If you are going for smaller fish and fishing in shallow waters, a small and lightweight fishing reel is definitely the way to. There are some really nice lightweight reels out there, but of course, there is a whole lot to choose from. The selection is so large that it can make finding the right one time consuming and a bit of a nightmare.
So we decided to put together this helpful buyers guide to save you some time and help you find the best ultralight spinning reel (the Ci4+ is our top pick). We have narrowed it down to 10 reels that we feel are the main contenders, here is why and a detailed summary of each;
Our Pick For Best Ultralight Spinning Reel
First let’s take a quick look at our top pick, the Ci4+.
Shimano Stradic Ci4+
First off, if a lightweight design is what you are after, then this particular option is absolutely an excellent one to keep in mind. This reel weighs only 5.6 ounces, which is about as lightweight as it gets. It certainly helps reduce fatigue a whole lot, and it helps create a well balanced spinning reel setup too. It’s a good model if you need something that is easy to transport.
Next, the Shimano Stradic Ci4+ does come with a fairly high quality drag system which is designed to last for a long time to come. Now, the maximum drag on this thing is only 7 pounds, which is not all that much of course, but then again, this is an ultralight reel, so this is to be expected. It’s not designed for super large or heavy fish.
This particular reel comes with a 6.0:1 gear ratio and has 6+1 ball bearings for some fairly smooth casting and retrieving. It can haul in 31 inches of line per handle rotation, so while you might not be able to fight big fish with it, you can certainly haul in the smaller guys with decent speed.
In terms of line capacity and line ratings, it cannot handle very heavy line. For example, it can handle up to 270 yards of 1 pound mono line or 95 yards of 10 pound braided line.
- Quality drag system.
- Fast retrieval rate.
- Super lightweight design.
- Fairly durable construction.
- Decent line capacity
- Cannot handle heavy line.
- Not designed for heavy duty fishing.
- Should not be used in saltwater.
How To Choose A Good Ultralight Reel
You obviously don’t want to waste a bunch of money on a reel that is not going to serve you as you need it to. So, here we have some important points to consider when it comes to choosing an ultralight spinning reel.
1. Drag System
One important aspect to consider here is the drag system. It’s an important component that stops fish from unwinding too much line while you are fighting them, but also helps to alleviate some pressure and stop your line from snapping.
A frame based drag system is fine if you need a lot of power and durability, but the spool based drag systems are much easier to adjust while you are in the middle of fighting a fish. The more drag your spinning reel has, the larger the fish it can fight.
However, do keep in mind that ultralight reels are not designed to fight really big fish, so they will usually top out at around 10 pounds of drag at most, if even that much.
2. Gear Ratio & Ball Bearings
Another important purchasing aspect to keep in mind before you make a final decision is what kind of gear ratio your ultralight spinning reel has. Generally speaking, the higher the gear ratio the faster the line retrieval rate is.
However, keep in mind that a higher gear ratio makes it harder to put increased amounts of pressure on the reel, and thus makes it hard to land larger fish. Ultralight spinning reels really are not designed to get big fish anyway, which means that they do usually come with a fairly high gear ratio.
At the end of the day, how fast you need the spinning reel in question to retrieve the line is up to you. You do also want to look for an ultralight spinning reel that has a decent amount of high quality ball bearings. The ball bearings will dictate how smooth casting and retrieval for the reel in question is.
3. Saltwater Resistance
Now, if you are going to be fishing in freshwater, then this particular section may not be very important for you. However, do keep in mind that even freshwater can cause spinning reels to corrode.
Therefore, having a high level of corrosion resistance can be quite important either way, but especially for saltwater fishing. For one, this means getting a spinning reel that has a corrosion resistant body. It also means that you should look for corrosion resistant ball bearings.
Most important of all, the bearing system, as well as the drag system, should all be sealed away so that water cannot get to them.
4. Construction Material
What your ultralight spinning rod’s body is made of is also very important to keep in mind. Generally speaking, here you have a choice of 2 materials, usually aluminum or graphite.
Now, aluminum tends to be the heavier of the two, and it can handle more pressure. However, if you want a spinning reel that is as lightweight as possible, you will want to look for one made primarily out of graphite.
