Four Pound Test Favorites

If you’re a lunker lover looking to turn pro, the last thing you want to hear about is an ultralight spinning reel loaded with hair-thin line. No way will this combination provide the necessary power to haul big bucketmouths out of heavy cover. On the other hand, if you’re a pond or canal junkie looking to increase the challenge and adrenaline rush of catching fish on the lightest gear possible, ultralights are just what the proverbial fishing doctor ordered.


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Since the diameter of fishing line affects how quickly a lure will sink, anglers fishing ultralights aren’t solely focused on breaking strength.

Florida is a freshwater angler’s paradise, dotted with countless landlocked ponds, canals and small bodies of water that are hunted by a wide variety of panfish, including a colorful assortment of tilapia and sunfish, juvenile peacock and largemouth bass, perch, oscar, cichlid, crappie, shad and more. Aggressive by nature, these small statured sensations don’t exactly provoke the wow factor when encountered on typical bass gear. Instead, turning to ultralight 4 lb. test provides freshwater fishermen with a thirst for excitement and a number of inherent advantages. While ultralight outfits enable small fish to pull hard, they more importantly provide decreased line visibility, improved lure action and an overall balanced experience.

…a silky smooth drag system is a must with fragile line where even a brief glitch could cost you a fish.

Ultralight gear enables finesse fishermen to present tiny lures with precision while also giving anglers the opportunity to hone their fish fighting skills. Turning to such frail line means patience is an absolute must when playing any size fish, as is paying close attention to your surroundings before presenting any sort of bait or lure. It doesn’t take much more than a sharp reed or jagged obstruction to damage your line to the point of inevitable failure.

With the goal of presenting lures on light line, you should purchase the very best ultralight spinning reel you can afford. Quality products range from as low as $80 to well over $700. The broad price range is based partially on manufacturing materials and processes, along with innovative features and to some extent brand recognition. That being said, I have yet to speak with an angler who regrets purchasing top shelf gear, but I’ve heard countless horror stories associated with equipment of lesser quality.

Speed vs. Power

Gear ratio determines how fast you can retrieve line and how much cranking power you have. The number indicates how many times the spool rotates for every crank of the reel’s handle. With 4 lb. line, excess cranking power really isn’t of great concern. Throughout the lineup ultralight spinning reels typically feature a moderate 4.9:1 gear ratio to a fast 6.2:1 gear ratio. If you prefer slightly more power to speed, then select a reel with a lower gear ratio.


There are two options regarding drag adjustment—front and rear. With few exceptions, front drags are more effective for larger, more powerful fish mostly because of the increased size of the drag surface. Conversely, the main advantage of a rear adjustable drag is that it is easier to tweak when fishing super-thin monofilament in an ultralight situation. In either case, a silky smooth drag system is a must with fragile line where even a brief glitch could cost you a fish.

Line Capacity

Ultralight spinning reels can cast 1/64 and 1/32 oz. jigs and lures a relatively fair distance, especially when paired with the appropriate rod. However, don’t expect to break any distance records. You must also consider that line capacity on such small spools will max out at around 150 yards—the vast majority of which you will never see until it’s time to reload with fresh line.


Matching the right rod to an ultralight spinning reel is a must, keeping in mind that rods are designed to work best within a specified range of line weights. You will find the recommended line range, lure weight and designated action printed on the shaft of every rod near the foregrip. Rods with a slow or parabolic action tend to curve all the way to the butt section when loaded. This is the right choice and serves as an excellent shock absorber for ultralight lines.

Micro Machines

Shimano Stella STLC2000SFI
Line Cap. (lb./yds.): 4/109
Gear Ratio: 5.1:1
Weight: 6.3 oz.
MSRP: $789.99

Daiwa Exceler EXE1500SH
Line Cap. (lb./yds.): 4/155
Gear Ratio: 6.0:1
Weight: 8.1 oz.
MSRP: $79.95

Abu Garcia Revo SX10
Line Cap. (lb./yds.): 4/110
Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
Weight: 7.4 oz.
MSRP: $159.95

Penn Battle BTLII1000
Line Cap. (lb./yds.): 4/135
Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
Weight: 8.1 oz.
MSRP: $99.99

Okuma VSystem V-20a
Line Cap. (lb./yds.): 4/190
Gear Ratio: 5.0:1
Weight: 8.8 oz.
MSRP: $164.99

Pflueger Patriarch PATXTSP30X
Line Cap. (lb./yds.): 4/140
Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
Weight: 6.1 oz.
MSRP: $249.95