Best Ultralight Spinning Rod: Top Picks

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When planning to go fishing, it is essential to take the best possible fishing gear with you. One such item is an ultralight spinning rod. This ultralight rod is popular among hobbyists and enthusiasts for catching perch, trout, bass, and crappie.

You can add more fun when enjoying your fishing with a fast action rod perfectly crafted and sturdy rod. This is the reason most people prefer ultralight fishing rods. If you are looking to buy the best ultralight spinning rod, just take a look at the following options.

Comparison Chart

Cadence Fishing CR5 Spinning Rods

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod 5′

KastKing Calamus Ultra-Light Spinning Fishing Rods

Okuma CE-S-461UL-1 Celilo Spinning Rod

St.Croix Panfish Spinning Rod

Best Ultralight Spinning Rod Reviews

1. Cadence Fishing CR5 Spinning Rods

Most people associated with recreational fishing are aware of the CR5 series by Cadence, which offers an ultralight fishing rod. Cadence is a renowned manufacturer in the fishing industry. This rod provides superior quality, as it is made of highly durable and excellent quality components. The reason is that products manufactured by Cadence far exceed the competition.

Review

As a company, Cadence tries to inspire its customers with the latest innovative technology. It ensures to create the most memorable fishing experience for the next generations. When you purchase a Cadence ultralight spinning rod, you will be sure of the quality and performance. That is one reason it made our list for best ultralight fishing rods. 

Fishing with this rod is enjoyable and straightforward. This is why more and more people are using ultralight fishing rods these days. The structural strength and design layout of this rod makes it one of the highly recommendable fishing equipment for beginners.

Talking about its construction, the blanks are made of 30-ton carbon. It comes in a wide range of lengths and actions. You can choose between different power ratings to enjoy different types of fishing.

The configuration of the rods involves two different types of handles. One is a split grip, and the other one is full grip. You can optimize the performance of your rod by using both EVA and cork. This combination also keeps your spinning rod comfortable to handle.

Additionally, durability and performance are further improved with SiC guides. The stainless steel frames, as well as adjustable Fuji reel seat, also make this an ideal option for both professional and amateur fishing enthusiasts.

Since all the CR5 1-piece and 2-piece spinning rods are made of carbon matrix graphite, they are incredibly lightweight yet strong. In addition, you also get maximum durability and sensitivity, both at the same time.

It is a great choice for game fishing, as you can catch a variety of fish by using this ultralight fishing rod. The most popular fish that you can catch using this rod include freshwater walleye, bass, and trout. Furthermore, famous inshore species such as speckled trout, redfish, and flounder also fall prey to this spinning rod.

The materials used for this graphite blank are of high quality. These materials bring strength and sensitivity but keep the weight to its minimum. These rods are available in 2-handle configurations, which deliver a premium rod for all types of competitions.

The stainless steel guides are super smooth and powerful. Furthermore, the presence of SiC inserts renders the rod smooth and durable. Hence, you won’t face the issue of sticking of the lines into the guides. Moreover, it also lowers the friction between the line and guide. It improves the sensitivity of the rod, which captures the vibrations transferring from the line.

The settings are highly portable. With its unique two-piece design and cork handle, you can easily disassemble and place it into your luggage or car’s trunk. However, even with two-piece construction, you don’t actually feel any difference as compared to a one-piece rod.

These and some other features make the Cadence CR5 series highly suitable for all types of fishing expeditions. It is a viable rod for game fish and also performs well for any other type of fishing.

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Strong and durable
  • Easy to carry

CONS

  • Not for heavy fishing
  • Pricey for some

2. Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod 5'

This rod by Shakespeare is a well-reputed product that comes from a renowned manufacturer. The Ugly Stiks Elite is referred to as a bombproof rod, capable of making your fishing experience more enjoyable.

This product deserves a reputation like this, as these rods are notably more robust than their competitors. If you have used different ultralight spinning rods, you would absolutely know the difference. After taking this rod for fishing, you won’t prefer any other spinning rod from such a category.

Review

The Ugly Stik Elite is not only tough, but it is also a refined spinning rod. You will be amazed to see how sturdy this rod is and how it performs in different situations. Since this rod is constructed with quality materials, it offers casts plenty of strength and sensitivity at the tip.

