Best 10 Ultralight Spinning Rods [2021]

Experienced anglers know that it’s highly important to match your fishing gear and equipment to the particular game fish species you plan to go after. If you plan to catch smaller species, using an ultralight rod and reel is not only going to give you the best chance to land your catch, it will also present new and exciting challenges that anglers of all skill levels can enjoy. 

Most anglers start out using medium or even heavy rods and reels as the first instinct for many is to catch the largest fish possible. Well-seasoned fishermen and women will agree that there can be just as much of a sense of reward in catching smaller species as there is associated with reeling in bigger fish. 

Using light tackle is a specialized approach that requires one to use their wits and really plan their approach before going in. Understanding which ultralight rod to start out with may seem like a tall task for those who are unfamiliar with light gear, but we’ve taken the time to compile this list of the best 10 ultralight spinning rods to help anglers make the best selection. 

This article covers the best ultralight rods, as well as different quality indicators, as well as characteristics you’ll want to look for when searching for a quality ultralight rod to purchase. 

Quick Summary – Best Ultralight Spinning Rods

Preview
St. Croix TRS70MF Triumph Graphite Spinning Fishing Rod with Cork Handle, 7-feet
Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod 7' - Medium - 2pc
okuma Celilo Graphite Lightweight Ultra Light Trout Rods, CE-S-862ULa
Material
SC II Graphite
High Modulus Graphite
Premium Graphite
Action
Super Fast
Fast
Fast
Features
Fuji Graphite Reel Seat, Cork Handle
Ugly Tuff stainless steel guides
Aluminum oxide inserts, stainless steel guides
Prime
-
Preview
St. Croix TRS70MF Triumph Graphite Spinning Fishing Rod with Cork Handle, 7-feet
Material
SC II Graphite
Action
Super Fast
Features
Fuji Graphite Reel Seat, Cork Handle
Prime
-
More Info
Best Value for Money
Preview
Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod 7' - Medium - 2pc
Material
High Modulus Graphite
Action
Fast
Features
Ugly Tuff stainless steel guides
Price
Prime
More Info
Preview
okuma Celilo Graphite Lightweight Ultra Light Trout Rods, CE-S-862ULa
Material
Premium Graphite
Action
Fast
Features
Aluminum oxide inserts, stainless steel guides
Price
Prime
More Info

Ultralight Spinning Rod Buyer’s Guide 

The fishing industry is filled with new and advanced products every year as companies work hard to out-do one another and produce the best equipment for their customers. This high level of competition creates some outstanding new models that any angler can appreciate. 

Most anglers have a basic understanding of what to look for when purchasing a conventional rod or even one that’s specifically purposed for baitcasting. When it comes to ultralight rods, however, there are some key aspects that you’ll want to pay close attention to in order to make sure you’re getting a quality product that will last several seasons if taken care of properly. 

Ultralight spinning rods are designed to cast lightweight lures and baits in a way that bigger, heavier tackle simply can’t match. The types of material these rods are made out of goes a long way in whether or not they’ll be capable of launching a small lure out to considerable distances, as well as possess the ability to catch and land the species you’re after. 

Here are some key factors to consider when shopping for the best ultralight spinning rods available. 

Construction Material 

Traditionally, ultralight rods have been made of a material that is either fiberglass or composite structure. In recent years, companies have been seeking to manufacture rods that have a considerable amount of strength, yet are remarkably lightweight when compared to other materials. Most of the top brands in the fishing industry now produce ultralight rods that are made of graphite material as it is incredibly strong, but still able to cast a lightweight lure out to a considerable distance. 

These graphite rods are made through a meticulous process that involves wrapping sheets of graphite fiber material on top of one another and heating it to produce a hardened blank that is both limber and strong enough to handle most moderate-sized fish. In fact, most rods that are popular on today’s market are produced in this manner with either a graphite body, or a combination of certain materials that offer the same stiffness and strength levels that are able to combine for an ideal combination. 

