Best Ultralight Spinning Reels

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Ultralight fishing involves using light tackle to catch fish. It is a great way to get started at fishing or to kill some time. You won’t pull any monster out. But, the experience will be equally exciting as the fish and gear are on the same level. 

Choosing the right ultralight spinning reel is no different from picking any piece of tackle. You have to take some time to search for options. Then, pick the one that best suits your needs. Fortunately for you, we’ve taken the time to review some of the best ultralight spinning reels on the market. Here you have them.

Quick Comparison

Gear ratioWeight (ounces)Size Drag (pounds)IPT
Piscifun Flame 5.2:18.5200013.225.2
SHIMANO Stradic FL6.0:16.5 and 9.91000 and 25007 and 2030 and 35
Okuma Helios5.0:16.2 and 7.0 2000 and 30006 and 1324.7 and 27.8
KastKing Brutus5.0:17.6 and 9.22000 and 300012 and 1321.3 and 22.4
KastKing Summer and Centro5.2:16.9 and  8.6500 and 20011 and 1219.7 and 24.4
Caden Elate5.2 and 6.2:16.9 and 8.41000 and 200011 and 1625 and 32
Abu Garcia Revo SX6.2:17.2 and 7.9 1000 and 200010 and 1125.2 and 28.7
Cadence CS5 Pro5.2:16.710002925
Piscifun Viper X5.2:15.4 and 6.0500 and 10008.8 and  2220.1 and 22.4
PLUSSINO lightweight5.2:18.520001224.4

Our Reviews: The 10 Best Ultralight Spinning Reels

Piscifun Flame: Best Ultralight Spinning Reel Under 50

Features: 

  • Graphite frame 
  • Braid-ready spool
  • Maximum drag (pounds): 13.2 
  • Available sizes: 2000
  • 9+1 bearings 
  • Weight (ounces): 8.5 
  • Gear ratio: 5.2:1
  • IPT: 25.2
  • Line capacity (Yards): Up to 400

The Piscifun Flame is an entry-level ultralight spinning reel. It comes at an affordable price. Plus, it packs several features that make it a good deal for the money. Beginners will be the ones who benefit the most from its purchase. 

The graphite body and aluminum handle keep the weight down without compromising power too much. Prove of that is the 19.8 pounds of drag that 5000 reel size offers. 

The braid-ready spool features aluminum construction. It is large enough to accommodate up to 400 yards of line, depending on the type and weight. Plus, the fast IPT of all sizes ensures a fast line retrieve. Great for working spinnerbaits and similar lures. 

Pros: 

  • Braid-ready spool 
  • Superb drag power for the price 
  • Decent line capacity with a fast retrieve 
  • Fairly smooth operation 

Cons: 

  • Although Piscifun advertises the 4000 and 5000 as ultralight saltwater spinning reels, we don’t believe that neither could handle the strain. 
  • Uneven drag operation 

SHIMANO Stradic FL: Best Ultralight Spinning Reel

Features: 

  • Metallic frame 
  • Carbon drag washers 
  • Maximum drag (pounds): 7 and 20
  • Available sizes: 1000 and 2500
  • 6+1 bearings 
  • Weight (ounces): 6.5 and 9.9
  • Gear ratio: 6.0:1
  • IPT: 30 and 35
  • Line capacity (Yards): Up to 270

The SHIMANO Stradic line of reels is legendary. The FL model proves that fact. The main drawback, however, is its price. 

But there is more to its reel that meets the eye. First, the metallic body increases overall strength. You won’t notice any flex regardless of the load. Still, the Stradic FL is pleasantly light. The smallest models (1000 and 2500) weigh less than 8 ounces. 

SHIMANO didn’t leave anything at chance. They packed an excellent carbon drag system, double-shielded ball bearings, Hagane gear, and water protection. What else do you need? 

The SHIMANO Stardic ultralight spinning reels work flawlessly with light lures since the center of gravity is close to the rod. 

Pros:

  • Ideal for casting light lures 
  • Saltwater resistant
  • Remarkably light
  • Smooth drag system
  • Large handle 

Cons:

  • Not the best option for deep-diving lures

Okuma Helios Lightweight Spinning Reel: Best for Saltwater

Features: 

  • Graphite frame 
  • Braid-ready spool
  • Maximum drag (pounds): 6 and 13
  • Available sizes: 2000 and 3000
  • 8+1 bearings 
  • Weight (ounces): 6.2 and 7.0
  • Gear ratio: 5.0:1
  • IPT: 24.7 and 27.8
  • Line capacity (Yards): Up to 240

The Okuma Helios is another option if you are looking to stay near the 100 dollars line. It features a light graphite frame and side plates with an aluminum spool.

