Best Ultralight Rods That Are Heavy on Fun: Top Ultralight Rods Reviewed

Best Ultralight Rods – Buyers Reviews

An ultralight can catch trout, crappie, perch, and bass. It will bring a smile to your face every single time. You know that you have a fight to your hands when your drag starts complaining.

We’d love to show you how ultralight can be a great option for you. Below is a guide to ultralight rods as well as reviews of some of our favorite models.

Here’s a quick look at some of the most popular ultralight rods on the market today:

Premium Rods

  • St. Croix Premier PS60ULF –Our Choice!
  • Fenwick Elite Tech River Runner ERR69UL-FS-2
  • G. Loomis Classic Panfish/Trout SR661-2 GL3

Practical Rods

Budget Rods

  • Okuma Celilo CE-S-662UL-1 –Our Choice!
  • B’n’Mbuck’s Crappie Spinning Roe

Review of the Best Ultralight Rods

Premium Rods

St. Croix Premier PS60ULFOur Choice!

St. Croix Rods Premier Spinning Rod

Specifications

Pros

Cons

Length6
Materialgraphite
Power/actionUltralight/Fast
Size of the lure: 1/32 oz. 1/32 oz. to 3/16 oz.
Line weight:2-6
Handle:Split cork/spinning 12.25 inches
Guide material aluminum oxide
Piece1
  • Amazing sensitivity
  • Excellent casting
  • Qualitative handles
  • Amazing guides
  • Expensive

Summary

St. Croix’s rods outperform their premium competitors, including Fenwick. Fenwick rods are excellent, but St. Croix’s rods just keep getting better. This rod is the most expensive ultralight rod available if you have the cash.

The Premier ultralight has a quick action and a cushioned hookset for fish like crappie. This rod is strong, flexible, light and well-balanced. This rod is perfect for fishing for trout, bass, and walleye.

Your line will be spoiled by the high-quality aluminum oxide guides. These guides are considered to be among the finest available. This rod casts beautifully, regardless of the size of your lure.

This rod’s long handle is made of quality cork and allows for comfortable casting. Split handles are a preferred choice for some anglers. The Fenwick might be a better option.

The St. Croix is a great rod if you are willing to spend a lot. The fast action and quality of this rod make it a better choice than premium competitors like the G. Loomis. However, that is largely personal preference.

Fenwick Elite Tech River Runner ERR69UL-FS-2

Fenwick Elite Tech River Runner Spin

Specifications

Pros

Cons

Length6′ 9″
Materialgraphite
Power/actionUltralight/Fast
Size of the lure: 1/32 oz. 1/32 oz. to 3/16 oz.
Line weight:2-6
Handle:Split cork/spinning
Guide material titanium
  • Amazing sensitivity
  • Excellent casting
  • Qualitative handles
  • Fantastic guides
  • Expensive

Fenwick rods are legendary. You’ll see why if you get one. You can be certain that this rod is the best quality for the money, even though it is one of the most expensive.

River Runner ultralight has a fast action. I like this because it allows me to control the fight more effectively. This combination of power, action and length is great for bluegills as well as bass.

This Fenwick casts like a dream, and it is strong too. This rod is strong enough to tackle big perch and small walleye. I would also recommend it for largemouths.

You should feel confident about putting your lure to the test with almost any lure.

The titanium guides of the X-Titanium are as good as it gets; don’t be surprised if they fail.

The Fenwick is a great choice for those who love split handles and high-end cork. The rod seat design encloses and secures the mechanism, giving it a continuous cork grip. This is a nice feature, and we love it.

G. Loomis Classic Panfish/Trout SR661 GL3

Classic Trout Spinning, SR661 GL3

Specifications

Pros

Cons

Length5′ 6″
Materialgraphite
Power/actionUltralight/Moderate
Size of the lure:1/32 to 3/16 oz
Line weight:2-6
Handle:11″ Split cork/spinning
Guide materialN/A
Pieces1
  • Amazing sensitivity
  • Excellent casting
  • Premium handles
  • Amazing guides
  • Expensive

G. Loomis is a legend within the rod-making community. From quality control to materials you can expect a very fine rod if your willing to pay the price tag.

The Classic Trout/Panfish Rod is the gold standard in many ways. This rod is strong and sensitive, and it’s intentionally short to allow for precise castings.

G. Loomis blanks are some of the most durable on the market. You’ll feel the difference in every cast and fight. It can cast light lures on two- to six-pound lines and can take serious brown trout and brook fishing.

The premium cork handle is long and luxurious. It is also very comfortable.

This rod is best for those who prefer an ultralight rod with moderate action and a budget that can handle it. We prefer a faster action for larger fish such as bass and walleye. However, the G. Loomis is up to the job.

