Skip to Content

Why Are Fishing Reels Left-handed?

If you’re a nature lover and often go on a picnic with your friends and family by the riverside to have fresh fish, then you may have used fishing reels. If you’re a right-handed person, you would be more comfortable using the modern left-handed fishing reels.

Why are fishing reels left-handed?

Most fishing reels are left-handed, allowing your more dominant right hand to hold the rod, enabling you to battle the big fishes. In contrast, your less synchronized hand will do the mere task of turning the reel handle. Hence, there will be no hassle of changing your hands every time you cast.

What is a left-handed fishing reel?

Left-handed fishing reels are designed with a fixed caster on the right side to be comfortably used by a right-handed person.

And the handle is on the left side, followed by the whole metal arm. The internal materials are covered and have a full face, so they are not visible. Parts of fishing reel includes-

  1. Reel Handle    
  2. Reel Foot
  3. Line Roller
  4. Reel Body
  5. Anti-Reverse Switch
  6. Bail Arm
  7. Spool Release and Drag Adjustment
  8. Drag washers
  9. Line Spool
  10. Ball bearing
  11. Dust cap 

The reel foot attaches the rod acting as a reel holder. You hold the reel foot with your right hand and cast. You can also tighten it by fixing the screws.

You will hold the foot and the rod with your right hand while casting. It gives your dominant hand more energy and control.

In the case of a fishing spinning reel, when you rotate the reef handle, the bail arm rotates around the spool. So the bail arm, spool, and handle work altogether to wrap the line onto the spool.

When you open the bail arm, it releases the line and cast that allows the line to wrap off. After you are done casting, closing the bail arm causes the line to wrap off onto the spool.

The spool itself in a fishing reel can rotate. But it doesn’t turn while you’re casting or retrieving, but it rotates when you pull the line. And it will make a sound.

When you catch a big fish, you have to let it pull the line, producing sound in a left-handed fishing reel. A strong fish can break or rip off the line.

In a left-handed fishing reel, there is a drag mechanism inside of it to control such a situation. It consists of several drag washers. You can use it by turning the drag knob clockwise and anti-clockwise.

The ball bearings are inside of the reel, so you wouldn’t be able to see it.  They are vital in a left-hand fishing reel because they translate the rotation of the handle into the bail’s rotation.

Left-handed fishing reels come with a gear ratio. When you rotate the handle once, and if the bail arm rotates five times, then the gear ratio in that left-handed fishing reel is 5:1.

The anti-reverse switch on the left-handed fishing reel allows you to move the handle both forward and backward.

Are there left and right-handed fishing reels?

Yes. There are both left-handed and right-handed fishing reels. It might sound weird to you, but if you’re a right-handed person, then left-handed fishing reels are for you. And if you’re a left-handed person, then you should opt for right-handed fishing reels.

Right-handed fishing reels are traditional baitcasting reels having the handle on the right side. But it is problematic to change your hands every time after casting a bait and reel with your right hand.

As a result, nowadays, left-handed fishing reels are designed because most anglers are right-handed. And in left-handed spinning reels, you cast with your superior right hand and spin with your left hand.

When do you need a left-handed fishing reel?

Sometimes, it can be not very clear for you to determine when you need a left-handed reel.

Four reasons when you need a left-handed fishing reel-

If you’re a right hand dominant:  

If your right hand is dominant, then you know you should choose left-handed fishing reels. Because they are constructed such that you can cast a bait with force using your more dominant right hand and spin the reel with your less coordinated left hand.

When you’re looking for an easier and simpler way:

If you’re a right-handed person, it will be difficult for you to cast with your right hand, then change the fishing rod to your left hand and then cranking with your right hand. So it becomes a lot easier and simpler for you if you just use a left-handed fishing reel.

If you’re a beginner fisherman:

If you’re new in this sport and just learning how to fish, you will have to have a left-hand fishing reel. Because many old fishers now cannot shift to using left-handed fishing reels despite right-handed reels being a hassle.

When you want more efficiency:

You will struggle a lot using a right-handed spinning reel if you’re a right-handed person. You will probably fail to fight that big fish while changing hands. If such inconveniences arrive, then you will know you need a left-handed fishing reel.

Difference between right and left-handed fishing reels?

Though both the right and left-handed fishing reels serve the same purpose of catching fish, they also come with a few differences.

Three significant differences between right and left-handed fishing reels-

Position of the spinning reel:

Right-handed reels come with the bait caster located on the right side. They don’t have a spinning reel. On the contrary, left-handed reels have spinning reels on the left and reel handles on the right side.

Direction of the fishing reel:

In a right-handed fishing reel, the reel and eyes are faced towards an upward direction. On the other hand, they are directed downwards in a left-handed spinning reel.

Hands to use:

You will find it easier and more comfortable to use a left-handed spinning reel if you’re a right-handed person. Again, if you’re a left-handed person, you will like to use the right-handed reels.

Should I get a right or left-handed reel?

If you are getting a little confused while choosing your fishing reels and need some help, then we got you!

Here are some guidelines on whether to get a right or left-handed reel:

Hand superiority:

If you’re a right-handed person, then you should opt for left-handed reels. But if you’re a left-handed person, then right-handed reels are for you.

Live baits:

Now, if you’re using a frog as live bait, then for the motion, use the right-handed reel even if you’re a right-handed person. On the contrary, use a left-handed reel for baits like worms and such. It goes for both left and right-handed persons.

Instant reeling:

If you’re catching a big fish or need to get the bait in your desired place carefully, then use the left-handed fishing reels for instant reeling since you can bait with your right hand and reel with your left hand.

Personal preference:

However, if you have been using right-handed reels for a long time and used to that in spite of it being a hassle, then it is totally up to you. Because many right-handed professional fishers use the traditional right-handed fishing reels.

What hand should I reel with?

If you’re using a left-handed reel, use your left hand to reel with and cast with your right hand. That will give you more control over your bait while casting. And you can easily and quickly stop the line anywhere you want.

Now, if you’re using a right-handed reel, you have to be a little tricky and use your right hand while casting. Then swiftly take the fishing rod with your left hand and start reeling with your right.

How do I change a fishing reel to left-handed?

Fishing reels are interchangeable. You can change it to left or right-handed according to your preferences.

Four easy steps to change your fishing reels to left-handed:

  • Find the handle on your fishing reel. And on its opposite side, you will see the dust cap. You have to take it out.
  • Now, unscrew the reel handle turning it in a clockwise direction from the left side.
  • After unscrewing the handle, put it in the place of the dust cap. And turn the reel clockwise to give it a tight fit.
  • Fix the dust cap where the reel handle was before and keep screwing it until it is tightened.

Congratulations! You have successfully changed your fishing reel to left-handed.

Read more about Are Fishing Reel Handles Interchangeable?

Hope we could help you choose your desired fishing reel, and you would be able to catch delicious fishes to satisfy your tummy. Happy fishing!

Frequently Asked Questions:

How to store fishing reels?

How often should you oil your fishing reel?

How often should fishing reels be serviced?

Are fishing reels waterproof?

Do fishing reels rust?

Do fishing reels wear out?