Although it looks like any other spinning reel, it has some distinctive features. In the first place, it has a cyclonic flow rotor. Apparently, if water gets inside, it gets automatically purged with the spool movements. In other words, the Okuma Helios dries faster than other reels with regular rotors. 

Inside you have an aluminum main gear and a brass pinion gear. Plus nine stainless steel ball bearings! Hence, you can use the Okuma Helios for fresh and saltwater alike. 

Pros: 

  • Self-draining reel
  • Strong frame
  • Smooth drag washers 
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Oversized gears reduce play 
  • 1-year warranty

Cons:

  • Not fully sealed; sand can get inside it 
  • It is difficult to close the bail after a cast 

KastKing Brutus 2000 and 3000 Spinning Reels: Best for Beginners 

Features: 

  • Graphite frame and handle
  • Maximum drag (pounds): 12 and 13
  • Available sizes: 2000 and 3000
  • 4+1 bearings 
  • Weight (ounces): 7.6 and 9.2
  • Gear ratio:5.0:1 
  • IPT: 21.3 and 22.4
  • Line capacity (Yards): Up to 400

Are you looking for an ultralight spinning reel under 50 dollars? If so, make sure to check the KastKing Brutus. 

Before we begin, keep in mind the price tag. You can ask too much from a reel that retails around 25 dollars. Externally you get a graphite reel and handle with an aluminum spool. It has an impressive capacity, by the way.

A set of carbon drag washers delivers up to 13 pounds of fish stopping power. It is a little overkill for small fish. But it is a nice thing to have. 

The KastKing Brutus features a zinc alloy main gear and brass pinion gear. They work ok, nothing fancy. The same goes for the stainless steel bearings. Beware that they are not shielded. Keep it away from the sand!

Pros: 

  • Ideal for beginners 
  • Great line capacity 
  • Enough drag for small to medium-sized fish 

 Cons: 

  • The bail sometimes get stuck
  • The plastic knob comes loose after some time 
  • Uneven retrieve 

KastKing Summer and Centro Ultralight Spinning Reels: Best Value for Your Money

Features: 

  • Graphite frame 
  • Braid-ready spool
  • Maximum drag (pounds): 11 and 12
  • Available sizes: 500 and 2000
  • 9+1 bearings 
  • Weight (ounces): 6.9 and 8.6
  • Gear ratio: 5.2:1
  • IPT: 19.7 and 24.4
  • Line capacity (Yards): Up to 260

The Summer and Centron are other bestsellers, especially among beginners. You get a lot of value for so little. But you will certainly miss top-notch as you gain experience. 

The high-tensile graphite body keeps the weight down. However, the larger versions (4000 and 5000) are heavier than similar metallic reels. Here, we are just considering the smaller models as ultralight spinning reels. 

The stainless steel and woolen drag washers yield up to 12 pounds of stopping power. It is more than enough to fish for small fish like crappie. Make peace with the fact that the drag is not that smooth. 

The line sits on a CNC aluminum spool. It is not corrosion-resistant. Thus, don’t use either model for saltwater fishing.

Pros: 

  •  Great value for the money
  • Enough cranking power for small fish 
  • Braid-ready spool

Cons:

  • The gears are prone to get rust 
  • The bail is quite stiff 
  • Inconsistent reeling 

Cadence Elate

Features: 

  • Graphite frame 
  • Braid-ready spool
  • Maximum drag (pounds): 11 and 16
  • Available sizes: 1000 and 2000
  • 10+1 bearings 
  • Weight (ounces): 6.9 and 8.4
  • Gear ratio: 5.2 and 6.2:1
  • IPT: 25 to 32
  • Line capacity (Yards): Up to 165

The Cadence Elate is more than just looks. It has a long-lasting construction and performs well regardless of water type. Do you want to know the best thing? It retails for 50 bucks!

