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Best Ultralight Spinning Reel - Buying Guide and Reviews For

At USAngler, we’re big ultralight fans, and much of the time, this is the fishing gear we reach for first.

If you’re in the market for an ultralight setup, need to replace your worn reel, or just curious about dipping your toes in the ultralight water, keep reading. Below, you’ll find an in-depth discussion of what the best ultralight reels are made of, as well as reviews of some of our favorites.

Quick glance at the best ultralight fishing reels:

Table of Contents (clickable)

Best Ultralight Spinning Reel Reviews

Cadence CS-8 - Our Pick!

CS8 Spinning Reel,Cadence Ultralight Fast Speed Premium Magnesium Frame Fishing Reel with 10 Low Torque Bearings Super Smooth Powerful Fishing Reel with 36 LBs Max Drag & Spinning ReelAmazon 

Line capacity: 6 lb./ yds.

Bearings: 9 + 1 roller bearing

Gear ratio:

Max. drag: 11 lbs.

Cadence’s CS-8 is an exceptional reel, potentially unseating more established brands in terms of performance. For its price, this may just be the most bang for the buck available.

The CS-8 is incredibly smooth, and its build quality is impressive. That Cadence has packed this ultralight with high-quality components is obvious, and it’s a real contender compared to even the most expensive alternatives. We find that it fishes like a much, much pricier reel, easily offering the performance of high-dollar options.

The drag is awesome, employing a carbon fiber braking system that’s reliably smooth and effective. Offering a full 11 pounds of maximum drag, I’d be comfortable fishing anything my rod could handle, especially given that its spool will hold yards of pound braid.

Cadence says that its reels compare to models costing twice as much. We think that’s true, and if you pick one up, you’ll be impressed!

Casting is reliably excellent, and for a medium-priced reel, the CS-8 is extremely hard to beat.


  • Super-smooth operation
  • Excellent drag system, very high quality
  • Great casting
  • Nice line capacity


  • Drag isn’t sealed or watertight

BassPro Micro Lite Elite

Line capacity: 6 lb./ yds.

Bearings: 6 + 1 roller bearing

Gear ratio:

Max. drag: 6 lbs.

Available at Bass Pro

You may shy away from a store brand, but BassPro’s reels won’t let you down, and in terms of performance for the price, they’re a real bargain. In fact, I’d put the quality level of these inexpensive reels quite a few notches above their price-point.

That’s not just my opinion--check the reviews! But that said, I own and fish one of these on my ultralight rod, having been won over after testing it one-on-one versus various competitors. I found the Micro Lite Elite to be as smooth as Pfluegers that were three times the price, though it does take a touch more force to close the bail with a crank.

Its front-mounted drag is excellent as well, functioning smoothly with very light line. Casting is excellent, too.

One thing I like a lot about this reel is that it’s tiny, light, and capacious--holding fully yards of 6-pound mono. That’s impressive for an ultralight, and if those features are a concern for you, take a close look at the Micro Lite Elite.


  • Affordably priced
  • Smooth operation
  • Excellent drag system
  • Lots of line capacity
  • Great casting


  • Drag isn’t sealed or watertight

Daiwa Exceler LT D

Line capacity: 6 lb./ yds.

Bearings: 5 + 1 roller bearing

Gear ratio:

Max. drag: 4 lbs.

If you’re an experienced angler, it’ll come as no surprise to see a Daiwa make our short list. An established name in the fishing industry, Daiwa’s reels are trusted gear for many, and the Exceler LT series helps to explain why.

First off, you’ll notice that the D is smooth and quiet. Like the Cadence, we’d say that this reel punches well above its price point, offering impressive performance for a mid-level reel.

Holding one of the more capacious spools on our list, the Exceler LT is a great choice if you want to tackle larger fish like bass with ultralight gear. You can pack a bit more mono--or step up to some serious braid--given that capacity. And with a maximum drag of 8 pounds, you won’t be outgunned by big fish.

As you’d expect, you’ll find the drag knob on the front of the spool, and it delivers enviably smooth pressure, even with 4-pound line. But be aware that it can only offer you 4 pounds of drag, and as a result, you’ll need all the line capacity you can get!

Casting is excellent, as you’d expect.


  • Super-smooth operation
  • Excellent drag system, very high quality
  • Great casting
  • Great line capacity
  • Very quiet


  • Low maximum drag
  • Drag isn’t sealed or watertight

Okuma Ceymar C

okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel Size 10 - 5Lb Max Drag PressureAmazon 

Line capacity: 4 lb./ yds.

Bearings: 7 + 1 roller bearing

Gear ratio:

Max. drag: lbs.

Okuma’s C is a tiny reel that’s big on performance. Priced for any budget, it demonstrates that paying more doesn’t necessarily buy you a better reel.

The C is silky smooth, and indeed, this Okuma reel is winning converts from more well-known brands because its build quality is awesome, translating into excellent overall performance.

Designed with a front drag system, the C shows its stuff here, too. Smooth even with 2-pound line and the gentlest drag setting, you won’t be disappointed.

On ultralight rods, the Okuma casts well, and it easily accommodates yards of 4-pound mono. Like other budget-minded reels we review, you may notice a slight difference between its performance and that of pricier alternatives, but we think it’ll leave you scratching your head about why you’d pay more for that slender margin.


  • Affordably priced
  • Smooth operation
  • Excellent drag system
  • Great casting


  • Very small spool
  • Drag isn’t sealed or watertight

Line capacity: 4 lb./ yds.

Bearings: 6 + 1 roller bearing

Gear ratio:

Max. drag: 6 lbs.

Available at Bass Pro

Pflueger’s President continues the trend you’ve seen in our reviews toward high-quality, reasonably priced ultralight reels. It’s a trusted name in the business, and one crank will tell you why this brand has won so many fans.

Like pretty much every other reel we review, this Pfluger outperforms its price-point, easily competing with higher-end alternatives. Its operation is silky smooth, and you won’t be disappointed by how well it fishes--guaranteed!

The front-mounted drag is smooth and reliable even with light line, and like all of the reels we recommend, it casts exceptionally well. Like the Okuma, this reel has been designed with a tiny spool, holding just yards of 4-pound mono. That’s not a problem for us, but if you’re worried, there are larger capacity ultralights on our list.

That said, Pflueger reels are popular for a reason, and many anglers swear by them. Give one a try, and you might be hooked!

For more info check out our detailed review: Pflueger President Spinning Reel Review


  • Affordably priced
  • Smooth operation
  • Excellent drag system
  • Great casting


  • Very small spool
  • Drag isn’t sealed or watertight

Shimano Sahara SHFI

Line capacity: 4 lb./ yds.

Bearings: 4 + 1 roller bearing

Gear ratio:

Max. drag: 7 lbs.

Shimano’s reels are a must-have addition to this list, as their reputation for bomb-proof durability and flawless performance is legendary. One change from the Shimanos of old, however, is the absence of an anti-reverse lever, a testament to rising production costs and a nod in the direction of better water resistance.

Whether this is a deal-breaker is a personal decision; I don’t mind not having the anti-reverse feature, but I know plenty of anglers who won’t fish a reel without one.

That caveat out of the way, I’ve fished this reel extensively, and it’s among my favorite ultralights. Silky smooth despite giving up a few bearings to the competition, a few cranks can tell you why Shimano is a household name in the fishing industry.

The Sahara features an average-sized spool in this class of reel, and in my experience, provides plenty of line capacity, even for bass. I’ve landed several big ones with this reel, and I can guarantee you that the drag is up to the test. Fully tightened, it provides 7 pounds of resistance--more than enough for anything you’ll tackle with an ultralight.

That drag is also very smooth with lighter line, making this a great choice for the little guys, too.

Casting is outstanding with this reel.


  • Smooth operation
  • Excellent drag system
  • Outstanding casting


  • No anti-reverse lever
  • Drag isn’t sealed or watertight

Shimano Stradik FK STHGFK

Line capacity: 2 lb./ yds.

Bearings: 7

Gear ratio:

Max. drag: 7 lbs.

It’s fair to say that in many respects, Shimano sets the standard of excellence. Especially in their higher-end reels, like the Stradik FK series, you can really see this company’s commitment to quality.

As is the case on many Shimano spinning reels, the newer models have dropped an anti-reverse lever. This reduces costs and improves the water resistance of the body. Some anglers see this feature as a must-have; others shrug and keep fishing. If you count yourself among the former camp, this is probably not the reel for you.

That said, this high-end Shimano is a fishing machine. Designed to run even the lightest of lines, its spool will accommodate plenty of 6-pound mono. Indeed, in terms of braid, Shimano boasts a line capacity of 95 yards with pound PowerPro, 85 yards with pound PowerPro, and 65 yards with pound PowerPro. When matched by a 7-pound maximum drag, I’d be confident chasing bass or pretty much anything else an ultralight rod can handle.

Speaking of that drag, it’s butter-smooth with 2 or 4-pound line. I’ve fished a lot of reels, and I’d say this is among the best in terms of smooth operation. General build quality is superior, and you can count this reel among the best of the best in that respect.

Obviously, it casts very well, too.


  • Ultra-smooth operation
  • Awesome drag system
  • Great casting


  • No anti-reverse lever
  • Drag isn’t sealed or watertight
  • Expensive

Our Pick - the Cadence CS-8 !

You might be surprised by our pick--it came as something of a shock to us, too! But ultimately, the Cadence impressed us with its high-end performance, great line capacity, and excellent drag. And while any of the models that made our reviews will impress you, we think this is the best of the bunch.

Indeed, as impressive as the Shimano Stradik FK is--and it is impressive--for many anglers, the lack of an anti-reverse lever is a deal-breaker. That figured into our analysis, ultimately pushing the expensive Shimano from the top spot. But if that doesn’t bother you, it’s an awesome choice.

In the end, we chose the Cadence CS-8 because it delivers the highest performance at a price that’s still reasonable. In fact, it offers the smoothness, casting, and drag quality you’d expect from a $ reel, setting the bar very, very high for affordable excellence. It holds a huge amount of light mono or slender braid, packs a powerful drag, and can tackle pretty much any fishing adventure your rod can handle.

That’s a tough combo to beat, and we think you can see why it made our top spot.

Spinning versus baitcasting for ultralight

This may sound controversial at first, but hear us out. We strongly recommend spinning reels for any ultralight fishing, and so do major fishing companies like Berkley.

For many fishing applications, it’s fair to say that baitcasting reels are superior to their alternatives. If you’re trolling for marlin, for instance, a large, powerful baitcasting reel with incredible drag settings is just the thing you need. Moreover, when you step up in line diameter and strength, spinning reels start to experience trouble with memory and knotting.

Robust, incredibly smooth, and equipped with enviable drag systems - why wouldn’t we be reviewing ultralight baitcasting reels?

The answer is pretty simple: when you’re fishing ultralight tackle, baitcasting reels will often let you down. Whether that’s 1/32 ounce jigs, tiny beetle spins, or itsy-bitsy rooster tails, you want to avoid these otherwise spinning reels.

To understand why, think for a moment about how these two reels systems work to unspool line.

On a spinning reel, you cast with the bail open, and the line unwinds outward from the reel with very little friction. The spool isn’t moving; only the line does as it slips around the end of the spool.

By contrast, on a baitcasting reel, the line unwinds by spinning the spool itself--basically the reverse of retrieving. As it leaves the reel, it must turn the spool, and this creates friction as you cast, no matter how excellent the construction and components of the reel are.

Now, if you’re chunking a Texas rig, a large spinning lure, or a ½-ounce crankbait, you’re not going to notice that tiny bit of resistance. And as you step up in line diameter, spinning reels will start to fall behind baitcasters as the heavy line drags across the spool. In fact, for larger, heavier applications, the baitcasting reel will definitely outperform the spinning reel in terms of smooth casting and distance. But with ultralight lures, that almost unmeasurable resistance will tell--and you’ll find that you can’t cast nearly as well.

Ultralight reels tend to be spinners for a reason, and most dedicated ultralight anglers choose spinning reels.

Line capacity and weight

What makes an ultralight reel “ultralight” isn’t just its size and weight, though that matters for balance. Instead, it’s primarily the size of the spool and the line it’s designed to cast.

The designations on a reel typically list the midpoint line weight it’s intended for. When you see a reel with a listed capacity of “4 LB/ YDS,” keep in mind that it’s designed to handle 2 and 6-pound test as well. These numbers usually refer to monofilament. It’s worth noting that more, or heavier, braided line can be spooled on these reels, if you wish, and more and more manufacturers are providing braid capacity in addition to the standard mono numbers.

We like to look for reels that can accommodate monofilament line weights of 2 to 8 pounds. They’ll hold more than enough line for long casts and all-day fishing. And if you need even greater distance or strength, you can always use braided line.

Smooth operation

When I shop for a reel, I like to spin it up, and then assess its balance on the rod and how smoothly it functions.

Smoother reels are a real blessing over the course of a day’s fishing, and this is one of the places where more money tends to make a difference.

Quality drag

Spinning reels offer one of two drag systems. They’re either mounted at the tail, behind the reel, or on the front of the spool. If you look at really high-end reels--especially those designed for saltwater--you’ll find that waterproof drag systems that are carefully sealed are available, too.

Generally, low-quality drag systems will be jerky or too tight on light line like 2-pound mono. We look for reels that run like butter, no matter how light they’re set.

