2lb vs 4lb vs 6lb — What’s The Best Ultralight Fishing Line?

By Joshua / August 24, 2016

When it comes to ultralight fishing lines, you’ve really got 3 choices.  Now, there is some debate as to what actually qualifies a line as ultralight, which we’re not really here to settle today.  What we will say, though, is that if you’re catching a fish that weighs more than the line you’re using, you can generally consider yourself an ultralight angler.

With that being said, for the purposes of this article, we’re going to focus specifically on ultralight rods, ultralight reels, and 3 different types of lines: 2lb, 4lb, and 6lb test.

In most circles, these are considered ultralight, and anglers use them to either get in front of really spooky fish, when they’re fishing in clear water, or times when they want to give the fish a fighting chance.

Nothing, to me, is more exciting than reeling in a 6lb fish when you’re using 2lb or 4lb test and an ultralight reel.

2lb Test Lines

2lb test is considered “true” ultralight fishing line by most purists.  I don’t necessarily agree with them, and when times are tough, you really need the thinnest line you can get your hands on.  This is especially true when you’re fishing for skittish trout and in ultra clear water.

2lb test lines require you to really be on top of your game, and check your line after every cast.  Any nick, cut, or gouge in the line can cause you to break off a fish at the worst possible time.

Your drag is the same way.  If you have your drag set at 2 ½ pounds, and you’re using 2lb line, the fish is going to break you off.  And telling the difference between 1lb of drag, and 2lbs of drag is pretty hard to do.

4lb Test Lines

When it comes to my tacklebox, I usually stock 4lb test as my ultimate choice for ultralight lines.  It gives you the same thrill (close) that you get when you’re fishing with 2lb test, but gives you a much larger margin of error in case you have small nicks in the line, or your drag is set too tight.

Most ultralight reels will hold at least 120 yards of 4lb test, making it an excellent choice if you like to cut your line and switch lures a lot.  It’s also great for fishing in bigger bodies of water where the fish have a chance to take off and run with your lure.

6lb Test Lines

Most people would argue that 6lb test isn’t exactly an ultralight line, but I’d say it really depends on what you’re trying to catch.  If you’re catching a 10lb trout on 6lb line, and doing it in a rocky riverbed, I’d consider you to be “ultralight fishing”.

Of the 3 we’ve mentioned here, 6lb test lines give you the greatest margin of error, and do not require nearly as much attention to detail as 2lb and 4lb lines.  You can also get away with fishing in slightly heavier cover than you would with the previous two weights.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend you start fishing in the logs, or thick weeds with 6lb test, but you don’t have to worry nearly as much if you do happen to end up in those areas and you hook into a decent sized fish.

What’s The Best Ultralight Fishing Line?

UntitledRegardless which thickness or lb test line I’m using, there’s one brand and model line I rely on more than any others.  That’s Bass Pro Shops Tourney Tough line of monofilament fishing lines.

I’ve tested a lot throughout the years, and Tourney Tough is among the thinnest, while also providing great sensitivity, cut abrasion, and minimal visibility under the water.

It’s available in all 3 — 2lb, 4lb, and 6lb test — along with both clear and green colors.  I recommend clear for clear water, and green for stained water.  The thinner profile lets it easily disappear so you don’t have to worry about it being too visible when the fish are easily spooked.

The debate rages on… what are your thoughts?

You’ve heard where I stand, and the line I use.  What about you?

What’s your preferred line weight, and brand?

I’d love to know!  Tell me by leaving a comment below, along with why you think it’s the best!

What’s The Best Ultralight Spinning Reel?

By Joshua / August 24, 2016

We’ve tested a lot of reels throughout the years, and, being honest, most of them were junk.

It’s unfortunate to say, and we’re not necessarily going to call out any manufacturers for producing low quality reels and pitching them to anglers around the world, but we will introduce you to a few that have stood the test of time, and that we can actually recommend you spend your hard earned money on.

We’ve got 5 quick ultralight spinning reel reviews to help make your job easier, and keep you from wasting your time with a low quality setup that could cost you money, and cost you fish.

Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris CarbonLite – $79.99

1You get what you pay for, especially when it comes to ultralight gear.  If you’ve made the decision that the ultralight way is your way of life, you can’t settle for anything but the best.

In this case, the best ultralight spinning reels on the market are the Johnny Morris signature line of CarbonLite reels.  They’re designed with an oversized bail that can hold up to 230 yards of 4lb premium line, and a max drag system rated for 22lbs, giving you more than enough pressure to stop those big fish dead in their tracks.

At 27” per turn, you can quickly pick up line, and draw your target in close enough to grab them with a net.  The extra strong carbon fiber frame will take your punishment, and keep delivering day after day, trip after trip.  This could be a reel that you pass down to your kids — and they’ll be grateful for it!

This reel is packed with features that make your life easier, and ensure you land more of the fish you hook up with.  Instead of rambling on about how great we think it is, check out some of those features and read reviews from other anglers by clicking here.

Bass Pro Shops Micro Lite Elite – $39.99

2The Micro Lite Elite from Bass Pro Shops aims to change the ultralight fishing game with this design.  It boasts features that are typically only available on more expensive reels, and builds them into a platform that’s perfectly balanced on most ultralight rods.

It’s actually designed for 6lb test line, but we’ve gotten away with loading even more 4lb test onto it without any problems at all.  A carbon fiber drag system mated with the 7 ball bearings means you’ll never have those sketchy moments when your reel locks up for a split second, causing the line to bust and letting a fish get away.

It’s a touch on the heavier side, compared to other reels on this list, but even at 6 ounces, you’ll have to pay close attention to feel the weight difference.  When you’re using a longer rod, it’s almost non-existent.

Don’t just take our word for it, though, you can click here to read some reviews from other people that made it their main reel.

Browning Fishing Stalker – $29.99

3The Browning Fishing Stalker is a pretty impressive package.  It’s made it to our list because of the 7 metal ball bearings and corrosion resistant aluminum spool.  That means it can be used in both fresh, and saltwater, as long as you rinse it thoroughly afterwards.

The front drag is great for lighter lines and it’s built with a graphite body and rotor, to help keep the weight down and balance low towards the rod butt.  That makes slinging ultralight lures substantially easier.

Our time with the Browning Fishing Stalker was somewhat limited, but in the little bit of time we did get to use it, we fell in love.  We think you’ll fall in love with it, too.  You can learn more about it by clicking here.

Bass Pro Shops Crappie Maxx – $21.99

4Don’t let the name fool you.  The Crappie Maxx from Bass Pro Shops isn’t just for hauling in slab crappies.  It’s built lightweight, yet still durable enough to handle even bigger catches — like large trout, bigmouth bass, and even heavier catfish.

The strong graphite frame, aluminum bail and spool, along with the all metal gearing can handle some of the toughest abuse you can put it through.  It’s designed specifically for 4lb test, allowing you to stuff 120 yards of it onto the spool, making sure that you won’t run out anytime soon.  Even if you’re constantly changing lures!

It’s got a 7lb max drag system, so you won’t want to clamp it all the way down, along with 3 ball bearings to provide smooth, seamless operation.  No jerking or tugging going on that will snap your line, leaving you left wondering about the one that got away.

From crappie, to bass, catfish, trout, and even some saltwater species, the Crappie Maxx delivers.  Click here to learn more about it!

Bass Pro Shops TinyLite – $19.99

5While it may be the cheapest reel we’ve reviewed, it doesn’t mean that it’s not worthy of making it to our list.  The TinyLite reel is designed for 2lb test, making it the only true ultralight reel we’re featuring, and comes with a drag system that’s perfectly tuned to 2lb test line.

It’s lightweight, coming in at only a hair over 5 ounces, and built using a graphite body and lightweight aluminum spool.  2 ball bearings help the reel operate smoothly, and it even comes with a spare spool so you can quick-change between 2lb and 4lb test line whenever you want.

