Will Wright

Reel handle on left or right?

Recommended Posts

Hey guys, I’ve fished for a very long time but mainly with bait. I’ve always used my right hand for reeling and I’m right handed. I’m just about to get started with lure fishing (mainly on the rocks) and I am buying a new combo. What are your guys’ thoughts on left or right handed reels. Any suggestions for me starting the lure fishing game using a left or right handed reel?

thanks 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Will,

Firstly the spinning reels are usually the same design for both winding styles. That is, you can switch the handle from right to left or left to right to suit your preference. You don't need to specifically buy a right or left handed spinning reel. Some exceptions to this are bait casters and overhead reels which are predominantly right hand wind.

I fish with a couple of Finnish guys. They are right handed and fish with the handle on the left hand - like most other Europeans I know that fish. We've had a friendly ongoing argument on the topic for about 4 years now. Short answer is there is a theoretical advantage but in practice I haven't found it to make much of a difference.

Arguments for fishing right handed but with left hand wind. You are not swapping hands. You cast with your right and don't have to swap hands to wind. Some people feel they have better control twitching with the right hand. When fishing in snags with species that pounce on lures you have a better chance of reacting quickly to the strike rather than fiddling around swapping rod hands.

I cast with my right, swap hands and reel with my right. In my case, when I cast I flip the bail arm and swap hands extremely quickly just as the lure hits the water. Not had problems missing strikes so far but I don't fish a lot of snags. I sometimes fish metal slices for which you need a very fast retrieve - I do this far easier and quicker with my right. Couple of people I fish with have been winding so long with the left hand that they can just match me for winding speed. When fighting the fish I prefer the dexterity I have with my right hand. I might do a couple of quick winds then use the right hand to assist the left pulling the rod up and then quickly switch back to winding as I'm dropping the rod.

My counter question to the left hand wind business is "why are most baitcasters and overheads right hand wind".

In the end if you want to switch it will take a while to get used to winding with the other hand.

Regards,

Derek

 

Edited by DerekD
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most spinning reel allow easy and fast change of handle to/from left/right side. The  issue is with baitcasters/overhead reels. Alvey allow conversion of reel with provided kit .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, DerekD said:

 

My counter question to the left hand wind business is "why are most baitcasters and overheads right hand wind".

 

Hi Derek,

As you already noticed I am a 'left hand wind ' person.

The problem to find left hand wind baitcasters (not 100% sure about large overheads) usually is at brick & mortar Australian  fishing tackle stores - as they are not  much popular. Large Australian online tackle shops usually give some choice. The problem with online purchase is that you cant get a reel feeling/ check rig balancing before the reel purchase.

I have seen tackle brick  shops in Europe that were selling only left-hand baitcasters. Cant comment much about US - as I have not been there for a while. Though left-hand built fully-sealed Van Staal US Spin reels were so unpopular and consequently 'low-priced' in Australia that American fishos were importing them from our shops.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m right handed but I switched to left hand wind for single handed spinning rods as a young fella. The theory is that (a) there is no need to change hands after casting, and (b) your stronger hand holds the rod and does most of the work. For double handed rods, I wind with the right.  On a single handed spinning rod, I hold the rod with the reel stem between the 2nd and 3rd fingers of my right hand. This is balanced for me and seems natural. On a double handed spinning rod, the balance is different (for me) and I hold the rod forward of the reel after casting.

Baitcasters are held differently. A pistolgrip single handed baitcaster is held behind the reel with the index finger around the trigger for casting so you can thumb the spool to control overruns. Then, for some reason, you move the other hand forward of the reel and wind with the casting hand. On a larger overhead reel with no level wind mechanism, the left thumb would then be used to lay the line evenly on the spool.

Alvey sidecast reels are different again. The rods are usually always longer and the mechanics of casting them just makes sense to hold the rod forward of the reel with the right hand and swivel the reel 90° with the left hand, clamping your thumb on the line until you need to release it in the cast. Then, switch hands to retrieve, so you can control the line with your left thumb and forefinger if needed.

Strange, isn’t it? 😂 Fly rods are another story again!