The hands of this ultralight rod are designed in a way to offer plenty of comfort and stability when fishing for a long time. The rod features an easy to use hook keeper. The Elite series offers top-notch guides, which makes it clear how much bruising this rod is capable of bearing.

In fact, the most amazing feature of this rod is its all-around performance. Even when throwing a small lure, it is possible to get a big fish. In this situation, you must be sure of the strength of the rod you are using. If you have a sturdy and strong rod, like the Ugly Stik Elite, handling such a situation isn’t as hard as you may think.

PROS

  • Great guides
  • Quality handles
  • Affordable

CONS

  • Less refined
  • Slightly heavy

3. KastKing Calamus Ultra-Light Spinning Fishing Rod

Calamus means the quill or hollow tube of a feather. This word appears to be the inspiration for creating the KastKing Calamus Rod. It is the lightweight construction of this rod which makes it so popular among fishermen.

In fact, these fishing rods are as light as a feather, which offers you an excellent fishing experience. These rods are designed using a new micro polish blank technology. The construction starts with a lightweight IM7 material. This is so far the lightest material used for making ultralight fishing rods.

Review

The KastKing Calamus Ultra-Light Fishing Rod offers incredible power to weight ratio, which adds stability and strength to the rod. Furthermore, it also enhances the sensitivity of all the rods manufactured by KastKing.

To make it clear that no additional weight is added to the ultralight rod, the company uses V-Mark titanium guide frames and rings. This ensures that the rods stay extremely light and perform well while transmitting energy. Moreover, the brand also uses SKSS 2-pc reel seats, which clearly eliminates the chance of adding extra material.

This type of construction offers a solid base for the reel. The starting weight of some of the rods is 2.5 ounces, and you can choose between 9 spinning models. With such a rod in hand, you can handle and catch the most preferred freshwater fish, including walleye trout, and bass.

This rod appears to be the best of all the options available on the market. The premium quality components extend the overall lifespan of the rod. It also keeps the weight to its minimum, which also enhances sensitivity. It has an accesible hook keeper. There are titanium guide frames and rings, which improves the durability and strength of the rod. It has a 2-pc graphite reel seat.  It doesn't have a cork handle but that's okay. Hoever, it also comes with a comfortable and high-density EVA, which perfectly wraps the handle.

The split fighting butt is also there, which offers extra comfort and perfect balance. The KastKing Calamus fishing rod series is a great option for all types of freshwater fishing expeditions.

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Sturdy and sensitive
  • Durable

CONS

  • Less portable
  • Costly

4. Okuma CE-S-461UL-1 Celilo Spinning Rod

The okuma celilo graphite rod offers a variety of fishing rods, yet the most affordable option you can buy is the Okuma Celilo Graphite Lightweight Ultralight trout rod. The graphite blank is made out of high end materials. The most favorite of all is the 6’6”, which is a great alternative for all other expensive spinning rods.

Review

This ultralight rod comes with a graphite blank, which is easy to bend (1/3rd from the tip). This is the stage when the backbone begins to resist a touch. Since this is an ultralight rod, serious fish could bend it quickly. Hence, it is the most sensitive rod you can grab.

The rod is constructed with high-quality materials, which enhance the durability and sensitivity level. Furthermore, this particular rod also provides enough resistance, sturdiness, and flexibility. The significant elements used in its manufacturing are stainless steel, graphite, and cork.

It is made out of graphite construction blanks which makes this rod exceptionally strong. Nevertheless, it is also sensitive enough to provide you with the feel of even the slightest resistance. The cork handle makes for a comfortable grip.  Another great feature is the hook keeper so you easily and safely put away your lure. The rod came to the market after passing numerous stringent build quality tests, and for this reason, you can rely on the quality and reliability of this product.

Moreover, it also comes with resistant aluminum oxide guide inserts. These guides are highly compatible with all types of lines that you may use for fishing. In addition to versatility, the rod allows smooth performance in almost any condition.

One of the most impressive aspects of this rod is its stainless steel reel seat. It is strong and resistant enough to give a tough time to even the biggest freshwater fish you have ever caught. It also comes with rear and front cork grips, which provide a better and secure feel.

The Okuma Celilo performs well with its genuine rod length. It stays accurate, no matter how light the lines or lures are. The aluminum oxide guide quality is extraordinary, especially when taking into the price tag of this rod. So, this fishing rod by Okuma Celilo is worth the money you spend.

