Why Are Spinning Reels Left Handed ( How to Switch Handle)

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Have you ever noticed that most spinning reels have their handles affixed to the left side? Well, there are many reasons why manufacturers put the handle on the “wrong” side, given that most people in the world are right-handed.

Advantages of the Handle Being on the Left Side

If you are right-handed, the handle being on the left gives you some crucial advantages that include:

  • Your dominant hand (right hand) will be the one to hold the rod, giving you an upper hand while battling hard-fighting fishing.
  • Your less dominant (left hand) will have a simpler task of turning the reel handle, which is ideal since it is not used to “heavy” work. Turning a spinning tackle handle is quite easy, so you will be able to do it quickly even when using your less dominant hand.
  • It makes it quite easy to cast, and you won’t need to change your hand each time while casting.
  • Your dominant right-hand holds the rod handle, which is more comfortable. You will also have a faster reaction time when using your dominant hand.

For those reasons, I think it is fair to say the spinning tackle handles are not designed wrongly, after all. They are designed that way to make your work easier, which means that’s the correct way. In fact, most experienced anglers choose left-handled tackles despite being right-handed.

Interested in Baitcasting Reel? Know the difference first. You may check the differences between spinning and baitcasting reel here.

How to Switch Spinning Reels

If you better have the reel handle on your dominant hand, you can do some changes. Technically, you will not change the reel itself but the reel arm from one hand to the other.

If you are a beginner, you may also check the differences between a Spinning and Spincast Reel

How to Change Left-Handed Tackle to Right-Handed

If you are left-handed and a right-handed tackle does not feel comfortable, you can change it to become right-handed by following these simple steps.

  • Unscrew the dust cap on your tackle’s left side until the reel comes out
  • Unscrew the tackle handle on the right side by simply turning the handle in the anti-clockwise direction
  • Insert the reel arm in the space left after removing the dust cap and tighten it by turning the tackle in an anti-clockwise direction
  • Place the dust cap on the space left after changing the reel arm and screw it tight
  • You have switched your tackle from left to right-handed

How to Change Right-Handed Tackle to Left-Handed

If your spinning reel is right-handed and you don’t feel comfortable using it, you can change it to the left-handed side, which is more comfortable. Here are the steps you should follow:

  • Unscrew the dust cap on your tackle’s left side until your reel comes out.
  • Unscrew the tackle handle on the left side. Move your reel in a clockwise direction to unscrew it.
  • Insert the tackle arm into the space left after removing the dust cap and tighten it by moving the reel in a clockwise direction.
  • Place the dust cap on the space left after changing the reel arm and screw it tight.
  • Congratulations, you have changed your tackle into a left-handed spinning tackle.

Tips for Using Left-Handed Spinning Reels

Here are some tips for using your fishing reels in the proper way.

Choose the Right Line for Your Tackle

These days, there are various types of fishing lines, and getting the perfect line for your tackle is crucial. You can choose a fluorocarbon, monofilament, or braided line. If I was to be asked, I would say go for braided line. It has a smaller diameter, durable, and it is incredibly strong. This means you can add more lines to the spool, much more than you would have with monofilament.

The only major drawback of braided line is it is quite visible in the water and this can scare the too cautious fish like trout. That’s why most experienced anglers tie a fluorocarbon leader while using braided lines. Fluorocarbon is less visible.

If you don’t want to use a leader, maybe you should go for fluorocarbon. However, keep in mind that fluorocarbon has a higher line memory and coil, which can encourage line twists and tangles. Higher line memory also makes it hard for you to cast over a long distance.

Filling the Spool

If you fill your spool the right way, you can avoid many casting problems. Typically, if you underfill the spool, there will be increased friction, which will, in turn, affect your casting distance.

On the other hand, if you overfill it, the line will start coming off the spool the second you open the bail. For optimal performance, fill your spool and leave about 1/8 inch space on it. That way, you can launch long casts and avoid friction for the best performances.

Related : How to Spool a Spinning Reel

Fixing Line Twists

Unfortunately, line twists are quite common with spinning tackles. Most people experience this problem because of the mistakes they make while spooling new line. If you experience the issue, the best way to deal with it is to remove the fishing line and spool it again using a machine if possible.

Always Ensure the Bail Is Closed after Casting

Typically, a spinning reel will automatically close when you turn the handle while casting. However, the line may miss the spool during the first rotation. This leads to a loose loop, which will most probably turn into a wind knot while casting for the second time.

That’s why I suggest closing the bail by hand to ensure the fishing line is gathered the right way and it is laid onto the spool as it should. Train yourself to close the bail by hand and you will reduce the risk of wind knots significantly.

Learn How to Feather with Your Forefinger

Feathering during cast simply means touching the spool to control the speed at which it releases the fishing. This helps control the speed and increase the accuracy of your cast.

You should also feather your forefinger while reeling the line back to the spool. This ensures your line has enough tension to wrap itself onto the spool without causing loops that can lead to casting problems later. Put your forefinger on the line while reeling in to create tension enough to ensure it is wrapped tightly to the spool.

Don’t Reel Against the Drag

For reasons best known by experts, when you reel your spinning tackle against the drag, line twists become more customary. Therefore, if you hear the drag, don’t reel in. If the hook has caught a fish and it is stripping the drag, allow it to run against the drag until the drag stops making sounds. Once it stops “screaming,” you can retrieve your catch and reel in the line.

Spinning Tackle Maintenance

If you want your spinning reel to last for the longest time, you will need to take proper care of it. Here a few tips to help you with that:

  • Always spray your reel with fresh water after a fishing trip. However, don’t use a lot of pressure and don’t drown it in the water.
  • Remove any dust and debris on the spool before going out. Take it out often to thoroughly clean it and remove the debris.
  • Put a dab of oil on the spool’s shaft. If you use grease oil, make sure not to overuse it. 
  • Oil the reel handle, but don’t overdo it.
  • Lubricate the roller on the bail to ensure there is less friction. The roller should always stay clean because any lack of mobility can break the line while retrieving.
  • Inspect the screws to ensure they are tight before going out. You don’t want your tackle to fall apart when you’ve just landed a trophy fish.
  • Occasionally wipe down the entire reel with recommended oil to prevent rust and extend the durability of your gear.

Now you have learned about care and maintenance, If you are interested in purchasing high quality yet affordable spinning reel, you may have a look at our content on the Best Action Spinning Reel under $100

People Also Ask

Here are more questions commonly asked about left-handed spinning reels.

Are All Spinning Reels Left-Handed?

No, all spinning reels are not left-handed. However, most are because many anglers are right-handed. When the handle is on the lefts side, it means you will use your right hand on the rod handle and the left hand on the reel handle. That said, the less dominant hand will have less work of turning the handle, while the dominant right hand will be on the rod where there is more work.

Are Spinning Reels Reversible?

Yes, you can change your tackle from being left-handed to right-handed. The procedure is simple as shown in the steps provided above.

What is Anti-Reverse on a Spinning Tackle?

It is a feature in most conventional tackles that prevents the reel from turning backward while casting. The anti-reverse switch allows you to choose when to engage it and when not to. The feature helps prevent casting problems such as line twists and tangles. To know more details about the anti-reverse system, you may check out our content on what is anti-reverse spinning reel and how does it work

Wrapping Up

Hopefully, now you know why most spinning reels are left-handled when most anglers are right-handed. If you are left-handed, I recommend going for a right-handed tackle to give your less dominant hand easier work. If you don’t feel comfortable with a left or right-handed reel, you can change the handle to your preferred hand using the steps provided earlier.


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