These rods must also be fitted with high-quality components that combine to give them the ideal strength and resilience that anglers look for in a solid ultralight rod that’s capable of catching just about any type of small to medium-sized fish in fresh and saltwater. Manufacturers are now using guides that are made of material that is capable of handling friction in a way that doesn’t dampen the rod’s ability to cast any type of fishing line, including braid. 

The reel seat is another important part of any good ultralight fishing rod that must be paid attention to by anyone looking to get a quality product. A rod that features a graphite reel seat is considered standard in today’s market and anglers should be wary of other materials that might seem to be cheaply made in order to cut corners. 

Rod Length 

Another main factor that should be taken into consideration by anyone looking to get their hands on a quality ultralight fishing rod is the length of each product. Many anglers consider rod length to be the most important factor when dealing with ultralight equipment as they are typically using very lightweight lures that are required to cast out a significant distance. 

When it comes to selecting a quality ultralight rod based on the length, it’s important to consider how far you’ll need to cast in order to successfully attract a fish and entice them to bite without being too close and spooking them away. The general consensus is that longer rods are capable of making much longer casts and shorter rods are more ideal for short pitching casts or even nymphing for species like trout. 

Longer rods will also come in as an advantage against hard-fighting fish as they provide extra leverage that can cause fish to tire out more quickly and shorten the amount of time you’ll need to carefully play them before landing your catch. Shorter rods are more suitable for fishing small streams and areas where anglers might need to have greater accuracy in casting as they allow for precise throws into tight corridors. 

Another main point to consider when observing the length of your potential ultralight fishing rod is the type of lure you’ll be casting. If it’s very small and light, go for a longer rod unless you’re planning to be limited in space. 

Power and Action 

Two of the most misunderstood categories of fishing rods pertain to the power and action of any type of blank. Beginners and novice anglers might have a tough time understanding just what these two words mean when it comes to fishing rods and how they perform, but it’s fairly easy to remember once you’ve had some amount of experience shopping for rods and using them on the water. 

Simply put, the power of a fishing rod refers to the overall stiffness and to what degree it’s able to bend from top to bottom. A ‘light’ powered rod will be able to bend to a considerable degree when pressure is put on the end of the line. A ‘heavy’ rod will have a much greater level of stiffness and less bending ability. 

When it comes to action, this is referring to the specific area of the rod where this bend occurs. Fast action rods will bend closer to the tip while slow action rods will have a more gradual bend throughout the entire length of the rod. 

For ultralight fishing rods, most anglers will want a fast-action choice since this will give them enough stiffness to handle their catch, as well as make a decent cast when needed. Ultralight rods actually derive their name from their power, which is considered to be ‘ultralight’ or capable of bending to a more significant degree than other types of rods. 

The ultralight capability is more important when it comes to the rod’s ability to cast a lightweight lure out to a farther distance than you would be able to with a heavier option. If you try throwing a rooster tail with a heavy rod, then throw the same lure with an ultralight rod, you’ll quickly gain a more full understanding of this concept. 

Cost 

Lastly, when it comes to buying your first ultralight spinning rod, one of the main factors to consider is the price. For anglers who don’t know much about ultralight rods, you can rest assured that the general consensus of any fishing tackle and gear is still true with ultralight rods. 

You get what you pay for. 

In other words, a more expensive rod is almost always going to be a better option and will present a higher level of quality than a cheaper option. In rare instances, you can find good deals on quality products that are priced at a discounted rate. If this is the case, don’t pass up a great deal! 

Best 10 Ultralight Spinning Rods 

1. St. Croix TRS70MF Triumph 

Bestseller No. 1
St. Croix Rods Panfish Spinning Rod
  • PREMIUM SCVI CARBON CONSTRUCTION: Dynamic blend of super high-modulus SCVI carbon and premium quality SCII carbon with FRS for unparalleled strength and durability
  • PREMIUM-GRADE CORK HANDLE: Comfortable cork handle ensures you maintain a strong grip on your fishing rod
  • FEATURES: Sea Guide guides w/ stainless steel rings and frames; Sea Guide XMS (spinning) split style reel seats w/ custom inserts for sensitivity and comfort; Two coats of Flex-Coat slow cure finish;...

