The 6 Best Ultralight Fishing Rods: Reviews with Buyer’s Guide

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Here is our review of the best ultralight fishing rods in 2022.

Ultralight rods are best for fishing in rivers, streams, and ponds. They are best suited for beginners who want to catch smaller fish or people who don’t have a lot of space to store their gear. There are many different rod options available on the market today, but not all ultralight fishing rods will work best for you.

In this article, we reviewed 6 of the best-selling models that offer great value at an affordable price point with our thoughts on what makes them stand out from the rest!

Top Picks

  1. St Croix Triumph Ultralight rod (Overall best ultralight fishing rod)
  2. St Croix Premier ultralight spinning rod (Our Premium Pick)
  3. KastKing Perigee II Rod (Highest value for the money)

Top 6 Best Ultralight Fishing Rods




OKUMA Celilo Graphite Ultralight Trout Rod

Top Features

  1. Made from Graphite blanks which allows more sensitivity.
  2. Aluminum oxide inserts guides are durable and lightweight.
  3. Cork grips are more comfortable than EVA ones.
  4. Standard pipe reel seat with short cork
  5. Stainless steel hooded reel seats

Specifications

  • Length: 4’6” to 8’.
  • Weight: 3 to 4.8 oz.
  • Power: UL/L. The ultralight power works fine for trout fishing
  • Action: Moderate
  • Line Wt.: 1-4/2-6/4-10 LBS.

Pros

  • Good UL rod for the price
  • Comfy Cork handle
  • 2 pieces held tight together (didn’t separate)
  • Great action

Cons

  • Low durability
  • No 1 piece rods
  • Flimsy rod
  • Breaks easily
  • Poor shipping package

Check this quick overview of the OKUMA Celilo Ultralight Graphite Trout Rod

Verdict

The graphite construction in the rod is sensitive, while its aluminum guide helps the lightness. There’s also a tip guide that assists with accuracy and encourages better casting techniques. The main drawback of this product is that it’s rather easy to break, so I’d recommend buying something else if you’re looking for a rod that can bear heavy duty. However, considering the price, it is a good ultralight fishing rod.




Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod

Top Features

  1. The sensitivity of graphite (extra 35% than GX2) combined with the affordability makes this one of our favorite picks as the Ugly Tech construction is constructed from graphite and fiberglass. It also has a higher strength than some other models.
  2. The Clear Tip design offers enhanced durability, strength, and fluidity.
  3. Cork handles for comfortability.
  4. Stainless steel guides are durable but can get broken when used with braided lines.

Specifications

  • Length: 6’6” to 7’
  • Weight: 7.2 to 8 Oz, The weight can get you tired after a short time.
  • Power: Available in ultra-light/ light/ medium rods. We’re looking for ultralight spinning rods, so pick the ultralight version.
  • Pieces: Available in 1 or 2 Pcs.

Pros

  • Good quality for the price.
  • 7-Year warranty.
  • Can handle big fish.
  • High durability, very tough ultralight spinning rod.

Cons

  • Lacks sensitivity and is a bit heavy.
  • The reel seat is smaller than expected which doesn’t fit all kinds of reels.
  • The stainless steel guides create notches when used with braided lines. These notches develop a very abrasive surface and cause lines destruction.
  • Bad Packaging for an ultralight fishing rod.

Verdict

If you are looking for a rod that is not too expensive, but still high quality, Ugly Stick Elite Spinning Rods might be the best option. They offer great value with their balance of affordability and performance while being slightly higher in price than other economic options on the market currently.




KastKing Perigee II Ultralight fishing Rod

Top Features

  1. The rod is made of 24-ton carbon matrix KastFlex blank technology. This makes the pole strong, sensitive, and accurate.
  2. KastKing Perigee II 2-pcs rod offers a power transition system that ensures smooth transfer of force throughout the blank. The technology used is computer controlled and wraps at four angles (0⁰, 45⁰, 90⁰, 135⁰) to keep you fishing smoothly without any interruptions. This hybrid spigot joint in Kastking rods provides high performance like one piece but using two pieces.
  3. Fuji O-Ring line guides: hard and durable without sacrificing being lightweight.
  4. EVA Grips: absorb moisture, but not the most comfortable grip out there. It’s not like a bad or good thing, it’s related to your personal preference.
  5. Comes with 2 tips, which are different and great.

