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8 Best ultra-light spinning rods for 2023

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What exactly we should be expecting from the best ultra-light spinning rods is flexibility, weighing light, and yet durability to land an ideal catch with lightweight lure and line. It’s always a fun experience to target bass, trout, and other medium-sized fish with ultra-light fishing rods.

For lake, inshore, and shallow-water fishing where affordability is your main concern and also you don’t want to sacrifice performance ultra-spinning rods are the optimal choice.

Now if you are interested in an enhanced fishing experience must check out our list of best-ultra-light fishing rods. We have shortlisted some of the recommended options keeping in view different points of concern.

Top 3 Picks for the best ultra-light spinning rods

St. Croix Rods Triumph Spinning Rod
St. Croix Rods Triumph Spinning Rod
  • Graphite fiber rods
  • Zirconia Guides
  • Stainless steel Guide frames
  • 5’ to 5’6” feet length
Okuma Celilo Graphite Ultra Light Trout Rods
Okuma Celilo Graphite Ultra Light Trout Rods
  • Graphite rod construction
  • Stainless steel guides
  • Aluminum Guides inserts
  • Cork handles
G.Loomis Classic Trout Panfish Spinning Rods
G.Loomis Classic Trout Panfish Spinning Rods
  • Graphite blanks
  • Stainless steel guides
  • Split Cork Handles
  • 2 piece rod

List of best ultra-light spinning rods

1- St. Croix Rods Triumph Spinning Rod

best durable ultra-light spinning rod

  • Graphite fiber rods
  • Zirconia Guides
  • Stainless Steel Guide frames
  • Cork Handles
  • Ultra-light power
  • 5’ to 5’6” feet length

St. Croix offers a range of excellent and premium quality rods and the Triumph series is one of the prominent names among them. Although the price is higher than other spinning rods but the performance and durability it offers are unmatched.

First, it’s a graphite fiber rod, an optimal choice for serious anglers who demand sensitivity in the first place. Make sure to set the hook at the right time for a successful catch.

It’s relatively a tough rod than Okuma Celilo Trout rods as Fortified resin System Technology makes them stronger than regular ultra-light spinning rods. It is a lightweight rod ideal for light lures. But not recommended for beginners as it may be a bit tough to make an ideal cast for them. The rod stiffness makes them difficult for novice anglers.

It has zirconia guide rings suitable for all fishing lines and its stainless steel frames add protection to guide rings, making them durable.  Make sure to use the exact line and lure weight to save the rod from breakage. 

The cork handles are no doubt of higher quality serving rods with a strong grip. It is one of the best travel-friendly ultra-light spinning rods as you can choose between 2 and 4-piece rods.

St. Croix Triumph series is recommended rod for small river fishing.

  • Perfect ultra-light rods for serious anglers
  • High-quality, durable rod guides
  • Available in multiple rod power
  • Expensive rod
  • The rod can snap easily if you aren’t careful with the line test

2- Okuma Celilo Graphite Ultra Light Trout Rods

best ultra-light spinning rod for trout

  • Graphite rod construction
  • Stainless steel Guides
  • Aluminum Guides inserts
  • Cork handles
  • 2 piece rod
  • Stainless steel hooded reel seats

To negate the myth that ultra-light fishing rods can’t tackle strong fish fights like Trout, Okuma introduced the Celilo Graphite ultra-light rod keeping in view both affordability and performance.

It’s a graphite rod so tip sensitivity is nothing to worry about. Sensitivity is the major requirement here to catch smarter fish like trout that nibbles without any vibration to the bait.

Although the title mentions only trout fish but you can target other fish with confidence. Okuma Celilo doesn’t appoint its users at all and performs in saltwater fishing as well.

The rod has stainless steel guides followed by Aluminum guide inserts that are strong and good for rough fishing conditions. This rod offers a long casting distance of more than 20 feet.

It’s a 6’6’’ feet long rod for small lakes and rivers but you can easily switch to another length as they have plenty of options in lengths at this price. You can have a pair of Okuma Celilo for other fishing locations.

The cork handles with stainless steel hooded reel seats all add comfort, and a strong grip on the rod’s handle even with wet hands, and reel seats hold the reel firmly with no reel loosening.

It’s a 2-piece rod so can be carried easily to any fishing location. Keeping in view all the features no doubt it’s a deserving rod to get the title of the best ultra-light spinning rod with tons of positive reviews.