  • Rear drag systems are easy to access, but are more mechanically complicated and less effective because they don’t directly touch the spool.
  • Front drag systems are slightly harder to access while fishing, but they feature tougher and more reliable, powerful, and smooth mechanisms. They use mechanical “brakes” applied directly to the spool, and these are the drag systems we look for in a quality reel.
  • Sealed drag - When you can afford them, waterproofed, sealed drag systems provide longer service lives as they protect the innards from corrosion. But they are a good bit more expensive, and it’s up to you whether they’re worth the cost for freshwater.

All the reels we review feature front-mounted drag systems.

Gear ratio

A final thing to note when selecting a reel is its gear ratio (for instance, ). These numbers describe how many turns of the spool one full rotation of the handle produces: in this case, five full spool revolutions per crank.

is mid-pack; any lower is slow, and any higher is considered fast.

This number matters for two reasons:

  • Lure action - The faster you retrieve a spinning lure, the more speed and activity you demand from the fish, and the less time you give it to decide to strike. That can be a good thing in clear, warm water on bright days. But keep in mind that some lures are best fished quickly, while others perform best when retrieved slowly. You need to consider how you fish and what you throw when selecting a lure.
  • Retrieval speed - The higher the gear ratio, the faster the retrieve. When you’re jigging deep or casting at a distance and need to cover a lot of water quickly, a high gear ratio can help. But too much speed can be counterproductive, and you need to get the retrieve right for the lure and for the bluegill, crappie, or trout you’re after!

Generally, we look for as a good place to start for a general purpose reel, and all the options that made our shortlist cluster around that number.

Final Thoughts

To differentiate themselves from their competitors, you’ll see things like bearing count and housing material advertised. Whether that’s composite or graphite housings or bragging rights to the most bearings, in our experience, these don’t necessarily translate into quality or performance for ultralight reels.

That’s because these little guys don’t take much of a beating from panfish and trout. Larger, heavier reels take a lot more abuse from the big fish they’re designed for. There, the housing material really can matter.


Best Ultralight Spinning Reels Reviewed

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In the last decade or so ultra-light has really become a ‘thing’ in fishing. Catching the biggest fish with the lightest of kit is a global fishing phenomenon.

I’ll go out on a limb here and suggest the biggest driver of this has been the explosion of lure fishing popularity over the last 20 years. 

If we refine this notion, it comes back to technology. Developments in plastics allowed manufacturers to expand lure potential. 

The industry took to it, and now every tackle shop is stocked with an astonishing array of lures, completely unimagined back in the last millennium.

New materials, manufacturing processes, and the propensity for things to get smaller, yet maintain or even gain strength, has allowed for the perfect marriage lightweight rod, reel, and lure.

Anglers are now casting light outfits, rapid-fire over long sessions. The lightweight kit has reduced fatigue, and increased casting distance and accuracy, facilitating the growth of this ‘athletic’ approach to fishing.

We’re all treating it as a sport now. So the fishing industry is supplying highly refined, lightweight gear to satisfy our lust for fishing challenges, from tiny fish to monsters.

This article is going to cover the best ultralight spinning reels on the market.

Let’s take a look at 5 of the best ultra-lightweight spin reel options. There’s something available for every demand and budget. 

5 Best Ultralight Spinning Reels

Here are our top recommendations:

Last update on / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How Light are Ultra-Light Spinning Reels?

We’re looking at the smallest, lightest reels available. To make things a little easier, I’m going to go with the / spin reel size only, just to make sure I’m comparing apples with apples.

Before I get into it…a disclaimer. Much of the ultra-light hype is simply marketing speak. 

It certainly excites the fishing tech nerds, who will frequently fawn over a 10th of an ounce reduction in a new reel model.

For me, however, these minuscule differences in weight mean nothing. If it’s 5 and a half ounces or 6 ounces, it’s ridiculously light either way.

Over a session of frantic casting, I’m afraid these man-hands can’t tell a half-ounce difference.

In my opinion, one of the most important aspects of ultra-light reels is ergonomics. 

They’re pretty small for larger hands. You’ll notice poor ergonomics well before you can feel the difference of a fraction of an ounce.

The five reels below are as light as you could ever want. I have also restricted ultra-light to under 7 ounces. You can also read about the best spinning reel size for bass here.

Yes, that’s a little bit of an arbitrary figure, there’s certainly no industry standard. But the article is about ultra-light, and I had to stick a ceiling somewhere.

The only problem with this figure is that the budget-conscious may end up with a pain in the pocket. 

Once you get under 7 ounces, the price tends to escalate considerably.

Top 5 Best Lightweight Spinning Reels

Here are the top lightweight micro spinning reels on the market today

1. Shimano Stella FJ &#; Best of the best Light Reel

I’m a victim of my own rules here. If I had a choice, I’d go for the The delivers more spool capacity and 6-kilo extra drag. 

However, I’m sticking to the size and below and under 7 ounces. The comes in a touch over 7 ounces.

Nonetheless, the is as classy as the ridiculous price tag suggests. It’s replete with all of Shimano’s flagship technology, as you would expect from their flagship spin reel.

The highlight is the incredibly smooth feel and the rigid support drag. At only ounces, it’s truly ultra-light and a sports anglers dream.

The ratio might be a little slow for some, again, the is faster, offering more flexibility. However, the likelihood of requiring a flat-out crank with this reel is unlikely.

There is only 6 and a half pounds of drag, but it’s silky smooth, predictable, and reliable. 

It’s a Stella, so if you do bite off more than you can chew, you are backed up by superb engineering through-out. 

Spooled up with 65 yards of pound braid, you’ve enough time to work a sizable fish should it strike your lure.


  • Refined engineering
  • Phenomenal feel, casting, and cranking
  • Well-sealed; for the rigors of saltwater fishing


  • Requires a second mortgage. The badge price point is prohibitive for many
  • Slow gearing


  • Ratio:
  • Drag: lb
  • Braid Capacity: 10lb/95 yds, 15lb/85 yds, 20lb/65 yds
  • Weight: oz
  • 12+1 S ARB Bearing system
  • Hagane Gear
  • Micro Module Gear II
  • X-Ship
  • Hagane Body
  • X-Protect
  • Silent Drive
  • G Free Body
  • AR-C Spool
  • E.I. Surface Treatment
  • Rigid Support Drag
  • One-Piece Bail
  • Extra-High Crank Power Rating
  • Front Drag
  • Extra-High Cast Rating

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

2. Shimano Stradic CI4 &#; Mid-Priced Master & the Lightest

The Stradic gets a look-in in just about every spin reel comparison I do. It’s tried and tested, superb quality and engineering, and the size has taken ‘lightweight’ to an extreme.

The Stradic offers the class of the Stella at less than half the price. There’s half the bearing count of its stablemate, yet it’s still incredibly smooth to cast crank and battle.

If you’re reasonably new to finesse reels, but looking for serious performance at an accessible price point, start here

Not only will you not go wrong, but the feel of the Stradic is guaranteed to enhance the finesse experience and develop skills.

You’ll also get a great working life from your Stradic if you’re reasonably kind to it.

I’d be taking the It has an amazing capacity with 9kg of drag. This would offer a tremendous level of inshore versatility. 

What’s more, the falls into the under 7-ounce category. Astonishing.

However, I must be true to my parameters and stay within my size restrictions. The Stradic will appeal to pros and the average angler. 

The Stradic is an investment, without the serious outlay required to go Stella.

I like the Stradic as an everyday, go-to finesse reel. The accessible price point for such refined quality makes it so.


  • As light as they come
  • Accessible pricing considering its pedigree
  • 6 bearings feel like 10


  • Still an expensive reel by most measures
  • Spool capacity a little light on…but by no means a deal-breaker


  • Ratio:
  • Braid Capacity: 10lb/95, 15lb/85
  • Drag: lb
  • Weight: oz
  • Bearings: 6+1
  • Hagane Gearing
  • X-ship
  • Coreprotect
  • Magnumlite rotor
  • G Free Body
  • AR-C Spool
  • One-Piece Bail
  • Aero Wrap 2

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

3. Abu Revo MGXtreme &#; Author’s Choice

I can rave for days about the virtues of the Stella and the Stradic. However, given the choice, I’ll take the REVO without a doubt.

Again, I’d choose the over the , and it’s still within my stringent weight parameters. However, the it must be, and I’d happily take it.

There’s slightly less drag than the Stradic and Stella, but as this choice is sports-driven, it’s not an issue. What it lacks in drag is recovered a little in spool capacity.

For me, it’s the aesthetics and ergonomics that sell it for me. I love the cork grip and carbon handle. 

There’s a feel and look to the REVO that says attack on the front foot. It adds some toughness to finesse which is a quirky contrast I enjoy in this reel.

It’s manufactured for constant deployment in the salt. Again, a feature that appeals to me more than weight reductions. 

But at a diminutive ounces, it will no doubt appeal to the weight-conscious anglers.

The REVO manages to keep the weight down yet deliver 12 bearings for an incredibly smooth crank. 

As you are no doubt aware, the more bearings the bigger the price tag. But the REVO delivers all the bearings of the Stella for half the price.

Yes, the REVO is expensive. Many will even suggest it sits in an aspirational price category. I’d agree. 

However, this is refined engineering and precision you can feel, and from which your finesse exploits will benefit.

It has the durability to last you countless sessions so long as you don’t go chasing tiger sharks in heavy structure, and you look after it. Corrosion protection is excellent.

If I were short of cash to foot the price, this is a reel I would save for. What’s more, if saving is your only option, you’ll be fishing with the REVO long before you get the Stella.

My choice in a very high-class selection of lightweight finesse spin reels. 


  • Excellent ergonomics
  • Handle and grip encourage both finesse and aggression
  • Brilliant styling
  • Super light construction


  • Still very pricey. Aspirational for many anglers
  • Would prefer a little more beef in the drag department


  • Ratio:
  • Braid Capacity: 8lb /yds
  • Retrieve: 80cm
  • Drag: kg
  • Weight: oz
  • Extremely Lightweight
  • Newest model (Replaces the old Revo MGX Spinning reel)
  • Gearing: AAM Gearing
  • Gear Ratio:
  • Carbon Matrix Drag
  • Ball bearings: 11+1 Salt Shield
  • Single piece X-mag Alloy gearbox
  • C6 Carbon Body
  • Rocket line management system
  • Cork reel grip
  • Bent carbon Handle
  • Hook/sinker holder
  • Instant Anti-Reverse

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

4. Kastking Sharky &#; Most Affordable Lightweight Reel

KASTKING is certainly out to prove that you needn’t burn a hole in your wallet to fish finesse. This Sharky is indeed very rare at under 7 ounces and way within budget.

But it’s a heck of a lot more than an entry-level price point ultra-light reel. The specs are mind-blowing for its class.

There are 11 stainless bearings and a whopping 33 pounds of drag. It’s pretty slow at , but it has a spool capacity of yards of 20 pound. 

It also looks fantastic in black and red with classy, stylized porting on the spool.

There’s water resistance provided by K.I.S.S (KastKing Intrusion Shield System), that uses an O-ring to seal the drag while sporting a water-resistant frame.

Now. Here’s the rub with this reel. I’ve not used it. Usually, I’d not include a reel I’ve never cast in anger. 

However, the specs on this, plus its price point require that I bring it to your attention and include it in this list.

To be honest, at this affordable budget price, it’s % on my list of must-haves. 

I need to see for myself how on earth a reel can contain so many inclusions, and such a low weight, without breaking the bank.

Of course, this is part of KastKing’s mission. Affordable pricing is in their DNA. But in my experience with other KastKing products, value for money is assured, even if the reel has a limited lifespan.

Again, I have stated that I have not used a KastKing reel for any length of time, nor have I opened one up for inspection. One has to assume there has been a compromise somewhere to be able to deliver such an affordable reel.

In reality, it out specs reels of the same class in the $ and above price ranges. 

Admittedly, it’s a complete graphite body and rotor, which certainly helps keep the price way down. It also differentiates it from the flagship models of the leading brands.

I’m feeling a little bit fraudulent in adding a reel that I have not used. However, in my defense, one could hardly leave this little number of the list. 

With these inclusions, at this rock-bottom price, as well as meeting my ultra-light criteria…I had to add it.

The reviews across the board are all positive. I will also have to get one for myself. If it doesn’t live up to my expectations, no harm done, 

I haven’t invested serious cash. My suspicion is, however, that I think I’m going to be impressed, particularly at this highly affordable price point.


  • Astonishing levels of inclusions for such a tiny price
  • Great for salt and fresh stuff
  • Ideal for the finesse noob
  • Impressive aesthetics and specs
  • Drag capacity and spool capacities are phenomenal in this class


  • Longevity? Limited 1-year warranty suggests issues with staying power
  • Yet to use one in anger
  • A little suspicious of the quality owing to inclusions and astonishingly low price


  • Weight:
  • Max Drag: 33lb
  • Gear Ratio:
  • Ball Bearing: 10 + 1 
  • Retrieve: 67
  • Braid: 15/,20/,25/
  • Oversized stainless-steel main shaft
  • KastKing Intrusion Shield System
  • Precision mesh manganese brass pinion gears
  • Shark Fin Braid Ready aluminum spool
  • Saltwater rated double-shielded stainless steel ball bearings
  • Instant lock anti-reverse
  • Graphite body and rotor
  • Aluminum handle
  • Triple disc carbon fiber drag

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

5. Lew’s Mach 2. &#; Best Entry Level Ultralight Reel

I put the Lew’s in a similar category to the KastKing. The full alloy body and spool make it a little more robust than the KastKing, yet the weight is identical. There are 9 + 1 bearings that deliver a pretty smooth crank.