Ultralight Spinning Reel Reviews
In case you are not a huge fan of our own top pick for whatever reason, we have picked out another 6 good options for you.
1. Pflueger President
The Pflueger President is a fairly lightweight spinning reel, coming in at just over 7 ounces, which is very light indeed. It should be more than lightweight enough to create a well balanced rod and reel combo, plus lightweight enough so it doesn’t cause fatigue either.
Now, just because it is lightweight does however not mean that it is not a durable fishing rod. It features a graphite body and rotor, along with other high quality components which should last for quite some time.
The ball bearings are made of stainless steel, and the drag system is properly sealed for a high level of corrosion resistance. It’s one of the more durable ultralight rods as far as we are concerned.
Although the drag system here is very durable and reliable, don’t expect it to fight any massive fish, as it is an ultralight reel designed for lighter use. The capacity for line is ideal for shorter distances and light duty fishing.
It can handle up to 80 yards of 6 pound mono line or 100 yards of 8 pound braided line, which is not fantastic, but still pretty decent for this kind of thing. The gear ratio here is 5.2:1, for a fairly fast retrieval rate.
- Decent line capacity for a small reel.
- Very lightweight and ergonomically designed.
- Corrosion resistant materials for saltwater use.
- High quality drag system.
- Fairly fast retrieval rate.
- Not ideal for heavy fish.
- Limited drag.
2. Shimano Sedona FI
What should be noted about the Shimano Sedona FI is that it comes in a variety of sizes including some really light and also very heavy options. Here we are focusing on the SE1000FI, which is the smallest model.
Coming in at just 6.3 ounces, the Shimano Sedona SE1000FI is the lightest in its class, at least when it comes to this line of spinning rods. Yeah, it’s very lightweight, so you barely have to carry any weight when fishing, plus it helps create a fairly well balanced setup too.
It even features what is called a G-Free Body, which helps to shift the center of gravity closer to your hands and the end of the rod, which definitely helps make life a bit easier.
This particular options features a gear ratio of 5.6:1, which here results in 27 inches of line retrieval per handle revolution. No, it’s not a super fast reel, but it is ideal for most basic fishing needs. It comes with 3+1 high quality stainless steel bearings, plus a propulsion management system, in order to increase casting distance and retrieval smoothness.
What is nice here is the double anodized machine cut spool, which helps to create a very compact spool that still manages to have decent line capacity. This reel can take up to 110 yards of 6 pound mono line or 65 yards of 20 pound braided line.
No, it cannot handle braided line very well, as it seems. All in all, while it’s not the highest quality ultralight rod out there, it still gets the job done.
- Allows for good balance.
- High quality components.
- Features a high tech propulsion management system.
- Great for mono line.
- Not ideal for heavy or braided line.
- Very limited drag.
3. KastKing Sharky Baitfeeder III
Here we have a fairly light fishing reel, although a bit heavier than most other reels which would be considered ultralight. On the other hand, it does have great line capacity and a high powered drag system, especially for such a small reel. Keep in mind that here we are focusing on the 3000 size option.
So, first off, the KastKing Sharky Baitfeeder III 3000 comes in at over 11 ounces, which is not the lightest in the world, although there are much heavier, even from the same line. For example, the 6000 weighs over 16 ounces.
No, it’s not the lightest reel out there, but still not the heaviest by far. That said, this little bit of extra weight does seem to add more durability and better features to the equation.
What is awesome about this thing is that it comes with a high quality carbon fiber drag system that can handle up to 26.5 pounds, which is significantly more than any other option we have looked at so far today.
Moreover, this thing can handle a fair amount of line, with it having a line capacity of 210 yards of 8 pound mono line or 210 yards of 30 pound braided line, which is quite impressive indeed. As you might be able to tell, this is one of the rare ultralight rods that can actually handle a decent size of fish.
The KastKing Sharky Baitfeeder III features a 5.1:1 gear ratio with 10+1 stainless steel ball bearings for long distance casting, smooth retrievals, and a decently fast retrieval speed. Keep in mind that the bearings and drag system here are both sealed to help with corrosion resistance.
All in all, we would say that this might just be the most durable option on our list today, especially thanks to the high quality reel body.
- Great drag system with high capacity.
- Large line capacity.
- Great bearing system.
- Saltwater ready.
- Superior durability.
