Sometimes fishing isn’t about what you can catch but is instead just about being out on the water for the fun of. Every angler sometimes just wants to unwind and relax out on the water, and fishing for smaller fish like trout, perch or bass is a great opportunity to unwind and try out an ultralight spinning rod for a change.
If you’ve decided to give an ultra-light set up a chance, you’ll have seen just how many different options are available to you, and just how crowded the ultralight market really is. You don’t want to start off with a poor quality rod that’ll snap as soon as you take it out, but you might not want to invest a lot of money in a set-up that’s not right for you. Luckily this handy guide is here to take you through some of the best options for an ultralight set up, so you can find the rod that suits you the best and will help you get the most out of your fishing adventure. We’ve also put together a small guide to take you through some of the features worth thinking about, and an FAQ section to answer some of your biggest questions.
We’ve done all the hard work for you, so if you’re ready to find your next ultralight fishing rod than just keep reading as we take you through some of the best models currently available
Best Ultralight Spinning Rods
OUR TOP PICK
First up we have this premium model from St Croix which easily keeps up with other manufacturers and often gives some of the premium brands a run for their money. If you’re looking for quality, and you’re willing to spend to achieve it than this is a great option for you. This model is easily one of the best ultralight spinning rods available, and any ultra-keen angler would be overjoyed to have this rod in their arsenal.
This model has a premium graphite construction which combines both durability and portability. This rod will continually work for you thanks to the aluminum oxide and feature black frames which all but guarantee an exceptional performance consistently. This rod is very well balanced, and the casting is more than perfect. If you’re looking for comfort than the cork handle provides a comfortable grip no matter the size of the hand or how tightly you grip the handle. The rod is made from high-quality materials which add to its durability. This rod is both strong and powerful, but also allows you the precision that an ultralight rod should be able to give you. This model doesn’t have split handles which many anglers look for in an ultralight rod. The handles and guides are both top of the range, and if you want quality in your tackle than you’ll struggle to find better quality or performance than in this option.
This rod’s balance and precision gives it a perfect cast
Built from high-quality materials to increase durability
Strong and powerful
Comfortable cork handle
Performance is of a consistently high quality which would easily last for a great many years with proper maintenance
Doesn’t feature split handles
- Premium SCII Graphite
- Outstanding Strength, Sensitivity, and Hook-Setting Power
- Finely Tuned Actions and Tapers for Superior Performance
- Premium Grade Cork Handle
- Hard Aluminum-Oxide Guides with Black Frames
Fenwick is well known to be one of the best premium manufacturers within the fishing world, and if you’re a keen fisher then you’ve probably heard their name before. If you’re determined to get the very best then a Fenwick rod is almost synonymous with quality, and this rod can easily face any other similar models currently available.
This rod has a balanced and very fast action and is perfect for all weathers with its cork split handle. It also features a hidden hand design that is responsible for maximum comfort so you can fish for longer and with less fatigue. If you’re willing to spend a little more than this ultralight rod will help you to catch trout, panfish, small walleye, bass, and bluegill with almost no effort thanks to the winning combination of action, rod length and backbone all in one ultra-lightweight package. This rod casts perfectly and is as strong as you could wish for in a rod, meaning it could provide you with pleasurable fishing experiences for a great many years. The weatherproofing is second to none, so no matter what happens you’ll still be able to put up a fight and bring home a great catch.
It’s one of the lightest options available, and you’ll find the construction and the build quality almost flawless. The rod is very sensitive, and no matter what you’re looking to catch and no matter the weather, you’ll find the action effortless and easy, so you can simply enjoy the excitement of fishing.
Outstanding build quality and construction
Very comfortable thanks to the cork split handles
Capable of catching a variety of fish
Very durable and excellently prepared for all weather and conditions
Great smooth and powerful action
Probably not the right choice for someone experimenting with an ultralight setup
- Hidden Handle Design reel seat allows function and comfort to co-exis; Extreme comfort; not seen on the market today; Don't 'feel the threads' of traditional reel seats
- Titanium frame guides are extremely lightweight and are virtually bulletproof!
- TAC and cork handle design provides a solid grip even when the handle becomes wet
- Perfected actions designed specifically for light and ultra light applications
If you need your rod to deal with some heavy weather or want a rod that can endure pretty much everything you throw at it then this might be the rod for you. The cork handle gives you a secure grip no matter whether you’re fishing on a sunny day, or in a heavy rainstorm. Unlike some other similar options, this model is capable of holding any ultralight spool thanks to the Fuji reel seat. Its ability to deal with all weather makes this rod an attractive prospect, but it has far more to offer than just that. This rod is designed to stop your line for getting frayed or worse breaking because of the aluminum oxide guides which have grooves inside the guides which make it cut-free.
As mentioned, the Fuji reel seat will help you secure your reel and can take any ultralight reel. The blank is made from graphite, which is both ultra lightweight and durable, the blank also helps make the action smooth and gives this rod its amazing power. With this rod, you’ll feel any bite no matter how small, and it’ll let you cast lighter lures than you thought possible.
You can trust that this rod won’t snap the first time you take it out, and it’s well built and as long as you target the right fish, you’ll find it offers a consistently strong performance. This is a reliable rod that you can trust to help you out when the going gets a little tougher.
Perfect for all weathers
The grip remains comfortable and secure
Designed to stop your line from breaking or fraying
Very sensitive to help you feel a bite
Great long distance cast and well-balanced
Slightly heavier than some ultralight options
- High-performance graphite blanks
- Cut Pro of, low-friction aluminum oxide guides
- Quality Fuji reel seats securely hold any ultralight reel
- Cork handles for a firm grip in any kind of fishing weather
- Hook keeper
UglyStik is one of the most famous names in tackle having dominated the field for over 5 decades, whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been an angler all your life you’ve probably come across their name before. UglyStik rods are some of the most trusted in the fishing world, and their name is almost synonymous with reliability and value. This rod is designed for those just starting out, or for those who want a reliable rod at a good price. This rod is made from a blend of fiberglass and graphite and the matte black finish on the blank means that this rod looks as good as its performance.
