Confused about which reel is the best ultralight spinning reel ? Do you even need an ultralight spinning reel?
Well if your aim is to throw small lures and jigs on really small tackle and sub 6 lbs fishing line then the yes you need an ultralight setup.
It's no use pairing an ultralight spinning rod with a heavy spinning reel or baitcasting reel and a heavy line. You simply won't get the best out of the rod and the added weight could mean extra wrist fatigue at the of the day.
When you do match up an ultralight spinning reel with a suitable rod and thin light line the difference in sensitivity compared to heavier spinning and baitcasting setups is unbelievable.
You can throw the lightest lures and jigs with laser like precision onto the smallest targets. Enabling you to target even the shiest of fish as they hide in cover.
An ultralight spinning reel must combine lightweight, small spool, good value and best in class casting performance on light tackle.
The reel needs to be well built to allow you to get all the power from the crank through the internal gearing and onto the line just after you set the hook.
All good spinning reels need a reliable drag system and each of the reels in our buyer's guide have some of the very best and strongest reel drags available.
When choosing a line for these ultralight reels it is usually monofilament that is the go to choice for most anglers, second to that would be flourocarbon and lastly braid.
Although monofilament has a much higher memory than braid or fluorocarbon it still preforms better than braid which is not really suitable when used at such lighter breaking strains.
Best Ultralight Spinning Reel
1. Pflueger President
Our top choice for best ultralight spinning reel is the Pflueger President Spinning Reel in the 4lbs/110- yard model.
It combines great casting characteristics and an extremely smooth retrieval all whilst maintaining a light weight build.
Carbon composite side plates and rotors plus a drilled spool all help to shave off considerable weight when compared to other reels in it's class.
The President enables great casting distances of ultralight tackle.
If you are throwing a small spinner for trout on high mountain rivers and streams or presenting some natural bait subtly on light terminal tackle then the Pflueger President is the perfect reel.
Paired with a suitable ultralight spinning rod with a fast action and light fishing line of 4lbs you should be able to make the most delicate casts possible, plus be assured of maximum sensitivity from lure right through to reel handle.
The gearing on the 6920 model is 5.2:1 which should give a 20.7" line retrieval rate per crank of the reel handle.
The feel of the internal gearing is incredibly smooth thanks in part to seven stainless steel ball bearings.
With a 6lbs max drag you should be still capable of handle the heavy fish should the need arise. The best ultralight spinning reel for the money.
- 7 ball bearings
- 5.9 ounces in weight
- 6lbs max drag
- 5.2:1 gear ratio
- Braid ready spool
2. Okuma Helios Extremely Lightweight
The Okuma Helios is an exceptional performer for the money. It has the looks and feel of an reel many times its price.
The Helios incorporates a new C-40X long strand carbon fiber construction to reduce weight by 25% and increase strength by 50%
Reducing the weight and stiffing the body of a spinning reel with change how the reel feels and performs significantly.
Less flexing of the body means a quicker transfer of the power from the crank of the handle through to the internal gears.
The machine cut aluminum Helios Precision Elliptical Gear system is harder and lighter than the brass gears found in other reels.
Combining the gains in the gearing and the body stiffening means a big gain in retrieval power from the crank.
- 9HPB + 1RB corrosion resistant stainless ball bearings
- Weight 6.8 ounces
- Gear ratio 5.0:1
- C-40x light weight carbon frame, side plate and rotor
- Multi-disc Carbonite drag system
3. Okuma Ultralite
The Okuma Ultralite is one of the most affordable reels available. However, that is not to say that it is by any means "cheap" in either it's construction or performance.
The Ultralite is a great first time reel for children or it can also work as a back up reel that you keep handy in our car or truck with a telescopic fishing rod.
One of the best value ultralight spinning reels for the money on the market today.
- 3 bearings
- Gear ratio 4.4:1
- Weight 7.2 ounces
- Exceptional value
4. Daiwa STEEZ EX3012H
The creme de la creme of ultralight spinning reels the Daiwa STEEZ EX3012H Zaion may well be one of the best built reels period. It oozes quality due to exceptionally high grade materials and construction machined tolerances.
