Time to Boost Your Angling Game: Here Are the 10 Best Ultralight Spinning Reels

by | Dec 21, 2020

There’s plenty of options available to those looking for a great spinning reel. Many anglers looking at spinning reels are after one that is lightweight, easy to use, and one that’s easy on the budget.

In this guide, we’ll show you ten of the best ultralight spinning reels that you can get your hands on.

At A Glance: Our Top 5 Best Ultralight Spinning Reels Of 2021

 

The Best Fishing Reel: Penn Battle II 

The Penn Battle II  is a durable high-range spinning reel ideal for conquering big saltwater gamefish. The reel has a full-metal body, side plate, and rotor. This does make the reel slightly heavier than other reels, but the weight does make sure that the reel doesn’t flex under the weight of a heavy fish.

The reel is an affordable spinning reel and likely to last you for years to come as long as you take care of it.

PENN 1338215 Battle II 1000 Spinning Fishing Reel
180 Reviews
PENN 1338215 Battle II 1000 Spinning Fishing Reel
  • Durable, high range spinning reel ideal for conquering big saltwater game fish
  • Full metal body, sideplate, and rotor and heavy duty aluminum bail wire offer exceptional durability
  • HT 100 carbon fiber drag system provides a powerful drag without sacrificing smoothness
  • Fluid cranking with 5 sealed stainless steel ball bearings and instant anti reverse bearing
  • Superline spool requires no backing, is braid ready, and has line capacity rings marked at 1/3, 2/3, and full capacity

The reel features line capacity rings, which are visual lines on the spool, which indicates how much line is on the spool. This is useful in ensuring you put the correct amount of line on your reel. The rings are also a great indicator to see how much line is out when you’re trolling, drifting, and long casting.

The HT 100 drag system utilizes keyed carbon washers in place of the traditional felt washers, and these washers will lengthen the lifespan of the reel and provide a very smooth non-jerky drag when under load from a retreating fish. The quality of the paint on the reel is high, and the reel is protected against saltwater stray and chemicals, which protects the reel against corrosion.

The reel itself is offered in eight different sizes, the smallest being a 100 and the largest being 8000. All of the reels would be considered to have a medium-high gear ratio with the 1000 model starting up at 5.2:1 up to the largest 8000 model, which offers a 6.2:1.

Although the reel might feel quite heavy when you’re using it, it really is a high-quality reel that will last a long time if you care for it correctly.

 

The Best Freshwater Spinning Reel: Pflueger 

The Pflueger president spinning fishing reel  comes with a seven bearing system corrosion-resistant stainless steel ball bearings. The reel has a graphite body and rotor lightweight graphite reel construction.

This reel has been re-engineered and updated to enhance its components and performance. The innovative design of the reel makes it stand out among other reels in its class. This reel is great if you’re looking for a good bass fishing reel.

Pflueger PRESSP20B President Spinning Fishing Reel
2,211 Reviews
Pflueger PRESSP20B President Spinning Fishing Reel
  • 7 bearing System corrosion resistant stainless steel ball bearings
  • Graphite body and rotor lightweight graphite reel construction.Braid ready spool allows Braid to be tied directly to spool
  • Sealed Drag System Sealed drag washers, always lubricated, always smooth.Slow oscillation gearing improves line lay and minimizes line twist
  • The “B” at the end of the model number represents the type of packaging (B= Claim, X= Box) and does not affect any of the specifications of the product

This reel is very light, which makes it easy and comfortable to use. The size of the reel doesn’t compromise it’s performance even when you’re catching large fish. The reel has a smooth drag system that features a stainless steel, oiled washer.

The reel contains a fixed spool, which makes it easier to cast, and the fishing reel has a good length when it’s cast. The corrosion-resistant stainless steel ball bearings provide a very smooth retrieve. The sealed bearing system is not sealed, so make sure you rinse your reel every time in saltwater. The braid ready spool is made out of solid aluminum and is ported.

The spool allows the braid to be directly tied to the spool. This is achieved by using a series of vertical rubber grommets that allow the slippery braid to grip the spool and not have mono backing. A limited one year warranty backs the reel, so your covered should anything go wrong with the reel.

 

The Best Spinning Reel Under $50: Abu Garcia 

The Abu Garcia  max low profile baitcasting fishing reel, has a lightweight design with a one-piece graphite frame and side plates. This reel is lighter than some of the more expensive reels on the market, weighing just 7.3 ounces.

The reel feels very solid and has little flex or wriggle room. The grips on the reel are very comfortable and provide great grip when you’re fishing, which is particularly important, especially when catching big fish.