Specifications

  • Length: 4’6” to 7’6”. The length is ideal for trout fishing. The shorter one is for tight places while the longer is for rivers and open areas.
  • Power: UL to Medium Heavy. 
  • Pieces: 2 Pcs.
  • Action: Moderate to Fast

Pros

  • Available in Spinning and casting versions.
  • Variable sizes.
  • Lightweight
  • The two-tip option on this rod. Nice to have the ability to change out according to your needs
  • Great Value for money
  • Excellent customer service.
  • Good for traveling as 2 pieces

Cons

  • The eyelets get loose with time
  • Not very strong
  • Small grip
  • Low durability – The tip gets broken frequently

Here is a video that tells more about KastKing Perigee II Ultralight Fishing Rod:

Verdict

One of the best ultralight spinning rods for fishing trout, walleye, and catfish. It offers 29 different sizes starting with UL rods to heavy spinning ones. You have a lot of options to choose from, so be careful when buying the right one!




G.Loomis Classic Trout Panfish ultralight Spinning Rod

Top Features

  1. Lengths from 5′ to 7′ which makes it suitable for different applications.
  2. 1 or 2 pc options giving you choice between higher performance (1 pc) or Movability (2 pcs).
  3. Moderate to Fast tapers: the rod taper is important for various reasons including deciding what type of lure you’re going to use.
  4. Ultralight to Medium actions making it highly versatile.

Specifications

  • Length: 5’ 6”
  • Power/action: ultralight/moderate
  • Material: graphite
  • Line weight: 2 to 6
  • Lure size: 1/32 to 3/16 oz.
  • Pieces: 1  
  • Handle: 11”split cork/spinning  

Pros

  • Excellent casting
  • Suitable for different fish species.
  • Top-notch guides and reel holder
  • Fantastic sensitivity
  • Premium handles

Cons

  • Expensive
  • May not cast long

Verdict

The G.Loomis Classic Trout Panfish ultralight Spinning Rod is a top-notch product that should be considered if you’re looking for a premium and versatile option in the market. It’s more expensive than other options, but this comes in premium quality, high sensitivity, and a different fishing experience. If you have the money, this fishing rod may deserve a try.




St Croix Triumph Ultralight Spinning Rod

Top Features

  1. SCII Carbon construction: They used a carbon-infused composite with the Fortified Resin System (FRS) which has enhanced strength and longevity.
  2. The cork handle helps you maintain a strong grip on your fishing rod and provides comfortability by being contoured.
  3. Sea Guide Atlas Performance SS304 with black finish guides: That guide delivers high stability and longevity.
  4. Sea Guide XDPS reel seat with sandblasted hoods on spinning models: A more comfortable design that is made of corrosion-resistant material with anti-skin thin bands to prevent reel movement.
  5. Two coats of Flex-Coat slow cure finish: Flex Coat is the world’s #1 epoxy wrap finish. This superior quality product offers brilliant durability, clarity, and a strong adhesion that will not let you down in most situations.
  6. Good Package: The rod is sent in heavy-duty fiber tubes and the wall thickness is  1/4″. They pad the inside to keep it protected and secure.

Specifications

  • Length: 5’0”, A short ultralight spinning rod works well if you’re fishing in a tight area or a place filled with tress
  • Power: UL, Suitable for trout fishing because of its increased sensitivity.
  • Action: Moderate, To be honest, not the best action of you’re going for small fish.
  • Pieces: Available in 1 or 2 Pcs. Choose one piece for better performance or 2 Pcs for traveling purposes.
  • Weight: 2.2 oz, a lightweight rod that won’t tire you out quickly when casting.
  • Handle Material: Cork

Note:

The rod is available in different lengths, weights, power, and action. They range from Ultralight to medium-heavy in terms of power. Action is also found in moderate or fast options depending on the user’s needs.