For one single Grant, you will get a feather-like graphite reel. The rotor, which also has a carbon fiber construction, moves a double anodized aluminum spool. It doesn’t have the most impressive capacity. But it is more than fine for small to medium-sized fish like bass, panfish, and crappie. Plus, it is braid-ready.  

The felt/carbon composite drag washers deliver plenty of power. The 1000 model, for instance, has an 11-pound drag. Again, more than enough for small fish. 

Pros:

  • Light frame 
  • Fast IPT
  • Ideal for working light lures 
  • Decent drag
  • Marine-proof

Cons: 

  • Although it has 10+1 bearings, the reel is not smooth 
  • Uneven line wrapping on the spool 

Abu Garcia Revo SX Spinning Reel: Runner-Up

Features: 

  • IMC6 carbon fiber frame 
  • Machined aluminum spool
  • Maximum drag (pounds): 10 and 11
  • Available sizes: 10 and 20
  • 8+1 stainless steel bearings 
  • Weight (ounces): 7.2 and 7.9
  • Gear ratio: 6.2:1
  • IPT: 25.2 to 28.7
  • Line capacity (Yards): Up to 180

If you fancy top-notch spinning reels, make sure to check Abu Garcia’s Revo SX. It is, hands down, one of the best ultralight fishing reels you can find today. 

It features an IMC5 carbon fiber body with a lightweight graphite rotor. As a result, even the largest models are pleasantly light. Hence, you can still use them for your ultralight spinning setup. 

The machined aluminum spool is braid-ready. The line management system and proprietary lip design guarantee an even line distribution and smooth transition. 

On the inside, you get a sturdy set of carbon drag washers capable of delivering up to 18.7 pounds of stopping power. Depending on the model, of course. Computer-designed gears, eight stainless steel ball bearings, and stainless steel main shaft promise a smooth operation. 

Pros:

  • The tailor-made gears reduce play
  • Comfortable handle 
  • Smooth spool operation
  • Quick anti-reverse 

Cons: 

  • Although it is smooth, it is bested by other reels of similar price.
  • It is quite hard to close the bail after casting 

Cadence CS5 Pro: Best Ultralight Spinning Reel Under 100

Features: 

  • Graphite frame 
  • Braid-ready spool
  • Maximum drag (pounds): 29
  • Available sizes: 1000
  • 8+1 stainless steel bearings 
  • Weight (ounces): 6.7
  • Gear ratio:5.2:1
  • IPT: 25
  • Line capacity (Yards): Up to 175

Here you have a strong candidate for the best ultralight spinning reel under 100 bucks. Let’s break the CS5 1000 down. 

Thanks to its carbon frame, it only weighs 6.7 ounces. But it offers up to 29 pounds of drag, more than enough power for any fish that you happen to hook. Corrosion resistance is another advantage of having a graphite reel. 

The internal components consist of an aluminum pinion gear, stainless steel main shaft, and eight steel ball bearings. All of them are resistant to corrosion. You can use the CS5 for any freshwater fish and small saltwater fish like redfish and speckled trout.  

Pros:

  • Braid-ready aluminum spool
  • Powerful drag
  • Saltwater resistant

Cons:

  • A little noise
  • There is some noticeable play

Piscifun Viper X Ultralight Spinning Reel: Highest Drag

Features: 

  • Graphite frame 
  • Maximum drag (pounds): 8.8 and 22
  • Available sizes: 500 and 1000
  • 10+1 bearings 
  • Weight (ounces): 5.4 and 6.0
  • Gear ratio: 5.2:1
  • IPT: 20.1 and 22.4
  • Line capacity (Yards): Up to 150

The Viper X is another option for the budget-conscious angler. It retails for around 40 bucks and packs some features that beginners will love. 

Starting with the light graphite frame and rotor with CNC machined aluminum spool. The reel is braid-ready. Thus, no need for monofilament backing. You can wrap up to 150 yards of line, depending on weight. Still, it is sufficient for ultralight spinning setups. 

Inside the reel, we find ten double-shielded ball bearings, anti-corrosion zinc alloy drive gear, stainless steel main shaft, and multi-disk carbon drag washers. The drag system, as well as the bearings, are water-tight. Hence, decreasing the chances for the reel to get corroded. 