Pros

  • Amazing sensitivity
  • Excellent casting
  • Premium handles
  • Amazing guides

Cons

  • It’s expensive!

Practical Rods

Cadence Fishing CR5 562S -ULMF Our Choice!

Cadence Fishing CR5 Spinning Rods | 30 Ton Carbon | Fuji Reel Seat | Stainless Steel Guides with SiC Inserts | CR5-662S-LMF

Specifications

Pros

Cons

Length5’6″
Materialgraphite
Power/actionultralight/moderate-fast
Size of the lure:1/32 to 1/8 oz.
Line weight:2-6
Handle:Cork 12 inches and EVA foam/spinning
Guide materialStainless steel with SiC Inserts
Pieces2
  • Amazing sensitivity
  • Qualitative handles
  • Fantastic guides
  • Soft hooksets can almost be guaranteed
  • Affordable
  • ?? ??

Cadence Fishing has serious rods at great prices. This is the perfect choice if you are looking for a dedicated panfish rod. The 5’6″ is our favorite with moderately fast action.

This CR5 is a great rod for accurate casting because it has a good combination of action, length, and power. This rod, like all other short rods would be my first choice for trout fishing in a small stream.

The moderately fast action can turn larger fish into a fight, while still allowing for the use of light lines under high stress. This rod can bend along its length to absorb force that wouldn’t otherwise be transferred onto your line.

The CR5 ultralight rod is extremely strong and should catch largemouth and walleye as far as the line will allow. Although this rod is not ideal for controlling real brutes, it’s one I would be happy to have!

The guide quality is exceptional, and the handle has the perfect length and is premium quality.

This is an excellent rod for panfish and it’s a strong contender to our top spot.

Bass Pro Shops Micro Lite Graphite MIL66ULS-2

Check Out Our Full Bass Pro Micro Lite Graphite Rod Review

Specifications

Pros

Cons

Length6′ 6″
Materialgraphite
Power/actionUltralight/Fast
Size of the lure:1/32 oz. 1/32 oz. to 1/4 oz.
Line weight:1 to 6
Handle:13″ cork/spinning
Guide materialStainless steel
Pieces2
  • Amazing sensitivity
  • Gentle hooksets
  • Excellent casting
  • Qualitative handles
  • Affordable
  • Fluorocarbon as a guide for quality issues
  • No hook keeper

Bass Pro Shop’s ultralight rod, house-brand, is a great choice if you want to have more fun catching trout, bluegill, smallmouth, crappie, and smallmouth. You get a lot for your money, even though it is economically priced.

We prefer the ultralight of six-and-a half feet. It is fast-action, but it has a great combination of sensitivity, finesse, and power. This rod is great for fishing with, I have used it to fish with, and I love how it casts even with 1/32 and 1/6 ounce lures. It has been sensitive enough to detect the lightest strikes and can handle largemouths with ease.

The cork handles provide ample space for anglers with large hands. They are comfortable and smooth. They have stood the test of my time and I have heard nothing but praise from others.

However, some anglers have noticed a decrease in guide quality with newer models, particularly when they are using tough fluorocarbon lines. However, the guide have been nipped by friction rather than breaking. I fish mono and have had no problems.

Another problem: There is no hook keeper.

Ugly Stik Elite USESP662UL

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod 6'6'- Ultra Light - 2pc

Specifications

Pros

Cons

Length6’6″
Material Ugly tech (graphite/fiberglass)
Power/actionultralight/medium
Size of the lure:1/32 to 1/8 oz
Line weight:2-6
Handle:Cork
Guide materialStainless steel
Pieces2
  • Great sense of sensitivity
  • Qualitative handles
  • Fantastic guides
  • It is incredibly difficult
  • Affordable
  • The competition is generally more refined

 

Shakespeare’s Ugly Stiks are known for being bomb-proof. These rods are far tougher than any other fishing rods I have fished. Even though I have broken quite a few ultralight rods in my time, it was always through mishandling. I would like to acknowledge the rods’ practicality.

This rod is not the only one that has all of this rep. The Elite is not only tough, but it’s also extremely refined for its strength. It casts well, and has a lot of sensitive tip. The handle is ergonomically designed and comfortable enough to be used for all-day fishing.

The Elite provides high-quality guides that are easy to use, and this is despite the amount of bruising it can take.

This rod shines as an all-arounder. A small lure can catch big fish’s attention, so it is worth having. It’s great to have a rod that can handle the situation when it happens. The Ugly Stik Elite is here!

This is a huge smallmouth!

