to call it, power – while retaining sensitivity. In plain English, you will be able to feel even the tiniest of bites, and it lets you cast even the lightest lures.

It’s a well-made and solid rod, so you won’t have to worry about it snapping while you’re on a trip, or the seat getting loose, especially if you only catch the target fish it’s built for.

 

What I don’t like about this product

The only gripe I have with this rod is its weight. While it claims to be ultralight, it will feel marginally heavier in your hands compared to its competitors, or even other rods on this list.

Even though it has a fast action, it feels a bit too ‘noodly’ or floppy, but that’s a nitpick more than anything.

 

Pros

  • Great performance
  • All-weather comfortable sure-grip
  • Well-balanced and casts far away
  • Excellent sensitivity
  • Cut-proof guides to protect your line for getting frayed

 

Cons

  • A bit heavier
  • Plain

 

If you’re looking for a trusty rod you can add to your collection for when you see grey, ragged, and thundering clouds in the sky while fishing, this all-around rod is highly recommended.

 

Overall Rating – 4.7/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

UglyStik GX2 Spinning Rod

Whether you’re a seasoned angler, or just starting, chances are you’ve used, or at the very least, heard of the brand name UglyStik. Being in the tackle business for over five decades, they’ve gained their customers’ trust to a point where UglyStiks are known for the value and durability they offer.

The UglyStik GX2 generation is geared more towards beginners or anglers on a budget.

 

Key Features

  • Five ultra-light models
  • Durable anodized aluminum spool
  • Compression bail springs for an increased reel life span

 

What I like about this product

It uses a blend of fiberglass and graphite, which makes for an eye-popping matte black finished look for the blank. Stiks generally have a signature clear tip, unique to them. It provides good sensitivity, so you won’t miss even the lightest of bites.

Unlike the older designs, which featured ceramic guide inserts, this line of Stiks comes with stainless steel guides, so you don’t have to worry about it ever breaking off. The handles are made of EVA for a comfortable grip, which won’t fatigue your hands even after hours and hours of fishing.

It doesn’t require a whole of finesse techniques for proper casting, which can certainly be a plus for novice anglers.

 

What I don’t like about this product

The sensitivity could be better because the foam grips take a good chunk of it away. Besides, it’s a bit too rigid and doesn’t work well if you’re planning on using a braided line. If you are an experienced angler, you should probably skip this one.

 

Pros

  • Comes in a number of different lengths
  • Affordable
  • Offers great value
  • Built to last
  • Comfortable grip
  • Fairly good quality materials

 

Cons

  • Ill-suited for serious anglers
  • A bit too stiff

 

To bottom line it, for its price, this rod impresses. It comes with many features which you’d often find in high-end rods, and above all, it’s built to last. If you’re on a tight budget looking for an affordable option with value to spare, or just a beginner who wouldn’t like to spend hundreds of dollars before you can decide if this hobby is for you, this rod will exceed expectations.

 

Overall Rating – 4.6/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

UglyStik Elite Spinning Rod

As I mentioned above, UglyStik has a reputation for offering well-built and sturdy rods, albeit on the lower end of the market, and this rod is no exception. It’s plenty tough with functionality to boot and outshines its competitors when it comes to durability.

 

Key Features

  • Fiberglass design with 35 percent graphite
  • Stainless steel guides
  • Cork handle
  • Clear tip for great sensitivity
  • Moderate fast to very-fast action
  • Line rating of up to 17 lbs.

 

What I like about this product

The casting doesn’t disappoint, the sensitivity impresses, and the comfort is enough to let you fish all day long.

If you have broken or cracked some ultralight rods in the past, this rod should be a breath of fresh air. Even if you mishandle it, this rod is built to take some heavy punishment.

Its construction is Ugly Tech, which is essentially a blend of fiberglass with a touch of graphite, and the guides are Ugly Tuff – stainless steel. Its cork handles are designed to provide maximum comfort and a good handhold, so you can expect to go on long trips with this rod by your side.

 

What I don’t like about this product

While it’s built to last, the overall build quality doesn’t feel as refined as higher-end rods. You probably wouldn’t expect that from it considering it’s a budget-friendly rod, but it could have been more well-polished.

