If you’re new to fishing, one of the first key decisions you’ll need to make is choosing what type of fishing rod to use, and one of the most important factors in that decision is whether to use a right-handed or left-handed fishing reel.
Choosing the best reel for your handedness and fishing style will help set you up for an enjoyable experience on the water. This guide covers the main factors to consider when deciding between a right hand and left hand fishing reel as a beginner.
Determining Your Dominant Hand
The first step is identifying whether you are right hand or left hand dominant. Consider which hand you use for writing, casting, and daily activities. Your dominant hand will likely feel most natural using the corresponding right or left handed reel. However, there are also advantages to trying the opposite orientation, especially for right handed anglers using left handed reels.
Comparison of Right Handed vs Left Handed Fishing Reels
|Feature||Right Handed Reel||Left Handed Reel|
|Casting Hand||Right hand||Right hand|
|Retrieval Hand||Left hand||Right hand|
|Hook Setting Hand||Left hand||Right hand|
|Reeling Hand||Left hand||Left hand|
|More Natural for Right Handed Anglers?||Yes||No|
|More Natural for Left Handed Anglers?||No||Yes|
Understanding the “Switcharoo” Dilemma
When using a right handed reel, most right handed anglers cast with their dominant right hand first. But then they have to perform the awkward “switcharoo” – switching the rod over to their left hand in order to reel in. This can cause you to lose fish if one bites just as your lure hits the water during the hand switch.
Benefits of Left Handed Reels for Right Handed Anglers
Selecting a left handed reel as a right handed angler helps solve the “switcharoo” issue. You can cast comfortably with your dominant right hand, while retrieving and reeling with your left. Using a left handed reel also allows you to set the hook with your stronger right arm, keeping the fight smooth and seamless.
Other Key Considerations
Here are some other important factors when selecting a right or left handed fishing reel:
- Reversible Handles – Many reels allow you to reverse the handle direction to accommodate left or right hand retrieve.
- Personal Preference – Borrow or test different reel types to see what feels most comfortable and intuitive for you. There is no universally “correct” choice.
- Rod Hand Orientation – Fishing rods can also be designed for right or left handed anglers depending on manufacturer.
FAQ on Right vs. Left Handed Fishing Reels
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about left vs right handed fishing reels:
- Are fishing reels reversible? – Yes, many reels are designed to be reversible for easy switching between left and right hand configurations.
- Can you switch the handle on a spinning reel? – On many spinning reel models, the handle can be reversed to match your dominant hand.
Key Takeaways on Picking the Right Reel for You
Here are some final tips to remember when selecting a right or left handed fishing reel as a beginner:
- Right handed anglers may find left handed reels provide better casting, hook setting, and retrieval.
- Test different reel types to find your personal preference. There is no universally “correct” choice.
- Reversible reel handles allow configuring for right or left handed use.
- Choose a reel that lets you cast and set hooks with your dominant hand.
With the proper reel type for your needs and style, you’ll be set up for an efficient, seamless, and rewarding fishing experience.