There is an unspoken rule among anglers – both past and present – that states the fact that you can never have too much fishing tackle or equipment. This is so true because all species of fish require a different range of equipment from rod length and size, to reel type, to bait/lure action and appeal.
Today we are taking an up-close and personal look at a variety of ultralight spinning rods. These rods are designed specifically for the pursuit of smaller panfish such as bluegill, crappie, perch, and some species of bass. Many anglers use these types of rods for trout fishing as well.
Ultralight rods such as the ones we are about to review, give anglers a unique connection with both their bait and the fish they hope to catch because they allow for a very high degree of sensitivity.
By understanding what to look for specifically in an ultralight spinning rod and how to purchase the best one for your unique needs, you will be able to get the very most about your new ultralight rod, and you may even discover that the pursuit of the small game fish can be just as exhilarating as the big guys.
So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!
Carry on reading or jump straight to our number #1 pick here.
What Should I Look For When Buying a Light Spinning Rod?
When anglers are looking to purchase a new, ultralight spinning rod there are several different factors to consider that will directly affect the performance and quality of your purchase.
It is important to remember that ultralight rods are designed to accommodate light lures and light lines. Fishing rods that are larger in size and weight will not be able to cast lures that are smaller in size anywhere near the distance of an ultralight rod.
Ultralight rods are equipped with the perfect combination of materials to provide ample rod flexibility and the desired action for the species of fish you are looking to catch. These rods will make casting, retrieving, and hooking your desired fish a breeze because they are designed uniquely for the small game fish.
Here we have included several important criteria to consider when buying new ultralight fishing rods. What is most important, however, is making each of these criteria work for you and your individual fishing needs.
Ultralight spinning rods come in a variety of different lengths. The reasoning behind this is that each length of rod, whether it be longer or shorter, is designed for a specific purpose.
There are three main factors to consider when you are determining the ideal length for your lightweight rod. These include the type of waters you will be fishing, the species of fish you are seeking, and the type of lure you will be using.
First, let’s consider the type of water you are looking to fish with your new rod. Generally the larger the body of water you are fishing, the longer rod you will want. Longer rods provide a much longer casting distance and give anglers a better series of options when fishing rough waters.
On the other hand, however, a shorter rod is ideal for small bodies of water in which anglers need to position their cast into tight spaces such as between fallen trees or weed beds. Shorter rods provide more accurate casts, however, they will not be able to achieve the same level of distance as that of a longer rod. Shorter rods are also excellent for fishing small streams and slow-moving rivers.
Second, anglers must consider the species of fish they are seeking when choosing their ideal rod length. Long rods will provide more strength for dealing with hard-fighting fish such as bass or large panfish than that of a shorter rod.
Finally, anglers need to determine the size and type of lure they will be using with their ultralight spinning rod. Longer rods will generally provide better casting ability for light tackle. The length will help anglers launch their lure directly into the area they need and provide a larger area for anglers to perform lure action to attach fish.
Another very important factor for anglers to consider when choosing an ultralight spinning rod is the material that was used to construct the rod itself. Many, less expensive options are made of a material called fiberglass. While this material is okay and will get the job done in most cases, the ideal composite material to look for in a rod is graphite.
In today’s market, the best ultralight rods are composed of graphite which provides the best of both worlds for the angler. Graphite is very lightweight and highly flexible making it ideal for the casting of light tackle. Graphite is also extremely strong and durable, which means that it can successfully perform with a wide variety of fish types and sizes.
While a graphite rod blank will most likely be more expensive, for many anglers the price is well worth the reward they receive in longevity, casting distance, and durability.
When anglers think about the material used to design their rod, consideration is often focused mainly on the rod itself. However, another extremely important part of the rod’s construction that can be easily overlooked is the reel seat.
Making sure that your rod has a properly constructed reel seat made of quality material is imperative to the overall quality of your rod purchase. Most reel seats on today’s market are constructed of graphite which is considered the best material for the quality and strength of a reel seat.
The action of a fishing rod refers to the bendability and flexibility of the rod itself. There are two, main categories used when describing a rod’s action and these include fast action and slow action rods.
Fast action rods are designed to produce the most bend on only the top third portion of the rod, which is the tip of the rod. A slow action rod’s bendability is placed more equally throughout the entire body of the rod.
When anglers are looking for an ultralight rod, it is recommended to choose a rod with fast action. This will allow maximum flexibility and casting distance without jeopardizing strength.
Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Ultralight Spinning Rods
Now that you have a list of important criteria to consider in the purchase of your new ultralight fishing rod, we have taken each of these criteria and applied them to several of the newest ultralight fishing rods on the 2021 market to construct a list of our top five choices.
We hope that this list can take away some of the stress of this buying process and can concisely guide you to the ultralight rod that is ideal for your circumstances and needs.
