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Best ultralight spinning reels- Top 8 Picks

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The two prominent features that your best ultralight spinning reels must have are the lightweight body and fast hook sets. I am not going to exaggerate that your best ultra-light spinning reel will let you drag and catch a big bulky shark or a giant tuna because these reels can be spooled with a maximum 6 to 8 lb. line strength but are a perfect pick for trout, bass, or other panfish catches like crappie, bullheads, perch, etc.

Ultra-light spinning reels support lightweight gear setup working great with lighter lines and lures when paired with an ultra-light spinning rod. Whenever you are looking for this type of reel narrow your criteria with the features like size, a smoother reel with more ball bearings, and lighter in weight revolving 10 ounces or preferably less.

This list of the best ultra-light spinning reels covers categories from top to bottom, from the best for the budget, the best for smoothness, to the best overall, make sure to read till last to end up adding something worth buying to your gear collection.  

Before diving into the list, why don’t you have a brief introduction to the ultra-light spinning reels, as many misunderstood these reels? They aren’t a separate type of fishing reel just a selection of size according to your ultra-light spinning rod.

Top 3 picks for the best ultralight spinning reels

Best for durability
  • Metal reel body
  • 6.5 ounces weight
  • 1000 size
  • 6+1 ball bearings
Best Overall
Best ultralight spinning reel overall
Daiwa Tatula LT Spinning Fishing Reels
  • 11 pounds max drag
  • 7 ball bearings
  • 5.8 ounces weight
  • 6.2:1 gear ratio
best for budget
Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel
Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel
  • Graphite reel body
  • Stainless steel handle and ball bearings
  • 7 bearings system
  • 5.2:1 gear ratio

What are ultra-light spinning reels?

Ultra-light spinning reels are the smallest size spinning reels with lightweight body structures but bigger than ice-fishing reels.

Generally, spinning reels of 1000 to 2500 sizes are regarded as ultra-light spinning reels some anglers also include 3000 sizes into this category but the true limit is a maximum of up to 2500. These reels are spooled with lighter lines normally a 2 to 8-pound test fishing line.

Ultra-light spinning reels are not only the smaller in size but the lightest in weight they are a maximum of 10 ounces mostly below this range. This weight limit is also a sign of these reels.

is if you are fishing in clear water targeting panfish with lighter lures ultra-light spinning reels are a great pick.

Pros of using an ultra-light spinning reel

No doubt there are tons of advantages to using ultralight spinning reels. It is always a pleasure fishing with these reels it’s like tension-free fun fishing targeting smaller fish.  On top of all that the best part about the ultra-light spinning reels is that they are available in every range, you can get the best ultra-light spinning reel even at or under $50. Many premium price reels perform significantly with their butter-smooth spools.

Highlighting some positive facts about these reels

  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy to use: Ultra-light reels are very easy to operate younger anglers should start their practicing journey with these reels.
  • Lightweight reels: Fishing with ultra-light reels is load-free fishing. No load on arms, freely fish all day long without any fatigue to arms. This feature is also a good reason for the suitability of these reels to young anglers as it is easier to balance the rod with a lightweight reel. 
  • Perfect for clear water fishing when using lighter lures and fishing lines.
  • Fast hook sets: Mostly ultra-light reels feature an instant anti-reverse system in this way the hooked fish can’t pull out too much line and you can instantly set the hook into the fish’s mouth when it gulps it.
  • Easy to transport: Ultra-light spinning reels are smaller in size. Due to their smaller and lighter structure, it is easy to pack them or place them in your tackle box and bring them anywhere you want.  

There are many other cool positive sides of each ultra-light spinning reel listed here. But this will all happen if you are right about their use. For this, you must be aware of when to use the ultra-light reels because they are mostly miss understood.

When to use an ultra-light reel?

Concluding all these statistics, the best time to use an ultra-light spinning reel is when fishing clear water targeting skittish fish like trout, and other crappies, bluegill, and freshwater targets.

Pair these reels with a 7 feet-best ultra-light spinning rod to catch some lighter in weight and size.

When boat fishing, you can also use this ultra-light setup for full-day fatigue-less fun fishing. 