Pros: 

  • Great value for your money
  • Smooth and consistent drag
  • Decent casting distance 

Cons: 

  • Retrieve is not as smooth as casting 
  • Imprecise drag dial 

PLUSINNO Lightweight Fishing Reel

Features: 

  • Graphite frame 
  • Braid-ready spool
  • Maximum drag (pounds): 12
  • Available sizes: 2000
  • 9+1 bearings 
  • Weight (ounces): 8.5
  • Gear ratio: 5.2:1
  • IPT: 24.4

Are you looking for an ultralight reel under 25 bucks? If so, make sure to check this PLUSINNO ultralight fishing reel. 

As expected, the reel features a graphite frame with a braid-ready CNC aluminum spool. Beginners will benefit the most from this reel since there is no need for a monofilament backing. Plus, the anti-twist line roller decreases the chance of line tangles. 

Nine stainless steel ball bearings are responsible for keeping the reel running smoothly. Don’t use the reel on saltwater. Sand and saltwater will get inside the bearings and render them useless. 

Three carbon fiber washers deliver up to 12 pounds of power. However, you might notice some jerks every now and then. But it doesn’t get any better at this price point. 

Pros:

  • It comes with a line holder
  • Decent drag for small fish 
  • Flawlessly bail operation
  • The large collapsible handle gives more cranking power

Cons:

  • Not for saltwater
  • Flimsy drag dial 

More Reviews 

Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel

Features: 

  • Graphite frame 
  • 2-tone anodized aluminum spool
  • Oiled felt drag washers
  • Maximum drag (pounds): 6.6 and 15.4
  • Available sizes: 10, 20 and 25
  • 7+1 bearings 
  • Weight (ounces): From 6.0 to 8.0
  • Gear ratio: 5.0:1
  • IPT: 21.8 to 25.8

Affordability and performance, that’s what you get with the Okuma Ceymar. There are several sizes available. But we will stay with the 10, 20, and 25 as these are the lightest models. All three are ideal for fish like sunfish, small perch, trout, and bluegill. 

There is a lot of power beneath the Ceymar hood. Felt drag washers, elliptical gears for friction reduction, seven stainless steel ball bearings will give you the edge against fish. Still, the spinning reel is delicate enough, so you don’t hurt the fish. 

The Ceymar also features a cyclonic flow rotor that speeds drying time. Thus, preventing corrosion and increasing durability. 

Pros: 

  • The cyclonic rotor helps speeds drying time 
  • The 10 and 20 sizes are remarkably light
  • Smooth and steady operation 

Cons: 

  • Felt drag is not as smooth as carbon fiber 
  • The reel is smaller than the advertised size 

Daiwa BG Lightweight Spinning Reel

Features: 

  • Anodized aluminum frame 
  • Maximum drag (pounds): 4.4
  • Available sizes: 1500 and 2000
  • 6+1 bearings 
  • Weight (ounces): From 6.0 to 8.0
  • Gear ratio: 5.6:1
  • IPT: 28.3 and 29.5
  • Line capacity (Yards): Up to 155

To close this 12 best ultralight spinning reels review, we bring the Daiwa BG. It features an aluminum frame. As a result, the reel is heavier than the average. 

The sealed drag system is the most appealing feature of this reel. Neither sand nor water will mess with the drag washers, resulting in an even and consistent operation no matter what. Additionally, the ATD proprietary technology guarantees proper disc lubrication.

Daiwa used computer software to carefully create each gear. Hence, reducing play and increasing durability. You will notice its buttery smooth performance right out of the box. 

Pros: 

  • Strong aluminum frame 
  • Braid-ready spool
  • Superb line capacity
  • Corrosion-resistant built 
  • Smooth and powerful drag

Cons: 

  • Heavier than most equivalent reels
  • This bail wire 

Best Ultralight Spinning Reel: SHIMANO Stradic FL

As it could be otherwise, the Stradic FL by SHIMANO is our winner. Yes, it is the most expensive reel on this list. However, it is a life-time investment. 

The shifted center of gravity and double supported gears means that the Stradic FL is perfect for casting extremely light lures. There is almost no noticeable friction.

In addition, the Hagane body is capable of handling anything you throw at it. It works better than regular aluminum and graphite. The bearings have a shield on either side. Something that neither of the other reels on this list have.  

All You Need to Know About Ultralight Spinning Reels

Knowing the basics about spinning reels is crucial when searching for the best ultralight spinning reel. You must make sure that the product has what you need. However, finding the right reel is a challenge, as there are so many options. 