Read on to learn everything there is to know about our top five picks.
#1: Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod (Best Value – All-Purpose)
The Ugly Stik Elite is just a winner through and through. With its very affordable price, excellent construction materials, high-quality craftsmanship this rod is sure to last you several years and definitely help you bring in a whole lot of fish.
We have chosen this specific rod as our “Best Value” pick because of all of the excellent features buyers receive for such a reasonable price. First, the Ugly Stik Elite is made of high-modulus graphite which means that not only is this rod extremely strong, but it also is very flexible and returns to its original state after high impact bends.
Ugly Stik prides itself as a company in the fact that they create their rods and other fishing gear to be nearly indestructible. The Elite can take just about anything when it comes to using, weather conditions, and storage. This rod is made to last forever, and for many anglers, it does just that.
Another unique feature about this rod series is that it comes in a wide variety of different lengths which gives anglers the option to choose the length of their rod based upon the species of fish they are seeking, as well as the type of water they will be fishing.
The Elite is crafted with stainless steel guides which make it a strong and dependable rod for many different species of fish, including bass. Bass anglers love the flexibility and sensitivity of this rod and never have to worry about its strength when reeling in these strong, fighting fish. Just be sure to have a heavier line on your rod when fishing for bass to avoid line snaps. The Elite can handle lines between 8 and 17 pound test.
Lastly, this rod features a premium cork handle which not only adds to the overall attractiveness of this rod but also serves an important purpose in providing steady grip and comfortable hand placement for anglers.
Overall, the Ugly Stik Elite is an excellent, very cost-effective option for both leisure anglers and professionals alike. This rod is bound to reel in fish for many years to come.
#2: St. Croix Triumph (Best Rod)
It’s no secret that anglers of all types – freshwater, saltwater, ultralight – love St. Croix. This is for good reason too, because St. Croix has worked tirelessly for over 70 years to perfect their premium grade rods and other fishing tackle making them amongst the most successful and widely known fishing supply companies in the world.
The Triumph is an ultralight rod that definitely lives up to its name by providing premium quality and impressive results to all anglers. It is important to note, however, that St. Croix rods do come at quite a price. Being a more expensive rod though, you can be confident in St. Croix’s excellent craftsmanship which they back up with a 5-year warranty.
Here we will explore several reasons why the St. Croix Triumph is our top choice among the best ultralight spinning rods.
Graphite, Graphite, All-Around
Graphite is truly the best material for the construction of ultralight rods, and St. Croix definitely got the memo. The Triumph rod is constructed completely of mid-modulus graphite fiber. This premium graphite fiber patented by St. Croix itself boasts a significantly higher strain rating than other graphite models. This will ensure stronger hook sets for anglers as well as added strength and dependability.
Because this graphite fiber is mid-modulus, it will not have the same bendability factor as the Ugly Stick which is made of high-modulus graphite. However, this will not make much of a difference, if you use this rod for the smaller species it is designed to catch.
The Triumph’s reel seat is also constructed purely of graphite – Fuji graphite to be exact – which adds an extra measure of comfort in hand placement for the angler.
When people think of fishing, the word elegant is usually not the first word to come to mind. However, when you are fishing with a St. Croix rod, it is impossible to be anything but elegant. St. Croix puts endless time and energy into making each of their rods aesthetically pleasing and elegantly designed, making them extremely lightweight and effortless to handle but also very strong.
The Triumph brings elegancy to the next level with its beautifully crafted, aluminum oxide guides that are coated in two, generous coats of flexible paint, making them strong and resistant against lines tears caused by friction.
The premium cork handle on the Triumph also gives anglers confidence when gripping the rod as well as added grip security.
Power and Action
The Triumph is a fast-action rod that is quite standard among most ultralight rods. This fast action rod produced impressive bendability at the tip of the rod and allows anglers to apply action to light baits making them virtually irresistible to fish.
This rod is also in the medium power class. A rod’s power is gauged by how much pressure it takes to flex the rod. The Triumph is medium power which means it can easily withstand a wide variety of lure weights making it an excellent choice for anglers looking to boat some big guys in addition to the small fish.
#3: KastKing Perigee II (Best Warranty)
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The KastKing Perigee II rod is a high-quality, ultralight rod that can fit the fishing needs and goals of a wide variety of anglers ranging from panfish and bass even to walleye anglers.
For a very affordable price, anglers will receive a highly dependable, top-of-the-line rod that they can have confidence in to perform for years to come. KastKing is so confident in the quality and construction of their product that they offer all of their customers a lifetime warranty. Yes, you heard that right! A lifetime warranty! You can trust in the quality and craftsmanship that KastKing puts into all of their rods and the warranty certainly isn’t the only awesome thing about this rod.