List of best ultralight spinning reels reviewed in detail

1- Shimano STRADIC FL

best durable ultralight spinning reel

best durable ultralight spinnign reel
  • Metal reel body
  • 6.5 ounces weight
  • 1000 size
  • 6+1 ball bearings
  • 6.1 gear ratio
  • 30 inches line retrieval per crank

When it comes to durable reel bodies, lightweight structure, and smooth drag performance the name that deserves to come first I the list is the Shimano Stradic FL.  

Many brands make reel bodies lighter to reduce the overall quality of the reel. Stradic FL with its Hagane body, x-protect coating, and improved x-ship gear durability is all set to rock in all water conditions.

Its x-protect feature prevents saltwater and other dirt particles or debris to enter the reel body and disturb the internal components’ rotational smooth working. So this reel in 1000 size has all the features of professional bigger saltwater reels.

To deliver more reel smoothness and to better tackle, hard fishing conditions the reel features Micro Module gear II. Shimano Stradic FL can lift more weight than its limit you can spool an 8 lb. pound test line on this reel.

It’s a perfect 6.5 ounces ultra-light spinning reel, with a 6.1 gear ratio. So a smooth reel with fast line retrievals is the right choice for finesse fishing techniques.

Featuring 6+1 ball bearings and has relatively bigger-sized handles as compared to other smaller reels listed here with stronger grip and comfort.

It’s a solid reel with improved sensitivity and lasts longer and even can transfer to generations. (Not exaggerating means it).

The only drawback we found is the price. Usually, I do not recommend expensive reels to novice anglers but Shimano Stradic is recommended for all. So it is like a one-time investment, spend just once and enjoy the smooth performance with the best ultralight spinning reel for a longer period. 

  • Built with advanced Shimano Tech features
  • Lightweight reel
  • Can catch more than its weight capacity
  • Long lasting smooth performance reel
  • Expensive reel

2- Daiwa Tatula LT Spinning Fishing Reels

best ultralight spinning reel overall

best ultralight spinning reel overall
  • Carbon reel body
  • 7 ball bearings
  • Aluminum Alloy Digi gear
  • 5.8 ounces weight
  • 6.2:1 gear ratio
  • 11 pounds max drag
  • 2000 size reel
  • Available in 6 different sizes

Daiwa has been serving with super quality reels and Tatula LT is one of my favorite reels. Its 1000 to 2500 is all set to try different ultralight techniques to target multiple panfish.

Splitting out the secret you can try this reel when bass fishing. Folks never used ultra-light gear for bass fishing but thanks to modern anglers who test and tried different techniques and proved ultralight a worth addition to the bass arsenal.

The very first reason why it is a suitable ultralight spinning reel for bass is that it has a larger spool with 220 yards of 6-pound test line capacity with 2000 size reel. This larger spool also leads to low-line memory and faster retrievals.

Moreover, Daiwa Tatula has a 6.2:1 gear ratio and weighs 5.8 ounces. It’s a combination of reduced weight with a rigid body to support tough fishing conditions with full-day fun without any fatigue to the arms.

Upgrade your ultralight gear collection to target something more than trout, crappie, and panfish. With its sensitivity feature, you can detect fish bites prominently.

I forgot to mention earlier about the Daiwa Tatula special Zaion body a special carbon material that is prominently lighter and stronger than other brand reels. The manufacturers have delicately reduced the overall weight by 15% of weight reduction of air rotor.

I really like the full black matt reel body that retains its look for a longer period. Both Stradic FL and Daiwa Tatula are premium quality reels with the almost same price you can confidently pick from these two options if you don’t have any budget issues or you either wait for the sale.

  • Lightweight reel
  • Best ultralight spinning reel for finesse bass fishing
  • Large diameter spools
  • Expensive reel
  • Handle knob can be made a slight bigger
  • No sealed drag

3- Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel

best ultralight spinning reel for budget

best ultralight spinning reel for budget
  • Graphite reel body
  • Stainless steel handle and ball bearings
  • 7 bearings system
  • 7.36 ounces
  • Bread ready spool
  • Sealed drag system
  • 5.2:1 gear ratio

The great feature of ultralight spinning reels is that they are available in the best quality almost in every range. Pflueger proves this statement very well.

This graphite body reel weighs 0.46 and is lighter on budget and rod. I really appreciate the reel’s drag system that comprises sealed drag washers in this way saltwater does not disturb the reel’s smooth rotational process and offers long-lasting smoothness.

