Best Ultralight Baitcaster – More Finesse Less Weight

If you are looking to throw light weight lures with finesse and don't fancy a spinning rig then you may have been tempted to try your hand at an ultralight baitcasting setup.

Sometimes referred to as finesse baitcasting you can cast some very light lures down to about 3-16 th of an ounce. Picking the best ultralight baitcaster you can afford will generally pay dividends.

Going truly light weight not so long ago meant importing a specialist finesse reel from Japan. However, the US market now has a considerable range available with most of the big name brands trying their hand in the high end reel market.

At this end of the spectrum manufacturers have to pull out all the stops to make the reels make sub 6 ounces in weight. Not only do they need to make that weight the reels are expected to be exceptional performers too.

​Best Ultralight Baitcaster 2018


Best Baitcaster for Light Lures

Abu Garcia Revo MG Xtreme

The MG Xtreme from Abu Garcia is a low profile, light weight version of their hugely successful Revo baitcaster.

Weighing in at a tiny 5 ounces makes the Revo MG Xtreme one of the lightest low profile baitcasters available in the US. 

Abu have managed to shave off about .4 ounce from the Revo MGX​ which was it's previous lightest baitcaster. The spool and break systems on the MG Xtreme are the same on the MGX however the spool on the MG Xtreme has a pair of ceramic bearings. 

High quality ceramic spool bearing are rarely found on reels out of the box at this price point and are usually added as after market modifications for those looking to eek out every possible bit of performance from their reel.  ​

The Xtreme is built from a one piece X-mag alloy frame​ helping to maintain as much rigidity as possible in the body of the reel. The more rigid the reel housing the less play in the internal gears and braking system.

Features

  • ​8 HPCR stainless steel bearings
  • 2 Ceramlite spool bearings
  • X-mag alloy frame
  • Carbon matrix drag
  • C6 carbon side plates

Shimano Aldebaran BFS XG

​The Aldebaran is a Japanese import reel that weighs in at a tiny 4.6 ounces.

These reels are used extensively in Japan for finesse baitcasting they can handle line as low as 6 lbs and lures all the way down to 1/16 of an ounce.

Being a Japanese import you do face the problem of the instruction manuals being in Japanese and we are not sure how exactly the warranties to play out if some thing goes drastically wrong.

That being the BFS XG can be considered as the Rolls Royce of finesse baitcasters.

They have a really high gear ratio of 8.0:1 for some very high retrieval. The body is built to be super comfortable whilst palming. Easily the best finesse baitcasting reel available.

Features

  • X-Ship gear system
  • Free spool design
  • Dial adjustable braking system
  • S-ARB Sealed anti-rust ball bearings
  • Made in Japan

Lew's Pro Magnesium LFS Speed Spool

The Pro Magnesium Speed Spool is one of Lew's lightest yet weighting in at only 5.5 ounces. It boasts a tonne of high end technology, combined to give one very smooth casting experience. 

Built with a compact one-piece magnesium frame and Carbon C45 side plates the LFS Pro Spool is for the serious ultralight fisherman. Match one of these with a light weight casting rod and you've got yourself a serious performer with one of the best drags in this line up.

The carbon composite drag is rated up to 14 pounds which is more than adequate for lighter applications.

The braking system used is Lew's 27 position SpeedCast adjustable braking system. Spend some time tuning this reel to match your rod, line and lure weight at it can easily outperform mch more expensive reels like the Shimano.

​Features

  • One piece magnesium frame
  • Carbon C45 side plates
  • Double anodized Duralumin drille spool
  • 11 double shielded stainless steel ball bearings
  • Externally adjusted 6-pin, 27 position brake  

Daiwa 15 Alphas SV 105

Another Japanese import with a strong following in the states the Daiwa 15 Alpha  SV 105 is commonly referred to as just the "SV 105".

 Weighing in at roughly 6 ounces it is a little heavier than some of the other feather weights out there.

​That extra weight is thanks to a solid all aluminum frame and spool. The side plates are Zalon. Where the SV 105 differs from the other magnesium based reels is just how solid it is, the construction results in a very rigid reel that has one heck of a free spool.

Features

  • 6.1 ounces
  • 6 + 1 bearings
  • Max drag 11.5 lbs
  • Retrieval ratio 5.8:1

Okuma Helios Air 

​Okuma's stand out entry into the world of ultralight baitcasting reels is the Helios Air. It is the lightest of the Helios range of low profile baitcasters.

Weighing in at only 5.7 ounces it is perfect for ultralight or finesse setups, paired with 8 lbs mono or 12 lb braid it can throw anything below an ounce with ease all the way done to 3-15 ounce worms.

Weight reduction is thanks in part to magnesium side plates and frame. The internals aid the weigh reduction further as they are stripped down to the bare minimum. Just be aware that this reel is not suitable for saltwater use.

As with any of the reels here you will need to fine tune the casting performance. The Air has a 7 position Velocity Control System. It uses a mechanical dial unlike most other reels that tend to favor a pin system.   

Just be aware that some owners have complained about the quality of the grease used internally. The reel may feel that it needs a service towards the end of it's first season. So that might be an opportunity to replace the Okuma supplied grease with a higher quality one.

Features

  • 5.7 ounces
  • Magnesium frame and side plates
  • 8 ball bearings
  • 5 spool bearings
  • Multi-disk Carbonite drag system