When it’s time to plan for a fishing trip, making sure you have reliable gear is among the most important parts of your preparation. Most anglers prefer using the best ultralight spinning reels as they reduce fatigue, add challenge to catching and fighting fish, and keep gear weight at a minimum. You may also have heard that these reels are able to withstand the brutal effects of saltwater.
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Table of Contents
Ultralight Spinning Reels Reviews
Here, we will take a much closer look at the best of what the market has to offer today and provide you with some buying tips to help you make the right choice.
1. Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel
First on our list is petite, but tough as nails. The Okuma Ceymar has lightweight and high-quality components.
It has successfully earned a reputation for being an incredibly reliable ultralight spinning reel that can last for years even with heavy use. The aluminum bail wire is heavy duty and the spool is made of machined aluminum. It also boasts of machine-cut brass pinion gears.
For reeling in with this ultralight reel, it’s especially strong. Its handle is made of zinc die-cast to give torque and more strength for bigger fish. With this reel’s brawn, you would think it’s heavy. You’d be surprised to know it only weighs 6 oz.
The Okuma Ceymar is built with purpose. Its narrow blade body is sleek and aerodynamic. It’s a reel that performs like some of the most expensive and high-end spinners on the market.
2. PENN Fierce III Spinning Fishing Reel
One can’t argue the PENN Fierce III has delivered on its promise of being an excellent ultralight spinner. It targets budget-conscious anglers who are looking for a high-quality and reliable reel for recreational saltwater fishing.
The size range for this series provides access to various fishing applications, even covering trout fishing up in the mountains up to fishing for large pelagic fish offshore.
The PENN Fierce III isn’t made to blow your mind like the Okuma Ceymar, but it’s a decent entry-level ultralight spin reel. It doesn’t disappoint, especially if you’re a regular session angler.
3. Shimano Syncopate Reel
We personally love this ultralight spinning reel. It’s the smallest Shimano spinning reel plus it’s affordable. Shimano’s Varispeed technology guarantees a smooth, consistent spool speed.
Weighing only 9.28 oz, it’s sure to offer a comfortable and easy fishing experience. It has Shimano’s trademarked Dyna-Balance, which eliminates any rotor wobbling during retrievals while enhancing the smoothness and sensitivity of the spool.
This spinning reel’s fast, easy, and one-handed casting is made possible by the company’s Quick Fire II, which makes it ideal for amateur and professional anglers alike. The rotor has four ball bearings, as well as an integrated propulsion fishing line management system.
You’ll be able to cast one-handed with a line held in between your middle finger and index finger. Kids can also find casting with the reel very easy as it allows them to do so quickly and with no fuss.
4. Shimano Stradic FL Fishing Reel
With its full metal reel body, this Shimano ultralight spinner offers a good amount of stability. With its strength comes efficiency.
It boasts of the company’s X-Ship technology which promises enhanced durability and longevity of the fishing gear. The Stradic FL is an upgrade to the old model, Stradic FK, but both are noticeably light spinners.
The exclusive manufacturing technology that’s used by Shimano provides more advancements in the gear’s tooth surface design. Rigid Hagane metal and cold-forged gears make up this small and lightweight spinning reel.
5. Pflueger President Fishing Reel
There are a lot of ball bearings on this lightweight spinning reel. This means it provides smooth casts and retrieves. The gear ratio of this reel is 5.2:1 which is a somewhat decent reeling rate.
It works sufficiently for ultralight to heavier lures. If the reel speed is one of your biggest concerns, then we suggest you try to look for other options. The smallest model of the President weighs only 6.2 oz which is quite impressive.
It packs a graphite reel body and it protects the shaft and components made of stainless steel. Most parts of this reel are corrosion-resistant and that’s something to value when you’re looking for a durable and lightweight spinner to take on saltwater.
The reel has a double anodized braid ready aluminum spool and it’s known for laying line flat for resisting kinks and loops.
6. Abu Garcia Revo X Reel
Abu Garcia’s Revo X is a badass-looking and feeling ultralight spinning reel. The casting efficiency of this spinner is boosted by the trademarked Rocket Line Management System. It allows anglers to fish with monofilament, braided, or even the difficult to manage fluorocarbon line.
Great features worth noting of this ultralight spinning reel include an IM-C6 body design that combines a C6 carbon body and an X-craftic gearbox; a lightweight graphite rotor, a 6+1 stainless steel bearing system for increased corrosion protection; and a machined aluminum braid-ready spool which allows braid in being tied to the spool directly without any slip.
7. Shimano Stella FJ Spinning Reel
Shimano has improved its legendary spinning reel series, Stella, with the brand-new Stella FJ. The Shimano Stella FJ is available in different sizes all weighing under 8 oz each.
