Top 7 Best Ultralight Fishing Rods Reviewed

Best Ultralight Fishing Rods

The differentiating factors that set apart the best ultralight fishing rods from others include quality, lightness, sturdiness, durability, and affordability. Drawing from my 20 years of fishing experience, I have objectively evaluated ultralight fishing rods based on these criteria.

There is a common misconception that ultralight fishing rods are more challenging to manufacture, leading to higher costs. However, this is simply not true. You can choose any of these fishing rods for an enjoyable trout fishing experience without straining your budget.

To expedite the process, I would like to highlight our top overall recommendation – the St Croix Triumph Spinning Rod. It not only stands out as one of the lightest ultralight fishing rods but also possesses remarkable strength and durability, making it an excellent choice.

If you have additional time to spare or if you are interested in exploring other types of ultralight fishing rods, we can delve further into the topic.


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Top 7 Best Ultralight Fishing Rods

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  • Blank Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Guides: Aluminum Oxide
  • Handle Material: Cork
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  • Blank Material: Graphite
  • Guides: Aluminum Oxide
  • Handle Material: Cork
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  • Blank Material: Composite
  • Guides: Stainless Steel
  • Handle Material: Cork
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  • Blank Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Guides: Aluminum Oxide
  • Handle Material: Cork
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  • Blank Material: Composite
  • Guides: Stainless Steel
  • Handle Material: EVA Foam
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  • Blank Material: Composite
  • Guides: Stainless Steel
  • Handle Material: Cork
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  • Blank Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Guides: Fuji O-Ring
  • Handle Material: EVA Foam
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OUR EDITOR’S Pick

St Croix Triumph Spinning

Best Ultralight Fishing Rods

  • Durable Aluminum Body
  • Versatile Sling Mounts
  • Inline Bolt System

1. St Croix Triumph Spinning

St Croix Triumph Spinning
Features:
  • Blank Material:¬†Carbon Fiber
  • Guides:¬†Aluminum Oxide
  • Handle Material:¬†Cork
  • Rod Length:¬†5-5.5 ft
  • Warranty Period:¬†5 Years

After careful consideration, the St Croix Triumph Spinning Rod emerged as the clear winner for the overall best pick. Crafted with exceptional components, this rod offers remarkable sensitivity while maintaining strength and durability.

The St Croix Triumph Spinning Rod incorporates high-quality materials in its design. It features aluminum oxide guides, known for their durability and smoothness, which minimize tangles and provide excellent line control. The cork handle offers a secure grip and comfortable feel, enhancing the overall fishing experience.

The rod blank is constructed with carbon fiber, ensuring maximum sensitivity to detect even the slightest underwater movements. Additionally, the exclusive Fortified Resin System (FRS) technology by St Croix makes the rod 33% stronger than conventional ultralight fishing rods. This unique attribute allows anglers to enjoy the sought-after sensitivity while also having the capability to tackle larger fish.

Durability is a hallmark of St Croix rods. With over 70 years of experience, St Croix has earned a reputation for building premium quality rods. The St Croix Triumph Spinning Rod is no exception, as it is built to withstand the test of time and deliver reliable performance.

Lastly, the price of a fishing rod plays a vital role in its appeal. Fortunately, the St Croix Triumph offers an attractive price point. This means you can acquire a top-notch ultralight fishing rod without straining your budget.

If you’re in search of an outstanding ultralight fishing rod at a reasonable price, the St Croix Triumph Spinning Rod is an excellent choice that excels in quality, sensitivity, strength, and durability.

2. Okuma Celilo Spinning

Okuma Celilo Spinning
Features:
  • Blank Material:¬†Graphite
  • Guides:¬†Aluminum Oxide
  • Handle Material:¬†Cork
  • Rod Length:¬†4.5-8.5 ft
  • Warranty Period:¬†1 Year

If you find the St Croix Triumph to be slightly out of your budget, don’t worry, I have a perfect solution for you. The Okuma Celilo Spinning Rod is an excellent choice, especially for casual anglers who may not fish frequently or prefer a more affordable option. Additionally, if you’re specifically looking for an ultralight surf fishing rod, you’re still in the right place.