This is a true steel, in terms of construction and the warranty that Bass Pro Shops gives you, so if you’re on a tiny budget, a TinyLite might be in your future.  You can learn more about the reel, and see what other anglers have to say by clicking here.

Do you use a different ultralight spinning reel?

You know what we like, so how about you?  What do you think?

How does our list of the best ultralight spinning reels stack up to what you’re using right now?

Do you have a fish slaying ultralight setup that you think we need to take a look at?

Let us know!  We’d love to hear from you!

Tell us your thoughts by leaving a comment.  Then, make sure to check out our Facebook page by clicking here.

The Best Ultralight Reel For Kids

For a long time, ultralight fishing reels have gotten a bad rap for being low quality, and falling apart on your first trip to the water. Since they’re not the most expensive reels on the market, it’s easy for knockoffs to land their junk onto the same shelves as the quality reels.  If you take a trip to the local big box sporting goods store, you’re going to get presented with dozens of different options, probably left wondering “what is the best ultralight reel for me — or my kids?”

Over the last few years, though, ultralight fishing reel manufacturers have really stepped up their game. That means you don’t have to worry about wasting your money, and you also don’t have to worry about your brand new reel busting down on you and your kids at the worst time.

With that being said, the best ultralight reel of 2016 is debatable — depending on how much you have to spend. While you can get a reel for $10 or $20, your chances of having it around for a long time are fairly slim.

Before you buy one, you need to figure out which type you’re going to use most often, and which type will come naturally for your kids to use. Some are better than others, but we need to address one of the biggest elephants in the room, right now: ultralight baitcasting reels.

Before you start trying to find one, let me explain why it’s going to be so hard for you. Simply put, ultralight baits are exactly that — lightweight. That doesn’t lend well to trying to pull line off the reel, like baitcasters require.

What typically happens when you fling a lightweight lure off the end of a baitcaster is a huge rat’s nest. That’s going to take time out of your day, and give your kids an opportunity to get frustrated and start throwing things into the water. They all do it.

So What’s The Best Ultralight Reel For Kids?

So you’re left with 2 other options for an ultralight reel that won’t leave you frustrated: spinning, and spincasting. Each has their place, depending on how experienced your kids are.

Most kids are going to start out with an ultralight spincast reel. You’ve seen them before, probably in your dad or grandpa’s tackle box. You can see a closed face reel to the right.

Before you rush out and buy one, though, keep this in mind: they, like baitcasters, do not tend to lend themselves very well to flinging lightweight lures. And the lures you’re going to be flinging are anywhere from 1/16 ounce, up to ¼ ounce on the heavier side.

They’ll usually sling the lure about 10-15 feet, or just far enough to irritate you, without being able to get any more distance out of it. You’ll also have to deal with your kids tangling the line up inside of the reel, forcing you to take time out to fix the mess.

It’s in their design — they are typically built to handle 10lb test, and act up with anything lighter. Especially ultralight lines.

In my years of experience, there has been only one ultralight spincasting reel that can keep you from getting irritated 20 minutes into the trip: the Zebco 33 “Micro” Spincasting Reel. It’s made to handle light lines, and doesn’t have a bunch of inner workings that are going to nick the line and cause it to snap on you at the worst time — when you’re fighting a fish.

It will work with lighter lines in the 2lb to 4lb test range, and can fling 1/16 oz lures with a fair bit of distance. Increase the weight to ⅛ ounce, and even ¼ ounce, and you can sling an ultralight lure half a football field. Just make sure you’re using a high quality line that can handle the abuse, and you’re good to go.

The Zebco 33 is the only ultralight reel that hasn’t left me (and my daughter) completely frustrated. While I don’t necessarily recommend it for people who can use a spinning reel without getting it tangled up, it’s perfect for younger folks (read: kids) who just want to cast and reel, cast and reel, rinse and repeat. It will stand up to their abuse, and do what it needs to do. And it’s not that expensive, to boot.

If you know that your kids will have issues with a spinning reel setup, and want to pick up the Zebco 33 “Micro” Spincast reel, click here. In my (humble) opinion, it’s the best ultralight reel on the market for kids these days, hands down.