  • Budget-friendly, it is exciting to get this quality rod at the cheaper rates
  • Being a graphite rod offers great sensitivity
  • 2 piece adds traveling comfort
  • Some of the users faced rod snapping but the main reason for this is exceeding the line test max limit

3- G.Loomis Classic Trout Panfish Spinning Rods

best value ultra-light spinning rod

  • Graphite blank construction
  • Stainless steel guides
  • Fast action
  • Split Cork Handles
  • 2 piece rod

G Loomis is a classic fishing rod brand and a name of trust among many anglers. The brand makes sure to satisfy its users with quality fishing gear. The Classic trout Panfish spinning rod is one of the trusted ultra-light spinning rods.

You can scale our trust level as the only dark side we found with this rod is the price. Yes, everything comes at a price so as this premium quality rod. Although you can shift to Ugly Stik Elite or Shakespeare Micro if you don’t want to spend on expensive ultra-light spinning rods.

Many anglers get satisfied with the price when they first hold the rod in their hands, it is one of the lightest-weight rods I have ever used. This isn’t the incredible part, you can land bass, trout, crappie, bluegill, salmon, steelhead, walleye, and perch. There is much more to explore with this fishing rod.

If you are rough with your rods and not technique specific then it’s better to go with cadence CR5 or a more cheap option the Ugly Stik Elite, because cheap rod breakage is bearable. But once and for all, G Loomis is the best ultra-light spinning rod overall.

Talking about rod specs, G Loomis classic is a graphite rod and with Fiber blend technology rods are strong to support a variety of fishing types. It’s a fast-action rod with a sensitive rod tip that lets you feel the slightest fish nibble.

Maximum 6-pound test and 3/16 lure weight you can easily catch a 3-5 pound fish with this rod. The maximum length you can get is seven-feet so from small lakes to rivers and freshwater fishing it covers all. You can easily get a long casting distance with a seven-footer.

Cork handles and stainless steel guides are well-balanced with rod weight.

  • Perfect rod sensitivity
  • Lightweight rod
  • Offers perfect casting distance
  • Expensive Rods

4- Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Fishing Rod

best beginner-friendly ultra-light spinning rod

  • Composite (Graphite + Fiberglass) construction
  • Stainless steel guides
  • Cork Handles
  • 1 and 2 pieces rod both styles are available

If you have read my other articles on spinning rods like best spinning rods, best bass spinning rods, and best trout spinning rods you will understand in no time that I am a big fan of Ugly Stik rods. They support budget and last longer than any other spinning rod.

Now here are the two conditions First you are a beginner, second, you are in search of a good ultra-light rod, Ugly Stik Elite fulfills both conditions. It’s an optimal choice for anglers of all levels of skills.

Again a graphite rod added to the list to conquer rod sensitivity. The main twist in this rod is the presence of fiberglass in the construction. So now just count the features durability, flexibility, stiffness, light in weight, and budget-friendly.

I may sound exaggerating but Ugly Stik is a great addition to the fishing gear collections. It’s a long last lasting product, your partner for every fishing type.

The rod has the strength to target big fish with an 8 to 17 pounds line rating. Its stainless steel guides are durable and can bear line bruises. Its cork handles are of high quality.

In addition to ultra-light power, medium-power rods are also available in the Elite series. The maximum length you can get is 7 feet so perfect for streams, ponds, rivers, and lakes but not recommended for inshore fishing.

  • Composite construction adds features of both materials
  • Affordable price range
  • Strong line guides
  • The only room for improvement is the reel seats will be great if sized increased

5- Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod

best budget-friendly ultra-light spinning rod

  • Graphite composite construction
  • Stainless steel guides and inserts
  • Cushioned hooded conventional reel seats
  • 2-6lb pound test
  • 7 feet long
  • ¼ maximum lure weight

Rod sensitivity is also required for smaller fish, that’s why the Shakespeare Micro ultra-light spinning rod is added to the list of best ultra-light rods. With composite construction i.e. blend of both materials, where graphite is at a higher ratio. The reason behind exceptional rod sensitivity.

The rod is an ideal choice for novice anglers and a popular rod for trout fishing. You can choose between from minimum of 4.6 feet to a maximum of 7 feet long rod. It’s a clear sign that the rod is suitable for different fishing locations.

If you are right with the technique you can actually catch a 20 lb. fish, using a 4-6 lb. pound test. From smallmouth bass, blue catfish to trout are on record catches by this rod.

To complete the power pack performance, its stainless steel guides and inserts are strong and durable enough to bear braided fishing line abuse.

The full-length cork handles offer plenty of room holding in any style and cushioned reel seats add comfort for various fishing styles to anglers with different skill levels. It is the best choice beating the Okuma Celilo and St Croix in budget.

If sensitivity is its features it is its nature too. The rod may snap if you exceed the line test limit. So, a bit of care and maintenance is required for this spinning rod.

You can choose between ultra-light and light power rods, according to your target. Overall, it will be a valuable addition to your ultra-light fishing rod collection.

  • A lightweight rod that casts very well
  • Budget-friendly fishing rod
  • A recommended rod for pan fishing
  • Maintenance required
  • The only room for improvement is durability

6- Cadence CR5 Casting and Ultralight Fishing Rod

best freshwater ultra-light spinning rod

  • Carbon fiber rods
  • Cork handles
  • 1 piece rod
  • Stainless steel line guides

The anglers searching for freshwater fishing who aims to target small as well as larger fish catches Cadence Spinning rod is there for them. The rod has the strength and power to tackle a big catch. On top of all that, spinning rods are the optimal choice for a beginner so as is the Cadence CR5.

First of all, it’s a carbon fiber rod, this may raise its price but the rod’s strength and durability are exceptional. The anglers often complaining about the spinning rod snapping should consider Cadence CR5.

Another plus point with this rod is its flexibility, many anglers shifting from fiberglass to graphite fishing rods, face flexibility issues. The Cadence 30-ton carbon fiber spinning rods are lightweight, durable yet flexible.

Although these rods are available in different actions and power but our recommendation is ultra-light spinning rods, moderate fast action with 5’6’’ length. They are the optimal choice for pan fish catch with accurate casting and increased sensitivity.

The comfy cork and EVA handles, stainless steel durable and corrosion-resistant guides all are of high quality maintaining a perfect balance of quality and performance. You can select between a split grip or full grip rod handle style.

Selecting the right length it’s the best rod for crappie, bluegill, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and popular trout fishing. It will be a valuable addition to fishing gear.

  • A well-balanced rod
  • Offers strength and durability
  • Perfect for larger catches
  • Reel seats can be improved

7- KastKing Perigee II Fishing Rods

best lightweight ultra-light spinning rod

  • Carbon fiber rods
  • Fuji-O line guides
  • Graphite reel seats
  • EVA handles
  • Fast Action

The anglers for whom G Loomis is a pricy option can swipe their screens to KastKing Perigee II ultra-light spinning rods if they are in search of lightweight rods at a cheaper price.

KastKing Perigee are the carbon fiber fishing rods so they are lighter than Shakespeare ultra-light spinning rods present in this list. Best alternatives to these cheaper rods.

The rod has Fuji-O line guides and graphite reel seats. Rather than having cork handles, it has the EVA grips that influence the rod price as they are cheaper than cork but performance isn’t affected.

The series covers a vast range of fishing rods varying in power, actions, and length, and even you can choose between technique spinning and casting. Its unique feature of 2 tips and 1 butt style in medium-fast action rods.

KastKing Perigee ultra-light spinning rods have enough backbone for hooksets and make an ideal cast with lightweight lures. Obviously, you can adopt different fishing styles and target even bigger size fish with the series but ultralight spinning rods are good for lakes, rivers, ponds, and smaller streams, this fast action rod offers nice sensitivity to learn underwater details.

The maximum length range for ultra-light rods is 5’6’’ feet it’s a 2-piece rod so carry it easily to your fishing locations. It’s a budget-friendly, travel-friendly, and lightweight ultra-light spinning rod.

  • Lightweight rod
  • Budget-friendly option
  • Rod tip sensitivity
  • 5’6’’ length can be too short in some cases
  • Lacks durability

8- Fenwick Elite Tech River Runner Spinning Rod

best two-piece ultra-light spinning rod

  • Graphite rod construction
  • Titanium frame guides
  • Cork Handles
  • Hidden handle design reel seat
  • 2 piece rod split grip handle design

Another lightweight ultra-light spinning rod but longer in length than KastKing Perigee, so they are good 5’8’’ feet long rods with a lower price than Kast King, you can pick a longer rod.

