If you’re a fishing enthusiast like me, you’d know the excruciating wrist, arm, and shoulder pain that you can experience after a long day fishing.
So a good lightweight spinning reel sounds like the perfect solution.
And that’s why I created this list to recommend all the best ultralight spinning reels that I could find for the long fishing trips and adventures.
The 6 Best Ultralight Spinning Reels for 2020
Here are our top recommendations:
- Best Value Lightweight Spinning Reel: Check Pflueger President
- Best Quality Light Reel: Check Shimano Stradic CI4+
- Great Carbon Fiber Ultralight Reel: Check KastKing Sharky III
- Excellent Ultralight Spinning Reel: Check Shimano Sedona FI 1000
- Great Quality Reel: Check Abu Garcia Revo SX 30
1. KastKing Sharky III – A Great Carbon Fiber Ultralight Reel
Besides being durable, the KastKing Sharky III looks and feels great because it’s built from premium parts.
The water-resistant spool, body, and rotor guarantee protection against water and dirt.
Thanks to that, you can use it to fish in either freshwater or saltwater.
It’s lightweight at 10.5 ounces and is strong and durable as its body and rotor are both made of reinforced graphite.
Moreover, it can help you through tough fish battles as it has a maximum drag power of 33 pounds –which is pretty impressive relative to its weight.
As for how smooth and quiet the operation is, it’s top-notch with 10 ball bearings and 1 bearing which are salt-water rated with shielded stainless-steel.
You won’t even need to use the backing line when you’re spooling on braid fishing line thanks to the Fin braid-ready aluminum spool.
With a 5.2:1 gear ratio and a 33.4-inch line retrieve per crank, you can quickly reel your catches in before they can escape.
- Comes with a 1-year warranty
- Smooth operation
- Suits both right-handed and left-handed anglers
- Amazing drag capability
- Prone to wear and tear
Lightweight, efficient, and very affordable, the KastKing Sharky III 1000 is simply one of the best ultralight reels on the market.
2. Pflueger President– Best Value Lightweight Spinning Reel
The Pflueger President PRESSP30X comes with a graphite body and rotor, making it both portable and durable.
Moreover, its aluminum spool is braid-ready and ported so that you can braid directly to it without having backed it with mono line.
Furthermore, it’s pretty smooth as it’s equipped with 10 stainless steel bearings -9 of which are ball ones and the remaining one is a roller. They’re made from stainless steel, so they are corrosion-resistant.
On top of that, the Pflueger President PRESSP30X has a quick gear ratio of 5.2:1 and retrieves 25.2 inches of line per crank.
That’s why it was incredibly smooth to drag a fish of up to 9 pounds, even when it put up a stubborn fight.
It’s not exactly the lightest choice at 8.3 ounces, but it’s still stable and durable thanks to its heavy-duty aluminum SureClick bail.
Plus, the soft-touch knob made it easy to keep a solid grip on it. the aircraft-grade aluminum handle kept it solid against wear and tear.
- Reasonably priced
- 10 ball bearing system provides smoothness
- Very portable
- Hand retrieve can be switched
- Looks and feels cheapish
- Not sealed against saltwater’s damage
The Pflueger President PRESSP30X is one of those small spinning reels that is very portable and affordable. If you’re only going to be fishing in freshwater, it would be a very great bang for your buck.
3. Shimano Stradic CI4+ – Best Quality Light Reel
With a Magnumlite (MGL) rotor, the Shimano Stradic CI4+ could come at 25% lighter weight than predecessors.
The G-Free body design is used on this model as well to maximize comfort. I could spend a whole day fishing and not feel any wrist fatigue when I’m done.
The Shimano Stradic CI4+ is highly durable too. It comes with an advanced CoreProtect 360-degree water-resistant coating, so you can use it to fish in either saltwater or freshwater with no worries.
Moreover, its body is made from carbon fiber, which is why it’s super light at only 6.7 ounces.
With the Shimano Stradic CI4+, you’ll be able to drag 20-pound fish easily and quickly as it has a 6.1:1 gear ratio and retrieves 35 inches of line per a single crank.
The 2 Shimano A-RB roller bearings and 6 S A-RB shielded stainless steel ball-bearing work together to provide an amazingly stable and smooth fishing experience in co-operation with the amazing line management system.
On top of that, no back play happens in the reel as the Super Stopper II anti-reverse ensures solid hooksets.
However, it would have added more value to the reel if the anti-reverse were a little bigger.
- Quick drag
- Almost completely water-resistant
- Excellent line management system
- Absolutely lightweight
- Quite pricey
- The anti-reverse switch is a little too small
Shimano Stradic CI4+ is the priciest choice on the list but for a good reason. It’s very lightweight, smooth, and has a large maximum drag capability. It will definitely give you great value for your money.
4. Shimano Sedona FI 1000 – An Excellent Ultralight Spinning Reel
The cold-forged Hagane gears on the Shimano Sedona FI 1000 enhance its performance while the Hagane gearing guarantees the strength and durability of the reel.