8 pounds of max drag is pretty standard for its class, as is a spool capacity of yards of 6-pound. 

The gear ratio is pretty slow, but that shouldn’t be an issue in this class, as 30 inches per crank is going to be fine.

Styling is targeted at a younger crowd looking for ‘statement’ sports styling. Having said that, rarely do I see seniors turned off by ‘look at me’ reel aesthetics.

Porting is stylized and aggressive. With the spool and rotor getting the treatment, this has been an avenue for weight reduction.

The skeletal C40 carbon rotor certainly looks the part while delivering a pretty balanced crank. 

It’s supported nicely by the S-curve oscillation system. It’s not silent, but it’s certainly not loud or intrusive.

I like the handle and general ergonomics. My clumsy big hands seemed to manage trouble-free. That’s interesting, as this is one heck of a small spin reel.

A stainless main, and brass pinion gear highlight the internals. It’s a solid feeling crank yet I haven’t tested it under serious load. I assume that the alloy body will play a role in keeping internals locked in place. The rigidity metal body will always trump a graphite body in this class of reel.

The drag system is smooth enough, and with a little time and experimentation, I think you could learn to refine settings to get a better feel.

The anti-reverse is as stated on the box. It’s rock solid and really impressive for this class of reel. 

I know many anglers who test the anti-reverse the moment they pick up a reel from the display cabinet.

It doesn’t seem like much, but there’s something about a solid anti-reverse that broadcasts the general high quality of a reel. 

I can’t attest to durability. I have had many reels where the first malfunction has been the anti-reverse.

I would still get the KastKing over the Lew’s. It’s simply for curiosity, however. I feel the Lew’s will almost certainly be more robust (a very critical feature for me) than the KastKing. 

However, the thought of 30 pounds of drag on a size, ounce reel, is nigh on impossible to pass up without rigorous testing in the field.

The Lew’s is a worthy option in this class of reel. As you can see by the first 3 contenders and have no doubt seen elsewhere, ultra-light spinning reels of quality and high performance are pretty darn pricey.

At this fair price point, the Lew’s will offer the average angler plenty of sport, with a reel that is smooth, predictable, and reliable.


  • Aluminum body and spool
  • Ergonomics
  • Solid internals


  • Drag capacity and speed are a little on the low side


  • Bearings: 9+1
  • Weight:
  • Spool Capacity: /6 
  • Ratio:
  • Drag: 8 lbs.
  • Retrieve: 30&#;
  • Aluminum body and sideplate
  • C40 carbon skeletal speed rotor
  • S-curve oscillation system
  • Solid brass pinion gear
  • Stainless steel main shaft
  • Braid ready double anodized knurled aluminum spool
  • DuraMax drag system
  • Aluminum handle
  • Winn advanced polymer Dri-Tac handle knob
  • Speed Lube

>>Check Price on Amazon<<


While I don’t do a lot of it, fishing with ultra-light kit reignites an addiction every time I hit the water with tiny fishing reels. There’s a fantastic challenge that always surprises me every time I hook-up.

I always love the spirit of traveling light, with a rod I can break down and carry on my back and a reel that fits in my pocket.

Of course, the Stella is a superb piece of equipment all anglers would own, given the budget. It’s the best reel in this group.

Having said that, there’s not a great deal of difference between it and the legend Stradic. Given that it’s bucket-loads cheaper than the Stella, one can understand its long history of popularity.

It’s the ABU that floats my boat in this case. 

Where an unlimited budget sees me walk off with the Stella, the ABU suits my financial limitations and offers everything I need in terms of feel, ergonomics, smoothness, and durability.

Nonetheless, my next purchase is going to be the KastKing. I just can’t get over the inclusions, ultra-lightweight construction, and drag capacity in a reel of this class.

At this amazing budget price, it excites me. This is definitely one of the best ultralight spinning reels for the money.

If I were being serious about an entry-level option, the alloy body and spool on the Lew’s would be hard to pass up. I’m tough on gear, and I also prefer the rigidity of a full metal body.

There are half a dozen reels that have been left off this list that are more than worthy of representations. That’s why the article was titled 5 of the best ultra-light spinning reels.

Remember. Reels are a personal choice. Your experience and demands will differ from mine. Having said that, I’m near certain there&#;s a reel on the list above that is bound to impress.

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The Best Ultralight Spinning Reel of (Buyer&#;s Guide)

I had a horrible dream the other night. Actually, it was every fisherman’s nightmare. 

I was on the lake. My buddy was landing bass left and right. But I couldn’t lift my fishing reel.

Before we get into that, Here’s a quick look on our top three ultralight spinning reels…

It felt like a thousand pounds. I wanted to cast my fishing gear so bad. Instead, I watched him catch fish and laugh at me. But that won’t happen in real life.

There’s not one documented case! 

There are, however, ultralight spinning reels built for all-day use. Combined with the best ultralight rods they’re easy on the arms and wrists —ideal for whipping lightweight lures for hours. 

The hard part is picking one out. Obviously you want to find the best ultralight spinning reel. So how do you know which one to choose? 

No worries. I’m about to show you 7 ultralight spinners that make the grade. 

So without delay here’s my top picks for lightweight reels —

The Top Three

Here are our top three choices from the lineup, each one in its own category.

This is so you can have a variety to choose from depending on your needs.

Best All-Rounder

Shimano Stradic CI4+ Spinning Reel

Shimano Stradic CI4+ Spinning Reel

It’s a very well-balanced fishing reel. It’s even been known to reel in some big gamefish. The Shimano Stradic Ci4 comes in 4 models —the lightest reel is ounces. It’s one of the most lightweight spinning reels on the market.

Shimano Stradic CI4+ Spinning Reel

If you’re seeking a dependable ultralight reel —look no further than the Shimano Stradic CI4+. This little baby checks all the boxes.

The Shimano Stradic CI4+ is infused with X-Ship technology. Its double-bearing pinion gear ensures a butter-smooth retrieve —especially when cranking heavy loads.

It’s Magnumite rotor is lighter than before. Anglers say reeling feels effortless. 

It has a water-resistant drag with multiple settings. That means you can trust it with all sizes of fish.

The CI4+ has 7 stainless steel bearings. They’re well-protected by carbon housing –built to last. 

The Shimano Stradic CI4+ comes in 4 models —the lightest is ounces. It’s one of the lightest and best ultralight spinning reels on the market.

KastKing Sharky III Spinning Reel

You want an ultralight fishing reel that’s affordable. But you’re scared of buying a piece of crap. I totally get it.

Meet the KastKing Sharky III. It can handle all types of fish and performs like a high-end lightweight reel. And yes, it’s price-friendly.

The Sharky III packs 10 double-shielded stainless steel ball bearings. That means you get a smooth, high-performance cast and retrieve. 

It also has an intrusion shield system to protect against the elements. Its triple-disc carbon fiber drag and brass pinion gears make it a quality reel for the price.

KastKing did a nice job of marrying quality with affordability. If you’re on a tight budget —this is the best ultralight spinning reel. 

Editor’s Choice

Okuma RTX Spinning Reel

Okuma RTX Spinning Reel

Lightweight with Durable Construction. As mentioned, the lightest model weighs ounces and still has a solid build. It’s frame, rotor and side panel are forged from C40X carbon.

Okuma RTX Spinning Reel

This is my favorite ultralight spinning reel. It weighs ounces and boasts a solid build. 

It’s frame, rotor and side panel are forged from C40X carbon. So you get a reel that’s lightweight with durable construction. 

I used this little red devil at the Ohoopee River. Its 8 ball bearing count and elliptical gearing system delivered a fluid cast and steady retrieve.

I reeled in some warmouth and a couple big bass. Its multi-disc drag worked just as it should —I was impressed.

The anti-reverse feature worked dandy as well. Anglers agree that it offers a nice hook set. 

Overall it’s a well-built reel for the money. I put my personal stamp of approval on it.

Our Top Picks

We’ve lined out our top picks for ultra light reels and pitted them against each other.

Each one’s a quality reel in its own right and they all have their different strengths…

Shimano Sedona FI

Shimano Sedona FI

It has a rigid “Hagane Body” that prevents distortion and flex while reeling. It also protects the interior of the reel from impact damage.

Shimano Sedona FI

Power and Smooth Reeling

The Sedona FI is known for its Hagane Gear Technology. This is why I selected it as it has potential to be the best ultralight reel.

The Sedona FI is known for its Hagane Gear Technology&#;

It has super-refined gear teeth. They allow its micro-module ultralight gear system to operate flawlessly—especially under heavy loads. 

I’m rolling with the lightest saltwater fishing reels of the Shimano Sedona FI series. These are the , and models.

Each small reel is under 9 ounces. The others are too heavy for the list.

The reel size model has a gear ratio. The and models have a high ratio with reduced noise – They reel smoother.


It’s worth noting –the model boasts a 20 pound drag. That’s a heavy frag for an ultralight spinning reel. 

Solid, Innovative Build

The reel makers use a cold forging process. That means the metal flows of this ultralight spinning reel are fluid.

It has a rigid “Hagane Body” that prevents distortion and flex while reeling. It also protects the interior of the reel from impact damage.

The Sedona FI has a “G Free” body, as well. Translation? It brings the center of gravity closer to the rod for maximum comfort and the angled spool lip reduces friction for better casting. The propulsion line management system also works towards this end.

It’s also fitted with a waterproof structure that’s self-energizing. So it has the power to make long casts in repetition.

If you want, you can check out our Shimano Sedona Full Review for more detailed information about this ultralight reel.


  • Mono Line Capacity –/6 – /20
  • Braid Line Capacity –85/15 – /20
  • Max Drag –7 – 20 pounds
  • Gear Ratio – –
  • Ball Bearing Count —4
  • Weight – — ounces
  • Line Retrieve Per Crank –26 inches
  • Retrieve side — Left and Right
  • Full Specs


  • Made from a cold forging process.
  • Infused with Hagane Gear Technology.
  • high gear ratio with reduced noise.
  • Made from a cold forging process.
  • Has “G Free” body for better center of gravity.
  • Waterproof structure that’s self-energizing.


  • There’s no anti-reverse switch.
  • Has a mediocre ball bearing count —with 4.
  • The model has a mediocre gear ratio.
  • Does not come with added spool.

Best All-Rounder

Shimano Stradic CI4+ Spinning Reel

Shimano Stradic CI4+ Spinning Reel

It’s a very well-balanced spinning reel. It’s even been known to reel in some big gamefish. The Shimano Stradic Ci4 comes in 4 models —the lightest is ounces. It’s one of the lightest and best ultralight spinning reels on the market.

Shimano Stradic CI4+ Spinning Reel

Packed with X-Ship Technology

This one is my choice for best all-around ultralight spinning reel. And it’s for good reasons.

As mentioned, the Ci4+ is created with X-Ship Technology. This brings a lot of quality to the table. 

Its makeup is similar to the Sedona FI. Both ultralight fishing reels boast Hagane gear technology —which speaks volumes.

The CI4+ has a double-bearing pinion gear for a fluid retrieve —even when reeling heavy lures. It’s also built with “core protect” to preserve the gear.

A Newer, Lighter Rotor 

It sports a new Magnumite rotor. This makes the reel super lightweight. Anglers say casting and reeling with the CI4+ feels effortless.

It may be light –but it’s plenty strong&#;

And no worries. It may be light –but it’s plenty strong. The Stardic’s magnumite rotor is forged for the long haul. 

Anglers say it has a smooth drag, with lots of levels of adjustment. But there is no anti-reverse –so you will have to rely on the drag. 

Top Quality Build and Plenty of Ball Bearings 

The Ci4+ boasts 7 stainless-steel bearings. They’re protected by carbon housing.

It’s a very well-balanced spinning reel. It’s even been known to reel in some big gamefish.

It’s a very well-balanced spinning reel. It’s even been known to reel in some big gamefish&#;

The Shimano Stradic Ci4 comes in 4 models —the lightest is ounces. It’s one of the lightest and best ultralight spinning reels on the market.

One complaint is that the handle on the old model felt better. Something about the shape and thickness of this one bothers some people. But that’s a bit ticky-tacky. 

Also, the price is a little on the high side. If you’re looking for a more affordable ultralight fishing reel, there are options out there. You may want to explore them.


  • Mono Line Capacity – 27/2 – /10
  • Braid Line Capacity – 95/10 /40
  • Weight – – ounces
  • Line Retrieve Per Crank –31 – 35 inches
  • Retrieve side -Right and left
  • Max Drag –7 – 24 pounds
  • Bearings –7
  • Gear ratio – –
  • Full Specs


  • Created with X-Ship Technology.
  • Has a double-bearing pinion gear for a fluid retrieve.
  • Built with “core protect” to preserve the gear.
  • Has superlight Magnumite rotor.
  • % stronger and 20% lighter.
  • Boasts 7 stainless-steel bearings.
  • A good ultralight reel for bigger gamefish.
  • One of the lightest spinning reels.
  • Effortless casting and reeling


  • Handle is uncomfortable to some anglers.
  • It’s a bit pricey –not the best for tight budgets.
  • There’s no anti-reverse.