Budget Rods

Okuma Celilo CE-S-662UL-1

okuma Celilo Graphite Lightweight Ultra Light Trout Rods, CE-S-662UL-1

Specifications

Pros

Cons

Length6’6″
Materialgraphite
Power/actionUltralight/Moderate
Size of the lure:1/32 to 3/8 Oz
Line weight:2-6
Handle:Cork
Guide materialStainless steel with aluminum oxide inlays
Pieces2
  • Great sense of sensitivity
  • Gentle hooksets
  • Amazing casting
  • Excellent guides
  • Qualitative handles
  • Priced to fit your budget!
  • It may be fragile

Okuma has a lot to offer for a small amount of money, the Celilo. The 6’6″ is our favorite, and although it won’t give the St. Croix or G. Loomis a run for their cash, it wouldn’t make us feel outgunned.

This rod’s blank bends easily to 1/3rd of the way from the tip. At that point, the backbone will resist any touch. This rod is ultralight and will bend into an arc quickly if it comes in contact with a fish. This is not a criticism at all, especially with a two- or four-pound test. It can help you avoid a line breakage.

At this length, the Celilo casts very well and is accurate with light lines or lures. The guide quality is excellent at this price, and rivals much more expensive options. The handle is comfortable and large.

This rod is a great value for money and I recommend it highly. However, I wouldn’t put it to the test against largemouth or walleye as it won’t withstand as much abuse as other blanks.

Berkley Lightning Rod BSLR662UL

Berkley Lightning Rod Trout Rod

 

Specifications

Pros

Cons

Length6’6″
Materialgraphite
Power/actionUltralight/Moderate
Size of the lure:1/32 to 1/4 oz
Line weight:2-6
Handle:Cork
Guide materialStainless steel with aluminum oxide inlays
Pieces2
  • Amazing sensitivity
  • Gentle hooksets
  • Amazing casting
  • Excellent guides
  • Good handles
  • Priced to fit your budget!
  • Budget materials, with the exception of guides

Berkley’s Lightning Rods are a favourite of generations of anglers. I have used one for many years of hard fishing. The 6’6″ ultralight from Berkley is a great value and will not disappoint.

My Lightning Rod cast very well. Although more expensive blanks have an advantage in this area, I was impressed at this price point. The Okuma’s guide quality is superior to much more expensive rods, just like the Okuma.

Berkley’s rod has a lot of sensitiveness. I never felt weak when fighting largemouth fish, even up to two or three pounds. Although I was aware that there was a fish in the line, even with moderate action, I was still able to fight it off with a six-pound test and properly set drag.

Although the cork handles look great, they are made of tiny cork pieces that have been epoxy-bound to save money. That’s not a problem. Not at all!

This rod is inexpensive and will shine.

Our top picks: The St. Croix Prime PS60ULF and The Cadence Fishing CR5 562-S-ULMF. The Okuma Celilo CE-662UL-1 are our top choices

It’s quite a difference to have a $200 rod and one that is $20, and our top picks show it. All options, from our premium options to budget-minded alternatives will do the job well.

The thing that makes rods such as the St. Croix and Fenwick so special is their ability to deliver exactly what you would expect. They offer exceptional blanks and are stronger than most competitors, more sensitive, further casting and overall just a little better.

However, this quality is not cheap.

Although they aren’t as well-made, affordable rods such as the CR5, Bass Pro, or the Ugly Stik can be a great addition to any angler’s toolbox. The Bass Pro is a great rod. I have never been disappointed. The CR5 is a little better than the Bass Pro, with its impressive sensitivity and strength as well as casting, in a reasonable-priced package.

The budget offerings of Okuma and Berkley are really surprising, especially if your expectations were for a lower quality product. The Okuma is a rod that performs as well as a more expensive one. The difference in components will make the Okuma a premium rod and a budget rod on the water. You will feel the difference in your hands.

Is that $200 rod 10 times more valuable than the Okuma? I doubt I would go so far. As fishing technology improves, more “practical” rods are able to compete with the best.

Please leave comments below to let us know your thoughts about our recommendations.

Why fish an Ultralight Rod?

Anyone who has tried ultralight fishing will tell you that it is fun. You can fish for trout, panfish, small walleyes, perch, panfish and other species with a light or medium-power rod, but you won’t find pros using an ultralight to throw lures. They fish to win, it’s their job and they don’t want to limit their enjoyment on the water.

You probably are!

Ultralights are just that–ultra-light–and you won’t be muscling big fish with them. You can hook a smallmouth that weighs in at two pounds. Your drag will whine, your rod bow will show, and you’ll have a fight. You’ll be able to tell if you have something on the line when you tie into a good-sized perch or a nice broookie.

Isn’t this why you started fishing?

Ultralight setups make small fish bigger and more powerful than big ones. It won’t be fun to catch smallmouth fish with an eight-pound line and a medium rod. But, if you have an ultralight with a four-pound test, it will be so much more enjoyable!