Save $4.32
Abu Garcia 1365366 Black Max Low Profile Reel, 6.4: 1 Gear Ratio, 5 Bearings, 26' Retrieve Rate, 18Lb Max Drag, RH, Boxed
3,274 Reviews
Abu Garcia 1365366 Black Max Low Profile Reel, 6.4: 1 Gear Ratio, 5 Bearings, 26" Retrieve Rate, 18Lb Max Drag, RH, Boxed
  • Lightweight design with one piece graphite frame and side plates
  • 4 stainless steel ball bearings
  • Clear tip design for strength and sensitivity
  • MagTrax brake system boosts range and accuracy of casts
  • Compact bent handle and recessed reel provide an ergonomic grip

The five stainless steel bearing system is very suitable for a day on the water, it’s not totally smooth but does work well enough. This reel is a great option for someone looking to learn how to use a baitcaster; the reel has plenty of castability to facilitate long casts.

A reel built from graphite will usually be light, but can come at the expense of structural rigidity of the reel casting.

The spool on this reel is made from machines aluminum and spools very smoothly. The magnetic brake system marks the casting is good and is especially forgiving for a beginner. The reel has a 6:4:1 gear ratio, a lightweight frame and body, a MagTrax brake system, and a 1-year limited warranty.

 

The Best Spinning Reel Under $100: Daiwa 

For a solid black anodized machined aluminum spinning reel, look no further than

the Daiwa Bg Spinning reel.  The reel features a solid screw-in handle, air rotor, and a dynamic cut aluminum ABS spool. The reel comes in 10 models and three gear ratios ranging from 1500 all the way to 8000. The great range this reel comes, in means you’ll be able to find the right size reel for all your fishing needs

This reel features many of the Daiwa features that are typically found on higher-end models. The anodized finish provides a solid protective layer over the aluminum housing and the carbon ATD drag system that is waterproof.

It’s worth noting that while the ATD drag system is waterproof, the whole reel is not. Although it has a good amount of water protection, the reel shouldn’t be dunked in water.

Daiwa BG Saltwater Medium/Xtra Heavy Spinning Reel, Black/Gold - BG3000
2,134 Reviews
Daiwa BG Saltwater Medium/Xtra Heavy Spinning Reel, Black/Gold - BG3000
  • Black Anodized Machined Aluminum Housing ("Hard Bodyz" Body & Side Cover), Over-sized Digigear (Digigear System)
  • Solid Screw-In Handle, Air Rotor, Dynamic Cut Aluminum ABS Spool
  • Braided Line Ready Spool, Waterproof Drag System, Carbon ATD, Line Per Handle Turn: 37.4"
  • Manual Return Bail (4500 and Larger), 6BB+1RB, Gear Ratio: 5.6:1, Drag Max:15.4
  • Line Capacity (Lb. Test / Yards): 8/240, 10/200, 12/170 J-BRAID: 15/280, 20/240, 30/190

The air rotor design gives the reel a good level of balance and does a good job of distributing the stress across the entire reel and is around 15% lighter than a conventional rotor design. The Dynamic Cut Aluminum ABS Spool gives the reel a good level of castability and the Daiwa is able to accomplish smooth line loading with its aluminum spool.

We noticed the reel has a very smooth feel and a smooth grip and is fitted with seven stainless steel ball bearings, which are all anti-rust bearings, but they are not shielded from water protection as you’d find in some higher-end Daiwa reels.

It’s also worth noting that on the models 1500-4000, you’ll find an infinite anti-reverse system that will eliminate any back play when the hook is set. It should be noted that this feature isn’t available on the larger models of the reel.

 

The Best Saltwater Reel: KastKing Royale Legend 

If you’re looking for a great beginner baitcasting reel, the KastKing Royale Legend  could be the reel for you. This 1st generation royale legend baitcasting reel is fitted with one of the best dual brake systems. The reel is easy to fine-tune with a reliable centrifugal and magnetic brake system, which allows for greater casting control.

The Royale Legend has a bigger bait casting than other similar reels, and it’s a good fit if you need to have numerous lines on your reel. The reel comes with 12 ball bearings, which give smooth casting and long life. The ball bearings are corrosion resistant, which means you won’t have to worry about replacing the ball bearings every few months, and a sling as you take care of them they will last a long time.