Pflueger President Spinning Reel (SP20X – SP30X)

Impressive Ball-Bearing Count

The Pflueger President relies on 10 ball-bearings —depending on the model. The lightest model has 7. But the other three models have

The Pflueger President relies on 10 ball-bearings —depending on the model&#;

That’s a lot of bearings for a lightweight reel. So of course it has a smooth cast and retrieve.

Its gear has a ratio —which means it has a decent reeling rate. But nothing to write home about.

It works well enough for ultralight lures and heavier lures. But if reel speed is a big concern, you may want to look at other options. 

Extremely Lightweight and Strong

The smallest model weighs ounces. But that doesn’t make it dinky. 

The President packs a graphite body. It protects the stainless steel shaft and components, but some anglers prefer carbon.

The President packs a graphite body. It protects the stainless steel shaft and components&#;

Much of the parts are corrosion-resistant. That’s something to value if you want a durable spinner even if you’re only freshwater fishing.

It also has a double-anodized braid ready aluminum spool right out of the box. Plus it’s known to lay line flat to resist kinks and loops.

Multi-disc Drag with Anti-reverse

The sealed drag system works exceptionally well for a less expensive reel. It’s built to battle medium-size gamefish with ease.

Its drag is stainless steel and oil felt. Pflueger took no shortcuts. Every aspect of the President is up to par. 

But there is one concern. Over time, the drag tends to wear out. That’s only with above-average wear and tear. 

Also, keep in mind that its housing is graphite. It’s very lightweight. But some anglers say it looks cheap. They prefer carbon housing because it’s stronger.


  • Mono Line Capacity –/2 – /8
  • Braid Line Capacity –/4 – /10
  • Max Drag –6 – 14 pounds
  • Gear Ratio–
  • Ball Bearing Count –
  • Weight — – ounces
  • Line Retrieve Per Crank – inches
  • Retrieve side –Left and Right
  • Full Specs


  • Ball bearing count of up to
  • One of the most lightweight spinning reels on the market
  • Stainless steel shaft and components.
  • Corrosion-resistant build.
  • Double-anodized aluminum braid ready spool
  • Resist kinks and loops.
  • Multi-disc drag system
  • Comes with anti-reverse feature


  • Drag wears out with high use, over time.
  • Has lightweight graphite housing
  • Some anglers say it looks “cheap”

KastKing Sharky III Spinning Reel

Affordable and High Quality 

This is my choice for best ultralight reel on a budget. It’s a nice mix of economy and quality.

The best thing about the Sharky is its 10 double-shielded stainless-steel ball bearings&#;

The best thing about the Sharky is its 10 double-shielded stainless-steel corrosion resistant ball bearings. They deliver ultra-smooth performance.

Ultralight with a Heavy Drag 

The Sharky boasts a pound drag system. That’s a lot for a fishing reel, let alone an ultralight spinning reel.

The Sharky boasts a pound drag system. That’s a lot for a fishing reel, let alone an ultralight spinning reel…

It’s not really “meant” for big gamefish. But if you snag one, it has the drag to give you a fighting chance. 

The drag systems are made of triple-disc carbon fiber as well. So it’s tough and stands up to debris and water.

Components You Can Count On 

The brass pinion gear gives it a nice smooth retrieve. The gear ratio is mediocre. But its high-quality components offset that slight weakness. 

The Sharky III is built with an “intrusion shield system.” That means its bearings, gears and rotor are protected. 

It also sports an anti-lock/anti-reverse feature for killer hook-sets. And the aluminum spool is ready for braided line or monofilament line.

All-in-all, this ultralight spinner is a smart choice. Some anglers say the gears ratio and its drag system are lackluster. So it’s not perfect —but it performs well.


  • Braid Line Capacity –/2 – /40
  • Max Drag –33
  • Gear Ratio –
  • Ball Bearing Count –10
  • Weight – ounces
  • Line Retrieve Per Crank –26
  • Retrieve side –Left and Right
  • Full Specs


  • Nice splice of quality and economy
  • A beefy 33 pound drag for bigger fish
  • Brass pinion gear with smooth retrieve
  • Triple disc carbon fiber drag system
  • Intrusion shield system to protect vital components
  • Has anti-lock/anti-reverse feature to improve hook sets
  • Aluminum spool for braided line or monofilament line
  • Ultralight weighing in at ounces


  • Mediocre gear ratio
  • Some complaints about the drag wearing out after heavy use
  • Some complaints about the drag wearing out after heavy use

Okuma Ceymar C10 Spinning Reel

Petite and Tough as Nails 

Well, obviously it’s not made of nails. But the Ceymar C10 is made from high quality, light-weight components.

the Ceymar C10 is made from high quality, light-weight components&#;

It’s earned a reputation as being a reliable ultralight reel that lasts for years —even under heavy use. 

It has a heavy-duty aluminum bail wire and a machined aluminum spool. Plus it boasts a machine-cut brass pinion gear. It’s right on par with the best ultralight spinning reels on the market.

When it comes to reeling it’s especially strong. The C10 has a zinc die-cast handle. It gives you more strength and torque for bigger fish. 

The body is made of corrosion-resistant graphite&#;

It has a corrosion-resistant graphite body. It’s not quite as tough as carbon. But it holds up year after year —and protects against water and debris.

With all this brawn, you’d think it would be a bit heavy. But it’s one of the lightest spinners you’ll find. It weighs in at 6 ounces.

All Precision, No BS 

The Ceymar C10 is crafted with an even-flow roller system. It eliminates friction from the line roller and greatly reduces line twists. 

Its built-in rotor-equalizing system keeps the alignment perfect. Count on it to maintain precise balance and eliminate spool wobble. 

Anti-Reverse Feature

You also get a quick-set anti-reverse feature. This helps a ton when you set the hook on bass or while crappie fishing.

The C10 even looks like it’s built with purpose. Okuma designed it with a narrow blade body that’s sleek and aerodynamic. 

Performance to Match High-End Spinners 

Some ultralight reels boast an impressive ball bearing count of But the Ceymar C10 utilizes 7 bearings.

No worries, it has a smooth cast and retrieve. All its other features and technology balance it out.

Line Control System

For example, its line control system promotes better line-lay and makes this reel extremely rigid. This keeps things flowing —so you may not miss the 3 extra bearings.

There are, however, two common gripes about this fishing reel. Some anglers complain about its neck flexibility. It can be slightly twisted by hand —and they don’t like it. 

Also, complaints of spindle-warp have been reported. Basically the line has a tendency to wrap around the spindle. But most anglers have no troubles with it. 


  • Braid Line Capacity– N/A
  • Max Drag –5 pounds
  • Gear Ratio –
  • Ball Bearing Count –7
  • Weight –6 ounces
  • Line Retrieve Per Crank –21 inches
  • Retrieve side –Left and Right
  • Full Specs


  • Packs 10 stainless-steel ball bearings.
  • Machine-cut brass pinion gear.
  • Zinc die-cast handle for more torque
  • Has an even-flow roller system that eliminates friction
  • Built-in rotor-equalizer for perfect alignment
  • Precision elliptical gearing system
  • One of the lightest ultralight reels, at 6 ounces.
  • Quick-set anti-reverse for better hook-sets
  • A line control system for better line-lay


  • Complaints of too much neck flexibility
  • Line can wrap around the spindle if not careful

Okuma RTX Lightweight Spinning Reel

Editor’s Choice for Good Reasons

This is my favorite ultralight spinning reel. I have experience using this little baby. I recommend it to anyone in the market for a quality micro spin reel.

Lightweight with Durable Construction

As mentioned, the lightest model weighs ounces and still has a solid build. It’s frame, rotor and side panel are forged from C40X carbon. 

It has a barrel-shaped EVA handle with a gear ratio. That makes it a high-speed spinning reel.

Its precision elliptical gearing system operates with low friction&#;

Its precision elliptical gearing system operates with low friction. So you get more accuracy, impressive drag power, and smooth drag pressure.

Smooth Overall Performance 

With an 8 ball bearing count it delivers long, fluid casts. It helps you reach nooks and coves with pinpoint accuracy.

With 8 ball bearings it delivers long, fluid casts&#;

The multi-disc drag system is also a “smooth operator.” It’s infused with hydro-block technology —so it’s watertight.

I reeled in some nice-sized river warmouth and bass with the Okuma RTX. I was impressed with how well the drag handled the fight. 

Dependable Drag System

The two ultralight models —25S and 30S —offer two different max drags. If you want a meaner drag for bigger fish roll with the 30S. It offers 13 pounds. The 25S has an 8-pound drag. 

Its 2-tone aluminum spool handles braided line and monofilament line well. Anglers say it lays flat with little or no issues.

Okuma gave it a quick-set anti-reverse feature that helps you set the hook. There’s no slippage –which is huge.

In my opinion it’s the most well-balanced ultralight reel on the market&#;

In my opinion it’s the most well-balanced ultralight reel on the market. It has zero weak spots. 

The only drawback is that 2 of its models are a bit heavy. The RTX 25S and 30S are the only “ultralight” reels. The 35S and 40S are built heavier for bigger fish. 


  • Mono Line Capacity –/4 – /8
  • Braid Line Capacity –/10 – /40
  • Max Drag – pounds
  • Gear Ratio –
  • Ball Bearing Count –8
  • Weight – – ounces
  • Line Retrieve Per Crank – inches
  • Retrieve side –left and right
  • Full Specs


  • Has 8 ball bearings for long, smooth casting.
  • C40X carbon parts –frame, rotor and side panel.
  • Lightest model is ounces.
  • Barrel-shaped EVA handle for better retrieve.
  • High-speed gear ratio.
  • Precision elliptical gearing system for accuracy and balanced drag pressure.
  • Multi-disc drag systems with hydro-block technology
  • Quick-set anti-reverse for solid hook-sets


  • The reel series has just 2 ultralight reels
  • Some anglers say the spool can be difficult

Abu Garcia Revo Premier

Perfect for Deep Water and Finesse Fishing

Anglers say it’s the crappie fishing king. Why? It packs yards of braid. This line capacity allows them room to run.

It comes with a ball bearing count of That’s the highest bearing count on my list.

You get extremely smooth casting and overall performance. This makes it ideal for finesse fishing with ultralight lures —for bass or crappie.

Superior Gears and Durability

The Abu Garcia Revo Premier has an impressive gear ratio. It’s a high-speed reel in an ultralight body and a Rocket line management system. So count on a quicker retrieve.

has an impressive gear ratio. It’s a high-speed reel in an ultralight body&#;

Its gears are also machine optimized and operate with silky-smooth efficiency. If you want an ultralight reel with unique reel flow —this is your baby. 

Speaking of unique flow, the Revo Premiere has “rocket line management technology” It allows the line to flow freely with less kinks. 

It also comes packing a C6 carbon body. It’s infused with corrosion protection. That’s great to have even if you’re only freshwater fishing.

The Abu Garcia Revo Premier has a carbon handle, carbon rotor and aluminum shaft. It’s built with quality and longevity in mind.

K Clutch Anti-Reverse and Carbon Matrix Drag System 

Abu Garcia knows how important setting the hook is. They also know that having a good drag is crucial. 

built for 10 pounds of pull. It ensures smooth drag pressure on every hook-up.

Its matrix drag system’s built for 10 pounds of pull. It ensures smooth drag pressure on every hook-up.

There is one downside. Despite the quality components, some anglers say this reel is just too noisy. This happens when the reel is under a heavy load. 

Also, this ultralight spinner is a bit high-end. It’s the most expensive one on my list —but well worth the money. 


  • Mono Line Capacity –/6 /10
  • Braid Line Capacity – /6 /14
  • Max Drag – pounds
  • Gear Ratio –
  • Ball Bearing Count –12
  • Weight – ounces
  • Line Retrieve Per Crank – inches
  • Retrieve side -Right and left
  • Full Specs


  • Has 12 ball bearings –highest ball bearing count on my list.
  • Great for finesse fishing with ultralight lures.
  • High-speed reel retrieve – gear ratio.
  • Machine optimized gears.
  • Embedded with rocket line management technology for free-flowing casts.
  • C6 carbon body with corrosion protection
  • Carbon rotor and aluminum shaft
  • 10 pound matrix drag system


  • Some anglers say it’s too noisy under a heavy load.
  • Ultralight spinner is a high-end –the most expensive reel on my list.

Why Buy an Ultralight Spinning Reel?

Some fishermen laugh at the idea of using them. They don’t believe in light fishing gear.

But the truth is ultralight spinners are ideal for many situations. Every angler should have one in their arsenal. 

Here are some good reasons to buy an ultralight reel —

Ultralight Reels Cast Light-Weight Lures Further 

Ever try to cast a lightweight lure with a regular reel? It feels like a losing battle. Especially when the wind is against you.

Lightweight spinners let fishing line flow off the spool with less drag restriction&#;

Lightweight spinners let fishing line flow off the spool with less drag restriction. That means you get more distance with small jigs, flies, and roadrunners.

This helps a ton when you’re fishing for bass, crappie or brim. They tend to spook easy. The further you keep the boat from them, the better. 


As a side note —spinning reels help control and protect fine monofilament fishing line. This is helpful if you’re into fly fishing. 

More Accuracy, Less Limb Brim

Ultralight spinners let you cast small lures with more accuracy. You can cast into nooks, bends and inlets where small fish roost.

Ultralight spinners let you cast small lures with more accuracy&#;

This comes in handy during spring and summer. Hatchling bugs, baitfish and frogs are popping up like wildfire this time of year. 