Pros

  • Wide variety of available options.
  • Perfect packaging
  • Has plenty of backbone for hook sets.
  • 5-Year warranty: Backed by St. Croix Superstar Service.
  • Premium Carbon construction provides increased sensitivity.

Important note: Amazon mistakenly lists a 7’7″ rod as an option for the St. Croix Triumph series. There is no such thing as a 7’7″. I think that option is meant to be a 7’7″ rod.

Cons

  • Can be broken with larger fish.
  • The reel seat occasionally comes loose, causing your reel to fall at crucial fish moments. This might be due to user error, but it’s worth considering.
  • Expensive.

Note: Made in Mexico. Some people consider it a disadvantage. I don’t mind whether the rod is made in China or Mexico as long as it is well.

Verdict

I believe this is a decent ultralight spinning rod with high-quality construction. After all, You get what you pay for. If you buy it, I recommend using it with the best spinner reel available. These two components will allow you to feel every touch, starting with the bed’s bottom and working your way up to the lightest tap from the fish. 




St Croix Premier Ultralight Fishing Rod

Top Features

  1. The premium SCII carbon rod combines with the Fortified Resin System (FRS) to make it one of the most durable rods available.
  2. PREMIUM-GRADE CORK HANDLE: The comfortable handle allows you to maintain a firm grasp on your fishing rod while paddling.
  3. Kigan Master Hand 3D guides supported slim, strong aluminum-oxide rings with black frames finish: Delivers good durability and lightness. It also keeps you safe while using braided lines.
  4. Fuji DPS reel seat with frosted silver hoods; Fuji Seats are gorgeously designed seats that have padded hoods, perfectly molded threads, and ergonomic designs so you can enjoy a day of fishing.
  5. Two coats of Flex-Coat slow cure finish: offers high durability, clarity, and a tight adhesion.

Specifications

  • Length: 5’0”
  • Power: UL
  • Line Weight: 2-6 lbs
  • Rod Weight: 2.1 oz
  • Action: Moderate
  • Pieces: 1
  • Handle: 1
  • Lure Weight: 1/16-1/4 oz

Pros

  • 5-YEAR WARRANTY: Backed by St. Croix Superstar Service
  • High-quality backbone
  • Great customer service.
  • Strong and ultra-sensitive.
  • Very versatile with the ability to use it with a variety of baits.

Cons

  • reel seat needs constant tightening
  • More expensive than other fishing rods, but it comes in high quality
  • Sometimes it comes in poor packaging.

Verdict

This ultralight spinning rod is one of the best on the market. The St Croix Premier Ultralight Fishing Rod has an excellent design that provides both great backbone and sensitivity to your line. With its premium-grade cork handle, it will be easy to maintain grip while paddling or walking along the shoreline. Best yet? It comes with a 5-year warranty! We recommend this product if you want good quality at an affordable price point.




Why Use Ultralight Rods?

Using an ultralight rod isn’t fishing for win game, it is fishing for fun game! While catching a big fish can be thrilling, When you downsize your gear, fishing can be much more enjoyable because it makes catching smaller fish like trout, bluegill, and crappie a challenge and panfish will make the line bend in every direction.

Some people also use ultralight gear because it is the only way to succeed in certain situations. The best rod for detecting light strikes is the ultralight. It provides a better feel and sensitivity than heavier alternatives since you are casting lighter lines with it. For example, when targeting highly pressured fish, you often need a light line and small lures so that they will strike your bait or lure.

Using an ultralight rod provides a little extra cushion to your line and helps prevent break-offs. The rods are delicate, but they’re strong enough for big bass or walleye catches! They will prevent drag failures.

Ultralight tackle is ideal for fishing when you need to get a lure that weighs almost nothing across an expanse of water. For example, in some scenarios when trying to cast 1/32 oz or less spinner with an ultralight rod can be one of the most effective ways possible.

You might be more successful using ultralight gear for fishing in freshwater than saltwater. Why? because the rods used for ultralight fishing may not be able to cast as far when you go ocean fishing because they tend to be designed more for precision casting. Ultralight rods are also less effective against larger fish and in areas with strong currents.

