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Best Ultralight Spinning Rod 2023 – Top Rods for Light Lines

The best ultralight spinning rod is going to be lightweight, sensitive and capable of casting light lines in the 2-8 lbs range with ease. 

So if you are looking for a panfish rod or are looking for a rod to complete your ultralight trout fishing setup then we have chosen some of the best available. 

When fishing with lighter tackle on smaller venues a light, fast action, well balanced rod can make all the difference to your presentation and hooking ability.  

A well balanced set up requires you to match your rod, reel and line.

If you are looking to make pinpoint, delicate casts then you need a rod that is super sensitive.

Generally under 7 foot paired with an ultralight reel and line rating of roughly between 2 and 6 pounds.

Our number one choice for best ultralight spinning rod goes to the Ugly Stik Elite Spinning rod. Ugly Stik are one of the most popular brands of rods when it comes to freshwater fishing. They have a range of rods to cover spinning, jigging and cranking. 

The Ugly Stik Elite is provides all the necessary feedback and sensitivity for ultralight fishing and is still highly durable. It offers great value for the money and is priced at a fairly low price point.

Best Ultralight Rod

Our top ultralight spinning rod is the ever popular Ugly Stik Elite spinning rod.

The Ugly Stik Elite line is a replacement for the old GX2 that was also extremely popular. The Elite spinning rod series contains 35% more graphite in it's blank thanks to the Ugly Tech construction design.

The new blank design gives the Elite a more sensitive and lighter feel than the GX2. This new sensitivity does not come at the expense of durability however.

I have seen boats with several of these laid out on the floor that take a lot of beating and still stand up to it.

The same tip sensitivity Ugly Stik had developed for the GX2 is included in this model and is based on the Ugly Stik Clear Tip design. The tip is made from fiberglass so it is quite durable and yet sensitive.

The guides are a one piece design called Ugly Tuff. This one piece design eliminates the need for inserts.

Having no inserts means there are none to fall out and end up scratching your line. Instead the actual guides are shaped and finished to form a very smooth surface that is all one piece.

The Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite spinning rod also features a ergonomic cork handle and stainless steel cushioned reel hoods.

This is one extremely popular spinning rod and is available in a range of sizes from 4'6" ultralight all the way up to 7'6".

You also have the option for some of the range to choose between one piece or two piece blanks.


  • Fast action
  • Ugly Stik Clear Tip design
  • Ugly Tuff 1-piece guides
  • 35% more graphite than predecessor
  • Great value

The Shimano Stimula 2-Piece Spinning rod is a available in a 5'6" ultralight variation that is incredibly light and crisp.

The Stimula range is specifically designed with spinning in mind and the rest of the models have a variety of suitable uses for some of the larger freshwater fish.

The mid-modulus graphite composite blanks are some of the most sensitive available especially in the smaller sizes. Aluminum oxide guides provide a very smooth casting experience.

The rods come with a split grip cork handle which means the rod can be cast and handled in a variety of ways.

A great fast action rod that can be used on the smallest of rivers and streams with tiny lures for pinpoint precision and presentation.


  • Mid-modulus blanks
  • Aluminum oxide guides
  • Shimano reel seat
  • 2 piece almost as small as most travel rods when stored
  • 1 year limited warranty

3. Fenwick Eagle Spinning Rod Review

Fenwick are hailed as the first to introduce graphite blanks to the fishing world. All that experience in building rods has gained them a reputation for building some perfectly balanced rods that are a pleasure to cast.

The Fenwick Eagle Spinning series provides the classic Fenwick fishing experience at a great price.

If you have fished these rods you will know just how good the overall look and feel is. They are tremendous quality.


  • Graphite blank
  • Stainless steel guides and inserts
  • Quality split cork handle
  • Moderate action

St Corix have built their reputation for delivering some of the most finely tuned rods available. The blanks are built from their proprietary SCII graphite.

These rods can be purchased in either a one or two piece blank. If you are choosing a 6'6" two piece it might make a decent choice as a travel rod but each section may still be a little on the large size compared to a dedicated 3 or 4 piece travel rod.