 

 

Pros

  • Surprisingly rugged and tough
  • Sensitive even to slight nibbles
  • Comfortable handle
  • Budget-friendly
  • Seven-year warranty

 

Cons

  • The build quality is a bit sloppy and not as refined

If you’re looking for a sturdy and long-lasting rod but, on a budget, and one which won’t disappoint when it comes to functionality, this rod is for you.

 

Overall Rating – 4.5/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Cadence CR5 Spinning Rod

The CR5 features high-grade construction materials for refined quality and a pleasant fishing experience. Its design is graphite, and it’s available in both one-piece and two-piece variants. The graphite blank keeps the rod ultra-light while providing excellent backbone, strength, and longevity.

 

Key Features

  • Graphite design
  • Stainless steel guides with SiC inserts
  • Moderate fast action
  • Cork handle with EVA grip

 

What I like about this product

The handles are premium-quality cork which provides comfort and a secure grip when you’re in a fight. The FUJI reel adds to the ergonomic design and the smooth stainless-steel guides reduce friction and augment sensitivity.

It comes with a three-year manufacturer warranty, and you can get a full refund within 90 days of making the purchase. The CR5 is an all-around rod perfect for both salt and freshwater fishing

 

What I don’t like about this product

Some customers have complained that the rear grip is too short for their hands, that it lacks when it comes to aesthetics, and that it can prove to be a bit too stiff. Of course, these criticisms are mostly a matter of personal preference, so it’s not unlikely that you’d find it to be a good fit for you.

 

Pros

  • Smooth guides
  • High sensitivity
  • Great affordability
  • Ideal for panfish

 

Cons

  • Can be a bit too stiff

 

If you’re planning on fishing for walleye, largemouth, or panfish, in particular, this rod should work like a dream. The guide and handle are premium quality, and it has the strength to spare for those rare occasions when you hook a large fish with a lightweight.

 

Overall Rating – 4.7/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

KastKing Calamus Ultra-Light Spinning Fishing Rod

Weighing in at a mere 2.5 ounces, this rod will feel weightless in your hand. KastKing focused on keeping this model as ultralight as possible using innovative materials, not just in the blank but every single component.

It features an IM7 graphite blank with a generous modulus and strain. The Calamus – the hollow tube – where this generation of rods gets its name from, is also designed to keep the weight to a minimum.

The guides are V-Mark titanium instead of the stainless steel you’d usually find in other ultralight rods, which again, minimizes the overall weight. The rear handle is split-designed, the fighting butt is thin, the reel seats are a light two-piece, and the handle is wrapped in EVA for added toughness and comfort.

 

Key Features

  • Comes in two ultralight models, with 4’6” and 5’ lengths
  • IM7 Blank
  • Strain rate 650K
  • 30M modulus
  • EVA handle
  • Moderate fast action

 

What I like about this product

KastKing claims these rods are the lightest on the planet, and true to their name, they are feather-weight—but enough about the weight, what about performance? Well, this pole doesn’t disappoint in that department either.

They managed to keep the rods as ultralight as possible without sacrificing either sensitivity or strength. It can support up to 4 lbs. making it ideal for smallmouth, trout, and panfish. If you plan on catching walleye or bass, their two-piece 7’ spinning rod might be a good candidate.

 

What I don’t like about this product

Unfortunately, in an attempt to keep it as light as possible, they somewhat traded-off on durability. Customers have reported component pieces breaking off. While it comes with a lifetime warranty, and the components can be replaced, it might be a hassle for some.

With proper care and use this option might last you quite some time, but if you are in the habit of high-sticking – you apply unnecessary pressure at an odd angle – or fishing above or close to the line weight limit, these rods aren’t for you.

 

Pros

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Look great – if that’s what you’re looking for
  • Strong but sensitive
  • Lifetime warranty

 

Cons

  • Slight durability issues

 

If its performance and comfort you’re after, you’ll probably fall in love with these rods. However, if you’re looking for a rod that will last you decades, there are better options.

