It’s poll time again here on the Deneki blog, and we want to hear from you!
The proper hand to reel with is an age old debate, and from our experience, one that many serious anglers are passionate about. We’ve witnessed everything from healthy discussions to full out arguments on the topic over the years, which is why we want to know where you stand!
Do you reel with your dominant hand or non-dominant hand?
For many anglers, the case for each option is simple; While reeling with your dominant hand might allow for better dexterity and speed while taking in line, reeling with your non-dominant eliminates the need to ever switch hands between casting and fighting fish.
So, without further ado, which hand do you prefer to reel with? Why? Drop us a comment below!
Gene Weber says
Dominant hand (right hand). It’s annoying when new reels are generally shipped with left hand retrieve.
When I first started fly fishing over 50 years ago, I was told that I should reel with my dominate hand because the loose line may tangle on the reel handle if I used my non dominate hand. I am not sure that is a fable or is accurate! Recently I have switched to reeling with my none dominate hand because switching hands was an issue with larger fish. I am not sure it makes a difference with reeling speed or rhythm for me. I do find I have better rod control using my dominant hand/arm on the rod handle, especially with bigger fish like large Browns or salmon.
Cast right, reel left
I reel with my non-dominant hand. It’s a no brainier unless you primarily cast on your non-dominant side. 😉
Aldo Marchioni says
I’m a leftie and reel with my right hand.
Dominant hand – learned on the salt that way and never felt comfortable the other way
Morgan Griffith says
I switch back and forth depending on the reel I’m using and what I’m fishing for. It all started when I bought an old Hardy Uniqua that was originally set up for right hand retrieve. I’ve gotten used to reeling with my right hand when using that reel on my 5wt and that has now extended to my two handed rods as well. I’m reeling with my left hand on everything else, 3wt-10wt. I was floating the Green once and my buddies were using my rod; more than one fish was lost because they weren’t aware my reel was set for right hand retrieve. They would go for the handle on the left and it wasn’t there, I thought it was more entertaining than they did…
reel with my left (dominant) hand…switching from left to right hand is now actually part of the casting motion for me… it’s automatic
David Grubb says
When I started fly fishing, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, dominant hand (right hand for me) was the standard. I’ve read various stories about why this was so, including that the rods were heavier, so you switched the rod to your non dominant hand when hooked up as your dominant arm was tired. Sometime since then left hand retrieve became standard. Must have happened when the kids were home, because I didn’t notice at the time. I’ve stuck with the right hand reel set up, but as others have observed, it only takes a few seconds to adjust when using a reel set up the other way. Even for a klutz like me.
Cast left, reel left. I had heard Lefty’s view on the subject and decided to try it out. Found that it also helped me not catch the fly line on the reel handle during casting also. Sadly, I haven’t had much opportunities to actually have a fish on the reel yet to have a firm opinion on it; need to fish more! Lol
Dana eddings says
Left handed and reel left but good either way. Can fish with any rod and reel
Cast with right hand, retrieve left handed
My old Shakespeare has a button that works automatically. Just hit like the trigger on a gun!
Cast right, reel right. But tie flies lefty….
Carey Allison says
Non dominant (left hand), just always felt wrong when I tried to reel right handed. It’s about the only thing I’m capable of doing left handed!
I’ve been fly casting for 35 years and I single hand cast with my right arm and then switch over and reel with my right (dominant) hand. Don’t know why I do it this way, I just always have. It means my less dominant arm has to hald the rod to fight the fish, and if it is a really big fish, this could be a problem, but it doesn’t seem to be. Of course I spey cast with both hands up.
David Cargile says
The old adage is that you can reel either way…with your non dominant hand or you can do it correctly.
Joseph Pratt says
Cast right, reel left. I don’t like transitioning the rod from one hand to the other; just another moving part to mess up.
Robert Nasser says
Reel with dominant hand. Check rod movement when you reel non-dominant…it jumps much more! Much easier to retrieve line and reel smoothly with dominant hand on large species.
Peter Viau says
Cast Right, Reel left. Not switching allows instantaneous fish and line management. Fractions of a second can determine hook up and landing of the targeted species.
When casting dominant hand, I reel non-dominate; when casting non-dominant than reel non-dominate; when picking up friend’s rod then casting dominant and reel non-dominate or cast non-dominate and reel dominate. Keep fly in water and remain flexible!
After catching 4 large Jacks on 4 sucessive cast and reeling with my non dominate hand, my dominate arm felt like a sore noodle, and It was quite a while before I was able to cast again. so I converted to reeling with my dominate hand
Jamie Ker says
I think that having to change hands once I have hooked a fish is ridiculous, I reel with my Non-Dominate hand.
Jim Rauch says
Right hand dominate, cast right handed, reel left handed. Just feels more natural to me. I have done some left hand casting, depending on the situation, but then switch back to reel left handed.