The reel has a water-resistant coating from Shimano’s X-protect technology. In contrast to the previous models, it’s remarkably resilient to the effects of saltwater over a long period of time. We love that this unit has a quiet drive with a high tolerance drivetrain.
It also has a sealed carbon drag. If you’ll use this ultralight reel on freshwater, the sizes 2500 and 3500 can help catch steelhead, large bass, freshwater salmon, and hybrid striped bass efficiently.
8. Shimano Sedona Fi Reel
Shimano’s Sedona Fi earned the last spot on our list of the best ultralight spinning reels for its flawless performance, reasonable price tag, and outstanding quality. It has high-end performance upgrades that make this open-faced reel even lighter, faster, durable, and stronger.
The Sedona Fi has incorporated cold-forged Hagane gear into the reel which has ensured its longevity and durability. It has a gear ratio of 6.2:1 except for the smallest reel size, and it allows for a quick line retrieval of 26 inches for each crank.
The 7lbs drag force of the reel and anti-reverse bearing can confirm hook placement and ensure long fights.
How to Pick the Best Ultralight Spinning Reels
When you’re searching for an ultralight spinning reel for tiger trout and other species, there are a couple of factors that are crucial for you to consider.
Some of them may be based purely upon your personal preference, while others will affect the reel’s functionality directly or even determine the success you’ll have with it.
Location/Body of Water
Will you be fishing mostly on saltwater or freshwater? An experienced angler knows that an equipment’s durability changes based on the kind of water you’ll be fishing in. A consideration that you need to keep in mind before you choose one from our ultralight spinning reels reviews is where you would go to do most of your fishing.
Saltwater has corrosive properties and it can be brutal to the majority of fishing gear. If you’ll be fishing in saltwater exclusively or frequently, it’s important for you to make sure the gear you purchase, including small spinning reels, are suitable for that exact purpose.
The best light spinning reel will have information if it’s suitable for saltwater use. But, if that isn’t the cast and you’re wondering if the smallest ultralight spinning reel or smallest Shimano spinning reel you’re eyeing will do fine in saltwater, check if it’s sealed or shielded.
Sealed spinning reels are going to keep saltwater and sand out of the important mechanisms that are within the reels and keep them safe from damage and corrosion from sand/saltwater ingress.
You can also look for anodized aluminum, forged aluminum, or stainless-steel components if you want the best light tackle spinning reel. Such materials will help prevent the reel from corroding when it’s exposed to saltwater.
Most professional anglers like the lightest spinning reel. Regardless of whether you’re a beginner or experienced angler, it’s crucial for you to ensure your reel has the right material construction, depending on the kind of fishing you plan on doing.
Apart from the materials that provide a reel durability or the ability to withstand the negative effects of saltwater, you also have to pay close attention to what materials are used throughout your reel as they can affect its weight, efficiency, and longevity. Some of the best spinning reels are made of graphite or aluminum.
Both materials are great for being lightweight, but they also have their own unique set of pros and cons.
With a spinning reel that’s made of aluminum, expect the fishing gear to be stronger compared to other spinning reels made of other materials.
But, its added strength comes with a significant reduction in flexibility. Aluminum’s ultimate advantage is its durability. You would be hard-pressed in finding another material that’s better suited for an ultralight spinning reel.
As it offers less flexibility, it can handle a lot more stress that’s placed on it by a large size fish, including the yanking motion which occurs when setting the hook.
Graphite is the material that prioritizes less weight over durability. It’s an excellent material if you need a lightweight spinning reel that’s also easy on the pocket. It’s more affordable as it isn’t as robust compared to aluminum. It won’t be as tough and durable when placed under pressure or frequent stress when fishing.
It can also be quite a struggle for a graphite reel to handle the exact amount of torque an aluminum reel is able to handle. It’s, therefore, an ideal material for catching smaller size fish.
Both aluminum and graphite serve well from the weight standpoint. However, you must base your final purchasing decision on how often you will be reeling in large fish and the amount of stress that you plan on putting on your reel.
Drag is a crucial factor that affects how effective spinning reels are. The drag settings of a reel are used to determine how hard fish will pull on your fishing line prior to the reel spinning backward.
Most anglers use this to personalize their battling experience based on their personal preference. The drag is very important for anglers to pay attention to whenever there’s a need to choose between different reels.
There are two primary kinds of drag systems: frame-based and spool-based. Their names are derived from the way they’re controlled. The frame-based drag system is within the frame. The other type is within the spool.
If you want the drag system which you can adjust as you fight fish, it’s best to opt for a spool-based system. The frame-based type is best if you require strength rather than versatility. Choose the drag system that best suits your needs.
