Best Ultralight Spinning Rods of 2019: Complete Reviews With Comparisons

Picking the best ultralight spinning rod can be challenging. You need to know a pretty good amount about not just fishing rods in general but also about spinning rods.

Here, we are not only going to give you a great overview of all the details you should know when choosing your next rod, but we are also going to highlight the top four spinning rods on the market. Each of these could easily be considered the best one, but you’ll be able to narrow down your top choice based on your personal preference.

Ultralight Spinning Rod Reviews

1. Cadence Spinning Rod CR5-30

The Cadence Spinning Rod CR5-30 is another representation of what you can expect when you purchase a Cadence product. You get a high-performing rod that proves its value time and again. In fact, this version could easily be anyone’s top pick for the best spinning rod.

Product Highlights

This rod offers a great deal of versatility. You’ll find that it comes in several different lengths, starting at just four feet, eight inches, and going all the way up to seven feet long. That length is pretty good for even a beginner. You’ll also get an action that is grouped by moderate, fast, and moderate-fast. The power you can expect is medium, medium-heavy, ultralight, and medium-light.

The frame on this rod is constructed using stainless steel, and the handles are also quite high in quality. They even come with their own options, including the choice between a split grip and a full grip. The handles do offer cork for a great comfortable hold. The only issue with stainless steel is that it can add a bit of weight, but, in this instance, it is really worth it.

You’ll enjoy a Fuji reel seat and SIC guides. Both of these features can really help you improve your comfort and overall performance. They are also quite high in quality, so you won’t find your guides breaking off anytime soon.

The Good

The construction on this rod absolutely deserves some attention. The blanks are constructed of 30-ton carbon fiber and really no other rod comes close. The versatility is also quite impressive.

You get different action, lengths, and power options. You can also use it on a variety of different fishing trips when trying to catch several different species of fish. Overall, we really like the durability of this rod. It doesn’t at all feel like any pieces are weak or going to break or snap off.

The Bad

There is very little to call out on this fishing rod. One thing we didn’t like is the diameter of the handles, which is actually quite narrow. This can make for a challenging experience if you plan to hold the handle for a long time. This is too bad since the handle itself is quite comfortably designed.

The rod itself is a bit complicated, as well. This can make it challenging for beginners to use. Again, this is quite disappointing, given that the length options are great for those who are first starting out in the sport.

Pros:

  • Adjustable reel seat
  • Lots of options and versatility
  • Durable frame

Cons:

  • Can be complicated to use
  • Narrow handles

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2. Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod

The Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod is quite versatile, with plenty of versions available. Ugly Stik has built a reputation for making some of the most reliable fishing rods in the industry. You can trust that this particular model will last for a long time.

Product Highlights

The versatility of this rod starts with its size availability. You can get this rod in lengths ranging from four and a half feet to seven and a half feet. This makes it a great option for beginners. You can also get this rod in either one or two pieces. Altogether, there are seven different combinations of power and length available.

This rod has a clear tip, which is pretty customary with an Ugly Stik rod. As such, you’ll enjoy fiberglass in the rod’s tip, which gives you great flex control and power.

What’s more, this rod uses a hybrid of materials in its construction. You’ll find a combination of fiberglass and graphite, making this rod quite durable. In fact, it has approximately 35% more graphite in it than some other rods from this manufacturer. Because of this, you’ll get to enjoy a lightweight feel.

The Good

We really like the cork grip handle on this rod, which makes it both comfortable and easy to maneuver. We also like that there is so much versatility with this rod. It really does suit just about any skill level or experience level.

The Bad

We don’t like that the tip section on this rod seems to come crooked quite frequently. Although it would still work, this really shouldn’t be happening. Unfortunately, the eyes on this rod also tend to bend, which can be a real durability issue. You don’t want the eyes to snap.

Those guides can make a real difference in your performance, as well. If they don’t stand up, you aren’t going to be reeling in many fish.

Pros:

  • 17 available combination options of power and length
  • Comfortable handle
  • Very lightweight

Cons:

  • Eyes tend to bend
  • Tip section often comes crooked

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3. Eagle Claw Featherlight Spinning Rod

The Eagle Claw Featherlight Spinning Rod offers a great mix of sensitivity and quick response. This is an updated version of the product.

Product Highlights

This rod offers a handle style made of cork for added comfort, even when on long fishing trips. That grip also means that you aren’t likely to slip. Its power is lightweight, and it has six stainless steel guides.

This updated version of the rod offers a response that is slightly quicker than the previous model. It has quality fiberglass construction, which will give you not only a high level of durability but also a good amount of feeling and forgiveness.

