Why I use a Left Handed Reel

One of the longest running debates in the fishing world is right-handed vs. left-handed reels. While it is purely a matter of personal preference, I firmly believe that using a left-handed reel is more practical and efficient than a right-handed reel. While I may be biased due to my long standing history with left handed reels, there are multiple benefits that have caused me to continue using these reels for so long.

HOW I STARTED

I was originally introduced to left-handed reels by my father at an early age. While he was never into competitive fishing, he still made sure to take me out on the lake every chance he got. Both my father and I are right-hand dominant, which confuses most people when I tell them I prefer a left-handed reel. However, growing up I never knew the difference. 

My father used strictly left-handed reels throughout my entire childhood, so I quickly became accustomed to this style of equipment. Starting out, this was my only reason for using left-handed reels. However as I’ve progressed in the sport, I quickly realized there are a wealth of benefits associated with using a left-handed reel while being right-hand dominant.

WHY I NEVER CHANGED 

It seems that most right-handed anglers prefer right-handed baitcasters, but then switch to left handed reels when using a spinning rod. This strategy never made sense in my eyes. While I understand the benefits of using a left-handed spinning rod, I never understood why this wasn’t the case for casting rods as well. 

A right handed angler is forced to switch hands in between casting and reeling when using a right handed reel. They are also forced to hold the rod in their non dominant hand. I’ve found that using a left handed reel negates these issues due to a few key benefits this style of reel provides. 

These benefits include increased casting efficiency, more control over your rod, and increased product availability. These advantages are the main reason I never switched over to right-handed reels. While I may be in the minority, this tactic has given me an advantage over other anglers that I believe has worked to my benefit. 

INCREASED EFFICIENCY 

One of the biggest benefits I’ve experienced using a left-handed reel while being right hand dominant is increased casting efficiency. This allows me to cast and reel while keeping the rod in the same hand. This leads to a much more streamline cast, and prevents you from having to switch hands after making each cast. 

People who use right-handed reels, however, do not have this luxury. In order to cast a right-handed reel, you must switch which hand you hold the rod in between casts. This action subsequently decreases your casting efficiency. While this may only be a slight decrease in efficiency, over the course of the day, this time really starts to add up. 

By using a left-handed reel you are able to speed up the casting process, ultimately leading to more casts throughout the course of the day. This means that anglers who use left-handed reels while being right-hand dominant are able to effectively fish more water throughout the course of the day, ultimately leading to more opportunities for a bite. While increasing the number of casts you can make in a day is extremely important, there are many other benefits associated with using a left-handed reel.

MORE CONTROL

One of my favorite things about using a left-handed reel while being right hand dominant is having the ability to hold the rod in my dominant hand. The hand that holds your rod requires the most strength and coordination when fighting a fish. This is why I never understood how people preferred to hold a rod in their non-dominant hand. 

By holding the rod in your dominant hand, you have more strength when setting the hook, muscle control while fishing the fish and less fatigue when fishing for long hours. This can be a huge advantage for tournament fisherman and weekend warriors alike. This strategy has really helped my landing percentage over the years by allowing me to fight fish using my dominant hand. 

This added control paired with increased casting efficiency has made a huge difference in my overall fishing performance, and is something I believe is a true difference maker when fishing big tournaments where every bite counts. While fishing with a left-handed reel undoubtably  increases your physical performance, they are also much easier to locate and purchase.

PRODUCT AVAILABILITY 

Product availability has become a growing issue in the fishing world, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic. With the vast majority of anglers using right-handed reels, they are naturally more in demand compared to their left-handed counterparts. This can often cause many stores to be out of stock in high demand reels. However, they often always have left-handed reels in stock due to the lower level of demand.

This allows you to purchase your desired reel much easier than if you were looking for a right-handed reel. This is especially true when looking for high dollar JDM reels. Over the last several years, I’ve really started to invest in high quality Japanese reels. These can be a real task to locate, especially when you are right handed. Using these left-handed reels has made it much easier to locate and purchase these highly sought after items. While I do understand that most people aren’t heavily invested in JDM products, the principle is still true no matter what level reel your looking to purchase. 

NEGATIVES 

Given my experience with left-handed reels, I’m a die hard lefty fisherman at heart. However, there are a few negatives that go along with using a left-handed reel. Im extremely proficient fishing lefty, however if I try and fish with a right-handed reel I look and feel liken I’ve never touched a fishing rod before. This can be a major problem when fishing with friends who are right handed. 

There have been multiple times where I have gone fishing with a buddy and needed to use one of his rods, come to find out he only uses right-handed reels. Since the vast majority of anglers are right hand dominant, its often unlikely the individual you are fishing with uses a left-handed reel. It is almost impossible for me to switch over to a right-handed reel, and it usually leads to lost fish and a broken heart. This has been the biggest issue for me over the years using a left-handed reel.

The age old debate of whether to use a right or left-handed reel is one that will continue to be argued for years to come. While there’s no right or wrong answer, I believe this argument is hard to dispute. While right-handed reels may be more popular among right-handed anglers, I believe lefties are superior due to the increase in casting efficiency, control and product availability. 

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