Crafted with graphite, the Okuma Celilo offers similar sensitivity to St Croix’s rods. It also features aluminum oxide guides, which are of top-notch quality and ensure smooth line control. However, one aspect where the Okuma Celilo falls slightly short is the cork handle. The handle is thicker than necessary, adding some unnecessary weight to the rod. Nonetheless, with some adjustment and getting used to, the handle can still be comfortable to use.

Another minor issue is the product page itself, which can be unclear in terms of options for length and power. Instead of providing clear choices, the page lists model numbers, requiring additional research to determine the specifications.

However, in the grand scheme of things, these are relatively minor concerns. The handle thickness is something that can be adapted to, and spending a few extra minutes to search the model numbers is a small inconvenience.

What sets the Okuma Celilo apart is that it offers good quality ultralight fishing rods that extend up to 8 ft in length. This makes it highly suitable for surf fishing, especially when targeting panfish. Despite its minor flaws, the Okuma Celilo Spinning Rod is well-made and provides excellent value, particularly for casual anglers. It shines as the best option for surf fishing. Plus, with a price that is roughly 1.5 times cheaper than the St Croix Triumph, it’s truly a steal.

In summary, the Okuma Celilo Spinning Rod is a well-crafted and high-quality ultralight rod, offering great value for casual anglers. Its suitability for surf fishing, including its extended length options, makes it an ideal choice. Despite some minor drawbacks, its affordability and overall quality make it a steal compared to its higher-priced counterparts.

3. Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod

Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod
Features:
  • Blank Material:¬†Composite
  • Guides:¬†Stainless Steel
  • Handle Material:¬†Cork
  • Rod Length:¬†4.5-5 ft
  • Warranty Period:¬†1 Year

If you’re on a tight budget and the Okuma Celilo still exceeds your price range, I have a solution for you – the Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod. This rod is incredibly affordable, costing less than half the price of the Okuma Celilo and only a few cups of coffee.

Now, let’s address the question of how the price can be so low.

Firstly, the Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod is constructed with fiberglass, which is a less expensive material compared to graphite. Additionally, the use of composite materials, which combine fiberglass and graphite, helps reduce costs further. The rod also features stainless steel guides, which are cheaper than aluminum oxide guides. These cost-saving measures contribute to the significantly lower price.

However, compromises were made in terms of rod assembly and durability to keep costs down. The Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod may not be as durable as higher-priced options, and there is a likelihood that one or more parts may break after a few months of use. On the positive side, the rod comes with a 1-year warranty that covers any broken parts during that period.

If you’re simply looking to have some fun with an ultralight rod, the Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod can serve its purpose adequately, although its longevity may be limited. Despite its lower quality, it still offers enough sensitivity to provide you with a satisfactory ultralight fishing experience.

A fun fact worth mentioning is that the Shakespeare brand was founded by William Shakespeare Jr. and has been around for over a century, making it widely recognized among anglers.

Considering all factors, the Shakespeare Micro Spinning Rod is a decent option available at an incredibly low price. It represents the most affordable choice for a functioning ultralight fishing rod, even with its compromises in durability.

4. St Croix Premier Spinning

St Croix Premier Spinning
Features:
  • Blank Material:¬†Carbon Fiber
  • Guides:¬†Aluminum Oxide
  • Handle Material:¬†Cork
  • Rod Length:¬†4.5-7 ft
  • Warranty Period:¬†5 Years

If the St Croix Triumph impressed you, get ready to be blown away by the St Croix Premier. It boasts the same exceptional components but offers additional features that make it lighter, handcrafted, and truly special. The St Croix Premier is a treat you won’t want to miss.

One of the standout features of the St Croix Premier is its handcrafted construction in the USA. This exceptional craftsmanship contributes to its lighter weight compared to the St Croix Triumph, while still maintaining the same level of sensitivity, strength, and durability. Through my measurements, I found that the 5.5 ft option of the St Croix Premier was approximately 10% lighter than the St Croix Triumph.

Furthermore, the St Croix Premier is equipped with a Kigan hook-keeper, which serves to secure the hook and protect the rod during transportation and storage.