But rest assured. We’ve taken the time to make a comprehensive buyers guide. Here you will find everything you need to make an educated decision. So, let’s cut to the chase. 

What is Ultralight Fishing?

Before talking in-depth about ultralight spinning reels, let’s take some time to understand what ultralight fishing is. 

As the name suggests, ultralight fishing is the art of catching fish using light gear. That is an ultralight rod, reels, lures, and thin lines. Here spinning reels are the prime choice, as baitcasters are not compatible with light lines and lures. 

An ultralight fishing setup is ideal for catching small fish such as trout, panfish, bluegill, and bass. Here, finesse and natural presentation are more important than raw power. 

What Reel Size is Best for Ultralight Fishing?

Usually, spinning reels come in a wide variety of sizes ranging from 500 to 5000. You might be wondering. What is the difference between them? A bigger spinning reel, say a 5000, is compatible with thicker lines. Plus, you can wrap more yards of fishing line on the spool and have more drag than a 4000 spinning reel. However, it is heavier than the latter.

For ultralight fishing, I recommend anything from 500 to 2000. 

Materials of Construction

Built quality has a direct influence on performance. Therefore, you should pay close attention to it. Normally, A  better built, also means a much more expensive product. 

Graphite, anodized and regular aluminum, brass, and stainless steel are the most common materials used for ultralight spinning reels construction.

Most ultralight spinning reels have an aluminum or graphite frame. Aluminum is stronger, less flexible, and a bit heavier than graphite. Thus, the reel will be able to withstand more tension without flexing. 

In contrast, graphite spinning reels are lighter but more fragile than aluminum. However, they can cope with saltwater without additional protection. 

Ultralight Spinning Reel Drag

Drag will always play an important role, regardless of the reel-type and size. For ultralight applications, anything between 5 to 15 pounds will get the job done. Everything seems nice. But, what’s the drag? 

The drag is the minimum amount of pressure the fish has to apply to take the line out of the spool. Hence, 10 pounds of drag means that the fish must apply 10-pounds of pressure. In time, the fish will get tired, and you can reel it without too much trouble. 

Keep in mind that you must always set the drag according to the line’s test strength. The line will snap if you don’t do it. Like ultralight fishing involves using singularly thin lines, setting the drag right is crucial.

If you are using a 6-pound test line, you should use a 1 to 2-pound drag. This way, you can work the fish without worrying about the line. 

Gear Ratio 

The gear ratio shows how many times the spool spins each time you turn the handle. It comes as an X:1 ratio, where X is the number of spool revolutions. 

High ratios mean that you can work the lure faster. Hence, such reels are ideal for working buzz baits, spinnerbaits, and similar lures. Alternatively, slow ratios are more suitable for slower ones. 

Ultralight Spinning Reel Line Capacity

Spool size and line’s test strength dictate how many yards of line you put in the reel. As you might expect, bigger reels have larger spools. Hence, more line capacity. 

How thick the line also affects line capacity. Slimmer lines take less space; thereby, you can wrap more yards of line. 

Typically ultralight fishing doesn’t require too much line. With a 170 yard reel, you will be more than fine. 

Ball Bearings 

The bearings play a vital role in reel operation. They reduce friction and transfer movement from one place to another. Therefore, a faulty ball bearing will make the reel less smooth. 

Most spinning reels feature stainless steel ball bearings with or without a shield. Try to always go for shielded ball bearings as they are less likely to get damaged by sand or saltwater. 

Keep in mind that more bearings do not always translate into great performance. For example, SHIMANO uses fewer ball bearings than other brands like Piscifun and KastKing and still manages to have a smoother operation.

Fresh Vs Saltwater Ultralight Spinning Reels

Not all fishing reels are suitable for saltwater fishing. That’s why I don’t recommend using a freshwater reel for saltwater angling. It will get corroded in a blink of an eye.

Therefore, if you are thinking of using your ultralight spinning reel on saltwater, make sure that it has a sealed interior. Shielded ball bearings are also a must. Additionally, any aluminum should have a protective coating against corrosion. Only with this setup, you can confidently fish on saltwater. 

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Hi! I’m Steven!

I am an avid life long fisherman, having caught over 25,000 fish over the years. My life-long passion for fishing began when my father taught me how to fish at the age of ten. I started luremefish.com to share my extensive knowledge of all things fishing.

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