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The 7 Best Ultralight Spinning Rods for Fishing

So, you want to buy the best ultralight fishing rod. But where do you begin? Ultralight fishing isn’t new, and in fact, it’s been around for quite a long time. But not many people talk about ultralight fishing, or even know what it is! Ultralight fishing isn’t new, but the terms might be new to even the most experienced anglers.

The term “ultralight fishing” refers to the type and size of rods and reels a fisherman uses out on the water. Generally speaking, the rods and reels are significantly smaller than what is typically used – but that doesn’t mean they are any less effective. Keep reading to learn more about the intricacies and benefits of ultralight fishing.

What is Ultralight Fishing?

As stated above, “ultralight fishing” refers to the type and size of rods and reels you depend on to get the job done. Generally speaking, the rods and reels are much smaller than what is typically used.

Ultralight fishing equipment is the most practical and useful in smaller bodies of water, or wherever casting distance is not a priority.

Because anglers typically aren’t as concerned about their casting distance, they can choose to have more control and greater accuracy over where they cast. When you use a shorter rod to cast your bait, you have a greater ability to be more specific and intentional about when and where you cast.

Benefits of Using an Ultralight Fishing Rod

Some of the benefits of  choosing to use an ultralight fishing rod include:

  • The ability to be more precise with what is on the end of your line. Ultralight fishing rods allow you to use more tender tackle and smaller lures and jigs. Although this may not sound like much, the best anglers know that the size of your lure can make or break your chances of getting a bite. So, when you use ultralight equipment and tactics, even the most cautious fish will take a chance on you.
  • You achieve more control over your surroundings and greater sensitivity and consciousness of what’s happening in your surroundings. If your lure is caught in underwater tree limbs, rocks, or general debris, you’ll feel it much faster than you would otherwise have. Not to mention – using ultralight equipment will increase your longevity as an angler because you will not be weighed down by heavy equipment.
  • Lastly, your sensitivity to action is increased, you will appreciate the fishing experience much more. You may experience more adrenaline and achievement when you land your fish when you use an ultralight pole. Whether large or small, you’re going to appreciate the experience (and the additional challenge!)

Features to Consider

There are several different features to consider when it comes to buying an ultralight rod.            


When pressure or weight is applied to the rod, the word “action” relates to when the rod bends. 

There are several different types of action rods. For example, a rod labelled as fast action bends in the top third or less of the rod. A medium to moderate action rod will bend in the top half of the rod, while a slow action rod will bend in the lower third of the rod, and may travel into the handle.

When you use an ultralight rod, you will either find ultralight rods that are fast action or moderate to fast action rods. Because the rod is so much smaller and lighter, it will be significantly easier to feel any pressure or weight that impacts the fishing rod.


What do we mean when we refer to the power of a fishing rod? Well, the concept of power refers to the strength of a rod and its lifting power. The heaviness of the power may apply to a rod’s ability to handle heavier weights of line. The weight of the line must be carefully compared with the weight of the rod – too heavy a line may snap the rod on accident.

When ultralight fishing, you want to look for a rod that is rated as light, or, well, ultralight. When you use an ultralight rod, it will take less weight to make the rod bend, so even the smallest fish will feel more challenging than usual.


Finally, the length of the rod you are looking at is another factor to consider. That’s relatively self-explaining–when we say “consider the rod’s length,” we do mean just that! The longer the rod, the more distance you can cast. This metric is not necessarily crucial for ultra-light fishing, however, because you don’t see how far you can go.

The best ultralight fishing rods will be under seven feet. The shorter the rod, the more accurately you should be able to cast, especially when targeting smaller fish species.

What are Ultralight Rods Made of?

There are several different types of ultralight rods that are made of various kinds of materials. Generally speaking, they will be made of lighter weight materials, such as graphite, carbon fiber, or fiberglass. Some rods might even be a combination of two of these.

For example, you might find a rod that is made of a combination of fiberglass and graphite. When materials are combined, the rod will be stronger than it would have been with just one of the materials by itself.

So, if each of these is lightweight materials already, what makes them different from each other?

Graphite Rods

Graphite tends to have a lightweight feel, although not as light as carbon fiber. Because of this, it has the most to offer when it comes to durability and strength. It will not be as sensitive to weight and pressure as some of the other options, but it still qualifies as light enough for ultralight fishing.

Carbon Fiber Rods

These rods will be the most lightweight of any of these options. They are strong but do not compromise on their sensitivity. Generally speaking, this will be the most expensive option, but it is also the option with the most significant returns because of its better construction.


Unlike the carbon fiber rods, this will be the least expensive option, because it is heavier than graphite. So, this may be the least costly option, but also the most cumbersome option. Because it is heavier, it will not be quite as sensitive as the carbon fiber or graphite, but it will be the most durable. Out of any of the types, a fiberglass rod will be the most give and take. Sure, it will be heavier and less sensitive, but it will be the cheapest and also the most durable, making it perfect for beginners.

Line and Lure Weight

Another critical factor is the line and lures weight. We mentioned above that the line weight must be carefully considered with the rod weight – if you have a line weight that is too heavy, you will shatter the rod.

Not surprisingly, ultralight rods need ultralight lines and tiny lures. The smaller, the better. When you are considering a rod and whether it will work for ultralight fishing, look for a rod that is certified for a line that is between two and six pounds. Within this range, lures will be sized within a range of 1/64 oz to 1/2oz.


Have you ever noticed the eyelets on a fishing rod and wondered what they were there for? An eyelet is used as your line’s guide and increases both the rod and the angler’s sensitivity. The number of eyelets on your rod directly relate with your ability to cast your line accurately. The more you have, the better you should be.