An ultralight reel lets you “match the hatch.” You can target shallow spots with tiny topwater lures and catch a mess of bass or panfish.

Drop shot fishing is a good way into small fish nooks and crevasses as well. Ultralight reels give you pinpoint accuracy to target hotspots.

Skip casting is another way to ease your lure into sweet zones. It helps you land bass under docks or fallen trees.

Fisherman near Campfire

Easy to Carry, Great for All-Day Fishing Trips 

Ultralight reels weigh 8 ounces or less. Some weigh less than 6 ounces. That makes them convenient and light on the arms and wrists.

They’re made for light rods. So no worries —you won’t have to use a mammoth 9 footer to cast your lures. 

Some of the best ultralight spinning combos even weight as little as 16 ounces.


If you’re going camping, they’re perfect. It saves you from lugging around heavy gear all day. 

Be Done with Backlash

Spinning reels reduce hang-ups and backlash. They let line flow freely from the spool. 

However, a kink or uneven spool can cause backlash. Loose spooling is often the underlying culprit. So make sure your spool is even with no kinks or loops. 

If you&#;re having trouble spooling your reel, you can follow our easy step-by-step guide here.

The Power to Avoid the “Pendulum Effect”

Baitcasting reels cause your lure to drift towards you as it sinks. It’s because the spool has resistance. A spinning reel has no resistance and doesn’t do that.

A spinning reel has no resistance..

Its smooth spool keeps the rotation even. Your lure drops straight down from where it lands. 

This is a difference-maker in deep water. It also helps when you’re fishing vertical cover like fallen trees and bluffs.

A Better Drag Location

A huge upside to using a spinning reel is its drag location. Many spinning reels have it further from the handle. That means you can quickly adjust it during the fight.

A huge upside to using a spinning reel is its drag location&#;

A baitcasting reel is more difficult to tweak. The drag tends to be close to the handle —which makes it hard to adjust in mid-fight.

When you’re wrestling a nice-size bass, this perk is a big deal. It can be the difference between landing or losing a fish. 

Now you know the advantages of using a lightweight spinning reel. But how do you pick out a good one? Great question.

Person fishing on a sunny day holding a red and black fishing rod

How Do I Choose The Best Ultralight Spinning Reel?

I’ve made a list of the best ultra light reels. But what’s the criteria to pick the right spinning reel?

Here are some things to consider —

What Size Fish Are You Targeting?

You have to be realistic. If you’re wielding an ultralight spinner of a certain reel size, then trophy fish are not on the menu.

An ultralight spinning reel is ideal for bass, trout and crappie…

An ultra light spinning reel is ideal for bass, trout and crappie. Some of the reels we picked can even be considered some of the best trout spinning reels around. But catching fish above 6 or 7 pounds will push the limits of your spinner.

You can use braided line to help snag bigger fish. It’s thick and strong. But it’s also more expensive and fills up the spool quicker. 

Monofilament line is a bit weaker. But it has more “stretch” to it. It’s also less expensive —plus you can fit more on the spool. 


Keep in mind that most ultralight reels have a limited drag. So if you hook a biggin’, be prepared for it to run. 

Okay, let’s get to the nuts and bolts of ultralight spinning reels. This is the criteria I use to find the best spinning reel — 

The Best Gear Ratio

Your gears’ ratio boils down to one thing —retrieving speed. Simple as that.

It’s how much line is reeled per rotation of the crank. You want a reel with at least a gear ratio.

A reel with a ratio is considered high-speed. Make sure you know the numbers before you decide. 

Retrieve Speed

So do you need a low, medium or high speed retrieve? Good question. 

It depends on the type of fishing. Consider the lure and the action/speed it needs.

To be safe, a gear ratio works for most lightweight lures. It’s medium speed. 


If you’re going ultralight I suggest upping it to a or ratio. It gives you more play for finesse lures. 

Now, let’s talk about the drag system. It’s a crucial part of any spinning reel.

Fisherman Reeling in a Fish

The Best Drag System for an Ultralight Spinning Reel 

The drag releases line during the fight so it won’t break. That’s a pretty big deal.

You want one that’s waterproof. This keeps it from slipping and preserves its function. 

Multi-disc drag systems perform well. Keep an eye out for micro reels that have them. 


Read reviews and make sure the drag is smooth. It’s crucial —herky-jerky drags lose fish.

Set and test your drag before you fish. Make sure it pulls out smoothly as needed.

Drag System

An ultralight spinning reel comes with a front or rear drag system. Each is a bit different.


Front-drag systems have washers. That means better durability and performance.


Rear-drag models also work well. They’re easier to access —especially with a fish on the line.

Rear drag models are convenient. But they don’t work as well for bigger fish. 

Okay, enough about drag systems. It’s time to talk about bearings.

Ball Bearings

How Important Are Ball Bearings?

Ball bearings give small spinning reels a smooth performance. Some rely on bushings —but bearings are more effective.

Sealed stainless steel bearings provide the most durability and control. Usually, the more bearings a reel has, the smoother it performs.

Ideally, you want a spinning reel with a high bearing count. But those tend to be more expensive. 


You want an ultralight fishing reel with at least 4 bearings. Anything less will hinder performance.

The spool can also impact a spinner’s performance. Let’s dive into that —

Does the Spool on a Spinning Reel Matter?

The spool matters. It greatly determines casting distance and how smooth it casts. 

Spools are made of anodized aluminum or graphite. Both have advantages. 

Aluminum provides the most strength and durability. But graphite reels are lighter. So If having a lightweight reel is most important then go with graphite. 

We’ve talked about gears, spool and ball bearings. Now let’s talk about what protects them.

Is the Reel Housing Important?

The housing protects the gears. So you want to make sure it’s tough.

The highest quality spinners have aluminum or graphite housing. They help protect against corrosion. 


If you’re doing any saltwater fishing then graphite is more ideal. If you’re sticking to freshwater fishing, aluminum or carbon work better. 

Now you understand what makes an ultralight fishing spinning reel worth buying.

So let’s have a quick look on the top three ultralight spinners on my list&#;


Here is a quick look on our top three picks…

Well, my fishing-fanatic friends, this journey is coming to an end. I know —so sad to have to go. 

But I’m waking up at 5 AM to hit a Southeast Georgia pond with a buddy. I hear it has nice nice-size bass and crappie, so I’m stoked! 

We’ll be in the before daylight. With any luck we’ll time it just right for a sunrise feeding-frenzy. 

And yes, I’m bringing my Okuma RTX. It’s already rigged with a spinnerbait —ready to cast by a stump or low-hanging branch.

Now you have a better idea of how to pick the best ultralight spinning reel. Or maybe you fell in love with one of my selections.

Choose What Suits You Best

Either way, don’t be afraid to go with an ultralight spinner. They may fly under the radar, but they produce great results for anglers everywhere. 

So make it part of your fishing arsenal. It’s part of mine. Has been for years. 

If you’re fantasizing about fishing with one—no worries, it’s normal. Just don’t forget to make your day-dream a reality. Because fish are caught on the pond &#;not on the couch!


The 5 Top Ultralight Spinning Reels In Reviewed


by Robert Ceran

This article may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on a link we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Small spinning reels are ideal for ultralight fishing, since they can cast very light lures and handle lightweight line, which baitcasters are not so good at. So, if you are planning to put together a lightweight fishing combo, you should probably do it with a spinning reel and rod. 

We’ve tested the most popular models on the market, and below are our top 5 picks for the best ultra light reels in

5 best ultralight spinning reels in reviewed

The table above compares the most important specs of the top 5 models side by side. Now let’s take a look at each model in more detail.

1. Shimano Stradic FL HGFL

Shimano Stradic Ci4

The Shimano Stradic FL is one of the best ultralight spinning reels on the market. The smallest model in this series is the HGFL, which is actually one of their lightest models. In fact, weighing in at ounces it’s the lightest reel that we tested for this review.

What really impressed us about this Shimano ultralight reel is that it doesn’t sacrifice durability for lightness, since it’s built with their flagship hagane technology. Both the body and the gears are made with hagane cold forged steel, which makes them virtually indestructible, and helps to create the extremely smooth line retrieval action of the gears and rotor.

While ultra light reels often tend to be on the flimsy side, the Stradic FL further impressed us with it’s powerful drag system, which can handle up to 7 pounds drag pressure. With a gear ratio it retrieves 31 inches of line for every turn of the handle, which is faster than most other models in this category.


  • Ultra lightweight ( oz)
  • Very durable
  • Lots of drag power
  • Top of the line Shimano technology delivers buttery smooth line retrieval action
  • High speed gear ratio enables fast line retrieval

Overall verdict: The Stradic FL is the best ultra light spinning reel that we tested. It’s not only an extremely lightweight reel, it also combines impressive drag power with silky smooth action and durability.

While most ultralight spinning reels are used for freshwater fishing, the Stradic FL is also strong enough to handle saltwater conditions. Overall, the Stradic Fl is the best size spinning reel we tested, and if we had to choose just one reel for lightweight fishing, this would be it.

2. Okuma Ceymar c

Okuma Ceymar c 10

The Okuma Ceymar is a completely different experience to the Stradic Ci4. Instead of aluminum it’s body is made of corrosion-resistant graphite, and the knob of the handle is made with thick EVA foam.

In terms of lightweight fishing, both the Okuma Ceymar c and c sizes are suitable for this style of fishing. And while graphite is lighter than aluminum, the Okuma Ceymar c is actually a little heavier than the Stradic Ci4 HGFB, weighing in at 6 ounces.

And, while one of the strongest points of this reel is definitely its budget friendly price, it does come with additional strengths, including a strong multi-disc, oil felt drag system that can handle up to 5 pounds drag pressure. The consistency of the drag pressure is improved by the precision elliptical gearing technology.

While the reel frame is made of graphite, the spool is constructed with 2-tone anodized aluminium, which makes it durable enough for corrosive conditions. Corrosion resistance is further increased by the cyclonic airflow rotors, which ensure that air flows through the rotors, thereby promoting fast drying if the reel becomes wet.

Finally, 7 ball bearings plus 1 roller bearing make the retrieval action of this micro spin reel very smooth.


  • Very lightweight (6 oz)
  • Combination of graphite and aluminum makes it durable
  • Medium speed gear ratio
  • Excellent line capacity
  • Smooth gear action
  • Budget friendly price

Overall verdict: this is the best budget ultra light reel that we tested. While it’s a little heavier and not as smooth and durable as the Stradic Ci4 and the Revo SX, it still performs at a very high level, making it the ideal budget choice for lightweight fishing.

3. Abu Garcia Revo X

abu Garcia Revo SX

The smallest ultralight spinning reel in the Abu Garcia Revo X series is the X10 size. Weighing in at ounces, it’s a little heavier than both the Shimano Stradic FL ( oz) and the Okuma Ceymar c 10 (6 oz).

However, what it lacks in lightness compared to the other models, the Revo X makes up in sheer quality of build, design, and durability. The Amgearing system is machined out of anodized aluminum with computer guided precision, resulting in extremely smooth action.

The smoothness is further enhanced by the 8 stainless steel ball bearing plus 1 roller bearing, which also result in a high level of corrosion resistance. With it has a gear ratio that is higher than the Okuma Ceymar, fast enough for high speed retrieval.

The sheer power of the drag system of this Abu Garcia is one of the most impressive qualities of this reel: it can handle up to 10 pounds of drag pressure, which is twice as much as the Okuma Ceymar. The power and smoothness of the drag is based on carbon matrix hybrid technology. Together with its durable design, this makes it the best ul spinning reel for saltwater conditions.

Finally, the casting performance is enhanced both by the rocket line management system, plus the rocket spool lip design, which helps to cast light lures at record distances.


  • Medium lightweight ( oz)
  • Highly durable and strong build that can handle saltwater conditions
  • Extremely powerful drag system suitable for large fish
  • Impressive line management system and line capacity
  • Buttery smooth line retrieval action eanbled by 8 + 1 stainless steel bearings
  • High speed gear ratio

4. Shimano Sedona FI

Shimano Sedona FI

The Sedona is placed at the lower end of the Shimano line up, and is their only low end spinning reel that incorporates the flagship hagane technology. As such, it’s a great choice if you want to get access to superior Shimano technology without paying the premium price required for their other models. It’s almost like getting an upgrade without paying extra.

The lightest model in this series is the Sedona FI. At ounces, it’s a little heavier than the other models reviewed on this list. But this is still light enough to handle lightweight line and lures such as small jigs, and to spend long days casting without fatigue.

The gear ratio of this ultralight reel is medium speed at , and retrieves 26 inches per turn of the handle. The cross carbon drag system delivers very smooth line retrieval action with a maximum force of 7 pounds drag pressure, which is plenty of power for a mini fishing reel. 

Shimano reduced the number of ball bearings to a bare minimum of 3 + 1 in order to create a lightweight reel that is more budget friendly than their other models. However, don’t make the mistake of assuming that the resulting action is not smooth. The superior Shimano hagane technology still manages to create a smoother line retrieval action with 3 ball bearings than many other models with 8.


  • Medium lightweight ( oz)
  • Smooth line retrieval action delivered by 3 + 1 cold forged hagane gears
  • Powerful drag with 7 pounds max pressure
  • Extremely durable build, enabling it to handle saltwater conditions
  • Budget friendly high quality lightweight reel

Overall verdict: this is the best ultralight reel from Shimano on a small budget. It delivers superior hagane technology at a lower price, and is an excellent choice if your budget isn’t big enough for the Stradic Ci4 or the Revo SX. It’s also a great choice as a backup reel if you want to use a higher quality reel as your mainstay.