If you’re familiar at all with the St. Croix brand, you’re probably well-aware that they’re among the best quality in the entire fishing industry. This particular rod may not suit the price range for most beginners or novice anglers, but there’s little dispute that it’s among the best of the best when it comes to ultralight spinning rods. 

The St. Croix Triumph is characterized by its super fast action and lightweight feel that is well-suited for all-day fishing trips and having a high amount of control over your rod. This model also presents an exceptional level of sensitivity that’s ideal for catching small game fish species that often require the use of lightweight lures. 

These rods are made with a superior SC II Graphite material that’s better than most other rods that are crafted from graphite blanks. It’s fitted with Batson Forecast aluminum oxide guides which also feature black double-chrome frames which are ideal for giving the rod added strength, as well as offering very little friction when casting or reeling in your catch. 

The St. Croix Triumph is also made with a Fuji graphite reel seat and an elegant cork handle that gives it the classic look that most anglers want in an ultralight rod. This rod is arguably the best on the market, but there are a few others that match up quite well to the St. Croix Triumph in quality and value. 

Pros:

  • Fuji graphite reel seat
  • Excellent sensitivity 
  • Lightweight 
  • Fast action 
  • Batson Forecast guides 
  • SC II Graphite

Cons:

  • Expensive 

2. Ugly Stik Elite Ultralight Spinning Rod 

Bestseller No. 1
Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod 7' - Medium - 2pc
  • Line rating - 8-17 pounds
  • Ugly tech construction with added graphite for lighter weight and increased sensitivity
  • Ugly tuff one piece stainless steel guides provide maximum durability

Experienced anglers will often argue that there is a fine line between quality and value when it comes to purchasing fishing rods and other angling equipment. The case can be made for the Ugly Stik Elite Ultralight Spinning Rod being the best of its kind on the market when one considers the price that it’s offered at along with the features that are all exceptional quality. 

This rod is crafted from high-modulus graphite blank material, which has a reputation for being exceptionally strong and lightweight, in addition to being limber enough to cast a lightweight lure out to a significant distance. Ugly Stik is famous for producing rods that are virtually indestructible and the Ugly Stik Elite is a rod that upholds that reputation among a litany of others in the fishing industry that simply can’t match up. 

This rod is an excellent balance between quality and value as it can be purchased in a range that is dictated based on the length and other specifications. In essence, the longer the rod, the higher the cost. The rod features Ugly Stik’s famous fiberglass tip that allows an added level of sensitivity and casting ability to an already premium rod. 

It also features Ugly Tuff stainless steel guides that are more than capable of handling just about any type of game fish species you might encounter with a lightweight rod like the Elite. The rod is fitted with a cork handle and is widely considered the most popular option by many anglers who are familiar with ultralight spinning rods. 

Pros:

  • Extremely durable 
  • Great sensitivity 
  • Ugly Tuff guides 
  • Moderately-priced 

Cons:

  • One-piece construction 

3. Okuma Celilo Ultralight Graphite Trout Rod

ON SALE $18.38 OFFBestseller No. 1
okuma Celilo Graphite Lightweight Ultra Light Trout Rods, CE-S-862ULa
1,143 Reviews
okuma Celilo Graphite Lightweight Ultra Light Trout Rods, CE-S-862ULa
  • Made using the highest quality materials
  • Tested for reliability and quality
  • Used by professionals worldwide

Since online shopping has taken the angling world by storm, many fishing enthusiasts have taken notice of the Okuma brand in the Western Hemisphere. This company is known for producing outstanding products at a price that most anglers of all skill levels are able to afford. The Okuma Celilo Ultralight Graphite Trout rod is among the best ultralight spinning rods available. 

It’s hard to argue that this rod doesn’t pack an array of high-quality features into one product. It’s made with a premium graphite blank that’s designed for optimal sensitivity when compared to most other options. It’s available in a variety of different lengths, depending on each angler’s needs. 

The Celilo is fitted with aluminum oxide inserts and stainless steel guides that are made for added toughness and capable of holding up against almost any type of fish you might encounter with this rod. It’s also made with a quality stainless steel reel seat that maintains a durable reputation, as well as a cork handle that is also well-made. 