You need to pair your rod and reel? Our buying guide will help you choose the best ultralight reels.

An ultralight is the best tool to use when you want to spot a light strike. Ultralight rods are far more sensitive and feelable than heavier options, and they’re ideal for casting light lures and lines.

Ultralight rods bend like marshgrass in the wind, giving you a little more cushion and aiding the drag to prevent any failures when you tie into a large fish. They are delicate but also very strong. An ultralight can be used to catch big walleye and bass if it is fished properly.

You’ll be able to tell a story when you do.

What to Consider when Choosing an Ultralight Rod

A superb ultralight rod is a combination of power, action, length, quality, and performance.

Our buying guide will help you choose the best spinning rods.

Take Action

The rod’s action is the point along which its length will bend under load. Fast action rods bend near the tip and are stiff for the majority of their length. Slow action rods, on the other hand, bend closer to their handle and reel seat and curve over a greater portion of their length.

Ultralight rods are often made with a moderate or fast action. This means that the ultralight rods have a sensitive, delicate tip that bends quickly. As the load increases, the strength of their blank will kick in.

A fast action ultralight rod can still bend past the tip when this happens but it will provide enough control for you to fish even large fish.

A moderate action ultralight, on the other hand, will bend along its length more than the blank resists. This can sometimes reach the point of a parabolic arc which helps to cushion light lines in heavy fights. Although you will lose some control, shock absorption is available.

It is up to you to decide which is best.

Power

The force required to bend a rod is called power. A rod’s power, along with its action, tells you a lot of about how it will perform.

Ultralight explains everything: The blank’s power, which is extremely light, means that it can bend under small loads. A two-pound fish will grab your attention even if you move fast.

You might think ultralight is “weak,” but that’s not true.

Length

Ultralight rods are generally shorter than 7 feet. This is because casting accuracy requires precision.

The rod’s length will determine how far you can cast, but it will also affect how precise your casts. While shorter rods can be deadly precise, casting distance will be affected by them being less accurate.

Ultralight rods are shorter than regular rods, and the reels that they are designed to seat don’t have enough line. These rods are not meant to cast at great distances but instead focus on precision and finesse. For maximum distance casting, choose rods that are closer to 7 feet and use slightly stiffer ultralights. A stiffer backbone will allow you to reach further.

I fish with a rod six-and-a half feet in length. If you aren’t sure of your needs, that’s the ideal length to start with.

Line and lure weight

Ultralights are small, lightweight rods that can be used with tiny lures and light lines. Look for rods with line weights between 2 and 6 pounds. Lures sizes can range from 1/4 to 1/2 ounces to 1/6 of an ounce.

Guides

Manufacturers of rods face a unique challenge when designing light line. Ultralight rods must have very serious guides because friction can quickly ruin a two-, four-, or six-pound test.

You may think that ultralights can’t target fish with them, but have a look below at the video. You don’t need much heat or friction to break heavy lines, so I guarantee that you will lose more fish with low-quality guides.

This video demonstrates how to best test guide quality. Try sawing the line against a large guide. If the line breaks fast, it’s time to give the rod a pass.

Material

Modern fishing rods are made of a variety materials including graphite and carbon fiber. Some fishing rods feature composite construction that uses more than one material as their backbone.

  • GraphiteIt is strong, stiff and light. It is a durable and strong choice for rods due to its stiffness.
  • FiberglassIt is usually more expensive than graphite, but it is heavier. Although it isn’t as sensitive nor as stiff as graphite, it can still be extremely strong and deserves a place in your arsenal of angling tools. This is a good thing, especially for crappie. Cushioned hooksets work well.
  • Carbon fiberIt is the strongest, strongest, lightest and most expensive material for rod blanks. Its performance is unmatched, but so too is its cost!

Handle

The decision about which handle you choose is personal. What’s easy for me may not be right for you. There are generally two main handle materials: EVA foam and cork.

  • CorkIt is more appealing and warmer, but it is less forgiving of rough treatment.
  • EVA foamIt’s softer to the touch and more flexible than other materials.

Reel Selection

Most ultralight rods can be paired with spinning reels. Because they can handle light line better than baitcasters and closed-face reels, ultralight rods are almost always paired with spinning reels.

Why?

A spinning reel has less friction than other options.

When line leaves a baitcasting reel it must spin its spool. Casting distance will be affected by friction, regardless of how well-made the reel is or how many bearings it has.

Closed-face, or “spincasting”, reels perform slightly better. However, line friction with the internal design and housing will generally mean that spinning reels are slightly more superior.

Lewis
Lewis Mark is a vastly experienced fly fisher. His encyclopedic knowledge of fly tying has led to start blog on fishing. He also review Fishing equipment based on his knowledge and experience.