This is the less essential factor for you to take into consideration when choosing from the best ultralight spinning reels. However, it’s still important for you to pay attention to the reel size as it determines how much fishing line the reel can hold.
How much line you’ll need as an angler will depend on the kind of fishing you’ll be doing. Generally speaking, hobbyists and professionals choose the 2500 size reel as it’s this size that affords the user just the right amount of flexibility when switching between different fishing applications.
This is the oft-neglected and lesser-known feature of an ultralight spinning reel. The gear ratio of a reel refers to the exact times the bail rotates each turn or crank of the handle. The best gear ratio for you will depend on how fast you want the line to be retrieved after each cast.
Reels with a gear ratio of 6:1 are considered high-speed. You should get an ultralight spinning reel that has a gear ratio of 5:1 at the very least.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I use an ultralight spinning reel?
If you have never tried using an ultralight spinning reel in the past, you may be curious as to what the rage is all about.
An ultralight reel sure sounds fancy, but what exactly makes them very attractive for a lot of anglers? There are actually lots of different reasons why spinning reels have exploded in popularity these past few years.
First of all, it’s very sensitive. You’ll be able to feel the slight nibbling of fish more easily using an ultralight setup in comparison to the standard spinning reel. It lets you be a lot more precise when you’re making retrievals and you also increase your rate of success.
Spinning reels help when you’re fishing for crappie, bass, and catfish. Furthermore, lots of anglers attest to battles with hard-hitting fish being a lot more fun when they’re using an ultralight spinning reel. Ultralight reels make small fish feel much larger which increases the amount of enjoyment you get.
Is there a disadvantage to using an ultralight fishing reel?
If you’re going to fish using ultralight equipment, there’s a need for you to be aware of the drawbacks as well. If you know an ultralight reel’s weakness, you can sidestep its weaknesses effectively and you can overcome the problems that you may encounter.
As its name suggests, ultralight equipment is lighter compared to standard fishing equipment. It’s also smaller. This has an impact on the fishing gear’s strength. You need to keep your ultralight reel pointed upward to effectively tire out the fish that you’re battling.
In addition, you should be aware of the fact that you’ll sacrifice some of the quality standards of conventional reels in exchange for a lightweight experience. Oftentimes, fishing gear manufacturers make their products using less durable materials in order to appeal to the lightweight crowd among anglers.
You can avoid falling into their trap by getting a high-quality ultralight spinning reel like one that makes use of aluminum as it’s both lightweight and durable.
How do you use the best ultralight spinning reels?
Though the goal of different fishing applications remains the same, ultralight fishing gear takes on a different approach. With a traditional reel, the goal is reeling in fish as quickly and efficiently as possible without breaking the rod or the line.
When you’re using ultralight equipment, catching fish is somewhat different. The primary method for reeling fish in when using ultralight gear is battling fish until it’s tired and easier to reel in. An ultralight fishing gear isn’t designed for catching fish using brute force.
When you choose a reel, make sure that the line capacity is larger than you would choose with a traditional reel in order to have ample line for lengthy battles. What’s more, choose a reel that can support the braided line as this type of line offers more durability.
What’s the required maintenance for ultralight spinning reels?
How you take care of an ultralight spinning reel will have a direct correlation to the equipment’s longevity. A reel has myriads of moving parts. A spinning reel, therefore, has to be lubricated and cleaned often. It’s especially true with ultralight reels used in saltwater.
Always wash your reel thoroughly after every use and try to not submerge the reel in the water where you fished. Follow the maintenance guidelines provided by the manufacturer.
The last thing that you want is to spend a lot of money on ultralight fishing equipment only to let the gear fail from lack of care. You can think of your gear’s maintenance as changing your vehicle’s oil.
How do baitcasting and spinning reels differ?
Spinning reels are the preferred reels of most anglers as they’re easier to use. For inexperienced anglers, it’s recommended to get started with a spinning reel as there’s less learning curve.
Also, when you’re bringing family, friends, or even clients on one of your fishing trips, it’s going to be a whole lot easier for you to teach them to fish when you have a spinning reel instead of a baitcaster.
All it takes for you to learn how to use a spinning reel is a minute. You can pick up a spinning rod and then cast and retrieve bait without fearing that you might have a tangled mess from the spool.
It often occurs when you use a baitcaster. A baitcasting reel is quite difficult to use for beginners, which is why spinning reels are more common.
Out of the many we tested to help you find the best ultralight spinning reels, what we loved most is the Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel.
This ultralight spinner helps produce great results regardless of your experience as an angler. Make it a part of your arsenal and we’re sure you’ll enjoy your fishing trips better!