This rod is manufactured to the same high standards that Okuma products have become known for and offers an excellent choice for anglers looking to get a great ultralight spinning reel that’s well-suited for trout fishing, or catching any other type of smaller game fish. 

Pros:

  • Lightweight 
  • Sensitive 
  • Quality graphite material 
  • Aluminum oxide guides 
  • Excellent value 

Cons:

  • Not quite as durable as other premium brands

4. G.Loomis Trout Series Spinning Rod

Bestseller No. 1
G. Loomis TSR802-2 Trout Spinning Series Rod
  • 1 or 2 pc options
  • Moderate to Fast tapers
  • Ultra Light to Light action

If price is not a deciding factor in your overall search for the best ultralight spinning rod, it’s hard to rule out the G. Loomis Trout Series Spinning Rod as the best overall choice. There is no denying that the G. Loomis brand is synonymous with premium quality when it comes to fishing rods and their standards easily outrank the competition in almost every aspect. 

The main downside—besides the price—for this rod is that it’s designed specifically for trout fishing and most novice anglers will possibly overlook it if they are searching for a rod that’s more suited for crappie fishing or other lightweight angling. The truth is, the G. Loomis Trout Series is an all-around ace in the ultralight spinning rod category and there’s almost nothing this one can’t do when matched up head-to-head with other brands. 

It’s made from a super high quality carbon fiber blend blank that’s made for a high level of sensitivity and an incredibly tough design that feels much like a heavier rod in terms of durability. The Fuji single foot Alconite guides are among the best that money can buy and will significantly reduce friction, which creates a smoother casting experience with any type of fishing line. 

This rod can be purchased in one or two-piece models and also comes in a range of action selections as well, which allows each angler to get the right specifications they want down to the letter. 

Pros:

  • Superior quality 
  • Highly durable 
  • Fuji single foot Alconite guides
  • Variety of options 
  • One or two-piece construction 

Cons:

  • Expensive 

5. Fenwick Elite Tech River Runner Spinning Rod

Bestseller No. 1
Fenwick HMG70MH-FS HMG Spinning Rod Rod
  • AAA cork full grip handle
  • Sea-guide soft touch alien reel seat with positive lock design provides a secure platform for all reels
  • Carbon bound blanks are spiraled with carbon thread creating unparalleled strength and precise action

This is another option on our list of the best ultralight spinning rods that’s simply not at the top because it’s slightly outside of the price range for average anglers. For those who are more skilled and might be open to spending a bit more on a higher quality rod, the Fenwick Elite Tech River Runner Spinning Rod is an excellent choice that offers plenty of great features. 

Fenwick enjoys a stellar reputation among many brands in the fishing industry for their superior quality and customer service. This rod is made from a graphite blend material that offers excellent durability, but the main reason so many anglers choose a product like this is due to the incredible level of sensitivity compared to other models. 

The Elite Tech River Runner is made to serve as an all-around workhorse of an ultralight rod that’s capable of tackling anything from crappie and other panfish to trout or virtually anything else you want to go after that’s not too heavy. It’s made with nine titanium guides for durability, as well as a TAC and cork handle which is made for anglers to feel the most subtle bites. 

One of the main downsides to this model is that it’s only available in one single length option that’s 6’9” long and might be a bit too much for some anglers. It does, however, break down into a two-piece construction that’s easily carried and transported wherever you need to go. This is another great option and is among the top choices of ultralight spinning rods. 

Pros:

  • Great sensitivity 
  • Good durability 
  • Two-piece construction 
  • Titanium guides 
  • TAC and cork handle 

Cons:

  • One length option 
  • Expensive 

6. Shimano Stimula 2-Piece Spinning Rod

Bestseller No. 1
Shimano STS66MH2C Stimula Spinning Rod, 6ft 6in, 2 Piece, Fast, Medium Heavy
  • Full P-Cork Handle
  • Aluminum oxide guides
  • High-density EVA handle grips for comfort

Shimano is another brand that’s right at the top of the fishing industry, especially as it pertains to rods and reels. The company has a loyal following among seasoned anglers because it’s known for producing outstanding quality rods that are backed up by solid warranties. The Shimano Stimula 2-Piece Spinning Rod lives up to the standard that Shimano products have become known for and is a great choice for anglers looking to buy a truly great ultralight spinning rod. 