PROS

  • Compatible with all lines
  • Enhanced sensitivity
  • Quality grips

CONS

  • Low bottom half stiffness
  • Less comfortable grips

5. St Croix Panfish Series Spinning Rods

This particular spinning rod is made specifically for a devoted Panfish angler. This series is slightly different from other Panfish rods available on the market. Its blank is manufactured with a dynamic blend of SCII and SCVI graphite. This enhances the responsiveness and adds the necessary strength to the rod.

Almost every rod offered by the St Croix Panfish series is of premium build quality. The rods are made of SCII graphite while adding a perfect amount of high-strain SCVI graphite into the mixture. It provides optimal strength while minimizing weight.

Review

When it comes to sensitivity and balance, this rod offers unsurpassable performance. That is why it made our list for the best ultralight spinning rods.  Just like other rods of the Panfish series, this particular rod is also designed to perform in almost any type of water body.

It is a great option when you are fond of catching crappie, bluegill, and other Panfish species. It serves as a perfect rod for beginners as it is relatively easy to handle and sensitive enough to feel the smallest bite.

The rod also features specifically designed Pac Bay Minima guides. These guides help to save up to 20-30% of the weight. You can lower a lot of weight by switching with the ceramic guides. This also improves the sensitivity of the line and that of the entire pole. The reels are also made by Pac Bay Minima, which offers custom insert and much better control.

The cork handle attached to this rod is helpful while enhancing the overall grip. It also improves stability and control, especially when you are fishing in wet conditions. In addition, with its premium-quality SCII graphite combined with strong SCVI graphite, what you get is the optimal strength and an ultralight fishing rod.

This rod by St Croix is specifically designed to ensure superior and ultimate performance. This rod performs well when you are trying to catch freshwater fish like bluegill, crappie, and some other Panfish.

PROS

  • Fantastic casting
  • Outperforming sensitivity
  • Amazing guides

CONS

  • Pricey
  • Not for big fish

FINAL VERDICT

The best ultralight spinning rods are beneficial in many ways; hence, amateurs and professional fishing enthusiasts prefer them alike. All the models reviewed above are of top-notch quality. Therefore, you can be sure about the quality, durability, and performance of these fishing rods.

Why Use Ultralight Fishing Rods

To increase your chances of success, select the best fishing pole based on the type of fishing you will be targeting. You wouldn’t go deepsea fishing with the same rod that you would use for trolling for bass in a lake. This may be an extreme example, but why do so many anglers use larger equipment intended for larger fish when they are really targeting smaller fish? Sometimes it makes sense, it may be for budgetary reasons, or they do not fish enough to make it worthwhile to have several different rods.

There are plenty of reasons to consider an ultralight fishing rod. Ultimately, the best ultralight fishing rods are perfect for pan fishing or even trout fishing. When fishing with the appropriately sized gear, panfish, like sunfish, can feel like a giant bass. Pound per pound, they fight very well. So why overpower them with a massive rod? That will take all the fun out of it.

Fast action or medium action ultralight rods are designed for smaller fish; they have heightened sensitivity, which increases your chances to feel every little nibble from the fish—your chances of catching more fish than someone who who is using a larger combo is better.

Choosing the Optimal Rod Lenth

Depending on your preference, ultralight rods come in several different rod lengths and actions. The lengths vary from 4’6” to 7’0”. In general, provided the rod is matched with the correct reel and line, the longer the rod is, the further you can cast the lure. The length of the rod helps build momentum as you cast to  propel the lure. The farther you can cast, the better you can sneak up on a school of fish without spooking them. Longer rods also help muscle out fish from entering a structure or wrapping the line around a structure. You might not be able to cast as far, but shorter lengths are more comfortable to control, especially if you are in a small boat with a lot of people.

However, the most extended rod possible might not be the best length for you. There are many things that you need to consider to decide on the length: Where will you be fishing? Will you be fishing from a kayak or canoe? If so, then sometimes a shorter rod is more comfortable to handle on a small boat. Shorter rods are great for canoes especially if you are with other people. As well, shorter rods are safer if you are with other people on a canoe. There’s less risk of you accidently hitting the other canoer with your rod tip or worse accidently hooking them.