This also saves you from regular maintenance and greasing of the reel, so a recommended reel for beginners because separating the reel’s parts is risky when you don’t know how to place them back.

Next, the reel has 7 ball bearings which are stainless steel material to enhance the reel’s smoothness. Although it’s not a very fast reel with a 5.2:1 gear ratio. I recommend this reel for lures that follow slow retrievals with lighter line max 6-pound test.

Additionally, the reel has a braid-ready spool. I have been using these ultra-light spinning reels for spider rigging and have never been disappointed.

  • The budget-friendly reel with premium-quality features
  • Perfect for slow retrieving lures
  • Corrosion-resistant ball bearings and handle
  • Sealed drag washers for smooth drag performance
  • Not a fast-retrieving reel

4- KastKing Summer and Centron Ultralight Spinning Reels

best versatile ultralight spinning reel

best versatile ultralight spinning reel
  • Graphite reel body
  • 9+1 Aluminum ball bearings
  • 5.2:1 gear ratio
  • 6.9 ounces  
  • Perfect for lake fishing

It is one of the versatile spinning reel model by Kast King that fits in different types of fishing and specie sizes just changing the size. I have listed Kasting Summer and Centron many times in other recommended lists of reels like it is the best ice fishing reel and also the best spinning reel for bass but in a larger size.

The good news is you will get a lot of features at an affordable price. First of all, an incredibly fast reel with 9+1 ball bearings. Enjoy the smoothest fishing game with this reel at a desirable price. These bearings are aluminum material so highly durable but aren’t impressively corrosion resistant.

Kast king without reducing the quality of the reel launched the powerful ultralight reel as a powerful alternative or a backup option after the top ones listed here.

It is truly said that you will get what you paid for so getting a smooth reel at this price does have some darker sides. Make sure to be correct with the line pound test and avoid trying it more than its max drag power the results might be a broken reel.

Of course, it is not a Stradic or Daiwa that goes beyond their capacities. It’s a reel with 17. 5 pounds max drag power which is appreciated at this level. The reel body isn’t highly rigid or durable. So a regular ultralight reel for calm fishing conditions.  

It has a graphite body, 5.2:1 gear ratio and 155 yards capacity for a 6-pound test line. It also features an anti-reverse switch to prevent backward reel rotations.

I have used this reel for spider rigging and yet doesn’t disappoint me. I like its longer casts with smooth retrievals mainly because of its greased drag washers. There are also reduced line twists and nests with Kast King Summer and Centron spinning reels.

It is a recommended reel for beginners and you can also gift these reels to young anglers as these reels have attractive two-colored reel bodies.

  • Affordable spinning reel
  • Greater number of ball bearings
  • Lightweight reel
  • Smooth drag system
  • Attractive cosmetics
  • Heavy ultralight spinning reel
  • Not suitable for larger catches
  • Tight bail arm
  • Cheap quality handle arm

5- Shimano Sedona FI

best ultralight spinning reel for saltwater 

best ultralight reel for saltwater
  • G free body
  • 8.6 lbs. max drag
  • 3+1 ball bearings
  • 8.6 ounces weight
  • 36 inches per crank Line retrieval
  • Propulsion line management system

Another Shimano reel added to the list of best ultralight spinning reel but this one comes at a lesser price than Stradic FL. Shimano reels are all upgraded with tech features you can learn more about the Shimano reels and their best products in this guide.

The beginners who don’t want to go with other cheap spinning reels and really are interested in a high-quality reel Shimano Sedona FI is the recommended reel for all those anglers.

It has all the high-end features from a hagane body, and hagane gear, to machine anodized machine cut spool. All set to offer a durable reel to tackle both freshwater and saltwater bruises.

Its propulsion line management systems help reduce and prevent twists and tangles and top of all offer long casts with almost any lure. It’s a good thing for beginners as they don’t have to face serious bird nests that are nightmares even to professional anglers.

It perfectly fits the definition of ultralight reels. It has 8.6 lbs. max drag power and a 6.2:1 gear ratio hence fast retrievals catching trout and panfish.