It’s also quite versatile for a medium-priced reel as you can use it for fishing inshore or offshore.
Moreover, it’s pretty lightweight at only 7.6 ounces. Mix that with the G-Free body technology and you get a rod that wouldn’t strain your wrists even if you go fishing for hours on end.
And while it can be very handy in a quick battle with its 5.0:1 gear ratio and 26-inch line retrieve per crank, its maximum drag is quite disappointing at only 7 pounds.
One of the most impressive things about the Shimano Sedona FI 1000 is its propulsion line management system. With an improved spool lip design, the casting distance is maximized, all while eliminating backlashed and wind-knot formation.
- Very lightweight
- Effective drag system
- Durable and reliable
- Smooth casts
- Low drag capacity
A corrosion-resistant body and a cyclonic flow rotor design to get more airflow through the ported rotor and prevent water from entering the reel are what make the Okuma Ceymar C-40 so durable.
Moreover, the precision elliptical gearing system increases the maximum cast distance as well as accuracy. Mix that with the accurate gear alignment system and you get absolutely uniform drag pressures during operation.
To make casts and drags smooth, the Okuma Ceymar C-40 is equipped with 7 ball bearings and a roller bearing.
And to make your battles quick and effective, its gear ratio is 5.0:1 and it retrieves 29 inches of line per crank.
Although you can’t catch heavier fish, its 13-pound maximum drag is still good enough for many.
It’s not the lightest reel on the list -although it is still light in general-, but it’s easy to maneuver and its zinc diecast handle applies enough torque to get you through any battle.
- Corrosion-resistant and durable
- Great bang for your buck
- Highly affordable
- Can only be used in freshwater
The Okuma Ceymar C-40 is a great micro spinning reel under 50 bucks. With a steady performance and a build that will last, it’ll definitely give you a bang for your buck.
6. Abu Garcia Revo SX 30 – A Great Quality Reel
The Abu Garcia Revo SX 30 is a very lightweight reel thanks to graphite rotor and the IM-C6 body design.
And while it weighs only 7.9 ounces, it’s still able to drag in fish of up to 11 pounds.
The reason behind that is that it comes with 8 ball bearings and a roller bearing that make its operation as smooth as silk.
On top of that, it uses a Rocket line management system and a machined aluminum braid-ready Rocket spool.
You can beat a big fish with a speedy catch as the Abu Garcia Revo SX 30’s gear ratio is 6.2:1 and it retrieves 35 inches of link per crank.
The feature that impressed me the most is the magnetic brake system that truly eliminates any backlash and makes the operation very quiet.
Furthermore, the Abu Garcia Revo SX 30 felt very comfortable to hold as it’s equipped with a Flat EVA knob that provides a solid and ergonomic grip.
- Excellent brake system
- Effective line retrieve
- Quick and smooth performance
- A little pricey
This lightweight reel can handle the resistance of bigger fish as it has an adequate maximum drag and a quick operation mechanism.
And while it’s not completely sealed, you can still use it in saltwater if you rinse it thoroughly afterward.
How to Choose a Good Ultralight Reel
It makes sense that the first thing you’ll look for is the weight of the reel when you’re looking for a good ultralight spinning reel.
However, compromising quality and some certain features to each a lighter build may not get you that far after all.
So despite the importance of the weight as an aspect, there are some other things to look for.
What your reel is made from will have a huge impact on its durability and not just the weight.
Most reels will have either a graphite or an aluminum body.
Typically, an aluminum reel will be stronger and will have less flex to produce more torque for bigger fish.
On the other hand, graphite reels are definitely always lighter –usually being 8 ounces or even less.
Your drag system will either be a spool one or a frame-based one.
The former is easier to adjust and keep an eye during a battle, but the latter provides more strength and stability.
Gear Ratio and Line Retrieval
These two factors play a major role in determining the speed at which you can reel in your fish.
The gear ratio indicates the number of revolutions the bail rotates around the spool with every turn of the handle, consequently controlling the line retrieval which indicates how much line is retrieved with each crank of the handle.
You should base your decision depending on your technique and the size of the fish you’ll be battling with.
The number of bearings on your reel will have a huge impact on how smooth your drags and casts will be.
In the case of bearings, the more is definitely the merrier.
And even though they can make the reel a little heavier, the smoothness will definitely make up for the extra ounce or two.
The reels I chose for this article are the best ultralight spinning reels I found on the market. But that doesn’t mean that some of them function more exceptionally than others.
I’d go for the KastKing Sharky III 1000 for the affordability, smoothness, speedy operation and high drag capacity. Although it’s actually the least lightweight reel on the list.
If your main concern is the weight, you can go for the lightest. The Shimano Stradic CI4+ provides you with a great drag capacity and smooth operation as well. However, it’s quite pricey. I’d say the hefty price tag is justified as it’s also very durable.
Finally, the Pflueger President PRESSP30X would be a good reel to combine between affordability and efficiency in terms of other functions.