An ultralight fishing rod is very much what it sounds like – it’s very light weight.
However, it’s not just the rod that’s light. It’s designed to be used with very lightweight accessories too, including the reel, lures, and line.
Ultralight rods tend to be shorter than offshore rods, and are best suited for smaller bodies of water, such as ponds and lakes. Being short, you won’t be able to cast as far with an ultralight rod as you can with a longer model, but you should find that your placement is much more accurate.
Fishing with an ultralight rod is ideal for targeting smaller fish, and because this type of rod is much more sensitive, you’ll feel even very small fish biting. Because of this, a lot of ultralight rod users are convinced that this set up allows them to catch many more fish. It’s also a lot more fun!
With so many to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start looking for the best ultralight rod. To help you, we’ve created this guide to make the entire process much easier and also reviewed our five best ultralight fishing rods.
5 Things To Look For In An Ultralight Fishing Rod
To the unfamiliar eye, most ultralight fishing rods look pretty similar. But, if you delve a little deeper, you’ll soon see that there are lots of differences between makes and models.
The main things you need to consider when looking for the best ultralight rod are:
1. Action And Power
When discussing the characteristics of a fishing rod, action refers to how much the rod bends, while power refers to the lifting strength of the rod.
Ultralight rods take very little weight to make them bend, which is why they are best suited to targeting small fish. However, this also means that they bend sooner, so you’ll feel even a tiny fish nibbling on your line.
Most ultralight rods also have a low power rating. This combination of characteristics means that small fish can feel pretty big, adding a nice element of excitement to your fishing trips.
2. Rod Material: Carbon Fiber vs Graphite vs Fiberglass
There are three main materials used to make ultralight fishing rods. Those materials are:
The most lightweight of all the ultralight rod materials, carbon fiber is both strong and sensitive. It’s generally the most expensive option too. However, because they are so rugged and well-made, carbon fiber rods also tend to be the most durable and should last many years if properly looked after.
Though not as light as carbon fiber, graphite is arguably the most widely used material used to make ultralight fishing rods. Graphite is not as sensitive to weight and pressure as other materials, but it’s still light enough for ultralight fishing. Graphite rods tend to be very budget-friendly.
Heavier than graphite and carbon fiber, this is the least expensive material used to make ultralight fishing rods. Because it is heavier, it’s not quite as sensitive as the other materials. Still, it does tend to be very durable. Usually very budget-friendly, fiberglass ultralight fishing rods are perfect for beginners.
3. Grip Material: Cork vs EVA Foam
Most ultralight fishing rods use cork or EVA foam for their grips.
is light and non-slip and doesn’t tend to make your hands sweaty. It is also natural and long-lasting. Also, because it doesn’t distort or compress, it provides a very sensitive link between your hands and your rod, making it easier to feel small fish biting.
It’s Soft and comfortable but can leave your hands hot and slippery on warm days. Also, because this type of grip can compress, you may miss very small rod movements.
Ultimately, there is not much between cork and EVA foam grips. Both are light and comfortable. Your choice is a personal preference, so choose the one that feels best in your hands.
4. One vs Two-piece Rod
Ultralight rods are usually shorter than other types of rods and often come in one piece or two-pieces.
One-piece rods are generally the best for bending uniformly and are often more sensitive. However, despite being short, they can be hard to transport and store.
Two-piece rods can be broken down into sections, making them easier to transport. Still, the joins are an inherent point of weakness, and also affect the way the rod flexes.
Because ultralight rods rarely exceed six feet in length, and many are only 4 ½ to five feet long, you may not need one that breaks down into sections.
If you need a rod that you can transport in a compact car or even take on a plane with you, a two-piece rod maybe your best option.
Ultralight rods, because of their shorter length and lightweight construction, tend to be quite budget-friendly.
You can get a decent rod from anywhere between $20-$100. Cheaper rods are usually made from heavier materials and are not as strong or long-lasting. If an ultralight rod breaks, they are generally irreparable.
In contrast, a more expensive rod is less likely to break and will last longer. They also tend to be backed by more comprehensive guarantees.
Either way, make sure you have a budget in mind before you start your search for an ultralight fishing rod so that you can buy one that makes you happy without breaking the bank.
The 5 best ultralight fishing rods
Now you know enough about ultralight fishing rods, you should have no problem choosing the right one for your needs.
Still not sure which one to buy? No problem! Sit back and enjoy our review of the five best ultralight rods currently available.
We’ve tried, tested, and reviewed each one so that you can choose the right one for you.
1. Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod
Shakespeare has a well-deserved reputation for making high-quality but budget-friendly angling equipment. Their latest compact, ultra-light spinning rod is incredibly good value. It is a great fishing pole for SUP and kayak fishermen, and anyone looking for a reliable, durable, but lightweight rod.
- 5-feet length
- Light but durable two-piece graphite composite construction
- Stainless steel guides and inserts
- Twin cork handles
- Conventional reel seat with cushioned hoods
This ultra-light rod is ideal for use with lighter lines and lures. Sensitive and responsive, you’ll feel even small fish bite so you can strike at the perfect moment. At only five feet long, this rod is easy to cast from a paddleboard or kayak. Matched with a lightweight reel, this rod is ideal for beginners and more experienced anglers.