The Perigee II is designed to compact and provide more portability for anglers than other rods. Unlike our other two choices shown above, the Perigee comes with a choice of a one or two-part design meaning that anglers may choose to purchase a model that collapses into two separate pieces making it much easier to transport.
This fishing rod does a great job in casting light lures, due to its aerodynamic design and lightweight construction. Made primarily of carbon fiber the KastKing is strong yet flexible and provides anglers with great sensitivity. However, this rod is not made of graphite, like our previous two models are. This means that anglers will not achieve the same degree of sensitivity and feel with this rod as they would with our other options, but it will still get the job done.
Of all the rods we have reviewed, the KastKing is our best choice for bass in the ultralight fishing category. This is largely due to the sustainable construction of this rod’s guide rings which are designed to be extra strong for the retrieval of big fish.
This rod also features a full graphite reel seat which extra strength when casting and retrieving, making it a perfect match to rise against strong bass. This also allows it to accommodate a wide variety of lure sizes as well.
#4: Ugly Stik Carbon Spinning Rod (Best Saltwater Pick)
The new Ugly Stik Carbon spinning rod is just the right rod for saltwater fishing. This strong rod features an entire graphite rod blank with a specially reinforced graphite tip which adds an unparalleled level of sensitivity and bend.
While this carbon fiber is great for freshwater fishing as well, it is our pick for the best saltwater spinning rod because of its wide variety in sizes and weight capacity. Ugly Stik proudly claims that this new rod is the lightest ever, and anglers of all types wholeheartedly agree.
Don’t let the lightness of this rod make you doubt its strength either. This rod has remarkable strength for its small, lightweight design, and this is what makes it perfect for saltwater fishing. When saltwater fishing, anglers can come across many different sizes and species of fish. The Ugly Stik Carbon is strong and reliable in being able to easily bring in both small and large fish.
Another great feature of this rod is its versatility in line capacity. There are six different models to choose from in this rod series, and each size allows for a successively thicker fishing line. However, each of the rods can successfully hold many different types of fishing lines from light lines to even braided lines.
This carbon spinning rod is a very affordable option for many different anglers, however, this particular rod may not be the best choice for beginners, because of its strength and design versatility. If you are looking for an ultralight rod that is great for beginners, check our next pick that is featured below.
#5: Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod (Best for Beginners)
The Shakespeare Micro Spinning rod is an excellent fishing rod for all anglers, beginners, and experts alike. The Shakespeare is crafted in such a way making it an excellent transitional rod for beginner or novice anglers.
Since it is both lightweight, easy to handle, and designed to handle a wide variety of lure weights and sizes, the Shakespeare is an excellent choice for anglers of all ages and experience levels.
This ultralight rod comes in a variety of different lengths, which gives anglers several options to choose from based upon their specific fishing goals and needs. While the price of this particular model is very reasonable, it is important to note that the price of the rod does increase with rod length.
The graphite body, stainless steel guides, cork handle, and expertly designed reel seat not only make this Shakespeare spinning rod outwardly attractive but inwardly strong as well. The strength of this fishing pole gives anglers confidence when retrieving the catch. This ultralight rod can withstand the strength and fight of a large variety of different fish and species.
However, the Shakespeare’s flexibility and sensitivity to fish bites and movement will not be near that of our top three choices. While this is not something that would make a major impact on beginner or seasonal anglers, for those looking specifically for a highly sensitive rod, it would be best to go with one of our other choices above.
The great thing about the fishing supply industry is that it always supplies quality materials and equipment that can fit everyone’s budget. Thankfully, finding a great quality rod at a reasonable cost is not hard at all, and here we have narrowed it down to our top three budget-friendly picks, so that you can enjoy all that fishing has to offer without breaking your budget.
#1 Best Budget – Daiwa Spinmatic Rod
Unlike most rod manufacturers that try to please the entire market with a wide variety of fishing equipment and material, Daiwa is unique in the fact that it primarily specializes in the production of ultralight equipment and tackle.
Daiwa is an up-and-coming company on the fishing market that is definitely not to be overlooked. They are known for creating high-quality products that have been proven to perform. The Daiwa Spinmatic is no different. This model is beautifully constructed using highly durable, graphite material which brings both flexibility and strength to the rod itself.
The stainless steel reel seat feature on the Spinmatic allows anglers to choose between several different options of spinning reels due to its comparative design.
This fast-action rod is perfect for panfish, crappie, and trout, because of its high sensitivity design and strong graphite core. However, anglers must know that this rod is designed specifically for ultralight fishing and tackle, which means it will not be as versatile as some of the other rods we have mentioned.
While it might be able to take on a smaller bass, anglers should not risk casting large baits and retrieving larger fish with this particular model.