The reason why I didn’t list it on top is it features 3+1 ball bearings which are less than the recommended quantity but still Shimano’s high quality maintains and offers smooth operations. But I wish Shimano add more to it. I hope this does not cancel the deal as it’s a tough reel against tough conditions.

Overall a good addition to your saltwater lure and float fishing with shallow spools and a lightweight body.

  • Lightweight body
  • Perfect Shimano reel for beginners
  • Rigid body
  • No spare spool
  • No anti-reverse switch
  • Less number of ball bearings

6- Okuma Helios Lightweight Spinning Reel

 best ultralight spinning reel for trout

best ultralight spinning reel for trout
  • Carbon fiber strands constructions
  • Stainless steel 9 ball bearings
  • 6.2 ounces weight
  • 6lb.  max drag power
  • Cyclonic flow rotor
  • Rotor equalizing system
  • 110 yards
  • 6 pound test line capacity

A perfect pair reel with your Okuma Celilo Graphite trout rods, nothing is better than Okuma Helios. Moreover if you are looking for some budget-friendly saltwater reel Okuma Helios is a recommended reel to tackle smaller saltwater catches.

The reel’s body is made from something more advanced than regular graphite i.e. C-40X long-strand carbon fiber. It’s a very admiring feature of Okuma Helios as it plays its part in increasing the reel’s strength and making it corrosion-resistant. It can better tackle saltwater bruises under pressure.

It has a 5.0:1 gear ratio and features 8+1 stainless steel ball bearings. I must admit that the reel is silky smooth to compete with the reels double its price but still I think that the reeling operation can be improved to compete with Stradic or Daiwa Tatula.

At first, the reel looks heavier in weight but to my amazement, it just weighs 6.2 ounces. A perfectly smooth reel with a balanced rotor and rotational operation with 6 lb. max drag power.

It has a sealed drag system to prevent salt and dust particles to enter the reel. Although it has a cyclonic flow rotor to dry away the moisture from internal parts, saltwater never shows mercy on reel components so it is

The only thing you have to do is the lubrication maintenance. It is easy to remove its parts and grease them but still if you are a beginner leave this part to an expert as salt particles may find a way to enter the reel.

Okuma’s Helios is an outstanding reel for the angler looking for a lightweight and affordable reel. You can use it in fresh and saltwater comfortably.

  • Lightweight reel
  • 9 ball bearings
  • Suitable for saltwater fishing
  • Less drag power than other ultralight spinning reels

7- PENN Fierce III Spinning Fishing Reel

best ultralight reel for smoothness

best ultralight reel for smoothness
  • Aluminum reel body
  • 5 Stainless steel ball bearings
  • Aluminum handle
  • EVA knob
  • 9 lb. max drag power
  • 6.5:1 gear ratio  

The PENN Fierce III Spinning Fishing Reel is one of the top reels on the market, and there are plenty of reasons why. From its rugged construction to its smooth drag system, this fishing reel has it all.

The PENN Fierce III spinning fishing reel is made with full metal aluminum construction for durability and strength. As aluminum reels are a bit heavier than graphite reels so PENN weighs 7.8 ounces but still not a big load on arms.

With its lightweight design, the Fierce III is perfect for anglers who want to fish all day without feeling weighed down.

The PENN Fierce III spinning fishing reel features a techno-balanced rotor for smooth retrieves. This innovative design ensures that the reel operates smoothly and efficiently, with minimal vibration and noise. The result is a reel that feels great in your hand and provides an incredibly smooth experience when you’re fishing.

The reel body isn’t flimsy at all and its tough metal body and sealed ball bearings cover all its flaws to offer a reliable ultralight spinning reel for inshore fishing.

This ultralight spinning fishing reel features 5 stainless steel ball bearings for smooth performance. This reel also includes a bulletproof drag system with up to 10 lb. of drag power and durable construction that can handle any fish imaginable. Although the number of ball bearings is less than others, I didn’t feel any major missing of greater quantity.

Its HT-100 carbon drag system ensures smooth, reliable, and consistent drag performance that can handle big fish with ease. The anodized aluminum spool provides strength and corrosion resistance, and the braid-ready spool allows for use with a braided line without the need for a backing. The reel also features a Superline spool, so no monofilament backing is needed.

In addition to all that functional features the PENN fierce also has attractive cosmetics. So the best quality ultralight spinning reel with plenty of advanced features like line capacity rings for more aware fishing.