Guides can be made out of all kinds of materials. Silicon and titanium carbides are going to be the lightest and also the most durable – however, because of how excellent they are, they may also be the most expensive. Alconite may be the more cost-effective option – plus, they are plenty smooth and durable on their own.

No matter what you pick, for ultralight fishing, you want a material that will be smooth and won’t chip or rust over time. Chipped and rusty guides may tangle or even break your line, which would be frustrating, to say the least.

The Best Ultralight Fishing Rods

So when it comes to a good product, what do we recommend?

KastKing Crixus Fishing Rods, Spinning Rod 5ft 6in-Light - M Fast-2pcs

This rod is our top pick! Made out of graphite, it hits the lightweight and strong balance perfectly. We love the performance of this rod at a very reasonable price. It is the perfect rod for all sorts of fishing, so whether you’re using it in saltwater or freshwater, you’ll be able to use this rod. It has an excellent grip on the handle, and features stainless steel guides.

One feature that may be both a blessing and a curse: it is available in twenty different power, action, and length combos. Although we appreciate the versatility, that does make it harder for beginners to know exactly what they’re getting into. In addition, it separates into two pieces. Although we appreciate the versatility, deconstructing an already light rod isn’t a priority for us.


  • Graphite rod
  • Versatile
  • Stainless steel guides
  • Great value for the price


  • Comments regarding rod breaking after couple of uses
Shimano FX 5'0 UL Freshwater Spinning Fishing Rod

This is an excellent option to get the most bang for your buck, so it is our best budget option. This is also a graphite rod with aluminum oxide guides. It is excellent for beginners or experts, and it has a medium to broad power range.

This rod is in two pieces, so just be aware of that. Otherwise, it is a solid choice overall.


  • Graphite rod
  • Budget friendly
  • Medium to heavy power
  • Aluminum oxide guides


  • Two- piece rod
  • Heavier than other ultralight options
Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod 5'6' - Light - 2pc

This is a more expensive, higher quality rod, constructed with graphite and fiberglass together. The handle is made of cork, so it is comfortable in your hand, and a clear tip ensures added responsiveness and strength.

The guides are made of stainless steel, which isn’t necessarily a problem in itself. However, several reviews mention trouble using a braided line or any line – the guides show grooves very fast, which can cause the line to catch or even snap. Keep that in mind!


  • Quality option
  • Cork handle
  • Clear tip


  • Stainless steel guides
  • Not totally compatible with all types of line
Okuma Celilo Graphite Lightweight Ultra Light Trout Rods, CE-S-662UL-1

This rod is sweet and straightforward. It is reasonably priced for a quality instrument. Crafted out of graphite with stainless steel eyelets, it is built. It also has a cork handle and is lightweight and comfortable.

Some reviews have mentioned that the packaging is flimsy, which may mean it could be damaged upon arrival after shipping, so be aware of that possibility. Many reports state the reliability of this rod, while others complain that it breaks easily, thus, be prepared to do your own research.


  • Graphite rod
  • Reasonably priced
  • Lightweight


  • Flimsy packaging
  • Dissenting reviews on durability
Berkley Cherrywood HD Spinning,Red,4'6'

The Berkley is another excellent option with a hybrid design construction for sensitivity and security when it comes to achieving your ultralight fishing goals. The aluminum oxide guides ensure dependability, and once again, the cork handle makes it easy to hold for more extended periods.

Several reviews mention that the rod has broken in the spots that the pieces connect together. It may be a hybrid design, but many reviewers admit that it is pretty flimsy. The sensitivity only goes so far!


  • Hybrid construction design
  • Cork handle
  • Aluminum oxide guides


  • Very sensitive to weight
  • May be too flimsy to get much use
Sougayilang Telescopic Fishing Rod - 24 Ton Carbon Fiber Ultralight Fishing Pole with CNC Reel Seat, Portable Retractable Handle, Stainless Steel Guides for Bass Salmon Trout Fishing

This rod is retractable and is composed of carbon fiber and E-glass composite. The guides are made of stainless steel, which makes them durable and easy to use. This is the best option for the angler that is backpacking or camping and tight on space.

It may be heavier duty than other ultralight rods, and some reviewers have noted that it loses its thread protector cap quickly. Also, other reviewers have mentioned that the adhesive used to attach the guides isn’t very strong, which may require additional reinforcements.


  • Retractable rod
  • Carbon fiber and E-Glass composite
  • Stainless steel guides


  • Heavier than other ultralight rods
  • Weak adhesive used to attach guides
  • Fragile thread cap protector
Shakespeare Micro Series Spinning Rod Brown/Black, 5-Feet/Ultra-Light

The Shakespeare rod is also made of graphite with a full cork handle. The guides are stainless steel and are as sensitive as they come. It is an excellent choice when it comes to something small and lightweight to get the job done.

Many reviewers have mentioned that the packaging is impractical for a rod that is so inherently fragile, and how difficult it is to find a safe way to transport something this small. Whether or not that’s enough to dissuade you, be aware that it can be more challenging to carry something so sensitive.


  • Graphite rod
  • Cork handle
  • Stainless steel guides


  • Impractical packaging
  • Hard to transport


As ultralight fishing has taken the spotlight, it has also taken the market by storm. A once-unknown fishing philosophy has kicked off a surge in the market with all kinds of new fishing equipment and options. We hope this article has been helpful as you consider what sort of ultralight fishing rod might be right for your ultralight fishing days ahead. Happy fishing!

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