5. Pflueger President XT

Pflueger President XT

It’s hard to write a review on this topic without mentioning at least one Pflueger model, since Pflueger has become synonymous with high quality and dependability over the past decades. The President XT series takes the original President series to the next level with improved gear system technology and more lightweight construction. 

The smallest model in this series is the SP20X. Since it’s a size 20 spinning reel, it sounds larger than the other micro reels reviewed here, which are all size 10 models. But at ounces, it’s just as lightweight as the Shimano Stradic Ci4, which definitely puts it in the ultralight reels category. The lightness of this reel is due to a graphite body and rotor design.

The SP20X has 6 + 1 stainless steel ball bearings, and combined with an aluminum main shaft and aluminum pinion gears, this results in very smooth line retrieval action plus durability. The gear ratio is medium speed, retrieving 21 inches per turn of the handle.

See also: Pflueger President XT vs President

The aluminum spool is braid ready, saving you the hassle of having to use a monofilament backing if you want to spool it with braided line. The sealed drag system can handle up to 6lb of pressure, which is plenty for light fishing.

See also: can you use braided line on spinning reels?


  • Extremely lightweight ( oz)
  • Smooth line retrieval action delivered by 6 + 1 ball bearings
  • Strong drag with 6 pounds max pressure
  • Great line management 
  • Very durable build, strong enough for saltwater fishing
  • Mid-range price

Factors to consider before purchasing an ultralight spinning reel

What is ultralight fishing?

Ultralight fishing refers to fishing with extremely lightweight gear. This includes the rod, reel, line as well as lightweight lures, which all need to be matched with each other. In most cases, this type of fishing is done with spinning reels, since they can cast lighter lures than baitcasting reels.

See also: What are ultralight fishing rods good for?

Traditionally, sport fishing evokes the image of catching large game fish with big reels and heavy rods. However, in recent years ultralight spinning has become increasingly popular for many freshwater applications, and even for some saltwater applications.

See also: Ultralight baitcaster reel reviewed

Maybe the reason for this can be traced to the recent development of finesse techniques by bass and trout anglers, in which they present smaller and lighter lures to entice fish to bite when other methods don’t work. A second reason is probably due to the fact that fishing for smaller species such as crappie and bluegill has become very popular.

But whatever the reason for the increased popularity of ultra light fishing – if you’re thinking of trying it out for yourself, the first thing you need to do is get the right gear for it, and among the different fishing reel types, spinning reels are best suited for this type of fishing.

What reel sizes are used for ultralight fishing?

The spinning reels used for this type of fishing are usually size 10 or size 20 (which correspond to size or for some manufacturers – you can compare the different reel sizes on our spinning reel size chart). This reel size is ideal for handling lb strength monofilament line or fluorocarbon line, which is the line usually used for this type of fishing.

What is the best spinning reel for crappie?

While it’s possible for crappies to weigh up to 3 or 4 pounds, normally their weight is in the quarter to half pound range. Because of this, lightweight fishing gear is ideal for crappie fishing.

We recommend the Shimano Stradic FL HGFL as the best lightweight spinning reel for crappie, due to its extreme light weight and superior performance with light gear. If you are looking for a low budget alternative, then the Okuma Ceymar c would be a great choice.

See also: Ultralight rod and reel setup guide

What is the top ultralight spinning reel under $50?

After testing 15 different ultralight reels for this review, the Okuma Ceymar gets our vote as the best ul spinning reel under $  While it’s not as lightweight and durable as the more high end models, overall it’s performance is still very satisfactory, making it great value at a low price.

What is the best ultralight spinning reel under $?

Based on our experience with 15 models tested for this review, the Shimano Sedona SEFL is the best ul spinning reel under $ It delivers the superior performance of Shimano cold forged hagane gears at a price that is usually reserved for models of much lower quality, which means you can upgrade your fishing experience with very little extra cost.

Once you’re done choosing the best fishing reel, you then need to put line on it, which you can do easily with our guide on how to spool a spinning reel. It’s probably also a good idea to familiarise yourself with the parts of a spinning reel, since this will help you to use it correctly.


This concludes our review of the best lightweight spinning reel. If you want to check some additional high quality models, take a look at our review on the best spinning reel under dollars, and if you want to focus on budget friendly reels, check out our review on the best spinning reel under 50 dollars.

Finally, if you’re thinking about buying a new reel, also check out our article about the pros and cons of baitcaster vs spinning reel, as well as the best baitcaster under $

Additional resources:


Fishing best reel micro

The 7 Best Ultralight Reels of

Final Verdict

Built to last for years thanks to a cold-forged Hagane drive, the Shimano Sedona Spinning Reel (view at Walmart) is difficult to beat in both price and quality. But if you want to add a head-turning aesthetic to your fishing kit, consider the Pflueger President Pressp30x Spinning Reel (view at Walmart), which boasts a blue graphite body and a gold finish on the spool. With a max drag limit of 6 pounds and a smooth feel thanks to seven corrosion-resistant ball bearings, it also performs as well as it looks.

What to Look for in an Ultralight Reel


Generally speaking, the greater the number of bearings on a real, the smoother the line should be for retrieval. Some pools reel in fine with three, but some top-of-the-line ones have eight bearings. Keep an eye out for corrosion-resistant ones for greater longevity—after all, you want to be able to keep this reel around a while. 


The amount you’re likely to spend on a reel should be correlated with how much time you spend using it. You can find budget-friendly options for around $20, but you can also pay several hundreds of dollars. Spending a little more should result in a reel that’s more durable and offers more in terms of features. 


Some reels are built for general catches, others for lighter fish, and still others for big trout or bass, which can weigh up to 10 pounds. Figure out what type of fish you're after before you select your reel. For heavier fish, you'll need a heavy-duty reel, which usually increases the weight of the reel itself. However, there are still lightweight options out there.


What's the difference between a spinning and baitcasting reel?

Of the two options, a spinning reel is the do-it-all option. They’re easy to use, making them ideal for novice anglers, and (in general) are less expensive. But they’re also better with lightweight lures and lines. In contrast, baitcasting reels sit on the top of the rod, rather than the side, and can be used with all types of lines, including braided and fluorocarbon. They have stronger drag, work heavier lures, and can handle heavier fish. But it takes skill—and practice—to master baitcasting. Either way, be sure you match your rod to the reel type; baitcasting reels should not be used with spin rods.

How can you prevent your reel from getting rusted?

If you’re fishing in salt water, be sure to rinse off any moisture after fishing—the salt can corrode and seriously damage the reel’s components. It’s also a good idea to do the same when fishing in fresh water to remove potential contaminants. Then dry everything—the reel itself, as well as a length of line before spooling it into the reel. The industry also has a handful of rod and reel cleaners in easy-to-use spray bottles to help fend off rust.

Why Trust TripSavvy

In selecting these products, the writers engaged in extensive research into the wide and varied landscape of lightweight fishing reels, taking all factors—weight, cost, performance, ease-of-use, and special applications into account. They also conferred with both pro anglers and scoured the reviews of verified reel owners to narrow the field to the ones in this list.

The 7 Best Spinning Reels

MICRO Rods to Catch Mexico Bass!

Ultralight spinning reels are defined in this article as reels that weigh less than 8 ounces. The Shimano IX is listed and does weigh ounces. However, it is a small reel that is commonly used to catch trout, crappie, perch, sunfish, and bluegill. The Penn Battle II weighs ounces which is slightly over 8 ounces but this is a great saltwater spinning reel.

shimano stradic ci4 ultralight fishing reel

Some of these ultralight reel models do come in larger heaver sizes. To see the full list check out the freshwater spinning reels article. These reels work well on fishing rods from feet in length. The power rating describes the pole flex and medium-light is a good stiffness for catching fish under 3 pounds. A fast-action that describes how easy the tip bends is helpful to feel small bites on the line.

Using light tackle makes for a more fun fishing experience. Light tackle includes a light fishing line that also helps to catch more fish. The sport of fishing is often for the challenge. Catching a trout or crappie can be just as rewarding as catching a big fish in the ocean. Ultralight reels are good for adults and kids. Spincast reels are the best for young children.

Here Are the Best Ultralight Spinning Reels

1. Shimano Stella FJ Ultralight Spinning Reel

shimano stella ultralight high end spinning reel

Buy from Amazon

Estimated Price: $$1,

Models and Specifications
Drag 7 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves 25 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /6, braid 95/

Drag 20 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves 35 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /10, braid /

Drag 20 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves 37 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /10, braid /

The Shimano Stella is the highest quality ultralight spinning reel on the market. If cost is not a factor then this is a great option. It has three reels sizes that are under 8 ounces. The spool is intended to be used with a monofilament fishing line.

Stand out features include the silent drive with a high tolerance drive train, sealed cross carbon waterproof drag, 12 shielded ARB bearings, and a two-speed oscillation system. This small lightweight reel has a metal body, one-piece bail, magnum light rotor, and a forged metal Hagane gear.

The reel is rated for saltwater so it can work as a multipurpose reel. Although it is lightweight the and can still catch most freshwater fishing including large bass, hybrid striped bass, steelhead, and freshwater salmon.

2. Shimano Stratic Ci4+ Front Drag Spinning Reel

shimano stradic ci4 ultralight fishing reel

Buy from Amazon

Estimated Price: $$

Models and Specifications
HG: Drag 7 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves 31 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /6, braid 95/

HG: Drag 20 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves 35 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /8, braid /

HG: Drag 20 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves 35 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /10, braid /

The Shimano Strtic Ci4+ is another high-end lightweight reel. It has three modules that are all significantly less than 8 ounces.  A unique feature of the reel is the aero wrap spool with an angled spool lip to help with long-distance casting. The G free body moves the center of gravity closer to the rod which makes the rod and reel slightly easier to handle.

Construction of the CI4+ makes the reel times stiffer than the previous model. The reel is made with a new Magnumlite rotor, cold-forged aluminum spool, aluminum handle, cold-forged Hagane gears, and a one-piece stainless steel bail.

3. Shimano Stradic FL Ultralight Spinning Reel

shimano stradic fl ultralight spinning reel

Buy from Amazon

Estimated Price: $$

Models and Specifications
Drag 7 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves 30 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /6, braid 95/

Drag 20 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves 35 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /6, braid /

The Shimano Stradic FL is an ultralight reel with two sizes that weigh less than 8 ounces. This is actually a new model compared to the stratic CI4+ which previous version was the Stratic FK. Both the Stratic FL and CI4+ are great reels with many high-end features but the CI4+ is slightly lighter.

Features of the Stradic FL are cross carbon drag, 6 shielded corrosion resistant ball-bearings, g free body, silent drive gearing, and long stroke spool. The small light reel has a Hagane rigid metal body and cold-forged gears. This reel is intended to be used in freshwater.

4. Penn Conflict II Long Cast Spinning Reel

penn conflict-II ultralight spinning reel

Buy from Amazon

Estimated Price: $$

Models and Specifications
Drag 9 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves 22 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /6, braid /

Drag 10 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves 31 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /8, braid /

The Penn Conflict II is an ultralight saltwater reel that is designed to be extra lightweight. This is a new Penn model and is becoming one of the most popular lightweight reels in both the small size and large and sizes. It has a body and rotor made from a Rigid Resin RR30 which is both light and durable. The gearing is made with a CNC machine and the 7 shielded ball bearings are made with stainless steel. It has a Superline Spool that comes ready for a braided fishing line. The handle is made of thin but wide aluminum and has an EVA knob. If you really enjoy fishing with light tackle this reel is a great choice.

5. Penn Battle II Saltwater Spinning Reel

penn battle-II ultralight spinning reel

Buy from Amazon

Estimated Price: $

Models and Specifications
Drag 9 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves 22 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /6, braid /

The Penn Battle II is an ultralight saltwater fishing reel. It is constructed with a full metal body, metal rotor, and aluminum bail wire. HT carbon fiber drag within the reel is smooth and long-lasting. The drag is tested for miles of line to be run against the drag without wearing out. It has 5 sealed stainless steel bearing and an anti-reverse bearing. There is a lever to turn the anti-reverse on or off.

This reel comes in sizes up to the series and is a very popular reel to use when fishing offshore. The series is a durable reel that can be used for freshwater fishing or inshore and reef fishing in saltwater. When using a braided line this is a great real to use because it has a braid ready spool. Lince capacity rings on the spool indicate how much line is left.

Even if you are fishing in freshwater this is a great reel option. It is built tough for a saltwater environment and will last even longer when only used in freshwater. The video below shows the full lineup of Battle II fishing reels. This gives a good insight into the size and features of the reel.

6. Penn Fierce Saltwater Fishing Reel

penn fierce-III ultralight spinning reel

Buy from Amazon

Estimated Price: $65

Models and Specifications
Drag 9 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves 22 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /6, braid /

The Penn Fierce III is a saltwater ultralight fishing reel. It is made with a full metal body, metal side plates, thick aluminum wire bail, and 4+1 shielded stainless steel ball bearings. Key features include HT drag, techno-balanced rotor, and a Superline aluminum spool.