Enjoy the fast line retrievals with a 6.5:1 gear ratio, it is one of the fastest ultralight reels listed here and has four different sizes available in ultralight from 1000 to 3000. Pick one that best suits your type of fishing. 

  • Ideal reel for fast lure retrieving speed
  • Aluminum reel but still lightweight suitable for full-day fishing
  • Ambidextrous handle
  • No flex in reel body
  • A little heavier than other ultralight reels listed here

8- Okuma Ceymar

best ultralight spinning reel for the money

best ultralight reel for the money
  • Graphite reel body
  • 7+1 stainless steel ball bearings
  • 22 lbs. max drag power
  • 4.8:1 gear ratio
  • One year warranty

With the Okuma Ceymar ultralight spinning reel, you can make sure that every catch is a successful one. This reel features advanced technology, ergonomic design, and superb performance for an all-around great experience.

The Ceymar reel features a machined aluminum spool instead of a plastic one. This makes for a much smoother and more durable overall experience when using the reel. The line comes off the spool evenly and with less resistance, making for longer, more accurate casts. You’ll also notice that there’s less noise coming from the spool as it rotates.

It is built with a lightweight and corrosion-resistant graphite body. This reel is perfect for anglers who want the power and performance of a larger reel, but in a smaller package that is easier to handle. The Ceymar also features Okuma’s unique Cyclonic Flow Rotor technology, which creates a vortex of water around the spool during the retrieve, for increased drag power and smoother operation.

This ultralight spinning reel includes a multi-disc, oiled felt drag system. This system provides smooth, consistent drag pressure throughout the entire drag range. The discs are made of a special material that is resistant to heat and friction, and they are precision machined to ensure smooth operation. The oiled felt drag washers provide superior lubrication and protect the reel from wear.

If you’re looking for a spinning reel that will hold up well in salt water, the Okuma Ceymar is a great option. This reel is made with corrosion-resistant materials and features a sealed drag system to keep salt and water out. It also has a robust design that can handle the rigors of saltwater fishing.

It’s a great choice for anglers who are on a budget but still want a quality reel that will get the job done. The Ceymar is an ultra-lightweight reel that’s perfect for fishing in tight spaces or when you need to be extra careful with your line. It comes with 7+1 bearings and a max drag of 22 pounds, making it a great choice for light to medium-duty fishing with fast retrievals.

The Ceymar features a number of high-end components that help it to spin smoothly and effortlessly at even the highest speeds, without developing any annoying wobble. This makes it an ideal choice for those who like to fish at high speeds and need a reel that can keep up with their fast-paced fishing style.

The Okuma Ceymar ultralight spinning reel has a 4.8:1 gear ratio, meaning that for every turn of the handle, the spool will rotate 4.8 times. This is a fast gear ratio that is great for retrieving lures quickly and getting them back to the fish in a hurry. It also provides plenty of power for setting hooks and fighting fish. It is the best ultralight spinning reel for pan fishing.

  • Lightweight reel
  • Affordable price range
  • Rigid body
  • Resulted great with pan fishing
  • Lowest gear ratio in the ultralight spinning reel list
  • The handle tightening knob loosens up after some time

How to choose the best ultra-light spinning reel

Now that you know which of the reels are recommended, here comes the main task how to pick the only one? Selecting the best out of the best is itself something difficult to achieve.

Follow the following features and prioritize one over the other on basis of buying guide explained below.

Gear Ratio

Gear ratio means how many times the bail rotates around the spool on one turn of the handle. The more time it rotates, the more and faster the line will be retrieved. Spinning reels are available as fast as 7.0:1 and more or slower. Any reel below the 5.0:1 gear ratio is a slower reel.

The lower the gear ratio is, the more force is required as the handle is turned many times to retrieve the fishing line. With ultra-light spinning reels, you are targeting smaller fish so lures are retrieved quickly to entice fish.

It is recommended to go with gear ratios above the 5.0:1 range. 6.0:1 and above gear ratio reels are fast and the best range for ultra-light spinning setup.

If you don’t know how a 6.0:1 gear ratio reel is considered a fast spinning reel because these values indicate that the bail will turn around the spool 6 times on one handle crank.