- On the heavier side of things.
4. Okuma Ceymar
If you are on the hunt for a really basic ultralight spinning reel that is easy to use and ideal for small time fishing needs, the Okuma Ceymar spinning reel might be a good option for you to consider.
In terms of lightweight spinning reels, this is one of the lighter ones, as it comes in at just around 8 ounces. All things considered, this is pretty lightweight, so it shouldn’t cause you any problems in terms of balance or fatigue.
Now, there are various models to go with here, all of which are heavier and bigger than the C-10, but this is the lightest one. The Okuma Ceymar C-10 does have a nice multi disc oiled felt drag system, one that is easy to adjust and is quite durable too, although the maximum drag here is just 5 pounds, which is admittedly lightweight.
You won’t be able to haul in large fish with this thing, as it is designed for light duty fishing purposes. It does however come with an 8 bearing system, and the bearings are of a fairly high quality, so it’s quite durable indeed. Moreover, casting and retrieving your line with this option is quite smooth, and distance should not be much of a problem either.
This particular reel has a corrosion resistant body with a high quality handle. Now, you can technically use it for saltwater fishing, although we would not recommend it.
In terms of line capacity, this reel can handle up to 210 yards of 2 pound mono line or 70 yards of 6 pound mono line, which makes it fine for close distance fishing and for small fish. Keep in mind that braided line is not recommended here.
- Great for mono line.
- Very durable.
- Decent drag system.
- Fast retrieval with anti-reverse.
- Corrosion resistant.
- Very limited drag weight.
- Limited line capacity.
- Only good for very small fish.
5. Daiwa D-Spin
Something that really stands out about this particular ultralight spinning reel is the fact that it is made with a composite housing, it has been properly sealed, and is made with highly corrosion resistant materials.
When it comes to ultralight fishing rods and saltwater, this might just be the best option here on the list today. Speaking of the weight, the Daiwa D-Spin 500 weighs only 5.9 ounces, thus also making it one of the lightest options today. It’s more than lightweight enough to be comfortable and super portable too.
This spinning real features 1 single ball bearing, which is not great, but it is a high quality bearing, so casting and retrieval is fairly smooth and reliable. The gear ratio on this thing is 4.9:1, which results in a retrieval speed of 21.4 inches per handle turn. This is alright for small time fishing needs and if you are not too worried about a fast retrieval.
However, if you need something with a high drag setting, this might not be the way to go. Don’t get us wrong, because the drag system is high quality and reliable, but it just doesn’t go very high.
In terms of line capacity, the Daiwa D-Spin can handle up to 60 yards of 6 pound mono line or 100 yards of 8 pound braided line, which is fairly decent for something of this size.
- Decent line capacity.
- High quality ball bearing.
- Super lightweight.
- Great for small time fishing.
- Great for saltwater.
- Very limited drag.
- Takes a lot of force to close the bail.
6. Abu Garcia Revo X
In terms of durability, this is definitely one of the better options out there today. It’s made with all around high quality components and has been proven to stand the test of time.
Here you get a C6 carbon body, which is very durable, but also very lightweight. This particular reel weighs just over 8 ounces, which is not bad at all. Now, this thing can technically be used for saltwater fishing, as it is corrosion resistant, but it’s technically not sealed, so we would not recommend doing so.
The Abu Garcia Revo X does come with a high quality carbon matrix hybrid drag system which is quite smooth and reliable, although the maximum drag is not all that high.
What’s nice is the rocket line management system, which helps spool the line properly upon retrieval. The 6 stainless steel ball bearings definitely help keep things smooth here. No, the line capacity here is not huge, but it works fine for smaller fishing purposes.
- High quality drag system.
- Fairly durable design.
- Corrosion resistant.
- Fairly lightweight.
- Limited maximum drag.
- Not recommended for saltwater use.
When all has been said and done, the best option is the one which works for you and ticks your own boxes. Today we have provided you with everything you need to know in order to make the right choice for you. Before you make a purchase, always keep our main purchasing points in mind, so you don’t end up wasting money on something that doesn’t work for you.
Today we have shown you some really ultralight reels that are great for smaller fishing applications, as well as a couple slightly heavier ones with better drag performance and higher line capacities. Which one you choose is now in your hands.