Best Ultralight Spinning Combos – 2019 Buyer’s Guide

A rod and reel combo is the perfect package deal for a beginner or any angler that wants to take some of the work out of acquiring a great set of fishing gear.

Ultralight combos are great options for fishing panfish that will end up on the dinner table.

This article will lay out some of the best ultralight combos available on the market today as well as give you tips on finding the best ultralight spinning combo for your specific fishing adventures. 

Comparison Chart of the Best Ultralight Spinning Combos

Product

Our Rating

Price

​Pflueger President Spinning Combo

Pflueger PRESSP-4820UL2CBO President Spinning Combo Fishing Reel Rod

Best Overall

​Cadence CC4 Spinning Combo Lightweight

Cadence CC4 Spinning Combo Lightweight with 24-Ton 2-Piece Graphite Rod Strong Carbon Composite Frame & Side Plates Ergonomic EVA Handle Knob Reel & Rod Combo

Runner-up

​Shakespeare Micro Series Spinning Combo

Shakespeare Micro Series Spinning Combo

Best for the Money

​Daiwa Mini System Ultralight Reel and Rod Combo

Daiwa Mini System Minispin Ultralight Spinning Reel and Rod Combo in Hard Carry Case

​UglyStik GX2

Shakespeare USSP481UL/20CBO Ugly Stik GX2 1-Piece Fishing Rod and Spinning Reel Combo, 4 Feet 8 Inch, Ultra-Light Power

What Size of Ultralight Spinning Combo Do I Need?  

Ultralight spinning combos will vary in length. The size you need will depend on several circumstances, including your desired fishing technique and personal casting preferences. For most experienced anglers, a rod between five and six feet in length is the preferred choice for control and accuracy.

However, some ultralight combos measure as long as nine feet in length or as short as four, so there are plenty of options to choose from if you prefer one length or the other. Beginners tend to gravitate towards shorter rods because they are easy to transport and easier to control than a longer rod. 

What Makes a Great Ultralight Spinning Combo?

Before you make a purchase, it’s important to know if your combo has the desirable qualities that any great spinning combo should have. Keep your eyes peeled for the following when you’re on the hunt:

Balance 

Although when you purchase a rod/reel combo, you’re effectively avoiding some of the work that goes into balancing a rod and reel, it’s still important to make sure your ultralight combo feels good in your hand. It should be weighted in a way that makes it easy to cast and control.

Sensitivity 

Odds are, you won’t be going for trophy fish with your ultralight rod. For this reason, it’s important to make sure you have a combo with a rod that can detect shy bites from smaller species' of fish. The best way to guarantee that your combo will be sensitive is to look for one that uses graphite in its construction.  

Quality Drag System

You probably won’t need the most powerful drag system in a reel on an ultralight combo but having one that works well and is made with quality parts is still important. Look for something with a range of 10-15 pounds of drag pressure to guarantee the utmost control when you’re angling.

Quick Take - The Best Ultralight Spinning Combos

Review of the Best Ultralight Spinning Combo

To help you get started in your quest for an ultralight spinning combo, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite picks.

Pflueger PRESSP-4820UL2CBO President Spinning Combo Fishing Reel Rod

Pros

  • Well-Balanced
  • Very Responsive Rod
  • Great Value for Combo
  • Durable, Can Handle Big Fish
  • Super Smooth Casting and Retrieval

Cons

  • Handle is a Little Long
  • Could Use Better Guides
  • Reel’s Line Capacity is Pretty Small

What Recent Buyers Report

Many buyers of the President Rod from Pflueger were pleasantly surprised with this little powerhouse’s performance. Many wrote that despite the rod’s super-lightweight feel, it is durable and powerful enough to pull in sizable fish. Some users wished that the reel had a larger line capacity.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We couldn’t resist giving the Pflueger President Rod the top spot on our favorites list for a couple of reasons. First, for being an ultralight rod, it offers a surprising amount of power. The backbone of this rod is durable and the reel also provides exceptional performance.