They are high-modulus graphite rods with attractive cosmetics and the perfect option for freshwater fishing. The rod will perform at its when paired with an ideal spinning reel. Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 1000 size is a recommended reel.

This rod has split grip quality cork handles the design is a bit different from all the above-listed rods. They offer a strong grip even with wet hands.

Instead of stainless steel frame guides, it has Titanium frames which are relatively more abrasion resistant than other guide materials. 

Go with lighter-weight lures ¼ oz. and using live baits is always the best choice. It’s a 2 piece rod but the ferrules system is so well built that the rod performs like a 1 piece.

The rod tip is sensitive and aware the angler about the nibbles and slightest fish strikes. It’s a good rod for trout and panfish. You can easily land a 4 lb. trout with Fenwick ultra-light spinning rods.

  • It’s a well-performing rod under $100
  • Lightweight rod
  • Attractive cosmetics
  • The rods are stiffer and prone to breakage as they are high-modulus graphite

How to choose the best ultra-light spinning rods

Before buying any ultra-light spinning fishing rod make sure to checklist the below-stated points for optimal casting. Obviously, for the best-performing ultra-light spinning rods, you should consider some points.

Rod Length

As you can fish anywhere, however, the length of the ultra-light rod must be selected on the basis of your fishing location no complex concepts or rocket science is involved in this case.

It’s a simple rule, for inshore, large rivers, and streams where casting distance is required, adopt the longer spinning rods of about 7-8 feet. Ultra-light rods are relatively smaller in length than compared to other spinning or casting rods.

On the other hand, for small lakes, pond fishing, and for more casting accuracy go for a shorter length. Alternatively, if you want to go with an all-rounding length then 6’6” to 7 feet are the best choices.

Now the rod action is selected on the basis of your target fish size. You must know that the rod action is categorized into three Fast, moderate, and slow action. The main difference between them is the level of flexibility.

Rod Action

Fast Action Rods

Fast-action rods bend near the tip. Only the tip area bends when pressure is applied. They are the stiff ones.

Medium Action Rods

These rods are more flexible than fast action but less than slow action. As their name states, they have medium-level flexibility. The rod bends from the mid position to the rod tip.

Slow Action Rods

The flexible rods are the slow actions rods these rods bend throughout the length of the rod i.e. right above the butt section to the rod tip.

When to choose which action ultra-light rods?

For small-sized fish, fast-action rods are the optimal choice, when you aren’t sure of the fish size or targeting a variety of species, medium-action rods are good to go, and at last for targeting big fish, slow-action rods are used. They offer a tough and rough fight with the fish and offer required rod flex.

Rod Power

The power of the rod decides the pressure that causes the rod to bend i.e. at what pressure your rod bends. Now again the power is categorized also in three i.e Heavy, Medium, and light power rods.

Each rod bends according to its title, heavy power rods are for the big fish catch, for medium-sized fish medium power, and for smaller ones light power rods work great. There are many in-between levels and ultra-light rods are one of them.

Ultra-light rods cover the gap between the medium to light rods and make a nice parabolic curve on medium to small-sized trout, walleye, pike, and bass. Ultra-light rods are the optimal choice for recreational anglers.

Line and Lure weight

Light line and feather-weight lures are the perfect partners for ultra-light spinning rods. For a perfect cast, do not exceed the maximum lure weight limit of ½ ounce and the maximum 6-pound test.

Rod Material

Two famous rod materials are used for rod construction, fiberglass and graphite. Many brands also offer carbon fiber rods which are a costly option.

With fiberglass rods, the performance achieved is durability and flexibility while the rod sensitivity, stiffness, and light weight are the qualities of graphite fishing rods. 

Graphite and carbon fiber rods offer almost the same features their main difference is the price factor, both are preferred over fiberglass rods for tip sensitivity and lightweight structure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Final Thoughts

The best ultra-light spinning rod is the one that is paired with the right size reel, strong fishing line, and lightweight lure. In short, a perfect setup makes the rod the best.

Ultra-light rods are the perfect start-up package for beginners to learn to cast a fishing rod, these rods actually help to achieve accurate cast. Once you use the ultra-light spinning rods there is no way back! For me the main quality you should look for in an ultra-light is sensitivity but many anglers prefer strength so it’s a matter of personal preference.

My personal pick for the best ultra-light spinning rod is G.Loomis Classic Trout Panfish Spinning Rods. Maybe a pricy option for some anglers, but it’s a worth buying spinning rod.