With these enticing upgrades, it’s understandable that the St Croix Premier comes at a higher price point, approximately 1.5 times more costly. In my opinion, the lightness of the St Croix Triumph is more than sufficient, and the hook-keeper is more of a want than a necessity. Therefore, I ultimately selected the St Croix Triumph as the best overall pick since it already fulfills all your essential needs.

However, if you’re seeking nothing but the absolute best and have the financial means to do so, the St Croix Premier is the rod for you. Its exceptional craftsmanship and additional features make it a top-tier option for discerning anglers.

5. Troutboy Black Warrior Spinning

Troutboy Black Warrior Spinning
Features:
  • Blank Material:¬†Composite
  • Guides:¬†Stainless Steel
  • Handle Material:¬†EVA Foam
  • Rod Length:¬†5.8-11.8 ft
  • Warranty Period:¬†6 Months

When it comes to telescopic ultralight fishing rods, the Troutboy Black Warrior Spinning Rod stands out as a dominant option in its category. Despite the common perception of telescopic rods having slower action, the Troutboy Black Warrior manages to provide the sensitivity required for an ultralight fishing experience. Additionally, it offers durability, portability, and a well-crafted design.

The rod’s action and power are impressive, bordering on the ultralight range. This is noteworthy considering that composite materials are generally less sensitive compared to graphite.

The Troutboy Black Warrior features reliable stainless steel guides and a comfortable EVA handle, enhancing its overall performance and user experience.

What sets this rod apart is its durability and smooth collapsing mechanism. Telescopic fishing rods have often been associated with shorter lifespans, but the Troutboy Black Warrior is constructed to last for years. The ease of extending and collapsing the rod further demonstrates its well-engineered design.

As with all telescopic fishing rods, the Troutboy Black Warrior offers excellent portability. It collapses to a compact size, with the 5.83 ft option reaching a mere 18.8 inches when collapsed, and the 11.83 ft option collapsing to 26.3 inches.

In summary, the Troutboy Black Warrior Spinning Rod is the top choice for telescopic ultralight fishing rods. Not only does it offer impressive durability, sensitivity, and portability, but it also comes at an extremely affordable price point. While it may be slightly less sensitive than the budget pick, its superior portability makes it the ideal option for anglers who prioritize convenience and ease of transportation.

6. Ugly Stik Elite Spinning

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning
Features:
  • Blank Material:¬†Composite
  • Guides:¬†Stainless Steel
  • Handle Material:¬†Cork
  • Rod Length:¬†6.5 ft
  • Warranty Period:¬†7 Years

If you prefer the convenience and ease of setting up 2-piece rods over telescopic rods, the Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod is an excellent choice for you.

The Ugly Stik Elite is renowned for its durability, portability, and overall quality. Ugly Stik rods have a well-deserved reputation for being nearly unbreakable, thanks to their “Ugly Tech Construction” that ensures exceptional toughness. The rod is built to withstand rugged fishing conditions and offers reliable performance.

Featuring stainless steel guides and a cork handle, the Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod boasts high-quality components that contribute to its overall functionality and user experience.

While it may be slightly heavier compared to higher-end rods on the list, the Ugly Stik Elite makes up for it with its durability and other commendable qualities. It remains a top choice among 2-piece ultralight fishing rods available in the market.

Overall, if you are in search of a reasonably priced, portable, and good-quality 2-piece ultralight fishing rod, the Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod is definitely worth considering. It delivers reliable performance and offers the convenience of a 2-piece design for anglers seeking hassle-free setup and durability.

7. KastKing Perigee II Spinning

KastKing Perigee II Spinning
Features:
  • Blank Material:¬†Carbon Fiber
  • Guides:¬†Fuji O-Ring
  • Handle Material:¬†EVA Foam
  • Rod Length:¬†4.5-6 ft
  • Warranty Period:¬†Limited Lifetime

As a final contender, the KastKing Perigee II serves as an alternative to the Ugly Stik Elite. It shares similarities with the Ugly Stik Elite in terms of being a good-quality and portable fishing rod. However, there are some distinctions to consider.

The KastKing Perigee II features top-grade Fuji O-ring guides, known for their excellent performance in guiding the fishing line. It also comes equipped with a great EVA handle, which provides a comfortable grip during fishing sessions.