With a whopping 13 bearings the Steez has an unmatched smooth feel in both casting and retrieval.
You may never hold a smoother operating openface reel than this Daiwa. It oozes quality and although that is reflected in the price in the long run it may actually save you money as it won't need regular replacing like cheaper reels.
- Highest quality ultralight reel available
- Corrosion resistant Zaion body
- 6.9 ounces
- Gear ratio 5.6:1
- 37.4" line retrieved per crank
- Max drag 15.4lbs
- 13 bearings
5. Shimano Spirex FG
If you are looking for an ultralight spinning reel that makes casting even easier then try the Shimano Spirex FG. The Spirex comes with Shimano's Quickfire II one-handed casting sysytem.
With a great build quality and an affordable price this real is great for those learning to cast and the more experienced who wish to repeatedly cast over and over again as they cover a fish in a specific area of water.
The Quickfire system allows you to cast with just your rod hand. Although this may not seem revolutionary from a casting perspective, from a fishing perspective it can gain you a huge advantage.
If you no loner have to look down at the reel to open the spool before you cast you no longer have to take your eyes off the water.
Keeping your eyes constantly glued to the water allows you to track any fish that are near the surface uninterrupted . This means better tracking and placing of your lures as the fish move about on the surface water.
- 6 shielded stainless ball bearings
- 6.2:1 gear ratio
- 7lbs max drag
- Quickfire II one-handed casting system
- Double handle
6. Shimano Stradic CI4+ FB
If you are looking for the best reel for use on saltwater then the Shimano Stradic CI4+ FB is the one for you.
Not only is it lightweight but it is highly resistant to exposure to saltwater.
Suitable for both freshwater ultralight applications and saltwater near shore ultralight spinning. In the smaller sized models it is a very capable ultralight spinning reel.
The Stradic achieves this high level of durability against saltwater by being almost entirely composed of Shimano's CI4+ material.
CI4+ is a lightweight carbon material that not only gives the reel a low weight it also gives great rigidity to the reel body and is never going to rust!
For the Stradic FB, Shimano have continued to use the same Hagene cold forged internal gear that you can find on some of it's other more modern reels. This new gear material offers exceptional strength and durability.
Although the Stradic is one of the top rated ultralight spinning reels for use in saltwater it is always good practice to rinse the reel out in freshwater to help remove any built up salt residue and prolong the life of the reel.
- 7 ball bearing
- Hagene internal gear
- CI4+ lightweight carbon body
- Line retrieval 31.1" per crank
- Weight 5.6 ounces
- Gear Ratio 6.0:1
Ultralight Spinning Reel Buying Guide
When making your choice of what ultralight spinning reel to buy there are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration.
Listed below are the most common features you would expect to find mentioned in an ultralight spinning reels reviews. Sadly however some reel reviews do not even bother to mention them.
Weight is a major factor for these reels, it's even implied in the name you should be aiming for a weight of less than 8 ounces.
Once you get much heavier than 8 ounces you will start to throw the balance of the rod and line combo off, assuming they are ultralight also. A heavy reel paired with other lighter spinning tackle will become the weak link in the chain.
As a rule always aim for a retrieval rate of more than 25 inches per crank of the reel handle. However if the retrieval rate is too fast you may end up losing some power. A sweet spot to look for is between 25 and 28 inches.
Pretty much any quality modern spinning reel should come with an anti-reverse. It is a feature that should be expect as an expected standard. However if some of the lower cost reels do not have it then it does not mean the are by any means "cheap".
All ultralight spinning reel reviews should include the drag rating of each of the reels. A drag rating is something to be considered when you choose what strength line for the reel. Not all drags are created equal however, a drag should always be as smooth operating as possible.
Quality of Materials
When looking at the materials used in an ultralight spinning reel always try to choose based on the more modern lightweight super strong offerings that each manufacturer has.
The top brands that are listed in this best ultralight spinning reel review are some of the most innovative and trustworthy when if comes to the issue of build quality.
All of these manufacturers stake the future of their business based on the reputation that they have built up over the years for creating quality reliable products.