You can also go with low-range ratio reels when targeting something bigger and slow retrieval bait presentations are applied.


The main task in selecting the reel is going with the right size. The size of the line is directly proportional to the line capacity and drag power. The smaller the reel size, the lower the capacity of the spool to cover the fishing line.

When targeting smaller-sized fish, the reel ranging from 1000-3000 is perfect, as these targets do not run far enough when hooked. On the other hand, targeting the bigger saltwater catches you may need the bigger-sized reels. You can get the bigger reels with larger spools to cover heavy fishing lines. From 500 to 30,000 size reels, each one is available to target every sized fish.

So when you are aware of your target, the selection of the reel becomes easier.

Ultra-light spinning reels are named based on the size of the reels, so whenever you hear this name they are 1000-3000 sized reels.

For lightweight mono or braided fishing lines ranging from 2-4 pounds line strength 1000-2000, reels are good to go, raising the size and targeting fish like trout or similar sized fish 2000-3000 reels are the optimal pick with 4-6 or sometimes 8-pound test lines.

Spool Capacity

Being smaller in size, the ultra-light spinning reels usually have low line capacities than the other bigger saltwater reels. With these spinning reels 2-6 pound test lines are spooled which are lighter and thinner so smaller spools are good to go.

Because when we are targeting bigger fish, we require longer and thicker lines as these species run far enough when get hooked. Raising the reel size also increases the line capacity of the reel.

The line capacities are usually written on the reels so it’s nothing hard to discover.


The core idea behind the ultra-light spinning reel is something lighter in weight that causes no arm fatigue and supports full-day fun fishing.

Ultra-light spinning reels are also rated based on their weight. They are less than 10 ounces.

Following this, don’t be fooled and pick or search for the lightest reel as some manufacturers also reduce the quality of the reel to reduce weight.

Make quick research and get aware of the reel’s construction material.


If a building isn’t built with a good quality material does it will last for a long? Will it be stronger? When baselines are weak, the object may fall.

The base material is also very important when it comes to a fishing reel. The most commonly used reel materials are graphite and aluminum and now carbon fiber is the more enhanced form of graphite.

Graphite reels are lighter in weight but less durable than aluminum reels to land more than their ability. Although aluminum reels are heavy and tough reels these reels require proper greasing after saltwater exposure.

So if you are looking for some lightweight reels no matter the price, graphite and carbon fiber reels are recommended.

On the other hand, if you are being rough with gear, and searching for a durable but affordable reel, aluminum reels are the optimal pick.

Ball bearings

To learn about the reel’s smoothness, look at its ball bearings. These are small objects that make internal components rotate smoothly without any friction.

The greater the number of ball bearings the more smooth the reel is. It is generally recommended to go with 4+ bearings.

Regarding ball bearings, they also come as sealed or shielded to protect the reel’s smoothness.

Attractive cosmetics

It’s no secret that looking good can be good for business. But did you know that your choice of cosmetics can also affect your fishing reel performance?

That’s right, the type of cosmetics you use on your reel can make a difference in how well it functions. And when it comes to choosing the right cosmetics for your reel, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.

First, consider the type of fishing you’ll be doing. If you’re going to be using your reel in saltwater, then you’ll want to choose a cosmetic that won’t corrode or rust.

Second, think about the climate you’ll be fishing in. If you’re going to be in a hot and humid environment, then you’ll need a cosmetic that won’t melt or run.

And lastly, think about your style. Do you want a natural look or something more flashy? It’s up to you!

No matter what type of fishing you’re doing or what kind of look you’re going for, there’s sure to be a cosmetic out there that’s perfect for you and your PENN Fierce III spinning fishing reel. So don’t wait any longer, start exploring all the different options today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Wrap on the best ultralight spinning reels

Ultra-light spinning reels are the must-have type of gear because you aren’t up to the big bulky catches each time you fish. So reels most often used are ultra-light.

The best part about these reels is that they are available in every price range so you can get the best ultra-light spinning reel at $30 without any sacrifice to durability and performance. Even your $20 reel can last longer for years.

Just keep in mind that a reel of more than 10 ounces isn’t an ultra-light reel, as this setup is all lighter on arms and lighter on budget.

Good luck and may you get your best ultra-light spinning reel after reading this!!!