In terms of the rod blank, carbon fiber is lighter than composite materials. This allows the KastKing Perigee II to have a lighter overall weight compared to the Ugly Stik Elite. However, it’s important to note that the Ugly Stik brand incorporates unique technology that enhances its durability, which is not found in the KastKing Perigee II. As a result, the KastKing Perigee II may be less durable in comparison.

Overall, the KastKing Perigee II offers a 15% lower cost than the Ugly Stik Elite, making it a more budget-friendly option. It prioritizes lightness, and if you value a lightweight rod and are willing to make a trade-off in terms of durability, the KastKing Perigee II could be a great choice for you.

In summary, the KastKing Perigee II provides good quality and portability at a more affordable price point. Its lighter weight makes it desirable for those who value a lightweight fishing rod. However, it’s important to consider that it may be less durable compared to the Ugly Stik Elite due to the absence of the Ugly Stik’s proprietary technology.

Why Do People Use Ultralight Fishing Rods?

While it is possible to catch trout and other smaller species using light rods, there is a distinct advantage to using ultralight rods: the element of fun.

Ultralight rods offer not only heightened sensitivity but also the ability to work with lighter lines and lures. This opens up a world of possibilities for anglers seeking a more exhilarating fishing experience. With an ultralight rod, you can cast lighter lures with greater precision and over longer distances. The ability to cast almost weightless lures adds a new level of excitement to your fishing endeavors.

Furthermore, using lighter lines and lures in conjunction with the increased sensitivity of an ultralight rod allows you to feel even the slightest nibble from trout or smaller fish more acutely. This enhanced sensation adds to the thrill and satisfaction of reeling in your catch. The combination of heightened sensitivity and the added challenge of reeling in smaller fish amplifies the overall enjoyment of the fishing experience.

In essence, while light rods are capable of catching trout and smaller species, choosing an ultralight rod elevates the level of fun and excitement in your fishing adventures. The increased sensitivity, ability to cast lighter lures further and with greater precision, and the enhanced feeling when reeling in smaller fish contribute to a more engaging and enjoyable fishing experience.

Choosing The Right Ultralight Fishing Rod

By now, you should have decided on which ultralight fishing rod you want to get. The thing is, the ultralight fishing rod you have in mind might have multiple options. It could and likely will have different lengths and even different power choices.

Here’s how to choose the right option for you.

Rod Power And Action

Certainly, it is important to select the appropriate power and action for your ideal ultralight fishing rod.

When it comes to power, the primary consideration for an ultralight fishing rod is, naturally, to choose the ultralight power option. However, it’s worth noting that some rods may offer additional power options such as light or moderate light. In such cases, it is crucial to ensure that you specifically choose the ultralight power option to align with your fishing preferences and target species.

Moving on to rod action, the key aspect to consider for ultralight fishing rods is sensitivity. Since these rods are designed for the optimal enjoyment of fishing smaller fish species, maximizing sensitivity becomes paramount. This translates to seeking fast action or even extra fast action in your rod selection. The goal is to have a rod with the fastest possible action, as this enhances its sensitivity and responsiveness when detecting even the subtlest bites or movements.

Rod Length

The length of your fishing rod plays a crucial role in determining the casting distance you can achieve. Generally, the longer the rod, the farther you will be able to cast.

When it comes to ultralight fishing rods, a length of 7 ft is often considered a great starting point. This length provides sufficient casting distance to accommodate most fishing styles and situations. It strikes a balance between reach and manageability, offering versatility for various fishing techniques.

However, it’s important to consider your specific needs and preferences. If you find that you won’t require the extra casting distance provided by a 7 ft rod, you can opt for a shorter length. A shorter rod will be lighter in weight and easier to handle, making it more suitable for certain fishing applications or personal preferences.

Conversely, if you are engaged in activities such as surf fishing, where casting distance becomes crucial, you will need a longer rod to meet those requirements. Longer rods are better suited for situations where you need to cast further, allowing you to reach fish in deeper waters or reach targets located at a greater distance from the shoreline.