A Buying Guide On The Best Ultralight Fishing Rod

A Buying Guide on the best ultralight fishing rod image - a man fishing with a rod in his hand in a blue sea.

Length

An important factor when you select an ultralight rod is the length. The right choice for your fishing situation depends on what type of lures and techniques you plan to use, as well as where you will be doing it. For instance, The best fishing rods are longer in bigger bodies of water, but shorter ones work well for small creeks and ponds.

Longer rods are good for longer casts, fast-moving lines which allow you to hook fish quickly. The bad side is that it’s not an accurate monster. A long rod can also help when fighting a fish because it gives an angler more control over the line and where they want to move with it. They also act as a lever and allows to put more pressure on the fish.

Shorter rods allow anglers to cast more precisely, allowing them to execute trick casts such as skipping lures beneath docks. However, they deliver short casts.

Most Ultralight spinning rods don’t exceed 7 feet in length, to keep accuracy as high as possible. If you’re not sure, go for a 6.5 feet rod.

Weight

The stiffness of a fishing rod is referred to as its weight. Obviously, the weight of an ultralight rod is ultralight! Also, most of them offer fast action making it suitable for small fish and sensitivity required situations.

Action

A rod’s action rating refers to the specific area on its length where it will bend most when pressure is applied. A fast-action rod remarkably bends along with the top third of the blank, while medium and slow-action rods bend in different areas: around the upper-middle for medium and lower third for slower actions. The closer the bending to the tip the higher the sensitivity.

When fishing, faster action rods are often preferred because they allow anglers to have a greater sensitivity towards certain lures. In addition, fast action allows users to “load up” for heavier hook sets on fish. Meanwhile, slower actions work better with lighter and smaller lures.

Most ultralight fishing rods are fast actions, they over high sensitivity. Some of them are moderate action which delivers less sensitivity but offers better shock absorption.

Power

Rods have a power rating that refers to how much weight they can handle without bending. The different levels of this power are classified into ultralight, light, medium, heavy.

Many anglers select rods based on the action they want to achieve with certain lures. If you know how much bend your rod will have, it will help give you an idea of which one to use in different situations.

The ultralight blank tells you everything you need to know: the power is ultra-light, meaning it will bend under little strains. Even with fast action, a less than 3-pound fish might get your attention!

A lighter rod is usually able to take a smaller line because it can handle the weight of that particular type of fish. A heavier rod, on the other hand, will be able to hold larger and potentially more dangerous types of fish due to its increased strength. Using a heavier than allowed line will get you a broken line or a snapped rod.

Material

The majority of rods today are composed of graphite, which imparts the finished blank strength and stiffness.

Understanding the structure of modern rods is important to understand how they are fine-tuned. Some may be made with additional layers using materials like carbon fiber or fiberglass. This technique used by manufacturers helps them achieve weight and action that best fits their preferences, allowing for customization in high-end models specifically.

Here are 3 of the most popular materials used in making ultralight fishing rods:

  • Graphite is a material that has many great qualities. It can be strong and stiff, but it’s also very sensitive to the touch. The strength of this rod makes it durable enough for any fisherman who wants something sturdy in their hands when out on an adventure!
  • Fiberglass is heavy compared to graphite, but it’s not as expensive. It is also less sensitive and less stiff, but fiberglass can be incredibly strong making it a great option for your fishing arsenal when you’re targeting crappie. Cushioned hook sets are ideal here because of the extra weight and strength in this material.
  • Carbon fiber is the strongest, lightest, and most expensive material used for rod blanks. Its performance is unmatched; however, its price makes it unaffordable to many anglers!

When you’re shopping for an ultralight rod, it is crucial to take the hardware as seriously as the blanks. The components have a lot to do with how well your rod functions and should not be overlooked when making this purchase.

Handle

There are many factors to consider when choosing a handle. You might find that cork or EVA foam works best for you depending on how far and often you plan to travel with your luggage. Here are the 2 types of handles:

  • The cork material is more attractive and provides a warmer feel, but it can’t carry much rough treatment. (not very durable)
  • The EVA foam has the opposite properties: it’s cooler to touch and durable.

