Best Ultralight Spinning Reels 2019 Review

Best Ultralight Spinning Reels reviews

Ultralight Reel


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Ultralight spinning reels have become increasingly popular, partly due to the fun you can have with them, but also the improvements that have been made in creating smaller equipment that still packs a punch.

When To Use An Best Ultralight Spinning Reel

Ultralight spinning reels aren't for everyone, but they can certainly provide a different style of fishing from a conventional spinning reel, which can be challenging and fun. Generally speaking, ultralight spinning reels are used when you need a setup for casting very small lures. Lures in the 1/16 to 1/32 range can be very difficult to cast and provide enticing action with when using heavier line. Similarly, an ultralight rod will provide much more sensitivity to smaller bites. The reel will provide the connection between the lure action/line and the rod, maximizing your chances of success.

Most people use ultralight spinning reels for panfish and usually spool 2-6lb test line. This lighter line will allow for further and more accurate casting of light lures and will facilitate action that can be irresistible for many fish. Ultralight setups are great for fish 5 pounds and under, but as many have come to learn, you can also haul in some pretty big fish as well! 

In order to catch larger fish with an ultralight setup, you will need to adopt a different strategy than when using a medium-heavy action setup. The most fundamental difference is that you will need to work the fish a bit more, rather than simply reeling it in. Much more emphasis will be placed on operating the drag, and usually the fight will last much longer. ​It certainly provides a challenge, but with an ultralight setup you will have an incredible feel of what's happening at the end of your line, allowing you to receive constant feedback to make any necessary adjustment.

Ultralight Spinning Reel Reviews

Now that we established that ultralight spinning reels can be very effective in certain situations, and also provide a fun challenge for any angler, it's beneficial to have an idea of what the best ultralight spinning reels are currently on the market. Check out our reviews below, where flannel and his team will highlight good ultralight spinning reels in different price ranges. 

  • Basic
  • Mid-Range
  • High-End
  • Pro
 ultralight fishing reel


  • Good price
  • Reliable brand, especially for reels.
  • Precision gearing, fast retrieve
  • Front tightening spool drag


  • Slightly low durability
  • Spool sometimes comes a little imbalanced. Should work fine regardless, but can be a little annoying.

General Consensus

The Daiwa Sweepfire Ultralight spinning reel is actually quite similar to the Okuma Ultralite spinning reel that we reviewed, but in this case, the Daiwa simply feels a little more sturdy.

This ultralight Daiwa reel also comes in at the lower end of the price range for an ultralight reel, and while you can still tell that it won't last an overly long time, it definitely performs well on the water. Most enjoy spooling 4 or 6 lb line, but anything over 8 lbs is not recommended.

Part of the reason this ultralight spinning reel surprises many is the drag system. It's nothing fancy, but it operates smoothly and definitely helps play the fish when you set the hook on a big one for the line you're using.

One of the main complaints is with the spool being a little imbalanced. This doesn't usually pose a problem in terms of overall performance, but can create an annoying rubbing feel upon retrieval and isn't good for the overall durability. However, for the price, if this is the main complaint, then that's still a win!

Overall, we would recommend the Daiwa ultralight spinning reel for anglers who are trying to save some dough but want something that's at least ok. THis would also be a great reel for those who haven't tried an ultralight before and want to give it a go without compromising performance too much. If you're an experienced angler and have used ultralight spinning reels before, then we would suggest looking for something a little higher-end if you have room in the budget.

Using an Ultralight Spinning Reel

Using an ultralight spinning reel will definitely feel a little strange at first, and if you keep your habits from a normal spinning reel, you may find it difficult to haul in larger fish. You're ultralight setup will limit you to a certain extent in that you likely won't land massive trophy fish, and keeping your tendencies from a conventional spinning reel may also provide some frustration when fighting a fish.

That being said, after a few cast you will definitely start to get the hang of it, and if you find a spot with an abundant amount of small fish, then you have the perfect practice water. Try going after the smaller fish first that are around the weight of your line or smaller. Then, as you begin learning hands-on how to play the fish with an ultralight setup, it will become increasingly fun with each cast!

For a great demonstration of using an ultralight setup in an area where most would probably elect for more conventional options, check out the video below. Matt Wettish provides some valuable info based on experience and also discusses his gear near the end of the video.