- Very budget-friendly
- Two-piece design for easy transport
- Comfortable, non-slip handles
- Available in other lengths
- Too flexible for some users
There is no need to spend a lot of money on a fishing pole; this ultra-light rod from Shakespeare is ideal for a variety of fishing situations, and buying one won’t break the bank. Very well-reviewed, this cheap light-action rod is an excellent product.
2. Eagle Claw Featherlight Spinning Rod
This Eagle Claw ultra-light spinning rod comes in eye-catching yellow and is made from fiberglass. It’s well priced and very popular with anglers of all ages and abilities. At six feet, it’s not as compact as some ultra-light rods. Still, it’s very easy to handle, and ideal for a range of conditions and is especially suited to freshwater fishing.
- 6-feet length
- Fiberglass construction
- Stainless steel guides
- Dual split cork handles
- Universal rod seat
Light and easy to use, this ultra-light rod provides excellent feel and fast response, so you’ll never miss a strike. The fiberglass construction makes for a very durable rod and is a great, cost-effective alternative to graphite.
- Two-piece design for easier transport and storage
- Very light and responsive
- Comfortable and easy to use
- Only available in one length
- Heavier than graphite rods
You get a lot of rod for your money with this Eagle Claw ultra-light spinning rod. It feels good in your hands and is reasonably light and responsive. Well-priced, this brightly colored rod is one of our favorites.
3. Shimano FXS 2 Piece Spinning Rod
The Shimano name is synonymous with high-quality angling gear. But, despite this reputation, their rods are often some of the most well-priced around. This ultra-light, two-piece five-footer is a joy to use, and it’s also a bargain!
- Two-piece aeroglass construction
- Reinforced aluminum oxide guides
- Custom reel seat
- Non -slip EVA handle grips
This rod looks and feels great. It’s comfortable, non-slip handles make it ideal for long days of fishing, and its ultralight power and fast action mean that it’s very sensitive and responsive too. The aluminum oxide guides ensure that every cast and retrieval will be super-smooth.
- Two-piece construction for easy transport and storage
- Light but strong
- Suitable for anglers of all ages and skill levels
- Too flexible for some users
As we’ve come to expect from Shimano, this rod is very well made. It should provide years of faithful service, is easy to transport, and is comfortable and easy to use. Sensitive but also very strong and flexible, this ultra-light rod is highly recommended.
4. Cadence Ultra-light Spinning rod
One of the main problems with ultra-light rods is that, in return for lots of flexibility and sensitivity, they are prone to breaking if you accidentally load them with too much weight. This Cadence ultra-light rod is just as sensitive as our other favorite fishing poles, but it’s much more durable and less likely to break.
- 5’ 6” length
- Two-piece, carbon matrix construction
- Twin cork and EVA handles
- Stainless steel guides with heat-dissipating SiC inserts
- Fuji reel seats
Ultra-light rods don’t come much stronger than this one. Despite being very flexible and responsive, this rod won’t break if you get snagged on a rock or catch something bigger than you expected. Very well-made, this is a premium product at a reasonable price.
- Very strong yet sensitive
- Comfortable, ergonomic handles
- Built to last
- Not the cheapest rod on review
While you can buy cheaper ultra-light rods, they are also more prone to breaking, and that means you’ll have to buy another, and another, and maybe another! With its carbon matrix construction, this ultra-light rod from Cadence is much more resistant to breakages, and so it should last for years.
5. KastKing Calamus Ultra-Light Rod
One-piece rods are more expensive and less portable than two and three-piece rods, but they tend to flex more uniformly and are more sensitive and responsive too. This ultra-light 4′ 6″ one-piece rod is not exactly cheap, but it’s one of the lightest, most durable, most sensitive rods you can buy.
- 4’ 6” one-piece graphite construction
- Titanium line guides
- Weighs just 2 ½ ounces
- EVA handle
- Ultra-light reel seats
- Fighting butt
This ultra-light, ultra-sensitive rod is as light as a feather. Made from the highest quality materials, it’s also very strong and won’t crack under pressure. Backed by a limited lifetime warranty, this rod is built to last, and last, and last!
- Attractive design
- Very light and easy to handle
- Perfect for long days of fishing
- Durable, rugged, high-quality construction
- Quite expensive
- Too flexible for some users
It’s rare to say that a fishing rod is exceptionally good looking. However, this one really is! But, it does more than just look good; it’s also delightful to use. Its strong but light construction means you’ll barely notice the weight, but it should also provide years of service. This rod is highly recommended.
Goin’ Ultra Light…
Buying the best ultralight fishing rod is not always an easy process. After all, there are a vast number of rods to choose from. Hopefully, this guide should help!
Ultra-light fishing can bring a new level of excitement to angling, and there are rods available to suit all budgets. Ultra-light rods give you increased line sensitivity, and that can help you catch more fish, and it also makes small fishes feel bigger.
Easy to handle and fun to use, it’s time to get yourself a great ultralight fishing rod.