Who Will Use This Most

This rod is pretty versatile, which makes it a great choice for anglers who want an ultralight combo that can handle more than the average panfish. This rod is also saltwater-resistant, so anglers don’t have to be worried about switching between freshwater and ocean fishing.

What Could Be Improved and Why

Although this combo has the power to pull in fish that are larger than the average ultralight rod catch, the reel isn’t super accommodating to larger line, which makes it a less versatile choice. It would be great if the company could add a little extra space for line.

Bottom Line

Besides a minor issue with line capacity in the reel, this combo is an incredible option for anglers seeking out ultralight combos. Both the rod and reel provide equally exceptional performance and they’re pretty durable, too.

Cadence CC4 Spinning Combo Lightweight with 24-Ton 2-Piece Graphite Rod Strong Carbon Composite Frame & Side Plates Ergonomic EVA Handle Knob Reel & Rod Combo

Pros

  • Nice Line Guides
  • Very Lightweight
  • Great Casting Action
  • Comfortable to Use All Day
  • Very Smooth Reel Performance

Cons

  • The Reel Isn’t Braided-Line Ready
  • Rod Can Break Under a Lot of Pressure
  • The Reel Lock Switch is Inconveniently Placed

What Recent Buyers Report

Most buyers of the Cadence CC4 Ultralight Rod were very happy with their angling experience. Users compliment the super-smooth casting and retrieval and enjoy that it is comfortable to use all day long. There were some complaints concerning the rod’s ability to handle large fish, though.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This particular ultralight combo earned a spot on our list because of its super-duper smooth action. We love how sensitive the rod is and admire the reel’s smooth-as-butter casting and retrieval. It’s a dream to use, which makes it an easy recommendation from us.

Who Will Use This Most

Because this isn’t the most heavy-duty ultralight combo on the market, this is a better choice for anglers who prefer to stick to fishing exclusively for panfish and other small fish species. It allows for the sensitivity needed to detect the shyest of fish.

What Could Be Improved and Why

One minor issue that could easily be improved is the placement of the reel lock switch, which some users say can easily snag on fishing line. Another complaint with this combo is that it’s not necessarily strong enough to be versatile and it can’t handle large styles of fishing line.

Bottom Line

We’re pretty excited by this ultralight combo from Cadence and we think you will probably be, too. Not only does it perform well for fishing the shyest of panfish, but it comes at a very reasonable price point, too!

Shakespeare Micro Series Spinning Combo

Pros

  • Great Value
  • Easy to Use
  • Nice Drag System
  • Great Beginner’s Pick
  • Super Light and Transportable

Cons

  • The Pre-Loaded Line Isn’t Great Quality
  • The Reel is Mediocre Compared to the Rod
  • The Reel Requires Periodic Maintenance

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers of this Shakespeare rod/reel combo were excited by the rod, but not so much by the reel. Users praised the rod for several reasons, mainly for its strength and sensitivity. They also liked that it was easy to set up and use, making it a good pick for beginners or kids.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We’re big fans of Shakespeare and their commitment to consistency and quality, so naturally, we thought this ultralight combo deserved a spot on our list. This combo is lightweight and sensitive and to make it all the better, it comes at an exceptional price.

Who Will Use This Most

Considering its super reasonable price, this is an easy recommendation for anglers who are on a pretty strict budget. This is also a spinning combo that is very easy to use and set up, so it would also be a good pick for a beginner or a kid.

What Could Be Improved and Why

One of the main issues with this combo is that the reel lacks quality in comparison to the rod. The rod is of pretty high-quality standards, but the reel is mediocre. If Shakespeare could put a little more work into the reel’s performance, this would be a great combo.

Bottom Line

Although there are some issues with the reel in this combo, overall, this is still a great choice for anglers on a budget. The reel quality issues shouldn’t overshadow the product’s overall ability and performance.