This particular rod is best known for its sensitivity as it is made from a graphite composite material which is not quite as durable as other brands, but still holds up quite well. It comes in one single 5’6” length, which might be a downside for anglers looking for a longer option. The rod does, however, break down into two pieces which allows for easier transportation. 

It’s short stature is indicated in its namesake as river rods are generally made in shorter lengths in order to avoid being snagged on overhanging branches and brush along the banks of most rivers. It features a cork handle that’s also fitted with comfortable EVA foam grip material which is designed for a solid grip when wet or dry. 

Pros:

  • Great sensitivity 
  • EVA foam handle 
  • Two-piece construction 
  • Quality components 

Cons:

  • One length 
  • Expensive 

7. Berkley Lightning Trout Rod

Bestseller No. 1
Berkley Lightning Rod Trout Rod, 8' Ultra Light- 2pcs, 8 feet
  • Durable, sensitive fishing rod engineered for Trout angling
  • Blank specially designed for Use with light lines and dough baits
  • 24 ton multi-modulus carbon composite blank construction delivers strength and sensitivity

The Berkley name has been among one of the top brands in the fishing industry for decades as the company has established a reputation for quality products that are available at affordable prices. The Berkley Lightning Series has been a popular choice among anglers of all skill levels for a long time and the Trout Rod edition is an excellent choice for fishing enthusiasts who might not be looking to invest a sizable amount to purchase their first ultralight spinning rod. 

This rod is made from a multi-modulus composite blank that is capable of delivering high levels of sensitivity, as well as good durability that can stand up to larger-sized trout in most cases. This rod is capable of casting a huge variety of lure sizes and weights as many anglers report being able to throw heavier rigs when necessary. 

As the name indicates the Berkley Lighting Trout Rod is made especially for trout fishing and the high-quality aluminum oxide guides and inserts are made to allow a smooth cast, as well as exceptional durability against the hardest pulling fish. 

This rod is available in three sizes that include a 6’, 6’6’’, and 7’ model which allows anglers to select the length that’s ideal for their own personal needs. It’s also available in light or ultralight power and is ideal for beginners and novice anglers. 

Pros:

  • Great value 
  • Durable construction 
  • Specially made for trout
  • Multiple lengths 
  • Good sensitivity 

Cons:

  • Some issues with reel seat
  • Can crack or break under heavy pressure 

8. Daiwa SMD562ULFS Spinning Rod

Bestseller No. 1

Daiwa is another name in a long line of excellent fishing brands that are known for producing quality rods that will last for season after season when properly cared for. The Daiwa Spinning Rod is an excellent choice that can be purchased in an ultralight option. This ultralight spinning rod is perfectly capable of being paired with a quality reel for an overall solid combination. 

The company has been known for many years among anglers who prefer to use ultralight rods to catch species like crappie, perch, and other lightweight fish that are typically found in clear freshwater rivers and lakes. It’s made with a strong SG graphite material that might not be as durable as some of the models on our list of the best ultralight spinning rods, but it holds up quite well against a variety of fish species. 

These rods are available in a variety of lengths and all come in fast action for the highest level of sensitivity when fishing for various types of species that require high levels of concentration on the part of anglers. It features high quality stainless steel reel seat that is designed for durability while also sporting an elegant cork handle and overall aesthetically pleasing look. 

This rod will serve as a great choice for beginner anglers who might not want to spend a fortune on a single rod, but still want to get a quality option that can be useful in a variety of situations. 