In summary, the choice of rod length for your ultralight fishing rod depends on the specific fishing techniques, casting requirements, and personal preferences. A 7 ft length provides a good starting point for most fishing styles, but you can adjust the length shorter or longer based on your needs and the desired casting distance.

Line Guides

In the modern fishing industry, it is indeed rare to come across poorly constructed guides on fishing rods. The advancements in technology and manufacturing processes have significantly improved the quality of guides over the years, ensuring a better fishing experience for anglers. Even the lower-end guides available today are generally sufficient for a decent fishing experience.

When it comes to materials used for line guides, there are several notable options that provide smoothness, durability, and corrosion resistance. Aluminum oxide, stainless steel, titanium alloy, and ceramic are among the better materials commonly used for guides.

Aluminum oxide is known for its smoothness, which helps minimize friction and tangles, resulting in better line control. Stainless steel is another popular choice due to its durability and resistance to corrosion. Titanium alloy takes it a step further, offering superior rust resistance, making it an excellent option for fishing in saltwater environments. Ceramic guides are also favored for their smoothness and durability, often found in higher-end rods.

Overall, the availability of these high-quality guide materials ensures that anglers can enjoy smoother line flow, reduced friction, and increased durability during their fishing outings. It’s reassuring to know that even the most basic fishing rods today typically feature guides that provide a satisfactory fishing experience.

Materials

Indeed, graphite, also known as carbon fiber, is widely recognized as the most sensitive and lightweight material used in fishing rods. Its exceptional sensitivity allows anglers to detect even the slightest bites or movements underwater. However, it is important to note that graphite rods also tend to be the most expensive due to the high-quality and advanced properties of the material.

On the other hand, fiberglass is known for being less sensitive and heavier compared to graphite. However, it compensates for this by offering greater strength and durability. Fiberglass rods are well-suited for situations that require robustness and resilience, making them popular choices for heavy-duty fishing applications.

Composite materials combine both graphite and fiberglass, resulting in a balanced blend of sensitivity, lightness, and strength. This makes composites a viable option for ultralight fishing rods. While they may not possess the same level of sensitivity as pure graphite, composite rods still offer a high degree of sensitivity and allow anglers to target a wider range of fish species beyond trout.

When it comes to ultralight fishing rods, where sensitivity is key, graphite is generally regarded as the ideal choice. Ultralight rods are designed for capturing smaller fish, and the increased sensitivity provided by graphite enhances the overall fishing experience. While fiberglass is typically not preferred for ultralight rods due to its stiffness, composite materials remain a viable option. Composites strike a balance between sensitivity and strength, making them versatile for targeting a wider variety of fish while still maintaining ultralight characteristics.

Ultimately, the choice of material for an ultralight fishing rod depends on the angler’s specific needs, preferences, and fishing conditions. Graphite is favored for its heightened sensitivity, while composite materials offer a good compromise between sensitivity and versatility.

Final Verdict

Ultralight fishing rods truly offer a multitude of possibilities, enhancing the fishing experience by allowing anglers to feel even the smallest fish bites and making every fishing excursion more enjoyable.

While it is generally preferred to have a highly sensitive ultralight rod, it is important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all option. Personal preferences vary, with some anglers prioritizing strength over sensitivity or desiring additional weight for increased casting distance.

That being said, the St Croix Triumph stands out as an exceptional choice for an ultralight fishing rod. It strikes a perfect balance between lightness, strength, and durability, making it a favorite among anglers. Its performance and quality make it a reliable and enjoyable tool for pursuing a wide range of fish species.

For those seeking a suitable reel to pair with their ultralight fishing rod, consider exploring the options available in the realm of ultralight spinning reels. These reels are specifically designed to complement the lightweight and sensitive nature of ultralight rods, providing optimal performance and functionality.

In conclusion, ultralight fishing rods offer a unique and exhilarating fishing experience. While sensitivity is often a desirable trait, individual preferences can vary. Nonetheless, the St Croix Triumph is highly recommended for its exceptional balance of lightness, strength, and durability. Pairing your ultralight rod with a suitable ultralight spinning reel will further enhance your fishing adventures. Here are the best ultralight spinning reels.