Also, shorter lengths are helpful when you are reeling in a big fish because they are easier to handle compared to longer rods. Longer rods may get in the way when you have to switch hands to land the fish. Other things to consider is if you will be in open water where you need to cast as far as possible to cover as much water as possible? Then I would go with a longer length. As stated earlier, longer rods are better for casting distance. A 7 foot rod will outcast a short rod every time. Longer rods are also great for fishing from a dock because you can cast further away from the dock. Will you be fishing around a lot of cover where you won’t have a lot of room to maneuver? In this case, a smaller length would be suitable.

Weight and Action 

When shopping for an ultralight rod, or any rod for that matter, two main things you should consider are the weight and action. This information is printed at the bottom of the rod before the handle. If you are shopping for an ultralight fishing rod, you want moderate fast action, and “ultralight” for the weight as compared to light, medium, or heavy. The action describes where it bends when you put pressure or resistance on the tip. A fast action rod will bend in the upper 1/3 from the tip. Basically, the rod action is how much the rod tip bends. The rod weight refers to the overall strength and stiffness of the rod. For fishing for smaller fish like panfish, an ultralight rod is preferred and a moderate fast action.

ultralight fishing rod

Ultralight Fishing Rod

Line Weight & Lure Weight

The line weight listed on the rod indicatesd the most suitable fishing line to use. One of the most common myths about rods is that the line weight tells you how much weight it requires to break the rod. This is not true at all. If your rod is weighted at 10 lb and you try lifting a 10 lb bass with just your rod, then yes, it will most likely snap in half. The rod is designed as a shock absorber, and it is designed to work with the drag set on the reel.

Most actions are moderate fast and can handle lower line weights from 1-6lbs depending on the length and action of the rod. If you were to use a heavier line, you would not be able to cast a lightweight lure as far. Ultralight rods can handle exceptionally light lures, anywhere from 1/32 to 1/4 oz. These rods are designed for lightweight line and small lures. This improves your casting distance and enhances your chances of being able to cast your lure to the perfect spot. Don’t be afraid of using light line either. You might think that a light line might break too easily. However, remember which species of fish you are targeting and to always set the drag on the reel properly. Also, with lighter line, the thinner it is, and the less chance the fish have of seeing the line and being spooked away.

What Materials Go into an Ultralight Rod

There are three main types of materials spinning rods are made out of graphite, fiberglass, and composite. Fiberglass is highly flexible and heavier than graphite; however, it is less sensitive and weaker. It is harder to feel the little nibbles and bites from the fish if you were to use fiberglass. Typically, fiberglass is used in slow or medium action rods so you typically will not find them in an ultralight fishing rod. Rods made out of graphite blank construction are more sensitive and stiffer material than fiberglass. Often graphite rods are referred to as carbon fiber rods. Carbon fiber is a form of graphite so often they are interchangeable.They are offered in a larger variety of stiffness. With graphite’s sensitivity, it allows you to notice more bites and nibbles so you can set the hook better and catch more fish. Composite rods are constructed from fiberglass and graphite fibers. The combination takes the benefits of both materials into one rod.

Final Thoughts on Ultralight Spinning Rods

Whatever species of fish that you are targeting, having the right gear is incredibly important. Ultralight or fast action rods are great for panfish, smallmouth bass, perch, and other similar sized fish. Use ultralight gear for small fish because they are designed for that reason. The casting disance is exceptional. The rods are extremely sensitive to help you catch more fish. Catching panfish can be just as fun as hooking a large game fish out on the ocean. Even though these rods are designed for smaller fish, they can still handle larger fish as long as you can adjust your drag quickly and adequately enough.

These rods are made from excellent materials and the quality. They are a great value for the money. If you can take care of these rods they can last you a very long time. These rods are easy to use and easy to maintain. If you are new to fishing they are a great rod to start with because of the ease of use. Even though experienced fishermen use these rods, you don’t have to be experienced or a pro ot get started. The most important thing is just to go fishing and enjoy the moment and time you have while you do it. Fishing is an experience for all levels and ages. The best way to gain more experience is to get out there and just go fishing. That’s what makes fishing so fun.

If you have been searching for the best ultralight spinning rods for your next fishing adventure than we hope our top choices helped you find the right rod for you. We hope this article provided all the information that you needed.

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