Reel and rod matching

When you already own an ultralight spinning reel, it’s important to select a rod that is the right match. Try choosing one that will result in your rig feeling balanced and make sure both of them have equal line weights recommended by their manufacturers.

But why ultralight fishing rods are better than spinning reels?

  • Spin reels have less friction than other types of reels, compared to the baitcasting reel where the line has to spin the spool.
  • I’d argue that spin casting reels fair somewhat better, yet line friction with the internal design and housing will generally imply that spinning reels are slightly superior.

Lure and Line weight

No matter what type of fishing you’re doing, using a heavy lure with an ultralight rod is ill-advised. Ultralight rods are not stiff enough to properly cast or retrieve lures that weigh more than 2 ounces. It would be awkward and unsuccessful if you tried it out for yourself because the lightness will make casting difficult as well as retrieval once a fish bites on your line. You also need to understand that lighter lures need lighter lines for an appropriate sensitive setup.

In recent years, the use of ultralight rods has increased because many lure presentations seem to work better on a smaller scale than what fish typically see them as. In response to this demand from anglers, various fishing tackle companies have begun producing miniature lures like buzz baits and crankbaits that are designed for these types of equipment so they will catch more successfully. Furthermore, kayak fishermen especially favor using ultra-light gear in their pursuit of trophy-sized catches.

An ultralight rod does not require a specific lure weight, but it’s usually better to avoid using anything heavier than a 1/8 oz or 1/32 oz hook.

Eyelets

When looking at the guides of an ultralight rod, you may want to pay attention more to the material than with other types of rods because they will be using lighter lines.

If a light line is used with an ultralight rod, the friction can quickly destroy the two, four, and six-pound test. This means that manufacturers need to make pretty serious guides for these rods in order to prevent breaking them easily. If the guides are rough or scratch-prone, your line may be harmed.

You also need to know the more guides your rod has the better casting you get.

Frequently Asked Questions

A fishing rod place in stone in front of a lake

What is the best ultralight fishing rod on the market?

Here are the top 6 ultralight fishing rods that we recommend in our review:

  • OKUMA Celilo Ultralight Graphite Trout Rod.
  • Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod.
  • KastKing Perigee II Rod.
  • G.Loomis Classic Trout Panfish Spinning Rod.
  • St Croix Triumph ultralight spinning rod.
  • St Croix Premier ultralight spinning rod.

What length works best for ultralight rods?

There is no single answer to such a question. The length depends highly on your technique and the water condition you’re fishing in. However, if you are still unsure, a 6.5-inch rod is a good start and should do the job.


What are ultralight rods good for?

If you’re interested in catching trout, panfish, and perch during the day on a hot summer’s evening or morning when light is low then Ultralight rods are great especially in shallow waters.


What is a medium/heavy rod good for?

A medium-heavy rod is used for fishing smaller jigs, Texas rigs, spinnerbaits, vibrating jigs, and topwater lures without negatively affecting the performance. It’s also great with crankbaits!


What is the best trout rod?

There are several ultralight rods on the market that are designed for trout fishing combos. You’ll get a better product if you spend a little more money, regardless of what type of fishing gear you’re buying. However, there are still some great trout spinning rods that come at affordable prices. Feel free to check our review of best rods for trout to learn more.


What fishing line is the best for ultralight rods?

Fluorocarbon is the most popular fishing line for ultralight rods, owing to its low visibility and lightweight. Fluorocarbon lines are also abrasion-resistant and flexible enough to cast a long distance. It’s also preferred by trout fishermen since it’s more likely to become camouflage in the water, making it harder for trout.

Conclusion

Ultralight fishing rods are designed for the fisherman who wants to catch small fish. These types of rods are great in shallow waters and can be paired with light lines. The Best Ultralight Fishing Rod on the Market should give you some ideas about what is available today, but don’t forget that there may not be a perfect rod out there for every situation. If you need help deciding which one will work best for your needs, feel free to contact us at any time! It is also worth noting that our best ultralight fishing rod winner is the St. Croix Triumph ultralight spinning rod. We recommend giving it a try on your next fishing trip.