 

Overall Rating – 4.6/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod

If you’re angling for crappie, smallmouth, and trout, Shakespeare’s Micro Spinning rod might interest you. Like every Shakespeare rod, this model offers great durability, respectable performance, and versatility.

 

Key Features

  • Two-piece composite graphite rod
  • Cork handles
  • Traditional reel seat
  • Stainless steel guides featuring stainless steel inserts

 

What I like about this product

The design is composite graphite, and the handle is cork, which ensures a comfortable but easy grip. The guides and inserts are stainless steel which protects your rod from corrosion while providing toughness and endurance.

It can cast lightweight lures a generous distance, especially for an around $20 rod. It provides good value at an unbeatable price and will probably exceed your expectations with proper handling.

 

What I don’t like about this product

If you expect your ultralight fishing setup to haul in over 10 lbs., other rods in our roundup might serve that purpose better because as sturdy as it is, it will still snap if you fish above the line rating.

Some customers have also reported that the eyelets break off easily and the lines snap often.

 

Pros

  • Extremely affordable
  • Good for crappie fishing
  • Great value to price ratio
  • Fairly sensitive
  • Waterproof and corrosion resistant guides

 

Cons

  • Poor build quality
  • Prone to breakage

 

If you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars for a decent quality rod just so you can have a pleasant fishing trip, I believe you’ve found the right one.

 

Overall Rating – 4.4/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Shimano FXS Two-Piece Spinning Rod

This Japanese company is popular for manufacturing rods that are built to last, and that popularity is not unearned.

 

Key Features

  • Aerospace blank
  • Available in 5’6” and 5’ lengths
  • Aluminum oxide guides
  • Graphite reel seat

 

What I like about this product

Although this rod is versatile enough to handle a lot of fishing styles, it is designed with a focus on freshwater fishing. The construction is aero glass with comfortable and cushioned EVA wrapped around the grip.

The guides are reinforced aluminum oxide for maximum durability, and the reel seats are made of graphite for a solid locking mechanism. It’s plenty strong while retaining high sensitivity and flexibility. Both ultralight FX models are two-piece for added portability and firmly lock together without budging.

 

What I don’t like about this product

Although the manufacturer claims it is durable, it will prove to be very flimsy if you try to fish for anything, say, above 10 lbs. Besides, you only get two length options, which aren’t a lot if you’re looking for variety.

 

 

Pros

  • Far-away casting
  • Flexible
  • Good sensitivity

 

Cons

  • Not as strong as I’d like
  • Limited length options

The FX ultralight series can provide plenty of value if you’re looking for something budget friendly yet decent.

 

Overall Rating – 4.5/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Spinning Rod Buying Guide

Now that you have a nice sampling of the best ultralight spinning rods on the market, let’s take a moment to look at some of the common questions buyers ask when buying a new pole.

 

What are the different parts of the fishing rod?

Fishing rods vary depending on the style and length of the rod. Although these two factors hugely decide the kind of fishing rod you should buy, it is important to consider the different components and their making.

Components of fishing rods are usually universal, and only slight changes are present in their manufacturing or design. For starters, you need to take a close look at the handle, reel seat, blanks and guides, ferrules, and line type.

Strong knowledge about the dos and don’ts of these components will help you in picking a suitable fishing rod. If you are wondering where you can get that information, don’t worry, I have got you covered!

 

What type of handle do you prefer in a fishing rod?

Grip matters a lot when you are trying to catch big fish or simply drag smaller ones out of the cover. A poor grip or handle will not only cause rod slips but also make you miss out on some of your biggest catches, resulting in a lot of frustration. You need to double-check the comfort of your rod’s handle in order to make sure that it fits in your hand and stays in place without putting much effort.

 

  • If you are opting for longer casting distances, go for longer handles as they offer a greater surface area for holding the rod.

 

  • For smaller distance fishing, anglers opt for shorter handlers as they allow multi-tasking while fishing.

 

  • Two types of gripping are commonly available. One is the split grip, and the other one is full/pistol grip. The former one is suitable for bass fishing, whereas the latter is good for keeping the rod weight centralized during short distance casting.

 

 

What should I remember when evaluating a reel seat?

