**Note: We have an updated list of the Top 15 Ultralight Spinning Reels Here: Ultralight Spinning Reels
The spinning reel is one of the most important components of an ultra light fishing set-up. Since you use line in the 2-6 pound range, the reel needs to operate very well. The drag needs to work properly and release the line smoothly. An UL spinning reel needs to have instant anti-reverse with zero back-play. Using a quality ultralight reel makes a big difference, especially when you hook into a big fish.
I recently wrote about the Top Ultralight Spinning Rods, now I have put together a list of the top UL reels for every budget. Below is the list. They are are split into three categories: BEST OF THE BEST, GREAT, and BUDGET. Check them out.
BEST OF THE BEST ($250 – $700)
Winner of the 2010 ICAST as the Best Freshwater Reel! The Shimano Stella is one of the best spinning reels that comes in an ultralight size. It has the most efficient “drive train” of any spinning reel making it effortless to turn the handle. It’s amazingly smooth and very high quality. It comes in a few variations with the newest one being the Stella FE. For UL fishing, use the 500, 750, or 1000 sizes.
Team Daiwa Fuego
The Team Daiwa Fuego spinning reel is designed to provide a high level of overall performance. It is advanced, smooth, and reliable. It has a light weight yet super strong construction. It is completely waterproof, allowing you to wash it under running water without getting getting moisture or debris inside. For ultralight fishing, use the 1000A or 1500A sizes.
GREAT ($60 – $130)
The Pflueger President spinning reel is a favorite of many anglers, and for a good reason too. It has many of the “top of the line” features of much more expensive spinning reels. It has from 8 to 10 ball bearings (depending on the model), instant anti-reverse one-way clutch bearing, and more. Model #’s 6720 and 6725 are for ultralight fishing.
The Shimano Symetre spinning reel is built to the same quality standards that anglers have come to expect from Shimano. It’s definately a great reel for ultralight fishing. With fluid smooth operation and a whole lot of premium features, the Shimano Symetre works just about as good as it’s higher priced cousins. Use 500 and 1000 sizes for ultralight fishing.
Penn Spinfisher SS Graphite
The Penn Spinfisher SS Graphite spinning reel has great overall performance. This reel was originally designed for saltwater use so it has very good corrosion resistance and can handle a variety of harsh fishing conditions. It operates and casts smoothly. Go with 420SSg and 430SSg sizes for UL fishing in salt or freshwater.
Quantum Energy PTi
The Quantum Energy PTi is a great spinning reel for your ultralight needs. It’s well built and reliable. Everything about this reel is smooth: the casting, the retrieve, and the drag. It’s well balanced and strong. What more can you ask from a reel? Use models E05PTIB and E10PTIB for your ultralight spinning reel needs.
BUDGET (Under $40)
Daiwa Regal 5iA
The Daiwa Regal 5iA incorporates features normally found on more expensive spinning reels. These reels are tough on fish, but easy on your budget. With 6 ball bearings and infinite anti-reverse, the Daiwa Regal 5iA is a great reel for the price. For ultralight fishing use the RG1000-5iA and RG1500-5iA models.
The Shimano Sienna has high end features and performance. It’s built for longer casts and less chance of backlash. It also has instant anti-reverse with no backplay. Overall, this spinning reel is great, especially for the price. For ultralight fishing, use the 500 or 1000 sizes.
Pflueger Trion GX
The Pflueger Trion GX is one heck of a budget reel. With a lightweight graphite body and rotor and six stainless steel ball bearings, the GX blends strength and smoothness. An instant anti-reverse, one-way clutch bearing gives you instant hooksets. This is the perfect ultralight spinning reel for the budget minded. Use 4520GX or 4725GX for ultralight fishing.
Ultralight Fishing Combos
If your on a budget, it’s probably best to purchase an ultralight combo. This is an UL rod and UL reel that are perfectly matched together by the manufacturer. This way you can save yourself some money and still get a great ultralight fishing outfit. In fact, I just finished writing a post about the Top Ultralight Combos under $60. Check it out: