This guide aims to help you if you are searching for a new ultralight spinning rod or if you find yourself wondering what techniques it might be useful to use.
Below, you will find some useful information informing you as to why you benefit from opting to go ultralight on your next fishing trip. Also, including advice on some of the different rods available and the features that make them a great choice.
What's an Ultralight fishing rod?
An ultralight spinning rod simply refers to a lightweight rod. This doesn't just mean that the rod itself is going to be lightweight but also the equipment that you use alongside it too. For example, the line, reel, and lures are all going to be lightweight too.
Unlike rods used for surf fishing or offshore fishing, ultralight rods tend to be shorter in length. In cases where casting distance is not a priority, an ultra-light rod is suitable as it works effectively in smaller bodies of water.
You will have greater accuracy and control when casting your bait if you use a smaller rod, as this allows for more precise fishing. Ultralight fishing can rely on the presentation of the fish, similarly to finesse fishing where the aim is to present the lure as irresistible food.
Why should you use Ultralight rods?
Targeting smaller fish is much easier when using an ultralight rod. It can make your fishing trip much more fun, possibly resulting in you catching many more fish too.
You can often feel like you are catching much lighter fish than you are when using ultralight gear. This is because of the way that the rod is set up, it is going to respond to minimal pressure. This can make your fishing trip very exciting.
You can target a range of fish including trout, bluegill, crappie, and bass through this type of fishing. You can feel the bite of a small fish easily as ultralight gear has increased sensitivity.
Using a light line and small lightweight lures, similar to finesse fishing, is going to be helpful when catching fish in clear water or water that is heavily fished. Smaller lures tend to appear more like natural food which can attract more fish. It also appears less suspicious to the fish.
Although you can use ultralight gear when fishing in saltwater, it is better suited to freshwater fishing. For example ponds and rivers or any other small bodies of water.
Shorter rods are generally used for ultralight fishing, however, because of this reason they may not be capable of casting to the required length needed for ocean fishing. They tend to be designed for more precise casting. Oceans tend to be home to larger fish with a larger area for them to swim in.
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Best Ultralight Fishing Rod - Comparison Table
Best Ultralight Fishing Rod - Reviews
This Ugly Stik Elite Spinning fishing rod has been designed for casting light lures and is ideal for bass fishing. The Ugly Tech construction and graphite make this a super lightweight rod that has increased sensitivity too. You will even be able to feel the slightest of bites.
The stainless steel guides make this a durable rod that is sure to see you through many fishing trips. This 7’ rod has been designed with cork handles for a better grip and improved and long-lasting comfort during lengthy fishing trips.
As a two piece rod, it is easy to transport and store when not in use.
Using this lightweight, 9 foot 6-inch rod you can cast greater distances than a shorter rod will allow. It combines moderate fast action and sensitivity, with the power to reel in large fish too.
The four outer layers of graphite result in much more hoop strength that doesn’t sacrifice sensitivity.
This is a durable line with the seven guides and tips constructed from stainless steel. The Alconite inserts work to boost their strength while protecting your line. With a durable shrink tube grip handle, this is comfortable to hold too.
Although primarily designed for trout fishing, the G Loomis Classic Trout Panfish Spinning Rod is ideal for panfish, crappie, bluegill, and many other types of fishing too.
An ultralight moderate action is created from the strong carbon blend blank. This benefits from a foam and cork handle for greater comfort as you fish.
Your line will be protected by the strong but lightweight Fuji Alconite Guides. This is particularly useful when you are using a very light line.
The fast tip also allows for ultimate control when casting this rod too.
The KastKing Crixus Spinning Rod is an ideal choice if you’re looking for a lightweight, durable rod available at an affordable price. These powerful and sensitive graphite rods are very lightweight and easy to use.
This rod is perfect for any species in freshwater and will also work well for saltwater fishing.
The handle on this model is comfortable, durable and slip resistant so should offer you maximum control of your rod in all kinds of weather conditions.
The KastKing brand only use high-quality stainless-steel guide frames with Zirconium Oxide rings which are designed to deliver long, smooth casts and hold up against the pressure of strong fish in varying conditions.
This rod works well with fluorocarbon, monofilament and braided fishing lines. If you’re after a lightweight, comfortable rod on a budget the KastKing Crixus would be a perfect option for you.
- Lightweight and durable
- Powerful and sensitive graphite rod
- Perfect for freshwater and saltwater fishing
- Comfortable, non-slip handle for maximum control
- Stainless-steel guide frame
- Works well with fluorocarbon, monofilament and braided fishing lines
- A couple of reviewers commented that they found the rod was too fragile
The Best Rods for those on a Budget - Reviews
The Kalex Telescopic XT2 Spinning Rod is a multi-purpose, medium power, ultra-lightweight fish rod. The XT2 comes in multiple size options, we would recommend the 12'0".
This is a fantastically priced 12'0" rod made to make travelers' dreams come true. This rod collapses to a minute size and comes with a damage preventing, plastic cover for its tip. Despite being a 12ft rod the XT2 can collapse down to 21 inches.
The rod itself has a carbon composite black construction that allows it to fit into the ultra-lightweight category as well as being super durable and strong. Its hood is cushioned by stainless steel to add to this durability. The XT2's reel seat is made of aluminum.
The grip at the base of the rod is EVA contoured and designed to be used all day with minimum iteration. This is a great rod for fishing in smaller bodies of water, as well as large lakes.
This is a well-balanced rod, with a good amount of flexibility and is very sensitive.
When using lures with this rod make sure to stay below the suggested maximum weight limit as users who have gone over this have noted damage to their rods.
The Shakespeare Micro rod is an ultralight spinning rod that is suitable for anglers of all ages regardless of experience. It comes in two pieces which makes it easy to store and transport. It is an ideal choice for freshwater fishing in rivers and streams and is designed for accurate casting.
Comfort is provided through the cork handle which is easy to grip too. This high quality rod is durable and reliable for a great fishing experience.
As a graphite composite rod, this creates ultralight action and the stainless steel guides for improved performance and increased sensitivity.
This rod is easy to use providing an enjoyable experience for both beginner and advanced anglers.
This fast action lightweight rod is designed for crappie, trout, panfish and bass fishing in streams and ponds.
This 6 foot 6 inch rod comes in two pieces making it easy to transport to your favorite fishing spots. Handcrafted from graphite, this is a light and durable rod with added sensitivity for catching small fish.
If you are just starting out then this rod is a great choice. There is a good balance between casting distance and accuracy thanks to the length of the rod when compared to some shorter rods available.
With premium grade cork constructed handles, this allows you to maintain a strong grip while providing you with comfort during your fishing trip.
Best Ultralight Fishing Rod - Buyers Guide
What features should you look out for?
This refers to how and where the rod is going to bend when pressure is applied to it. Most ultralight rods tend to have a fast action rating or at least a moderate to fast action rating.
This gives the rod improved sensitivity as it is going to be more likely to bend at the tip. The hook can also be set quicker than it would be using a rod with slower action.
The strength and weight that the rod can handle are referred to as the power. A heavy rod, for example, is designed for catching bigger fish and it can handle heavier lines and lure.
A rod rated as ultralight or light is most suited for ultralight fishing. This is going to make it feel like you're catching larger fish even when you are catching smaller fish as it is going to take less weight to bend.
Rods with a lighter rating are usually going to take lighter lines. Typically heavier rods are capable of taking heavier lines and this makes them ideal for catching larger and heavier fish.
Your line may break if you use a line that is heavier than the recommended limit on your rod. If there's enough force behind it, it may even result in the rod snapping.
The type of water that you are fishing in with your rod is also going to impact the power too. Clear open water will require a thin, hard line with a lighter powered rod, whilst thicker water is going to require a heavier powered rod.
Ultralight fishing rods tend to be under 7 foot long, a longer rod can affect your control over the rod when you are trying to target smaller fish as it is more likely to sacrifice accuracy over the casting distance.
The length of the rod that you need or even prefer is going to be affected by the body of water where you are planning on fishing. A shorter rod may be preferable when casting distance is not important. For example in smaller bodies of water such as creeks, streams, or ponds.
There are many rods under 6 feet in length that are dedicated to trout fishing in streams in particular. As well as allowing you to use finesse fishing techniques, shorter rods give you a more accurate cast too.
Material Construction Types
Ultralight rods are generally constructed from lightweight materials. This may be graphite, carbon fiber, or fiberglass. There are sometimes rods available that are constructed using a combination of these materials.
Graphite is often found on many ultralight rods as it is lightweight, durable, and strong which makes it a favorable choice. For fishing rods, it also provides a good level of sensitivity.
Many ultralight rods feature carbon fiber planks or a carbon fiber blend. Due to the added performance from this type of construction, carbon fiber does tend to be more expensive. This is a lightweight, sensitive, and strong rod type.
Fiberglass tends to be a little heavier than graphite rods and for this reason, fiberglass tends to be a less expensive option. Although they may not be as sensitive as other ultralight rods they are still a strong and durable option, also making them a great choice for beginners.
The Line Type
The line you require will need to be lighter as the lures you are using are generally going to be smaller and lighter. Thin light lines allow a finesse style of fishing and also lets you detect when a fish attempts to take your bait and this is what is needed for ultralight fishing.
Typically ultralight rods are considered to be anywhere around 2-6 pounds. Personal preference is a big factor that can contribute to the type of line that you choose. Some anglers favor thin braided lines due to their high sensitivity.
