Daiwa Iprimi 56XXUL-S

The Daiwa Iprimi 56XXUL-S is a 5' 6" extra, extra ultralight solid-tipped spinning rod. It is a very soft, full flex rod that makes catching even small fish fun. When I first saw the rod's specs, I immediately thought about micro fishing, which has grown dramatically in the US in the last few years. This is the best spinning rod I have found for micro fishing. Even if you are not specifically fishing for micros, it is a fun rod for catching just about any small to medium sized fish.

Angler holding a Satinfin Shiner alongside an Daiwa Iprimi 56XXUL-SSatinfin Shiner caught with Iprimi 56XXUL-S

The ultralight spinning rods that are readily available in the US are overkill for smaller fish. Most are rated for lines up to 6#. Personally, I would consider 6# line to be "light" rather than "ultralight" and I suspect most diehard ultralight anglers would agree with that assessment. I truly believe that 6# line is just too thick and too stiff to give good casting distance and good action with small lures. I just had an email conversation with an angler who was using the .5g Rodio-craft Blinde Flanker micro spoons to catch trout. He said he had become convinced that you have to use 2 lb line to fish the really light lures.

I guess I should not have been surprised but a US rod manufacturer recently released a series of "premium" ultralight panfish rods - rated for lines up to 6#. I guess that's what they think US anglers want. I think US anglers should rethink ultralight!

The Daiwa Iprimi 56XXUL-S is rated for 3# line - maximum! The minimum recommended is 1.5# - which isn't readily available in the US, but is in Japan. It takes a very light line to get the full benefit of the rod's light lure rating, which goes down to .4 gram (about 1/70th oz). The Daiwa Vega .4 gram spoons (since discontinued) did not cast far, but you could cast them far enough to catch fish. There is a good selection of micro spoons that weigh from .5 to 2 grams. The 1.8 gram spoons cast like bullets with 3# line.

Angler holding pumpkinseed sunfish alongside Daiwa Iprimi 56 XXUL-S.Pumpkinseed caught with Daiwa Vega spoon

The Daiwa Iprimi 56XXUL-S is rated for lures up to 2.5 grams, so you can also fish with larger spoons like the Shimano Slim Swimmer.  I have caught larger fish on 2.5g spoons than I would want to tangle with using the 56XXUL-S, but the rod is more capable than you would expect an extra, extra ultralight to be.

Smallmouth bass and Daiwa 56XXULS on boat seat.Smallmouth bass caught with Daiwa 56XXULS

I took the rod to Maine a few years ago on my annual smallmouth bass fishing trip - just to see what the rod could do. It did just fine. It is not a rod to pull largemouths out of weeds, but in an open lake it will tire a pretty good fish. In Japan, the rod is designed for use in Areas, which are private, managed pay-to-fish lakes. Some of the trout in the Areas are surprisingly large but they are also heavily pressured.  Anglers routinely use small lures and very light lines. To protect the light lines, Area rods tend to have very soft actions and the Iprimi 56XXUL-S is no exception.

Angler holding brook trout alongside Daiwa  Iprimi 56XXUL-S.The Iprimi 56XXUL-S is an excellent rod for the headwaters

Actually, it is exceptional in one respect, and that is the length. Most Area rods are 6' long or a bit longer. At 5'6", the 56XXUL-S is one of the shortest rods intended for fishing Areas. That short length, combined with the extra, extra ultralight action, makes it one of the best rods for the headwaters streams here in the US, where the brookies or rainbows or browns are not going to be very big (but they probably will be very hungry).

I recently watched a YouTube video of a Japanese angler fishing a mountain stream for trout using an Area trout rod and a Smith AR-S spinner, which is also intended for fishing in Areas. The combination was very effective.

*Light bulb goes off*

For the longest time, I had thought rods intended for native trout in streams had firmer actions because you had to fight the current as well as the fish. I now think that the firmer action is primarily because of the lures most Japanese anglers fish in streams. By far, most fish minnow lures (mostly sinking minnows), which are frequently twitched on the retrieve. Twitching a 4.5g sinking minnow takes a relatively firm rod tip.

A spinner is fished with a steady rather than a pulsed retrieve. Thus, a rod for fishing spinners (particularly a 1.5 or 2g spinner like the single hook AR-S) does not need a stiff tip. An XUL or XXUL Area rod works just fine for fishing small spinners in a stream for wild trout, as long as the trout aren't too large or the current too fast.

I had previously seen a video of the same angler, using the same rod, fishing for trout in a mountain stream with micro spoons. Similarly, fishing a small, light spoon with a steady retrieve does not require a stiff rod tip. The Daiwa Iprimi 56XXUL-S (Area rod) is perfectly capable of fishing streams for trout using a Smith AR-S spinner or micro spoon (Area lures).

Whether you fish for trout in the headwaters, sunnies in the town park, or creek chubs in that little stream that no one else fishes, this is a rod that definitely will not be overkill for the fish you will catch. Truly, if you match the rod to the fish, you don't have to catch wall hangers to have a great day. Extra, extra ultralight? Think of it as extra, extra fun!

Angler holding largemouth bass alongside Daiwa Iprimi 56XXUL-S.Pete L's 56XXUL-S bass

Pete L sent in this photo showing a 16" bass he recently caught with his Daiwa Iprimi 56XXUL-S. He wrote "Took her out today testing three # test and 1/32 and 1/16 oz jig flies.  She handled this 16” bass.  Fought like a champion with her tip bent to the reel!  That would have been a ho-hum fish with normal gear.  It was an exciting 8-10 minute battle and A BLAST!  Later two crappie just for fun.  Light fly fishing and these XXUL rods are a perfect combo.

Thanks for introducing me.  I’m a warm water fisherman having a ball.

I’m converting jigs to jig flies.  They work beautifully."

Fly tied on a jig headOne of Pete L's "Jig Flies"

Pete's Jig Flies reminds me of Joe Robinson's "flures," which he defined as a cross between a fly and a lure. Joe's book "Piscatorial Absurdities" championed the use of a soft spinning rod with line of 3 lb and under. A fly tied on a light jig head casts well, doesn't make a huge splash on entry, and catches fish. A rod designed for 3 lb line, micro spoons, small spinners or light jigs makes catching those fish more fun.

Rod Weight
Line Weight
Lure Weight

Iprimi 56XXUL-S
Area (lake)

2.1 oz
1.5 - 3 lb
.4g-2.5g (1/70-1/11 oz)
$155(plus $10 S/H)
Made in Vietnam


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The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.