The Good

We like the sensitivity of this rod and that it is incredibly lightweight. With that said, it really is great for catching panfish.

The Bad

The durability of the guides could really be improved. Unfortunately, they are pretty flimsy. They are only held in place with thread that is then covered in clear coating. It doesn’t take much to break them or snap them right off.

Pros:

  • Good sensitivity
  • Fiberglass construction
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Weak guides
  • Lack of overall durability

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4. KastKing Calamus Ultra-Light Spinning Rod

The KastKing Calamus Ultra-Light Spinning Rod is the ultimate rod when it comes to being lightweight.

Product Highlights

This spinning rod could easily be considered the best ultralight spinning rod simply because it is so incredibly lightweight. In fact, it is not just the rod that is lightweight, but every piece that goes along with it.

KastKing uses IM7 to create its rod, and the material is one of the most lightweight materials you can find for constructing fishing rods. However, its attributes don’t stop there. It is also quite strong and durable, along with having a good deal of sensitivity at the same time.

The tube on this rod is hollow so as to add to its lightweight nature. The rings and guides are made using T-mark titanium, again to save on the weight factor. Stainless steel is used in these areas for many other rods, but that adds some heft. The reel seat is made from two pieces that are quite stable and strong but also maintain a lighter weight.

The Good

This is really a very lightweight rod. Every part that is used in its construction is made with the weight as a consideration. There are also some really high-quality pieces, like the reel seat and the guides, specifically.

The Bad

We love how lightweight this rod really is, but that can also take away some durability. Some pieces end up lasting a much shorter time than they should, especially when compared to other rods that are similar. This can really take away from the overall quality of the rod.

Pros:

  • Incredibly lightweight
  • Quality reel seat and guides
  • Great sensitivity

Cons:

  • Pieces can break or fall off
  • Durability is not the best

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5. Zebco Crappie Fighter

The Zebco Crappie Fighter is a great rod for catching crappie as well as other types of panfish.

Product Highlights

This rod comes in two pieces. It offers fast action with an ultralight power. There is a durable glass blank. The handle is composed of comfortable EVA, which means that you can hold this rod for quite some time without fatigue setting in at all.

This rod is great for catching all kinds of panfish but is specifically designed for success in catching crappie. You might want to keep that in mind when choosing the right spinning rod.

The Good

We really like that there is a good light action at the tip of this rod. We were also surprised at how far we could cast with this rod. Finally, the sensitivity is really good with this rod.

The Bad

The guides leave a lot to be desired. They are pretty weak, and the inserts are plastic. We hate when a rod is otherwise pretty good but then has poor guides. The lack of quality guides can really take away from an otherwise great rod.

Pros:

  • Light action at the rod’s tip
  • Good sensitivity
  • Casts a good distance

Con:

  • Weak guides

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Buyer’s Guide

There are plenty of things to consider when choosing the best ultralight spinning rod. Spinning rods are great for fishing live bait or casting small lures. In general, they are designed with the real seated hanging beneath the rod.

When making your purchase, you need to think about the overall capabilities of the rod, its construction, the materials used in its design, and several other factors. Here, we’ve highlighted everything you should keep in mind when making your next purchase.

1. Handle

The handle is important in your spinning rod, as this is the part of the fishing rod that you’ll hold the most. You want it to be comfortable, and you want a grip that doesn’t allow you to slip much. You’ll need to keep a good, solid grip on your handle, after all.

The two most common materials you’ll find in a handle are EVA foam and cork. Most of the more seasoned hobbyists enjoy cork, but it really is a personal preference.

The most high-quality rods will use a combination of both materials. EVA foam tends to resist stains, and if you plan on putting your rod in a holder a lot, this is likely the better material to choose.

Those rods that have handles that are ergonomically designed make for a much more comfortable day outside. They also are less likely to let you slip, even when you’re in a fight to reel in something large.

2. Reel Seats

If you are in the market for a spinning rod, this is one of the most important and obvious features you need to keep in mind. A spinning reel, by design, is intended to sit below the rod, so you will want a bottom-seated rod to go with your spinning reel.

If you aren’t too familiar with a reel seat, it is the slot or series of slots that fit the dovetail of the reel. You clamp the reel right into place, and you’ll know when it is secure by the way it feels.

A spinning rod usually has a long handle, typically with a split grip behind and in front of the reel seat. This allows for a good grip. You want to make sure you watch out for any reel seats that are poor in quality. Some cheaper reel seats are usually made from plastic but are made to look like metal. This means that it will break, snap, or bend easily. This can make your reel fall right off.