Pros:

  • Great value 
  • Durable blank construction 
  • Variety of lengths 
  • Quality handle and reel seat 

Cons:

  • Lower sensitivity 
  • Less durability 

9. Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod

Bestseller No. 1
Shakespeare Micro Series Spinning Rod , 7-Feet/Light
  • Equipment for anglers of all ages and experience
  • Made to be reliable and durable
  • Tested to be easy to Use and high quality

Shakespeare is another name brand in the fishing industry that’s highly popular with anglers of all skill levels. This brand is known for making good quality rods and other components that are typically right on the money for most anglers as it relates to budgetary constraints. The Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod is an excellent starter pick for young or even beginning anglers who might not be ready to invest a sizable amount in on single rod purchase. 

This rod is made with a graphite composite rod blank material that is more geared toward durability than anything else. It might not be as sensitive as other brands that are on our list, but one can be assured that this rod will effectively catch almost any type of freshwater fish that are usually targeted with ultralight spinning rods. 

It comes in a variety of different lengths and the price will vary depending on the size of the rod in most cases. Anglers will find that the Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod is equipped to handle a variety of lure weights and is capable of casting light or heavy lures out to a considerable distance in most cases. 

This rod features a cork handle and tough reel seat, as well as stainless steel guides that all combine for a great selection for new anglers looking for their first ultralight rod. 

Pros:

  • Great value 
  • Durable construction 
  • Cork handle 
  • Capable of casting light or heavy lures

Cons:

  • Less sensitivity 
  • Lacks durability against heavy pressure

10. KastKing Perigee II Bass Fishing Rod

Bestseller No. 1
KastKing Perigee II Fishing Rods, Casting Rod Twin-tip 7ft -M and MH-Fast(2Tips+1 Butt Section)
  • AMAZING QUALITY CARBON FIBER BLANK - All Perigee II two-piece fishing rods are constructed with Toray 24-ton carbon matrix KastFlex blank technology for power, strength, and accuracy. Available in 29...
  • PREMIUM COMPONENTS - KastKing uses the best quality components in a Perigee II fishing rod. World renowned Fuji O-Ring line guides, tuned ergonomic graphite high-strength reel seats, high-density EVA...
  • SMOOTH POWER - KastKing PTS (Power Transition System) hybrid spigot joints in Perigee II 2-pcs rods transition power smoothly throughout your fishing rod blank. Specialized high technology computer...

Don’t let the name fool you, the KastKing Perigee II Bass Fishing Rod is more than capable of catching a wide variety of game fish species, including many types of bass. The KastKing brand is an up-and-coming company that is known for making surprisingly good quality selections that seem to climb higher every year in the fishing industry. 

This particular rod is geared toward delivering a high-performance model that is made to be lightweight and sensitive for anglers who prefer a smaller setup for fishing freshwater lakes and rivers. The rod is made from 24-ton carbon matrix material that’s highly durable and provides a good degree of sensitivity that allows anglers to feel even the most subtle bites when fishing with lightweight lures. 

It comes in either a one or two-piece construction depending on whether or not the user wants to have a more portable version of the rod. The KastKing Perigree II Bass Fishing Rod offers Fuji O-ring guides that are made to be highly durable for bass fishing or any other type of species you happen to catch. 

This rod sports a comfortable EVA handle and comes with KastKing’s lifetime warranty that all combines for a surprising rod model that might fly under the radar of most anglers who are looking for the more prominent brands. 

Pros:

  • Great value 
  • Fuji O-ring guides 
  • 24-ton carbon matrix material 
  • One or two-piece construction 
  • Lifetime warranty 

Cons:

  • Less sensitivity 

Conclusion 

Getting into the world of ultralight spinning rods might seem like a daunting task, but taking into consideration the points and rods mentioned in this article, you should be able to get a decent head-start in the game. Remember that in most instances, you’re going to get a better quality product the more money you’re willing to invest. When it comes to selecting the best ultralight spinning rods, it pays off to consider the top brands, as well as those that might not get as much praise, but still offer quality components. 

Last update on 2021-05-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Donny Karr
 

Donny Karr is an avid outdoorsman and writer whose work has been featured in magazines and websites for nearly a decade. He enjoys bass and crappie fishing in the lakes around the southeastern United States, as well as trout fishing in the streams and rivers of the Appalachian mountains. He enjoys keeping up with the latest news and gear items in the fishing industry and is always looking forward to his next outdoor adventure.

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