Daiwa Mini System Minispin Ultralight Spinning Reel and Rod Combo in Hard Carry Case

Pros

  • Low Weight
  • Transportable
  • Comfortable
  • Well-Designed
  • High Bang for Your Buck

Cons

  • Imperfect Anti-Reverse
  • Specialized for Panfish
  • Can Be Cumbersome to Pack

What Recent Buyers Report

The general user of Daiwa’s product found it suitable as a travel rod. Its low-weight and size while packaged made it worthy of praise. Anglers drew particular attention to the fact that it is comfortable to use all day. While it depends on personal preference, some complained that it was too short to be versatile.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This mini system from Daiwa earned a spot on our list because it is affordable and, in general, is a great all-in-one combo for anglers who want good bang for their buck. We appreciated that this combo contains several qualities of an expensive rod and is easy to transport.

Who Will Use This Most

This is a great rod for avid travelers and hikers. It’s very small, so the user can fit it into a small backpack or a suitcase with ease. The mini system is also a good option for a freshwater backup for anglers who want a “just-in-case” combo to bring along with their gear in case an issue arises with their primary rod.

What Could Be Improved and Why

Those who purchased the mini system had some complaints about the anti-reverse. If the quality-control issues could be improved, the combo would be more reliable. The rod is also a little short to be versatile, so if Daiwa could add a couple more inches, it could handle a variety of techniques a little better.

Bottom Line

For the anglers who spend a good amount of time hiking to their favorite fishing spots, this Daiwa Mini System might be the perfect combo. With the features and abilities of a regular-sized rod, this compact combo is small but mighty.

Shakespeare USSP481UL/20CBO Ugly Stik GX2 1-Piece Fishing Rod and Spinning Reel Combo, 4 Feet 8 Inch, Ultra-Light Power

Pros

  • Great Action
  • Casts Smoothly
  • Powerful Drag System
  • Sensitive to Small Fish
  • Super-Strong Rod Construction

Cons

  • The Reel is Subpar
  • No Reverse Toggle
  • The Reel May Need to Be Oiled Before Use

What Recent Buyers Report

The GX2 combo from UglyStik is very popular among a wide range of anglers. The common thread running through most of the reviews is consistent: the rod is powerful, the reel is mediocre. Purchasers compliment the UglyStik construction, many claiming that it’s virtually unbreakable, as well as sensitive.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We love the quality of UglyStik rods, which is why this combo earns a spot on our favorites. The durability and consistency that the rod blanks offer is incomparable and this particular ultralight model has the sensitivity needed to detect the shy bites of panfish.

Who Will Use This Most

This is a generally solid combo for anglers who need a strong but sensitive rod. Because the reel in this combo is kind of subpar in comparison, this might be a better choice for anglers who don’t require super-long casting.

What Could Be Improved and Why

One of the issues with this combo, as alluded to above, is that the rod does outshine the reel in terms of performance. While it definitely isn’t terrible, it could be improved with a higher gear ratio, more special features, and perhaps, a tougher drag system.

Bottom Line

Although the reel in this combo isn’t star-quality, for the most part, this is a very easy recommendation to make for a wide range of anglers. It’s powerful and reliable, and above all, super-consistent.

Perks of Getting a New Ultralight Spinning Combo

If you’re a little daunted by the idea of purchasing a brand new combo, you’re not alone. We know that they’re often not cheap, which can make it a pretty large commitment for a lot of anglers. Rather than seeking out a mega-cheap option, think about the advantages of buying something that’s a little more quality.

Quality

When rods come at a slightly higher price point, in general, this means that they are more thoughtfully-created. Plastic parts and easily breakable materials are cheap to make and include, so combos with those components tend to break more consistently. Quality will shine through a rod in the materials that are used and the way it feels in your hand.

Durability

Issues with durability often come up with cheaply-made rods. If you want to avoid a breakage situation, splurge on quality. This will not only lead to better performance, but it will save you time, money, and energy in the long run.

Ease of Use

When a rod is made thoughtfully with high-quality parts, this often results in special features that make fishing a lot easier and more comfortable. More costly combos will have  upgrades like high-tech drag systems, ergonomic handles, and more. 

Conclusion

A great combo comes from quality construction and thoughtful design. There are many considerations to make when looking for a new ultralight spinning combo, but hopefully, this article made the process seem a little less daunting. Happy fishing!

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