This is a reel that is built to last. It can be used in freshwater to catch bass, panfish, and trout. In the ocean, it can be used inshore and on the reef to catch snapper, bluefish, jacks, bonefish, juvenile tarpon, etc.

7. Shimano Sedona FL Freshwater Fishing Reel

shimano sedona ultralight spinning reel

Buy from Amazon

Estimated Price: $68

Models and Specifications
Drag 7 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves 26 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /6, braid 65/

The Shimano Sedona FL is an ultralight reel that comes in 7 sizes but only the series weighs less than 8 ounces. It has a gear ratio and retrieved 26 inches of line per turn of the handle. This is a reasonably priced reel and still features cross carbon drag, g-free body, propulsion spool lip, and Hagane cold forged gears.

8. Shimano Syncopate Crappie Spinning Reel

shimano syncopate ultralight crappie spinning reel

Buy from Amazon

Estimated Price: $$60

Models and Specifications
Drag 7 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves 25 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /6, braid 85/

The Shimano Syncopate is an ultralight reel with a Quick Fire II trigger to open the bail. This trigger allows the line to be held with the index finger while also opening the bail which allows for one-handed casting. Other features include a Dyna-balance rotor, propulsion line management, and 4 ball bearings. This reel is great for kids because it makes casting easier.

The video below shows an unboxing of the Syncopate reel. This a FG series reel but should give a good feel for what the reel looks like. How the Quickfire drag is opened and closed is demonstrated. Fishing with the reel is done from a kayak in the video.

9. Shimano IX Trout Spinning Reel

shimano IX ultralight spinning reel for trout fishing

Buy from Amazon

Estimated Price: $$28

Models and Specifications
Drag 7 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves 19 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /4, braid 85/

This Shimano IX is the heaviest ultralight reel on this list at ounces. However, this is a rod my family commonly used to fish for trout in streams and bass in local ponds. The low cost makes it a popular freshwater spinning reel.

It has a rear drag system rather than a front drag. This drag is easily adjusted with a turn of the knob. The anti-reverse setting can be turned on or off with the flip of the lever on the back of the reel. Lightweight graphite is used for the body, rotor, spool, and reel foot. If you are on a budget this a good low-cost spinning reel that actually holds up pretty well with heavy use.

Okuma Avenger ABF Ultralight Baitfeeder Spinning Reel

okuma avenger ultralight bait feeder spinning reel

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Estimated Price: $$50

Models and Specifications
Drag 6 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 85/4, braid 85/

Drag 6 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves 24 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /6, braid /

The Okuma Avenger ABF is an ultralight Baitfeeder reel. This is the lightest live liner reel on the market. Features of the reel include the cyclonic flow rotor, on/off baitfeeder system, felt drag washers, and 6+1 stainless steel ball bearings.

Okuma Avenger reels are commonly used when surf fishing in saltwater. Baitfeeder reels are good anytime you are fishing with live bait or scented bait. It gives the fish time to start swimming with the bait it is mouth before setting the hook. In freshwater bait feeder reels work well to catch crappie, catfish, and hybrid striped bass.

Okuma Helios SX Ultralight Spinning Reels

okuma helios lightweight ultralight spinning reel

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Estimated Price: $$

Models and Specifications
Drag 6 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /6, braid /

Drag 13 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /6, braid /

The Okuma Helios is a quality ultralight spinning reel. The size 30 has 13 pounds of drag and holds a high line capacity. This makes it a light reel with the performance of a larger heavy reel. Features include 8+1 stainless steel ball bearings, computer balanced rotor, and a line control spool.

This reel is made with a CX carbon body, carbon side plates, AlumiLite alloy main gear, brass pinion gear, anodized aluminum spool, and a thick aluminum bail wire. The torsion control armor makes this reel extremely rigid which helps keep gear alignment under heavy loads.

This reel is rated for saltwater, check out the best saltwater spinning reels for more options. If you are looking for an ultralight reel just look for ones that weigh less than 8 ounces.

Okuma Ceymar Ultralight Spinning Reels

okuma ceymar small ultralight spinning reel

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Estimated Price: $$50

Models and Specifications
Drag 5 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves 21 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /2, braid /

Drag 6 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves 24 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /6, braid /

This Okuma Ceymar is an ultralight reel with two sizes under 8 ounces. Technologies built into the reel include the Cyclonic flow computer balanced rotor, advanced line control system, and smooth elliptical gearing.

The reel is constructed with a graphite body, forged zinc handle, aluminum bail wire, EVA knob, machine cut brass pinion gear, and a machined aluminum spool that is ready for braided line. This is a quality reel that works well to catch average size fish in freshwater

Okuma RTX Light Weight Reel

okuma RTX lightweight spinning reel

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Estimated Price: $$

Models and Specifications
25s: Drag 8 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /6, braid /

30s: Drag 13 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves 30 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /6, braid /

The Okuma RTX and RTX are both ultralight reels that are rated for freshwater and saltwater. Having a CX carbon frame, side plates, and rotor makes this a light and rigid reel. Features include a multi-disk felt drag system, a precision-balanced rotor, and a hydro-block watertight drag system.

The video below shows a comparison of the RTX and the Ceymar both of which are reviewed above. For freshwater fishing, baitcasting reels are also commonly used. Check ou the best baitcasting reels page for more information.

Pflueger Supreme XT Ultralight Reel

phlueger supreme xt ultralight spinning reel

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Estimated Price: $

Models and Specifications
25X: Drag 8 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /4, braid /8.

30X: Drag 10 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /8, braid /

The Pflueger Supreme XT is a premium quality ultralight reel. Key features include 10 stainless steel ball bearings and sealed carbon drag which means that it can be used in saltwater and freshwater. The reel is lightweight and has a magnesium body, magnesium rotor, and a carbon handle. It has an aluminum spool that comes braid ready. This is a good spinning reel for someone that does inshore saltwater fishing as well as freshwater.

phlueger president ultralight spinning reel

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Estimated Price: $$70

Models and Specifications
Drag 6 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /4, braid /8.

25X: Drag 8 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /4, braid /8.

The Pflueger President ultralight rod is a quality reel at a reasonable price. This is a great reel for recreational fishermen. It is smooth and is built to last even with heavy use. It is made with a graphite body, graphite rotor, and a braid ready spool. The slow oscillating gearing makes the reel feel very smooth.

This lightweight reel has a sealed drag system and corrosion-resistant ball bearings which means that it should last even in a saltwater environment. The 20x size is perfect for catching crappie, bass, and trout.

Abu Garcia Black Max Ultralight Spinning Reel

abu garcia black max ultralight spinning reel

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Estimated Price: $32

Models and Specifications
Drag lbs, weighs oz, retrieves in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /6, braid /4.

Drag lbs, weighs oz, retrieves 21 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /6, braid /6.

The Abu Garcia Black Max is an average quality ultralight fishing reel. It is built with a graphite body, graphite rotor, and a red machined aluminum spool. Key features include the everlast bail system, 3 ball bearings, an anti-reverse bearing, and a slow oscillation rocket line management system.

Abu Garci is known for its baitcasting and conventional fishing reels. The Black Max reel is a good reel for the price. It will work well for freshwater fishing in lakes, ponds, and streams.

Cadence CS8 Ultralight Spinning Reel

cadence cs8 ultralight spinning reel

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Estimated Price: $$99

Models and Specifications
Drag 29 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves 25 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /6, braid /

Drag 36 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves 32 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /6, braid /

Drag 36 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves 35 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /10, braid /

This Cadence CS8 is an ultralight reel with powerful drag and high line capacity. For these reasons, I have listed it as the best ultralight reel on the market. There are many other good small lightweight reels though.

What makes this reel different is the magnesium metal frame, carbon composite rotor, braid ready aluminum spool, and carbon fiber drag. Aluminum parts include the handle arm, one-piece bail, pinion gear, and main gear. This reel has 9 shielded and corrosion-resistant ball bearings but is intended to be used in freshwater. No other reel on the list has more than 36 pounds of drag. However, the max drag rating does not need to be higher than the line strength. The drag should be set at less than 50 percent of the line strength when fishing.

KastKing Sharky III Ultralight Spinning Reels

Kastking sharky-III small ultralight spinning reel

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Estimated Price: $54

Models and Specifications
Drag 33 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /8, braid /

This KastKing Sharky III is a quality Ultralight spinning reel. The first thing that stands out about this reel is the three-disc carbon fiber drag that has a max drag force of pounds. It has an aluminum spool with a rubber gasket to prevent a braided line from slipping.

The 10 ball bearings are double shielded and made of stainless steel. It also has an instant anti-reverse bearing. There is not a lever to turn the anti-revers off but most anglers do not use that feature anyway. It has a thick main shaft that is made from stainless steel, a zinc drive gear, and a brass pinion gear. The handle is made of aluminum and has an EVA knob. This is a very popular reel and comes in four larger sizes as well.

KastKing Centron Ultralight Spinning Reel

kastking centron ultralight small spinning reel

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Estimated Price: $25

Models and Specifications
Drag 11 lbs, weighs oz, retrieves in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono /6, braid /

The KastKing Centron is a low-cost ultralight spinning reel. It is made with a graphite body, aluminum spool, and alloy metal gears. As with most spinning reels, the handle is interchangeable to work as a left-handed reel or right-handed reel. It has 9 MaxiDur bearings and an anti-reverse bearing. There is a lever to turn the anti-reverse on and off. It should stay on as this allows a better hookset.

This is a good reel to use in freshwater. To see the full list of all freshwater reels check out the freshwater spinning reels article.

Lews Mr. Crappie Ultralight Reel

lews fishing mr crappie ultralight spinning reel

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Estimated Price: $20

Models and Specifications
Drag N/A lbs, weighs oz, retrieves 22 in/turn.
Line-capacity yd/lb: Mono 60/6, braid 60/

The Lews Fishing Mr. Crappie reel is an ultralight reel that is a good reel for beginners. It comes pre-spooled with high visibility 6-pound fishing line. This reel should work well to catch crappie, bass, trout, and panfish. The reel is made with a graphite body, graphite rotor, and 2 ball bearings. A drag rating is not provided but it is sufficient for the 6-pound line.

This is a low-quality reel but it is usually surprising in a good way how long reels like this last. You do not need an expensive reel to have fun while fishing. However, quality gear usually lasts longer and is often worth the investment.

Frequently asked Questions

What is an Ultralight spinning reel?

An ultralight spinning reel is any reel that weighs less than 8 ounces. Typically these are or series reels. These reels are most often used to catch crappie and trout. They also work well to catch bass, bluegill, sunfish, perch, and grayling. It is common to use a pound monofilament fishing line with these small reels. The light tackle makes fishing easier and more enjoyable. Even small fish can be a challenge to catch and that makes it a rewarding experience when there is a successful day of fishing. 

Who makes the best ultralight spinning reel?

There are many good reel manufactures including Shimano, Penn, Cadence, Okuma, Pflueger, KastKing, and Lews. Most ultralight reels are made for freshwater fishing but there are quality reels that are made for saltwater. All the Penn reels are designed for saltwater use. The best ultralight reel is likely the Shimano Stella but the expensive price tag makes it less widely used. Cadence and Kastking both make lightweight reels with over 30 pounds of drag. This is more than is needed because these small reels are typically fished with lines less than 10 pounds.

What is the lightest spinning reel?

The lightest spinning reel is Shimano Stratic Ci4+ HG. It weighs only ounces and has 7 pounds of drag. Even most ice fishing reels weigh over 6 ounces and are not nearly as practical as the reels listed above. Light tackle makes cathing smaller fish much more enjoyable. If you catch a 1 pound fish on a large conventional fishing reel the fish does not even put a fight. However, using an ultralight spinning reel and sensitive rod catching the fish can be challenging and exciting.

What is the best spinning reel for trout? 

The best spinning reel for trout depends on where you are fishing. When catching stocked trout in the lower 48 almost any spinning reel will work. The key is to use light line because trout do shy away from heavy fishing lines. They have good eyesight and often see many lures and baits presented to them every day. When fishing for jumbo rainbow trout in Alaska it is important to have a quality spinning reel with a good drag. When fishing in fast-moving streams trout can pull a significant amount of line of the reel before being caught. If there are salmon or steelhead in the steam it is also important to have a quality lightweight fishing reel. Every fishing reel on this list will be able to catch an average size trout. For young kids, a small spincast fishing reel is a great option.

What is the best spinning reel for crappie? 

When fishing for crappie it is common to use a fishing line with a pound test. For this reason, a small lightweight spinning reel is best. The drag for the reel only needs to be higher than 4 pounds. Crappie are similar to bass in that they are not super line shy buy having a light clear line does helps catch more fish. If fishing with scented bait or live bait using a reel with a baitfeeder can be helpful. This allows the crappie to swim with the bait which can help catch more fish when they are not feeding aggressively. It is very uncommon to fish for crappie with a braided fishing line so a braid-ready spool is not required. If a braided line is used a fluorocarbon leader should be added to the line.

What ultralight spinning reel can be used in saltwater?

There are several ultralight reels that can work in saltwater including the Cadence CS8, Shimano Stella, Shimano Stratic CI4+, Penn Battle II, Penn Fierce III, Penn Conflict II, Okuma Helios, Okuma RTX, Pflueger Supreme XT, and KastKing Sharky III. In order to be saltwater rated the reel needs to have a waterproof drag and shielded or sealed bearings.

The exterior of the reel also needs to be made with corrosion-resistant material. In order for a reel to last in saltwater, the internal components need to be sealed off from the saltwater. This is because salt will work its way into the reel and not be able to be washed off even with a good rinse. All Penn reels are made for saltwater and many people overlook them as ultralight reels. However, there are several versions that have sizes under or right around 8 ounces.

Can bass be caught with an ultralight spinning reel?

Yes, bass can be caught with an ultralight spinning reel. In some cases using a light rod with a light line can be an advantage. The only real problem is that if the fish get caught in heavy brush and lilypads it can be difficult to pull the fish in. For small to average size bass under 2 pounds fishing with light tackle can be a fun and enjoyable experience. If fishing for big bass in a tournament though I usually use a pound test line so I can keep the line tight and bring the fish in as quickly as possible. When using a small reel light bass fishing lures can be used. Examples of light lures that work well for bass are small spinners, small soft plastics, or small jigs.

What is a good rod for an ultra-light spinning reel?

When picking an ultralight fishing rod there are several things to decide. First is the length of the rod. A longer fishing rod cast further than a short rod. Typically people use a rod between feet in length. When using an ultralight reel I like a rod around 6 feet in length. If you like one-pice rods it can be nice to have a shorter fishing rod. There are two ratings on a fishing rod the power and the action.

The power of a fishing rod is a measure of the stiffness of the entire rod. When catching small fish the rod can be flexible or stiff. A power rating of medium, medium-light, or light would be good options. The action describes the flexibility of the tip of the rod. When catching small fish it is better to have a faster action to allow small nibbles on the line to be felt. A good action would be moderate, fast, or extra fast.

When catching smaller fish having a good fishing rod is just as important as when catching large fish. Anglers need to be able to cast far and feel the bite to set the hook. A good ultralight rod is the Ugly Stik Elite 6 foot, two-piece rod with medium action. This is a durable rod that is long enough for far casting and sensitive enough to feel small bites on the line.

Do they make left-handed ultralight reels?

Almost all spinning reels are interchangeable and work as left or right-handed reels. This is not true for a baitcasting reel or conventional reel that needs to be purchased based on being right or left-handed. If you are right-handed most anglers turn the handle of spinning reels with their left hand and conventional reels with their right hand. Left-handed anglers turn the handle of spinning reels with their right hand and conventional and baitcasting reel with their left. It might seem like since you can use both hands depending on the type of reel that it is not a big deal. However, it is a big deal and is quite awkward trying to use a reel that is set up for the opposite hand type.

What is the best fishing ling for ultralight reels?

The best fishing line for ultralight reels is monofilament or fluorocarbon line. When using a light fishing line under a 6-pound test the entire spool can be filled with fluorocarbon. This line is the least visible to the fish and can help catch more fish in clear water and when they are not feeding aggressively. The fluorocarbon line is stiffer than regular monofilament and does not cast well when it is over 10 pounds. This is why is it usually only used for the leader material. Also, it is more expensive than a monofilament line. People use braided line because it is thinner and lighter. This allows lures to be cast further and allow more fishing line to be held on the spool. When using a 4-pound line it is already so thin and light that braided line is not typically used.

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Captain Cody Wabiszewski

Captain Cody Wabiszewski

Captain Cody has worked on charter fishing boats in the Florida Keys, Virgin Islands, and Alaska. Growing up in Pennsylvania Cody has also done extensive freshwater fishing including bass fishing tournaments. Cody strives to provide detailed information about the best fishing gear and tactics to help both novice and experienced anglers have a more productive and enjoyable time on the water. Cody also has a background in aerospace engineering and neuroscience but really only takes pride in being good at one thing and that is fishing!


Now discussing:

If you&#;re a fishing enthusiast like me, you&#;d know the excruciating wrist, arm, and shoulder pain that you can experience after a long day fishing.

So a good lightweight spinning reel sounds like the perfect solution.

And that&#;s why I created this list to recommend all the best ultralight spinning reels that I could find for the long fishing trips and adventures.

The 6 Best Ultralight Spinning Reels for

Here are our top recommendations:

1. KastKing Sharky III &#; A Great Carbon Fiber Ultralight Reel

KastKing Sharky III

Besides being durable, the KastKing Sharky III reivew looks and feels great because it&#;s built from premium parts.

The water-resistant spool, body, and rotor guarantee protection against water and dirt.

Thanks to that, you can use it to fish in either freshwater or saltwater.

It&#;s lightweight at ounces and is strong and durable as its body and rotor are both made of reinforced graphite.

Moreover, it can help you through tough fish battles as it has a maximum drag power of 33 pounds –which is pretty impressive relative to its weight.

As for how smooth and quiet the operation is, it&#;s top-notch with 10 ball bearings and 1 bearing which are salt-water rated with shielded stainless-steel.

You won&#;t even need to use the backing line when you&#;re spooling on braid fishing line thanks to the Fin braid-ready aluminum spool.

With a gear ratio and a inch line retrieve per crank, you can quickly reel your catches in before they can escape.


  • Affordable
  • Comes with a 1-year warranty
  • Smooth operation
  • Suits both right-handed and left-handed anglers
  • Amazing drag capability


Bottom line:

Lightweight, efficient, and very affordable, the KastKing Sharky III is simply one of the best ultralight reels on the market.


2. Pflueger President&#; Best Value Lightweight Spinning Reel

Pflueger President

The Pflueger President PRESSP30X comes with a graphite body and rotor, making it both portable and durable.

Moreover, its aluminum spool is braid-ready and ported so that you can braid directly to it without having backed it with mono line.

Furthermore, it&#;s pretty smooth as it&#;s equipped with 10 stainless steel bearings -9 of which are ball ones and the remaining one is a roller. They&#;re made from stainless steel, so they are corrosion-resistant.

On top of that, the Pflueger President PRESSP30X has a quick gear ratio of and retrieves inches of line per crank.

That&#;s why it was incredibly smooth to drag a fish of up to 9 pounds, even when it put up a stubborn fight.

It&#;s not exactly the lightest choice at ounces, but it&#;s still stable and durable thanks to its heavy-duty aluminum SureClick bail.

Plus, the soft-touch knob made it easy to keep a solid grip on it. the aircraft-grade aluminum handle kept it solid against wear and tear.


  • Reasonably priced
  • 10 ball bearing system provides smoothness
  • Very portable
  • Hand retrieve can be switched


  • Looks and feels cheapish
  • Not sealed against saltwater&#;s damage

Bottom line:

The Pflueger President PRESSP30X is one of those small spinning reels that is very portable and affordable. If you&#;re only going to be fishing in freshwater, it would be a very great bang for your buck.


3. Shimano Stradic CI4+&#; Best Quality Light Reel

Shimano Stradic CI4

With a Magnumlite (MGL) rotor, the Shimano Stradic CI4+ could come at 25% lighter weight than predecessors.

The G-Free body design is used on this model as well to maximize comfort. I could spend a whole day fishing and not feel any wrist fatigue when I&#;m done.

The Shimano Stradic CI4+ is highly durable too. It comes with an advanced CoreProtect degree water-resistant coating, so you can use it to fish in either saltwater or freshwater with no worries.

Moreover, its body is made from carbon fiber, which is why it&#;s super light at only ounces.

With the Shimano Stradic CI4+, you&#;ll be able to drag pound fish easily and quickly as it has a gear ratio and retrieves 35 inches of line per a single crank.

The 2 Shimano A-RB roller bearings and 6 S A-RB shielded stainless steel ball-bearing work together to provide an amazingly stable and smooth fishing experience in co-operation with the amazing line management system.

On top of that, no back play happens in the reel as the Super Stopper II anti-reverse ensures solid hooksets.

However, it would have added more value to the reel if the anti-reverse were a little bigger.


  • Quick drag
  • Almost completely water-resistant
  • Excellent line management system
  • Absolutely lightweight


  • Quite pricey
  • The anti-reverse switch is a little too small

Bottom Line:

Shimano Stradic CI4+ is the priciest choice on the list but for a good reason. It&#;s very lightweight, smooth, and has a large maximum drag capability. It will definitely give you great value for your money.


4. Shimano Sedona FI &#; An Excellent Ultralight Spinning Reel


Shimano Sedona FI

The cold-forged Hagane gears on the Shimano Sedona FI enhance its performance while the Hagane gearing guarantees the strength and durability of the reel.

It&#;s also quite versatile for a medium-priced reel as you can use it for fishing inshore or offshore.

Moreover, it&#;s pretty lightweight at only ounces. Mix that with the G-Free body technology and you get a rod that wouldn&#;t strain your wrists even if you go fishing for hours on end.

And while it can be very handy in a quick battle with its gear ratio and inch line retrieve per crank, its maximum drag is quite disappointing at only 7 pounds.

One of the most impressive things about the Shimano Sedona FI is its propulsion line management system. With an improved spool lip design, the casting distance is maximized, all while eliminating backlashed and wind-knot formation.


  • Very lightweight
  • Effective drag system
  • Durable and reliable
  • Smooth casts


Bottom line:

Although the Shimano Sedona FI is a great ul spinning reel as it&#;s affordable, smooth, and durable, it&#;s not your best bet if you go for bigger or heavier fish.


5. Okuma Ceymar C

Okuma Ceymar C

A corrosion-resistant body and a cyclonic flow rotor design to get more airflow through the ported rotor and prevent water from entering the reel are what make the Okuma Ceymar C so durable.

Moreover, the precision elliptical gearing system increases the maximum cast distance as well as accuracy. Mix that with the accurate gear alignment system and you get absolutely uniform drag pressures during operation.

To make casts and drags smooth, the Okuma Ceymar C is equipped with 7 ball bearings and a roller bearing.

And to make your battles quick and effective, its gear ratio is and it retrieves 29 inches of line per crank.

Although you can&#;t catch heavier fish, its pound maximum drag is still good enough for many.

It&#;s not the lightest reel on the list -although it is still light in general-, but it&#;s easy to maneuver and its zinc diecast handle applies enough torque to get you through any battle.


  • Corrosion-resistant and durable
  • Great bang for your buck
  • Highly affordable


  • Can only be used in freshwater

Bottom line:

The Okuma Ceymar C is a great micro spinning reel under 50 bucks. With a steady performance and a build that will last, it&#;ll definitely give you a bang for your buck.


6. Abu Garcia Revo SX 30 &#; A Great Quality Reel

Abu Garcia Revo SX

The Abu Garcia Revo SX 30 is a very lightweight reel thanks to graphite rotor and the IM-C6 body design.

And while it weighs only ounces, it&#;s still able to drag in fish of up to 11 pounds.

The reason behind that is that it comes with 8 ball bearings and a roller bearing that make its operation as smooth as silk.

On top of that, it uses a Rocket line management system and a machined aluminum braid-ready Rocket spool.

You can beat a big fish with a speedy catch as the Abu Garcia Revo SX 30&#;s gear ratio is and it retrieves 35 inches of link per crank.

The feature that impressed me the most is the magnetic brake system that truly eliminates any backlash and makes the operation very quiet.

Furthermore, the Abu Garcia Revo SX 30 felt very comfortable to hold as it&#;s equipped with a Flat EVA knob that provides a solid and ergonomic grip.


  • Excellent brake system
  • Effective line retrieve
  • Quick and smooth performance
  • Lightweight


Bottom line:

This lightweight reel can handle the resistance of bigger fish as it has an adequate maximum drag and a quick operation mechanism.

And while it&#;s not completely sealed, you can still use it in saltwater if you rinse it thoroughly afterward.

How to Choose a Good Ultralight Reel

It makes sense that the first thing you&#;ll look for is the weight of the reel when you&#;re looking for a good ultralight spinning reel.

However, compromising quality and some certain features to each a lighter build may not get you that far after all.

So despite the importance of the weight as an aspect, there are some other things to look for.


What your reel is made from will have a huge impact on its durability and not just the weight.

Most reels will have either a graphite or an aluminum body.

Typically, an aluminum reel will be stronger and will have less flex to produce more torque for bigger fish.

On the other hand, graphite reels are definitely always lighter –usually being 8 ounces or even less.

Drag System

Your drag system will either be a spool one or a frame-based one.

The former is easier to adjust and keep an eye during a battle, but the latter provides more strength and stability.

Gear Ratio and Line Retrieval

These two factors play a major role in determining the speed at which you can reel in your fish.

The gear ratio indicates the number of revolutions the bail rotates around the spool with every turn of the handle, consequently controlling the line retrieval which indicates how much line is retrieved with each crank of the handle.

You should base your decision depending on your technique and the size of the fish you&#;ll be battling with.


The number of bearings on your reel will have a huge impact on how smooth your drags and casts will be.

In the case of bearings, the more is definitely the merrier.

And even though they can make the reel a little heavier, the smoothness will definitely make up for the extra ounce or two.

Final Thoughts

The reels I chose for this article are the best ultralight spinning reels I found on the market. But that doesn&#;t mean that some of them function more exceptionally than others.

I&#;d go for the KastKing Sharky III for the affordability, smoothness, speedy operation and high drag capacity. Although it&#;s actually the least lightweight reel on the list.

If your main concern is the weight, you can go for the lightest. The Shimano Stradic CI4+ provides you with a great drag capacity and smooth operation as well. However, it&#;s quite pricey. I&#;d say the hefty price tag is justified as it&#;s also very durable.

Finally, the Pflueger President PRESSP30X would be a good reel to combine between affordability and efficiency in terms of other functions.

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