Another good option is fluorocarbon because of its invisibility under the water and there is less chance of this scaring the fish that you are hoping to catch.
Some may prefer to combine both advantages of these two types of line opting for a fluorocarbon leader on a braided line. This is going to work well in clear water.
A monofilament line is another option. However, it is less sensitive than a braided line and sensitivity can be more important than stretch when ultra fishing.
The number of guides
The purpose of guides or eyelets that are found on fishing lines serves the purpose of helping to guide your line while increasing the sensitivity of your rod. You should be able to cast better if you have more guides on your rod.
The material may be more important when looking at the guides on ultralight rods because you will be using a lighter line making it different to other types of rods.
Your line could break or even become damaged if the guides used or not smooth or if they are susceptible to nicks or scratches.
How to use an ultralight rod
Transporting the rod around
Ultralight rods, particularly those that come in two pieces, can be easier to transport than standard rods. When they are not in use they are also likely to take up less storage space too.
Storing and safely transporting the rod can also be made easier if you choose a two piece rod that comes with a carry case. If you are interested in DIY, you may even choose to make your own carry case, ones that are suitable for one piece rods too.
You will find that the length of the rods can differ between the brands too so those that are shorter are likely to be easier to store and transport too. You will likely find that one piece rods are a little trickier to transport and this is worth considering if you have to travel a distance on foot to reach your destination.
Ultralight gear requires a little more patience than what is required when fishing with heavier gear. It can largely be about waiting for the right moment once the fish has worn itself out and less about wanting the fish to fight by reelin it in.
The fish will tire out faster if the tip of your rod is kept pointing upwards once you have hooked the fish. Reeling in your catch like you would with a rod that is heavier and slow action may result in the rod or line breaking or even losing some fish.
When set right, the drag system on your reel can come in handy, if you're fishing for bass in particular the drag may not be needed at all and you can use your reelin skills instead. However, this can take some time to master.
What line should I use?
You will likely discover a preference for a particular type of line. A monofilament line works well if you are looking for greater casting distance. Your line is less likely to break under pressure thanks to the added stretch, however, it may not have the sensitivity that you need for the ultralight lure.
The strength and reduced stretch of a braided line work well for ultralight fishing. Your catch rate is also likely to improve thanks to its sensitivity which allows you to feel the slightest of hits. This may not be the best option for fishing as it isn't as invisible as fluorocarbon.
How to cast?
Casting an ultralight rod is focussed more on where your bait lands and less about maximizing the distance, which makes it a little different to casting a standard rod.
Some casting techniques are designed for greater accuracy when casting. This lets you target the fish more precisely and lets your bait land exactly where you want it too.
One method of casting that is useful in small bodies of water is the flip cast. This makes it easier to target fish that are hidden in specific areas of water.
As ultralight rods require a lighter line, spinning reels are much more suitable, as many ultralight fishing rods are designed for this type of reel.
Using an ultralight fishing rod can provide you with lots of excitement on your fishing trip, giving you a renewed enjoyment for fishing, particularly effective if other techniques haven't been working as well for you.
You may be able to catch more fish and using an ultra-light fishing rod can even make the fish that you catch seem bigger than they are. Choosing the best rod length and line type is largely going to be decided by the body of water that you are most likely to fish in.
Some people may have particular preferences when it comes to their fishing set up, even when using an ultralight fishing rod you may prefer to set it up in different ways to others. It is also necessary to be aware that the smaller fish can sometimes be a difficult catch too, making it harder than you would expect to lure and catch them. It is important to be aware of this before your fishing trip.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are ultralight rods good for?
An ultralight rod responds to a minimum amount of pressure which makes your day fishing very exciting. Often when catching the smaller fish you can feel as though you are catching fish that are much heavier. You will find that this type of fishing is most common for trout, bluegill, crappie, and bass fishing. An ultralight rod refers to its power rating as it is much lighter than your standard fishing rod. They tend to be much smaller in length too making them ideal for fishing small fish breeds.
What are the benefits of using an ultralight fishing rod?
The main benefit of using an ultralight fishing rod is that you're still able to cast long distances using tiny weighted lures in small lakes too. As the rods are much smaller in size and length they are easier to quickly flick the rod and your lure is highly likely to end up in the place that you want it too.
Some ultralight rods are easy to use which makes them great for anglers at a beginner level as this provides them with a great introduction into this type of fishing.
Are Ultralight Rods expensive?
As with anything that you purchase, ultralight rods can be expensive depending on the brand that you choose to invest in. Some are going to retail at much more expensive prices than others. It is highly likely that you are going to find a good quality ultralight spinning rod within your budget. We have listed some affordable options above that retail for affordable prices catering specifically for those with a lower budget.