Resting next to your rod’s handle will be a reel seat. Reel seats serve as a safe enclosure for the reel to assist you in straightening up the whole fishing rod, especially lines. Faulty reels are the main culprits behind fraying lines and wobbling rods during fishing.

A good seat will allow you to slide the reel foot into the collars smoothly so that you can tighten the whole setup. You can easily get the hang of reel seats by conducting some online research. Most reel seats have anodized or steel casing to provide for the best safety and fit.

 

What are blanks, tips, and guides?

As a junior fisher, the fisherfolk lingo can be too intimidating for you even to begin to understand but don’t worry, you are not alone. I had the toughest time figuring out these terms, and here is what I learned

 

  • Blank refers to the main shaft portion of your fishing rod.

 

  • Along the blank, you can spot circular rings threaded with the line. These rings are what we call guides.

 

  • For fishing/casting rods, the guides usually face the sky and are located on the top portion.

 

  • For spinning rods, guides are in the direction of the ground.

 

  • The tip is the final, thinnest guide located on the top and most flexible portion of your rod.

 

How can I identify collapsible rods?

For increasing the portability and ease of storage of bigger fishing rods, manufacturers have introduced collapsible designs. These fishing rods comprise of male and female ferrules, which can collapse over one another.

You can join these two parts together whenever you want to use your fishing rod. The most important thing to remember when connecting the two ferrules is to ensure that the line has a straight plane of travel and the guides are up. If proper care is not taken in joining or collapsing these ferrules, you risk breaking your rod. Make sure that these ferrules slide over one another smoothly and have even sizes.

 

How will I know which rod length is suitable for me?

The length and style of a fishing rod determine just how far you can take your fishing adventures without threatening anyone around you. Fishing rod types depend hugely on rod length which has a minimum of 6 feet and a maximum of 12 feet.

For beginners, a rod length of 7 feet is good for a proper start. Professional fishers can opt for any kind rod length depending upon their preferences. For instance, longer lengths are suitable for smooth casting, whereas the shorter ones are resistant to bending during short-distance fishing. The best way to pick a rod’s length is to chalk out your skills and practice them on the corresponding rod length.

 

 

Should I pick fiberglass, carbon, or composite rods?

The type of rod material you select entirely depends upon your needs. Lightweight, durability, and a sturdy backbone are three major factors you should never compromise upon while picking a rod material.

Here is a quick breakdown of rod materials to help you understand the nuances of rod types

 

  • Graphite rods are suitable for professional anglers who can control greater fighting power and rigidity. An additional benefit includes improved sensitivity for easier catching. The major shortcoming is that graphite is liable to become brittle over time.

 

  • Fiber Glass fishing rods are sturdier than graphite ones. They are low-maintenance and last for long periods of use. Anglers who prefer an aggressive style of catching big fish can benefit from these rods. However, they are much heavy and cause fatigue easily.

 

  • A fiberglass and graphite composite rod may look like the best shot in this case. However, you must decide very carefully so that the rod can fit your style and fit in multiple conditions.

 

Are power and action the same thing?

Although power and action may look like two closely related terms, they are much different from each other. A suitable combination of power and action is needed for a great performance.

 

  • Power, also known as rod weight, refers to the amount of force you will need to apply to bend the fishing rod. The classification ranges from ultra-light to ultra-heavy power rods suited for catching smaller fishes and deep-sea adventures, respectively.

 

  • Action is the point where the rod bending takes place. It is classified as slow action, medium, medium-fast, and fast action rods. Slow action rods are great for enjoying greater flexibility. Fast action rods are good for heavy bait casting and catching big fish.

 

Final thoughts

To wrap up this post, the St. Croix spinning rod is a clear winner of this roundup because no other ultralight rod comes even close in terms of quality and performance, except for maybe Fenwick’s Elite Ultra-light rod.

It features premium-quality durable components and materials that most rods lack, and it balances extremely high sensitivity with strength and an overall refined build. You can cast lightweight lure far away, and it will sense the slightest nibbles even from stealthy fish.

In short, this model delivers in every area and doesn’t fall behind in any. If you wish to make your ultra-light fishing trip as enjoyable as possible, I’ll give a nod to the best ultralight spinning rod out there.

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