In the end, do what ever feels comfortable for YOU. 😉

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My fishing with baitcasters demands very accurate casting (so being right handed) I always cast with my right hand. I have reels which are both left and right hand wind. My preference is to use my right hand to hold the rod and impart the retrieve which suits the lure being used. It's a bit like writing with your other hand...not as effective (my opinion).

As mentioned, it's essential to be comfortable with what you choose. Have fun, bn

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am right handed cast with my right hand ( normally ) and wind with my right hand with spin gear , I feel awkward winding left handed, it's just what I am used to. With baitcaster reels I can cast left handed almost as good as with my right hand but it still feels awkward if I wind left handed. I have a beautiful left hand wind baitcaster worth over $400 and I think I have used it about 3 times as I use right hand wind mostly.

As have been said. Use whatever feels comfortable. Funny I hardly ever seen anyone wind left handed till REX became popular on TV then all of a sudden everyone has been winding left handed all their lives, Influence ?.

Frank

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use left hand wind and work rod with right hand because I feel I have more strength, reaction and control with my right hand (I'm right handed) and that left hand is just for winding. On my heavy setups on overhead reels - I don't mind right hand wind as I'm using both hands to lift the rod anyway.

On my overhead jigging reels, from Asia, the left hand wind makes sense and feels natural to me for the slow/fast jigging action .

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use both at times- but im pretty ambidextrous - for light tackle lure fishing I can finesse a retrieve a bit better by holding the rod in my right hand , however for high speed retrieves I can wind faster with my right- so it depends. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots of theories on this, but, in the end, just do what feels right for you, not what some "expert" tells you is technically right.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Im a south paw and for me find I cast more accurately using my dominant hand. Bit like if I was playing darts. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, frankS said:

...Funny I hardly ever seen anyone wind left handed till REX became popular on TV then all of a sudden everyone has been winding left handed all their lives, Influence ?.

Frank

Rex wasn’t my influence. My main influences were Dick Lewers (I still have his book “Understanding Fishing Tackke”), who advised lh wind for right-handed anglers with single handed spinning rods; and the legendary Vic McCristal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Europe the reels come with the the handle on the left, not because people are left handed but because they are mostly right handed. There was an interesting article in the fishing world magazine pointing out why left is right.  Yes the accuracy of a right handed person is going to be with their right hand, also the skill of lure action etc will be best from the dominant side. Turning the handle is just that, no skill needed and no strength compared to the dominant side. Personaly I can use both but by far prefer the left, even casting with a multi outfit the rod is controlled by my right side ( dominant) , however reeling in with a multi I have the handle on the right and actually use the reel handle to assist in lifting the rod. 

What hand would a right handed person hold a sword, pool cue, axe etc. I've seen some pretty weird reeling action where some people raise the rod with one arm then swap hands to turn the handle every pump of the rod.

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Being right handed or left handed doesnt matter what hand you spin with. I have mates who are left handed that spin the reel with their right and vice versa. 

Besides spin reels are interchangable and game reels are right handed only. Unless you want to pay coin to get them left converted. 

Just use what you are comfortable with. And dont let what society dictate how you should use your own gear

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting discussion.

So, why right hand wind is preferred in Australia? (I mean besides large overheads).

I have a theory that it developed due to majority of local/first  fishing reels e.g centerpins and sidecasts had no drag, and fish had to be 'played' with stronger (right) hand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, savit said:

Interesting discussion.

So, why right hand wind is preferred in Australia? (I mean besides large overheads).

I have a theory that it developed due to majority of local/first  fishing reels e.g centerpins and sidecasts had no drag, and fish had to be 'played' with stronger (right) hand.

I think it's because there are so many left handed people and the fact people were not shown how to use them with handle on the left at a young age. Also the fact Australia is upside down, I checked on my kids globe!!! 

  • Haha 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, I’m pretty sure that every single threadline reel I’ve purchased for as long as I can remember has come new out of the box with the handle on the left hand side...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am right handed. When I first started fishing, I used my right hand to cast and wind the reel

When I started lure fishing, I found it very awkward to work the lures (especially plastics) with the rod in my left hand, so ultimately made the switch to a left hand wind. It feels weird at first but you get used to it pretty quick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Statistics

    • Total Topics
      65,185
    • Total Posts
      523,172