3. Power

When it comes to fishing rods, you’ll always want to be mindful of power. Each rod will specify its power. The common types of power, from most powerful to least powerful, are heavy, medium-heavy, medium, light, and ultralight.

In general, the rods that are heavier have more power, while the more lightweight rods have less power. When you are thinking about power, you want to take your lure weight and the species of fish you’re hoping to catch in mind.

It is ultimately the type and weight of the fish you are after that will dictate the power you need in your rod. Then, the lure weight will play a factor. If your lure is too light, you might feel sloppy in your casting. If it is too heavy, your casting will feel stiff. Power can also be impacted by your overall preference as well as your skill level.

4. Action

You’ll often hear rod action and rod power used interchangeably, but this is inaccurate. They are not the same thing. While not common, it is still possible to have a rod that is slow action and heavy.

Action really just means the amount of bend in your rod’s tip when you put pressure on the rod or when you cast. The more the rod bends, the slower its action. Some rods use a different material near the rod’s tip, which is intended to either decrease or increase the rod’s action.

When determining the action you need, you’ll want to consider the kind of fishing you’ll be doing. If the rod is medium or fast action, it is good for things like jerk fishing. If it is slow action, it might be a solid choice for a drop shot technique.

A fast-action rod will set quicker than a slow one. This is because the rod gets engaged sooner. However, fast-action rods are not always the best choice, and they aren’t appropriate for all kinds of fishing. This just goes to show that it is really critical to keep your intended fishing in mind when choosing any rod.

5. Line Guides

You’ll find your line guides running the full length of your rod. They are just the eyelets that hold your line. They control the line for when you are setting the hook, retrieving, and casting. They can also help to minimize the line’s friction. The very best line guides are those that offer very low friction.

Specific to spinning rods, you want the guides that sit closest to the reel to be really large. This is because a spinning rod’s line spools in a large arc, which means that you need larger guides than you would with other types of rods.

There are several different types of line guides available when you are considering yours. You want to think about low friction and overall durability. Durability is important because you don’t want fragile frames that will snap or stiff ones either. Remember that you might be engaged in a back and forth for quite some time, and you need the guides to stand up to that fight.

Unfortunately, many of even the higher quality rods do not come with great guides. This is something you really want to pay attention to when you make your purchase. Weak guides are not going to do you any favors.

6. Materials

Nearly all rods currently available are made from one of the two most common construction materials: fiberglass and graphite. Graphite is probably the most popularly used; you’ll find it in most high-end spinning rods. It is often used interchangeably with carbon fiber, but this isn’t always accurate because carbon fiber is its own material.

Fiberglass is usually considered to the better option when it comes to materials. This is because it is known for being quite durable and tough. Fiberglass seems to just stand up better. With that said, graphite has actually improved quite significantly in recent years.

While fiberglass tends to be more durable, it can also be less sensitive. What’s more, it tends to be heavier than a blank made of graphite, even if everything else is the same, such as the action, length, and diameter.

Plenty of rods combine both graphite and fiberglass. It is really hard to tell if a spinning rod is made from fiberglass or graphite if you’re just looking at it. In addition, both materials really are pretty good, so there’s no real reason to worry about as to which one you pick. Both will get the job done just fine. You really just want to stay away from any weird, obscure materials unless you are already familiar with them.

Ultralight Spinning Rod FAQs

1. What is an ultralight rod?

An ultralight rod is a very lightweight rod. In fact, not only is the rod itself lightweight, but the materials and equipment you’d use with it are lightweight, as well. These include the line you choose, the reel, and your lures.

2. What size fishing rod should I use?

When choosing the size of your rod, consider the type of fish you hope to catch. You also want to think about the environment in which you’ll be fishing. If you are new to the sport, it’s usually recommended that you start with a rod that is around six feet long.

3. What is the best length of fishing rod?

If you are new to fishing, stick with something around six feet. Otherwise, consider where you’ll be fishing and what kind of fish you hope to catch. Rods tend to range from six feet to 12 feet in length.

4. Does a longer rod cast further?

It is true that a longer rod will reap you a longer cast. If you have two rods that have the same action and power, the longer one will cast farther.

5. Is baitcasting better than spinning?

This is a matter of preference to some degree. Reels for baitcasting have more capability when it comes to handling a heavier line. They can also usually offer longer casts. A spinning reel usually has a more narrow, smaller spool. This can be challenging when dealing with larger diameter lines.

Final Verdict

Any one of these options reviewed could easily be considered the best ultralight spinning rod, but our top pick is definitely the Cadence Spinning Rod CR5-30. There are plenty of options available, and it is incredibly durable and versatile. You won’t find the guides breaking off easily, which means that you’ll likely be using the rod for seasons to come.

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