KastKing Royale Legend High Speed Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel
5,023 Reviews
KastKing Royale Legend High Speed Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel
  • ​THE KASTKING ROYALE FAMILY - Select a low profile versatile KastKing Royale Legend 7.0:1 or WhiteMax 5.3:1 Low Gear Ratio baitcaster, and match it to a peak performance carbon graphite KastKing...
  • UNMATCHED - Precision cut brass gear structure and carbon fiber drag system delivering 17.5LBs/ 8KG of drag offer the ultimate in a high performance low maintenance baitcasting reel package.
  • PROVEN - We use only the highest quality, anti-corrosion shielded ball bearings to produce the smoothest, quietest casting reel you’ve ever held in your hand. These 11 ball bearings combined with...
  • TOURNAMENT READY - Experts and pro anglers will appreciate the multi-level, dual brake system for fine tuning and obtaining the longest possible casts. Anglers new to casting reels will rely on the...
  • Performance Defined - Only the finest components are used to deliver professional level performance. Hard forged brass, aircraft grade aluminum spool, high grade comfortable EVA knobs and braid...

The Royale Legend features a brass gear structure and carbon fiber drag system that provides 17.5 pounds of drag. This fiber drag system means you can pull in large fish without much strain or tension. The reel’s spool is CNC-machined, which is one of the reasons that the reel is particularly lightweight. The reel is suitable for different types of fishing, including trout fishing, bass fishing, and ice fishing.

While this reel is high-quality, there are a couple of issues to note with it. The bearings did require some oiling, which is important to be aware of if you’re going to use the Royale Legend. If you’re unfamiliar with baitcasting reels, it may take some time to work out how to properly dismantle a reel, so be sure to seek professional guidance if you’re unsure how to dismantle the reel.

 

The Best Budget Spinning Reel: Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 

If you’re looking for a combined fishing rod and reel combo ideal for anglers of all skill levels, then the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2  could be for you. The rod/reel is made from graphite and fiberglass, which offers lightweight durability and sensitivity.

The clear tip design also gives this reel added responsiveness and strength. The reel features three different ball bearings, which allows for the right amount of weight to be used and allows the weight to be changed quickly.

Ugly Stik USSP502L/2SC GX2 Spinning Combo, 5'
214 Reviews
Ugly Stik USSP502L/2SC GX2 Spinning Combo, 5'
  • Ugly StikGX2 spinning rod
  • 3 ball bearings plus one way clutch instant anti reverse bearing for smoother gear feel and instant hook sets
  • Machined double anodized aluminum spool with oversized bail wire for improved durability
  • Compression bail springs to increase reel life span
  • 5' Light 1 piece Spinning Combo

The three ball bearings also ensure smooth operation when using the reel, casting, or trying to bring in a heavy fish.

The rod comes in a 5:21 ratio and is very flexible, which makes it suitable for a wide variety of fishing. The rod felt more flexible than many other reels in its range. This rod/reel combo is great for the new angler; it’s easy to use, flexible, and a well-recommended purchase.

 

The Best Freshwater Spinning Reel: Okuma 

The Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel  contains a multi-disc, oiled drag system which gives you control over the size of fish you want to catch. The Okuma comes in sizes ranging from C-10 all the way to C-65. The C-10 is the smallest Ceymar in the family perfect for 2- to 6-pound test fishing line. This size line is great for fishing trout, crappie, bluegill, sunfish and small perch.

The intermediate C-30, C-40 sizes will be suitable for the majority of anglers and are great for walleye, steelhead, carp, catfish and more. The 30 size is better for finesse applications like drop-shotting bass or jiggling walleye with a 6- to 8-pound line. C-55’s are great for inshore saltwater fishing while the C-65 is better for pier, jetty and big water fishing.

okuma Reels Ceymar Spinning 6Bb+1Rb 5.0:1
1,976 Reviews
okuma Reels Ceymar Spinning 6Bb+1Rb 5.0:1
  • Multi-disc, oiled felt drag system
  • Quick-Set anti-reverse roller bearing
  • Precision machine cut brass pinion gear
  • Corrosion-resistant graphite body
  • Rigid, forged zinc, black anodized handle design

The Okuma has a very sleek design and smooth performance which gives anglers of all abilities a great experience. The reel is constructed on a fluid 8-bear driving system and features elliptical gearing. The heavy-duty aluminum bail wire and oversized line roller delivers confident performance over a long period of time. The forged aluminum handle offers complete control to the angler.

The blade body design is refined and compact and reduces bulk and minimizes the overall size of the spinning reel, giving anglers more room to concentrate on the fish they’re catching. Okuma do recommend that you have the reel serviced regularly to make sure it stays in working condition.

 

The Best Saltwater Spinning Reel Under $100: Abu Garcia Pro 

The Abu Garcia Pro  is fitted with a one piece graphite frame and graphite side plates. The reel is built with eight stainless steel ball bearings and a power disk drag system. This baitcaster is one of the most popular baitcasters on the market.