A rod from UglyStik generally has an excellent level of sensitivity and this one is no different, meaning you’ll be able to feel every bite no matter how light. This model has stainless steel lines, which means you can rely on them to never break off, while the comfortable handles are made of EVA which will help you fish for longer without getting tired, so you can fish for hours and hours in comfort. It’s a great rod for beginners to get used to proper casting, so this is a good option if you’re looking to grow your skills before you move onto something that needs a bit more finesse.
If you want to use a braided line, then there are better options out there, and the more experienced angler may find this model a little rigid. This rod is great value and as long as you accept that it’s a rod that will do best with beginners it will far exceed your expectations. With the right attitude, this is a rod that anglers at varied levels will enjoy.
An excellent rod for the novice to use and grow better with
Built from high-quality materials with excellent construction
Comfortable grip so you can fish for long periods without fatigue
Not the right option for the advanced angler
- Ugly StikGX2 rods feature Ugly Tech construction with a combination of Graphite and fiberglass to create a strong, yet sensitive rod with better balance for a lighter weight feel
- Ugly Stik Clear Tip design for extra strength and added sensitivity
- Durable and lightweight EVA grips
- Enhanced cosmetics for a more modern look
As already mentioned UglyStik has a great reputation for making great rods that last a long time without breaking the angler’s bank, so it’s no surprise that they have a second offering on this list. This is another excellent rod that truly outstrips other similar models in terms of durability, and functionality. You’d be hard-pressed to find a tougher rod that can be used by novices and advanced anglers alike while consistently offering great performance.
If you’re looking for a great all-rounder, with excellent sensitivity, impressive casting, with a comfortable enough grip to let you fish for extended periods without tiring than you may have found your perfect match with this rod. One of the reasons why this rod is a great option for all levels of angling is that it can take some heavy punishment, perfect for if you’re just getting used to handling your rod. If you’re a more advanced angler who has used broken ultralight rods before then you’ll be amazed by the durability of this model and exactly how much it can take without breaking or cracking.
Constructed out of a combination of fiberglass and graphite, and with stainless steel guides, this is a well built and reliable rod, that offers great comfort and secure grip so you can go on long trips knowing you have a reliable rod in your arsenal. It might not be the best-looking rod around, but it’s amazing value and offers amazing functionality.
Well-built and sturdy
Surprisingly sensitive to even the smallest bite
Very comfortable for long periods
A great option for beginners and those with a more advanced skill
Not the best-looking rod available
Best Ultralight Spinning Rods Buying Guide
Now, you have a better idea of the sorts of rods that are out there, you may be wondering why you should try ultralight fishing in the first place. Well, the main reason is quite simply, it’s some of the most fun anglers can have. You wouldn’t use an ultralight if you want to fish to win, or for a specific trophy, but if you just want to have some fun on the water than an ultralight rod can be the way to go. You might not be catching the biggest fish, but you’ll be able to use your ultralight setup to turn even the smallest fish into monsters, so you can have a real fight on your hands without having to go to a lot of effort or expense.
If you’re someone who relishes the fight and likes to hear your drag whining or see your rod bow, then giving ultralight fishing a go, maybe the best thing you’ve ever tried. Plus, you’ll be able to detect even lighter strikes with an ultralight setup, as they offer far more sensitivity and feel than their heavier competitors. If you want to cast light lures and lines then you really need to give this setup a go. Going ultralight will also allow you a bit more cushion to your line, and you might find that you have fewer failures when you do end up getting into it with something bigger, ultralight rods are strong as well as light and if you make a good attempt of it than you might find you can hook something pretty impressive!
So, what do you have to look out for when shopping for an ultralight spinning rod? As with all tackle, there are a few features to look out for and keep in mind so that you can get the best possible experience out of your rod.
You need to think about the action of your rod which is where it will begin to bend along its length under load. Stiffer rods have fast action bending only near the tip, while slower action rods bend close to the handle and reel seat. Ultralight rods tend to have either a fast or moderate action, which is great for their sensitive tip, you’ll also find as the load increases you’ll feel the real strength of the blank and this is why you’ll be able to have enough control to hook reasonable heavy fish. A more moderate action will mean you’ll be able to cushion your light line and have a larger degree of shock absorption though you will have to sacrifice a bit of control. There is no right or wrong answer with this one, it’s something to keep in mind for your personal preference, but if you’re a beginner try out a few things to find out what you like.
You may have found that ultralight rod seems a bit shorter in length than other rods you may have seen, and, indeed, manufacturers don’t make them longer than 7 feet. The important thing to remember is that ultralight rods are all about precision over length, and you’ll find that while you’ll have a smaller casting distance, the finesse and precision the rod will give you is reward enough. If you’re not sure what to go for than around 6 and a half feet should be ample.
Power is also pretty important, as the power of your rod determines how much force is needed to bend it. The amount of power your rod has will give you an idea of what sort of performance you can expect from your rod. Ultralight rods, as the name suggests, will bend over modest loads, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hook some impressive fish.
How expensive are ultralight rods?
Ultralight rods come in a range of prices, and there’s something to suit every budget. Make sure you have an idea about what sort of rod you’re looking for and what you need it to do so that you can get the best rod to suit you.
What can I catch?
Trout and Panfish are most common, but have a look around and see what sort of thing your rod is capable of helping you go after.