Doc Spratley says
I tell both sides depending upon the reel and what I am fishing for.
Ed Garcia says
Reel with non-dominant hand. That way, people who borrow your outfit will freak out. No seriously, I fished for years with spinning reel, left hand retrieve, right hand to cast. When I switched to bait caster, it made zero sense to have to switch the rod after every right-handed cast over to my left hand to reel with right hand. My new baitcasters I ordered left hand retrieve. TMI I guess.
David Grubb says
It is another step to change your rod from one hand to the other. Good point. I realized I wait until the fish is on the reel before switching the rod to my non dominant arm.
Wayne W Walts says
I agree with Mr Pete Viau. I’m left hand caster and reel right handed.
Being left handed you learn to do a lot of thing right handed. Today
with the large diameter reels it does not make as big a difference in
taken in line.
Leo Moore says
I reel with my right and I am right handed. I have been doing this for 50 years or so and I have tried going left but found it difficult. Mainly when winding in line when the reel is not on a rod. But I found out something else applicapable to spey rods. I borrowed a reel from a friend who winds left. I found while fishing out my cast holding the rod in my right hand that the handle of the reel was banging into my side. It seemed to always be in the way. Just my thoughts.
I reel with my dominant right hand, and cast/spey cast with my non dominant left hand, which seems weird but that’s how I learned. I swing a golf club and hockey stick right handed but fly cast left handed…
Norman Pohl says
I cast and reel with my right hand.
Mike Watt says
I also started fly fishing about 50 years ago and learned to cast with my dominant right arm and reel right handed. I’m sure I learned to do it that way because my dad did. I had grown up spin casting and always reeled with my left hand. I started fly fishing for trout where the reel certainly didn’t play a big role in landing and especially controlling the fish early. I still cast right and reel right when salt water fishing and find that the initial set and run requires line management only until the fish is under control and usually on the reel taking line. At that point it is easy to switch hands.
Matt M. says
Makes no difference which hand I use for either task. It helps to have learned bait casting with an old round reel. Cast right retrieve left. Then spinning gear that’s the opposite. And of course toss in the fly gear that’s affordable (or that we could get our hands on.) when you were a kid and it turns out we could cast any setup. Helps to have ambidextrous parents and switch the hands back and forth from the beginning. I prefer to cast with my right and reel with my left but it doesn’t really matter. One more thing to F U when switching hands.
Stuart MacAulay says
Right hand dominant and taught to wind right handed also especially when spin casting until Rex Hunt (Australian Fishing identity) advised that right handed people should wind in with left hand & vice versa. I have learnt to do this and whilst difficult to start with have now adapted. Since taking up Fly fishing have done this also and find it much easier.
I guess one of the good reasons is that whilst spin casting where weed is close to surface you are able to have instant contact with lure rather than the small delay whilst changing hands.
Jere Crosby says
Cast right, and lost a number of fish reeling instead of stripping! Once a fish is on the reel I still tend to strip although I do find it easy to switch, and reel with the dominate hand. Many claim they reel with the non dominate hand because they learned to do that with a spinning reel. But the concentric circle is larger using a spinning reel handle then the smaller circle of a fly rod reel handle. Salt water anglers that play lots of hard fighting fish often say that when you cast a lot with the dominate arm it is more pleasurable to switch, and play the fish with your non casting arm, and thus reel with the dominate hand.
Mike Sullivan says
I am right handed. I single hand cast with my right hand. Reel with my left hand.
When using a spey rod my right hand is my top hand, left hand for bottom of rod and reel.
Cast wright,reel left
Matthew Harvey says
It is only logical to real with your non-dominant hand.
You control a fish with the rod not the reel.
Stuart MacAulay says
Right handed and wind with left, mostly strip line with left unless fish runs and takes all line not on reel then will play fish off reel.
Spinning reel, left hand retrieve, conventional or baitcaster, right hand retrieve. Cast right hand.
Eugene Brown says
I love fishing. when i fishing i cast with my right hand and reel with left hand. because i am right handed. i feel better when i fishing.
Norman Stuart MacAulay says
I was taught at young age to reel right handed as i’m naturally right handed. Rex Hunt a well known salt water fishing identity here in Australia advocated that if you’re right handed you should wind with the left hand. The logic behind this is that for example say you’re fishing in water where there is not much depth between surface and weed bed then you would be able to instantly commence retrieving on contact with water rather than lose that milli second of time swapping rod from right to left for retrieval. With fly Fishing it is different especially when it comes to Dry Fly fishing. Because of this I taught myself to reel with the left and now you could say I’m ambidextrous. Whilst I’m now blessed with being able to do both I believe it is entirely up to the individual as to which side he/she wishes to reel from.