When you use an ultralight fishing rod, you want an ultralight spinning reel to go with it. Especially when you are chasing trout and panfish, or even if you just love to throw lightweight lures and line for a bit of weekend fun.
We take a look at the smallest ultralight spinning reels ever made and see if you can actually get your hands on any quality ultralight spinning reels below that magic 5 oz number.
The Smallest Ultralight Spinning Reel
PRO TIP: The Shimano Soare C14+ weighs only 4.94oz!
Shimano Soare C14+
The smallest ultralight spinning reel worth spending money on is the Shimano Soare C14+. This Japanese made ultralight spinning reel weighs in at a tiny 140g, which to you and me is 4.94 oz of reel.
You may find smaller ultralight spinning reels from other “no name” manufacturers, but this gem from Shimano is the only quality 500 spinning reel on the market today.
Note that a reel this tiny does have its limitations, which in the case of the Shimano Soare C14+ means that you are limited in spool capacity. You can expect to get about 100m (330ft) of 2.5lb Mono onto this ultralight reel or 80m (262ft) of 2.5lb Fluorocarbon line if that is more your style.
The only other ultralight spinning reels under 5 oz that I have found are for ice fishing and come with even smaller spools and limited drag options. They just aren’t fit for fishing in lakes and rivers for trout and other species.
To find other ultralight reels that are worth the money you are going to have to move up into the 1000 range and the slightly heavier reels that go with it. But there are still some good options there.
Small Ultralight Spinning Reels Worth a Look
Shimano Stradic C14+
Marketed as “so light you almost forget it is in your hands”, the Shimano Stradic C14+ weighs in at a tiny 5.6 oz and is our next choice of ultralight spinning reel if you can’t get your hands on the Soare C14+ or you feel too limited by the Soare’s spool capacity.
Although falling into the 1000 ultralight reel range, at 5.6oz this reel still feels very comfortable in your hands while giving you the flexibility of a much longer spool length than the Soare C14+.
This reel is also Japanese made and you still might have some trouble finding stores who stock it in the USA.
For a locally available ultralight spinning reel we recommend looking at Daiwa’s range of reels, which do weigh slightly more than the Shimano’s (but at least you can get your hands of them easily!)
Daiwa Tatula LT
This Daiwa reel is one of the smallest ultralight spinning reels on the market, weighing in at 5.8 oz. The Tatula LT will let you spool up to 750 feet of 4lb mono line, which as you can see is substantially more than the Shimano Soare can handle.
That is the tradeoff between going for a tiny 500 spinning reel or a slightly larger 1000 spinning reel. You can get double or triple the line capacity on the 1000 than you can get on the 500 but you are going to be carrying an extra ounce of reel for that capacity.
The Daiwa Tatula LT remains durable while being lightweight, and is worth a look if you can’t source any of the Japanese made Shimano ultralight reels.
Daiwa Ballistic MQ LT
The other Daiwa ultralight spinning reel worth trying out is the Ballistic MQ LT model. This 1000 spinning reel weighs in at an even 6 oz, and in return for that weight you get a larger gear set that will give you more power and durability.
The Daiwa Ballistic MQ LT also spools up 750 feet of 4lb mono line, and if you don’t mind the extra weight then this reel really is value for money. Besides the better gear set the reel comes magsealed, which prevents water from getting inside the reel. This is a must have if you tend to fish saltwater, as it really extends the life of the reel.
The Last Cast
Finding a quality spinning reel can be tough at the best of times. Finding the smallest ultralight spinning reel while maintaining an eye on quality is outright difficult. If you really want the lightest spinning reel on the market then the Shimano Soare C14+ is for you, but it comes with limited spool capacity. The Shimano Stradic C14+ gives you that increased spool capacity, but these Japanese reels can be hard to find at your local outdoors store.
The Daiwa Tatula is the best option for small ultralight spinning reels readily available in the USA, with the Ballistic model from Daiwa being the best choice if you tend to fish around saltwater areas.
Technology progresses every year and stronger and lighter materials hit the market every season. I can’t wait to see what brand will come out with the smallest ultralight spinning reel next!