The reason for its popularity is the excellent high-speed performance with an affordable price tag. The fishing reel is compact and lightweight that fit naturally in the palm of your hand.

Save $9.99
Abu Garcia Pro Max & Max Pro Low Profile Baitcast Fishing Reel
1,547 Reviews
Abu Garcia Pro Max & Max Pro Low Profile Baitcast Fishing Reel
  • One piece graphite frame and graphite site plates
  • 7 stainless steel ball bearings + 1 roller bearing
  • Clear Tip design delivers added responsiveness and strength
  • Duragear brass gear
  • MagTrax brake system

You won’t feel fatigue in your hands when using this reel and that makes a big difference for high-speed retrievals. The bent double arm handle and start drag sit close to the reel and are easy to manipulate and the paddle boat grips give you a fantastic hold in less than ideal conditions.

The brake adjustment is located on the opposite side plate which adjustments can easily be made for the cast. The features and adjustment points of this reel are easy to use and make the reel very comfortable with most types of fishing. The reel has good cranking power and the high gear ratio means a decrease in the amount of power it’s able to generate.

The Abu Garcia Pro Max has the feel and performance of a high-quality fishing reel. The casting performance and the fast retrieval performance is perfect for a lot of freshwater applications. The reel feels comfortable in your hands and you can use it for hours at a time without your hands fatiguing.

 

The Best Shimano Reel: Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 

Shimano's Stradic Ci4+ Reel  utilizes Shimano’s latest technology while also drawing on ways of the past, and every part has been designed to improve the angler’s experience on the water.

The Shimano has x-ship technology that provides improved gear durability and eliminates friction between the spool shaft and gear, enhancing the casting performance that allows for longer casts.

SHIMANO Stradic CI4 1000FB HG Freshwater Spinning Reel
442 Reviews
SHIMANO Stradic CI4 1000FB HG Freshwater Spinning Reel
  • The stradic spinning reel utilizes shimano's latest technology while also drawing on ways of the past and every part has been designed to improve the angler's experience on the water
  • X-ship technology provides improved gear durability and eliminates friction between the spool shaft and gear enhancing the casting performance and allowing for longer casts
  • Incorporates shimano's flagship hagane gearing and hagane body that provides long-lasting; strong; and durable performance and smoothness giving anglers the strength for both inshore and offshore...
  • The built-in dyna-balance rotor and fluidrive ii system accompanied by shimano's propulsion line management system offers exceptional smoothness and casting capabilities while mitigating line...
  • Max drag: 7 lbs. / gear ratio: 6.0:1. / weight: 5.6 oz. / line retrieve: 31" / bearings: 6bb + 1rb – powerpro line cap: 10/95; 15/85; 20/65 – mono line cap: 2/270; 4/140; 6/110

The reel is very lightweight thanks to the carbon fiber body (it weighs just 190 grams), this keeps the reel very smooth while maintaining plenty of drag power. This is particularly important if you plan on using artificial lures as the lightweight nature of the reel makes a difference.

The spools provide increased strength and durability over diecast aluminum or graphite spools. The reel is very smooth when you cast it out or when you’re under pressure from a lure of a fish. We really liked the drag knob on this reel, the design is excellent and one of the best in the business for a reel this size.

Overall, the body of the Ci4+ and rotor provide a light reel that will complement any rod and the Hagane cold forged gearing and G Free Body provide ultra-smooth operation. This reel is an affordable, quality product and you can find it in sizes 1000, 2500, 3000 and 4000.

 

Best Spinning Reel For Bass: KastKing Rover 

For a colorful, tough-looking baitcasting reel, look no further than the KastKing Rover. 

This reel by KastKing is constructed with a superior carbon fiber drag system than other models. This model now offers up to 30 lb of smooth drag to give you a smooth fishing experience. This reel is perfect for trolling, bottom fishing, and other techniques used in freshwater and saltwater fishing.

KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel, Right Handed Fishing Reel,Rover80
3,037 Reviews
KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel, Right Handed Fishing Reel,Rover80
  • BULLET PROOF - The hot Rover reel just became hotter. The KastKing Rover round baitcasting reel has been reinforced with thicker hard anodized aluminum side plates, CNC machined spool, precision cut...
  • MORE POWERFUL - You will love the stronger, more powerful KastKing Rover round baitcasting reel with a superior carbon fiber drag system. With its newly designed “Cymbal Washer” System, KastKing...
  • SUPER SMOOTH - KastKing Rover reels have premium MaxiDur double shielded stainless steel ball bearings (6 + 1 BBs on Size 40-60, 4 + 1 BBs on 70 - 90) for smooth operation.
  • VERSATILE - KastKing Rover is a perfect conventional reel for trolling, bottom fishing, and other techniques used in freshwater and saltwater (Size 40 – 60 with 2-pin centrifugal brake that is good...
  • FISH INTO THE FUTURE - KastKing Rover conventional reels are built with functionality, quality, and are built to last. KastKing Rover Series deliver fantastic design, power, and performance at an...