  • SCII graphite construction
  • Fuji DPS reel seat
  • Aluminum oxide guides
  • 5 year warranty
  • Fast tapers

5. Okuma SST Rod Review

The Okuma SST Ultralight Trout Spinning rods are designed with the ultralight fisherman in mind.

The line weight ratings on these rods is 2-6 lbs so they are perfect for small spinners or bait with little to no weight being used.

The rod tip has a distinctive whip to it so if you intend to use the smaller 5'6" on really small streams you can flick the bait/lure out with ease and accuracy. For those seeking some bigger casting distances there are a 6' and 7' model available. 


  • IM-8 graphite blanks
  • Stainless steel guides
  • Zirconium inserts
  • 1 year warranty

Ultralight Spinning Rod

When choosing an rod to pair with a suitable ultralight spinning reel you have a number of important factors to take into consideration. 

Getting the balance right between rod, reel and line is crucial to getting the best performance out of your tackle.


You will generally be looking a ultra light spinning rod that has a medium to fast action. Tip sensitivity on these kinds of setups is paramount. When fishing with small single hooks with bait or lures that have small trebles on them you need to set that hook quickly.

Having a good balance of power and sensitivity means that you have enough backbone to handle some larger fish in deep cover and at the same time still be aware of what is going on as you set the hook.


The majority of ultralight rods will be built out of graphite or some kind of graphite blend. The Ugly Stik Elite for example has a blend of graphite and fiberglass making it sensitive and durable yet still with a fast action. Other blends may include carbon fiber.

The choice between cork or an EVA foam handle is usually a personal one.


For the most part the length of rod you choose will depend on the type of water you intend to fish on.

Obviously a 7' rod on a small mountain stream is going to be too long and awkward. For most small streams and river something under 6'6" is best. For very light fishing say brook trout on small mountain stream you may want to drop down to 5'6".

Ultimately the longer a rod you choose the further your casting distance will be. To get the maximum distance from any rod whether that is a surf rod, crankbait rod or any of the ultra light rods listed above you need to match the line and reel correctly. 

Line Rating

Matching the rod and line is crucial. If you choose to ignore the line rating on the rod you will effect you casting distance and how it performs in general.

If you pair a rod with a line that is too light it can be more prone to breaking. The line rating is usually printed on the blank along with the power.


The power should always be printed on the rod blank and you should choose it based on what you want to fish for. Clearly for light fishing tackle you will need to choose a rod that has a light or ultralight power rating.

Failing to match the rod to to the weight of fish you are looking to target an result in not have enough of a backbone in the rod to fight them correctly especially if the run in to weed for cover


Ultralight spinning rods should generally have the following attributes:

  1. Action - Fast
  2. Length - 5'6" - 7' depending on your fishing venue and target fish
  3. Line - Usually 2 - 8 lbs fishing line again depending on you target species
  4. Power - Usually on the lighter side, heavier if in saltwater

These ultra light fishing rods do tend to need a bit more looking after. Their lighter construction means they can be more prone to breaking than say a heavier crankbait rod or frog rod. Care and attention should be observed especially when traveling to and from your fishing spot. 

Why Choose an Ultra Light Setup ?

The simple answer is that an ultra light fishing setup will give you much greater control and delicacy when you need to use very small lures or present natural bait on very light line.

If you are fishing for trout in a small stream using small spinners or an F3 ot F5 Rapala for example then a light weight rod is really the only option.

Ultralight gear means using lie rated less than 6 lbs with a suitably small reel. Match it correctly with the right light spinning rod and you have yourself a combo that can cast with maximum precision.

Usually you are not looking for any kind of serious range when fishing on light weight gear. Presentation and accuracy is everything.

Chances are you can probably see the fish that you are targeting as smaller lures are usually worked in shallow waters such as small rivers and streams or in the shallower parts of lakes  around cover or along gravel and sand banks.

When casting you need to have the rod well balanced, throwing really small lures is means light line that is free to run off the spool with ease.

A fast action rod allows you to load the tip even with a light weight on the end.

Loading the tip section of the rod means that you can flick the lighter lures right where you want them.

With a heavier rod and a slower action the rod blank will start to load(bend) closer to the middle which is fine if you have a heavier lure on the line. But, for smaller lures you need a spring top section to whip it out.