Overall, the Daiwa is an excellent ultralight rod for beginners and avid anglers alike, and the price is hard to beat. This rod is sure to bring in many exciting catches throughout the years and be a rod that you find yourself depending on during many fishing trips to come.
#2 Best Budget – Sougayilang Ultralight
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Sougayilang is a very reputable fishing supply retailer that is known for producing quality rods at very affordable prices. Their ultralight model is an excellent choice for ultralight anglers of all experiences levels who are looking for a dependable rod that can last a significant amount of time without costing a fortune.
Made solely of graphite composite, these spinning rods are highly durable and strong while also giving anglers the weightless flexibility that they are looking for in an ultralight rod. The Sougayilang features stainless steel guides and inserts that provide effortless casting and protect the line against breakage and fraying. The cork grip featured on this model not only makes it very attractive, but also very comfortable, for anglers to grip and use for hours on end.
The reel seat design on the Sougayilang adapts well to most spinning reels, and the rod itself comes in a variety of lengths ranging from 5 to 8 feet. With each increase in height, the price of the rod does go up just a bit, but it is not significant at all.
Overall, this rod would be a great addition to any angler’s tackle collection, and for the price, this rod will definitely pay for itself after just a few great catches.
#3 Best Budget – Eagle Claw Ultralight Spinning Rod
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Just as its name suggests, the Eagle Claw Ultralight Spinning rod is known for snatching fish right out of the water and into your boat in the blink of an eye. Eagle Claw has led the fishing supply industry for over 90 years, and they proudly call themselves “the most recognizable brand name” in the industry.
Eagle Claw is known for its high quality, yet very affordable, fishing supplies and tackle, which makes this one a great choice for one of our favorite, budget-friendly picks. This fishing pole is made completely of fiberglass, which is a very strong and durable material, known for its longevity and indestructibility.
However, when fishing with a fiberglass rod, it is important to remember that you will not achieve the same degree of sensitivity and flexibility as our other graphite rods have. So, if you are looking for a particular degree of sensitivity in a rod, it would be best to go with one of our other, graphite-constructed choices.
The Eagle Claw is beautifully designed and comes in a wide array of color choices as well as an attractive and grip-friendly cork handle. The rod also features stainless steel guides which provide smooth casting ability and line preservation.
So, if you a seasonal angler looking for a great and inexpensive rod that will bring you some great fishing throughout the spring and summer, the Eagle Claw may be just the right choice for you.
What Is an Ultralight Spinning Rod Good For?
Ultralight spinning rods are designed specifically for the fishing of small species such as panfish, trout, and bass. Fishing for smaller species requires the use of mostly light lines and small lures. This means that anglers require a rod that is both strong yet flexible and will not be burdensome to cast and retrieve.
Ultralight spinning rods are designed to be virtually weightless and give anglers great ease in casting and retrieving. Most light rods are fast action, meaning that the bend occurs mostly within the top third of the rod’s body. This gives anglers an increased level of control over their cast which allows them to place their cast precisely in the weed beds and fallen trees that so often host the smaller species ultralight anglers are looking for.
Ultralight rods are also extremely sensitive which allows anglers to be able to feel the exact movement of their lure or bait as it is moving throughout the water. The tip of the rod sends movement signals to the angler’s hand indicating even the lightest fish bites or bottom movements.
Ultralight rods are excellent choices for both beginner anglers and professionals alike. The ultralight market has rods that can fit the lifestyle, budget, and experience level of just about any angler. We hope our list has helped give you the confidence to find the right rod that is perfect for you.
Verdict: Your Best Ultralight Spinning Rod
Fishing is such a rewarding and exciting sport for people of all ages. It is an excellent way to reconnect with nature and unwind. With our help, we hope you have been able to narrow down your search for the best ultra light fishing rod so that you can get out on the water and catch the fish of your dreams. Here we have provided a brief synopsis of our research and findings to guide you as you make your choice.
If you want the best value for your money, pick the Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod. This rod will give you years of fishing success. The versatility of this rod also makes it ideal for anglers looking to catch a wide variety of fish species and sizes.
If you are looking for an ultralight rod for beginners, pick the Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod. This lightweight and easy-to-handle rod is a great choice for kids and beginners of all ages. The Shakespeare makes fishing easy and fun!
If you want to keep the spend under $40, pick any of our budget choices shown above. We researched and found some of the best budget-friendly options on the market today so that you can enjoy years of fishing without sacrificing quality and dependability.
Overall, choosing the right ultralight spinning rod simply comes down to choosing the one that feels the best for you and fits your unique style and methods. There is a perfect rod out there for everyone, and with a little help and guidance through research such as reading this article, you are sure to find the rod that will bring your fishing to new heights.