The KastKing Rover has premium MaxiDur double-shielded stainless steel ball bearings fitted within them for smooth operation. The red side plates are fully anodized and stainless steel internal components. Combined, these provide the reel with excellent corrosion resistance even if you’re fishing in saltwater.

This reel has a fairly large line capacity and can easily handle enough monofilament or braided fishing line. If you’re searching for an affordable reel the KastKing is a great option, it’s tough, looks good and is smooth when in use.

 

Why Use an Ultralight Reel?

Ultralight reels are one of the newest types of angling inventions and innovations. Ultralight spinning reels have extended the fun to catch fish and made it more of a plain-sailing task. The good thing about ultralight reels is that they are accessible to the amateur angler and those just getting into fishing.

Ultralight fishing reels are usually aimed at catching small panfish species of fish, but they can also be used to attract larger fish species. Most ultralight spinning reels can be used in fresh and saltwater, so they’re good for many different types of fishing.

 

What Materials Are Ultralight Reels Made Of?

Most ultralight reels have plastic or graphite bodies. The good thing about reels being made from these materials is that the gear is protected. With the reels being made from high-quality materials it gives them the opportunity to not flex under pressure and stress, particularly if the angler has caught a big fish.

 

What Gear Ratios Do Ultralight Reels Have?

Gear ratios determine the speed at which a reel picks up line. The ideal gear configuration ratio is around 5:1. Aa lot of spinning reels feature a gear ratio of 5:2:1 to 6:2:1. A lot of the reels we looked at are available in different gear ratios, so take some time to decide which is best for you.

 

Spool Size

The size of the spool affects the line retrieval speed of a reel. Ultralight reels have specific limit of size of the spool that usually can hold around 100-125 yards of 4lb monofilament. The larger a spool is, the more it can hold line and more it can lay down line quickly, so keep an eye on the size and material of the spool on the reel that your buying.

 

Quality Drag

Spinning reels usually offer one of two drag systems One is either mounted at the end of the tail, behind the reel or on the front of the spool. It’s worth keeping an eye on the type of drag system the reel your buying has; this may require the help of a professional if you’re unsure.

Rear drag systems are easy to access, but mechanically complicated, front drag systems are tougher and more reliable, but can be harder to access while fishing. Sealed drag systems are generally waterproofed but are more expensive than rear and front drag systems.

 

How to Choose a Good Ultralight Reel?

As we’ve already mentioned, keep an eye on the drag system, the spool size and the gear ratio of the reel. The good thing about ultralight reels is that they are usually very affordable. As you can see from the reels we reviewed you can pick up a high-quality one for between $50-$100.

It’s also worth looking at what material the reel is made from. Different parts of the reel are usually made from graphite/plastic and aluminum. Most reels are tough, built to last, and are great for most types of angler.

If you’re new to fishing, an ultralight reel is a great option. Most reels come in a range of sizes, so you can get one which is comfortable for you. Usually, the higher-priced reels are of higher quality, but it’s great that ultralight reels are affordable for anglers of all levels.

For a reel that ticks all the boxes and is a great for both freshwater and saltwater fishing, look no further than the Penn Battle II.  This reel comes in at under $100, so it isn’t too expensive or hard on the budget.

It’s also worth considering what types of fishing you’ll be carrying out before buying a reel, once you’ve worked out your budget, the type of fishing you’ll be carrying out, then your well on your way to finding an ultralight spinning reel that is right for you.

PENN 1338215 Battle II 1000 Spinning Fishing Reel
180 Reviews
PENN 1338215 Battle II 1000 Spinning Fishing Reel
  • Durable, high range spinning reel ideal for conquering big saltwater game fish
  • Full metal body, sideplate, and rotor and heavy duty aluminum bail wire offer exceptional durability
  • HT 100 carbon fiber drag system provides a powerful drag without sacrificing smoothness
  • Fluid cranking with 5 sealed stainless steel ball bearings and instant anti reverse bearing
  • Superline spool requires no backing, is braid ready, and has line capacity rings marked at 1/3, 2/3, and full capacity

  Last update on 2021-09-21 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

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