Don’t let the name fool you, ultralight fishing is much bigger than its title leads you to believe. The term “ultralight fishing” comes from the type, and size of the rods and reels that are used when you are out on the water. In general, ultralight fishing rods and reels are much smaller than what you would typically see anglers using, or on the tournament circuit. When you downsize the size of the gear that you’re using, you open yourself up to catching a lot more fish on a regular basis than you would if you were fishing with full sized medium action gear using 12lb test line, or heavier.
Ultralight rods are usually built in lengths ranging from 4’0″ and 4’6″ on the smaller end, all the way up to 8’0″ and 9’0″ for some of the more niche style rods. Most people are comfortable using a rod that falls in between, in the 5’0″ to 6’0″ range. This range provides excellent casting properties, and enough length to use the rod to cushion some of the force put onto the lighter lines you’ll be using. Ultralight rods bend from the tip down into the rod butt, in a parabolic fashion, to provide a cushioning effect on the line.
The reels are balanced to the rod, and are typically designed to stay under a weight of 10 ounces, while being able to hold a large amount of line. These smaller reels make it much easier to manage the lighter lines and cast the smaller lures easier than their larger counterparts.
Lines that are used on ultralight gear, for purists, come in sizes from 1 lb test and smaller, up to 6 lb test on the larger end. These lines allow you to achieve more distance when throwing lightweight lures. The lighter line means that you must take caution when setting the drag on your reel, to avoid having it too stiff and breaking off, while also making sure that you are utilizing the rod’s parabolic bend to absorb some of the pressure being exerted. It is a fine balance between getting the drag set stiff enough to provide a good hook-set, but not too stiff to cause you to break your line.
The lures that are used in UL fishing are typically smaller than the lures used in more traditional fishing methods. The weight of these lures can be as light as 1/80 ounce and are usually not heavier that 1/8 ounce. The length of these lures can be as short as 1/2 inch and are usually not any longer than 2 inches. Overall, you can use words like small, tiny, mini, and light-weight to describe these lures.
Ultralight fishing opens up a world of possibilities for anglers, because of the wide variety of species that you can catch. When you downsize the lures that you are using, you will be able to bag more fish, consistently, than what would be possible with heavier lures, lines, and rods. Even though you will be catching a lot more smaller fish, you still have the possibility to catch the bigger fish in the waters you’re on, which helps to make ultralight fishing so exciting to so many people. So whether you’ve been fishing your years or new to the sport, we highly suggest you consider transitioning to ultralight fishing and test the theory of beginner’s luck!