Fishing Reel Use, Right Hand / Left Hand  Reel? 


As time goes by, you may hear fisherpersons mention those who use reels with the handle on the WRONG SIDE.  Wrong Side to who?  It is not clear, but the normal casting reels initially were spool type which were cranked using the right hand.   Then reel manufactures seemed to feel that "Lefties" were a minority so did not even consider making ones for them for a number of years.  It is hard to break tradition and that trend continued until the spinning outfit hit the market, which placed the cranking handle on the left hand side.  


It seems that the younger generation seems to gravitate to not wanting to switch from casting with one hand and then switching to reeling with the same hand.  This then naturally gravitated to the same concept as using a Left Hand casting reel, (which now are becoming more readily available) so there was little change for the fisherperson when changing from casting/reeling with a casting rod as doing the same with a spinning rod/reel.   


The manufacturers of modern spinning reels are now making their reels convertible, just remove the crank handle from one side, insert it in the other side and you have the choice of either RH or LH.  Not so easy with casting reels however, as these will for all intents and purposes be a mirror image.  So not many parts will interchange.   


Okuma Calera Left Hand Retrieve Low Profile high speed Baitcasting Reel

old Abu Ambassadeur 5000A Right Hand Casting Reel


To my line of reasoning, there may be some somewhat viable reasons to change, (being left handed the primary one) but do not paint all fishing styles with the same broad brush as there may be some unforeseen trade-offs.

Pro - Going to LH Casting Reels :   As mentioned above, depending on whether you are naturally (1) Right or Left Handed. (2) Familiarity of having the cranking handle on the same side no matter which type of rod you use is probably a very compelling reason.  (3) Now if you are right handed, and casting with right hand, reeling with left hand makes for less wasted motion of casting with right hand, then changing to the rod in the left hand so you can reel with the left hand.  This makes sense more-so if you are into a fishing type that requires a lot of casting.  If on the other hand you sit on the bank or troll in a boat, if you have the RH crank reels already, why change?


Con - Going to LH Casting Reels :     (1)  "I do not want to get confused, and why should I ditch all the old good Right Hand reels that I have used for YEARS".   (2) Not being able to have as wide an assortment of LH reels is probably high on the complaint side.   (3) For the Kokanee fishermen especially not having small line-counter RH reels, much less LH reels is a downfall here.  Where this would put many feeling like they were in Heaven if having line-counter reels was an option. (4) For a right handed person, using a rod in the right hand may be no big deal for a trout fisherperson, or if steelheading or landing a salmon on a gravel bar when fishing solo, but for a right handed solo boat salmon fisherman doing his own netting, being forced to net with the weak hand or having to change hands to do the netting, seems like WHY make the change in the first place?  


Well, for starters, not all types of fishing are the same, so for you hold-outs, I can see steelheading, bass or walleye fishing would be beneficial for the right hander to use a left handed reel, simply because these types of fishing require a lot of casting and reeling in.  However most saltwater fishing or salmon fishing trolling or on a Hog-Line would be of little benefit.


UPDATE  to #3.  I just found that Diawa Accudepth IC low profile compact model is a small bait casting reel that also has a waterproof digital line-counter and made in RH or LH.  Model ADICV15  for the RH, the catch it retails for $165.     It has a line capacity of  175/8#, 150/10#, 130/12# mono and a retrieve ratio of 6.3 to 1.


Then Diawas Accudepth Plus-B is a mechanical line counter where the smallest size 17 is a good choice has a small bait casting reel also made in RH or LH.  Model ADI7LCB  for the RH, and the price is not that bad as I have bought a couple either at sportsman shows or online near Christmas from Wal-Mart for under $70.   These have a line capacity of  10#/290, 12#/250 mono and a retrieve ratio of 5.1 to 1.  This size is very similar to but slightly wider than the Ambassadeur 4600 CB size.  And then enter the Tica Simira KL151LC,  LH line counter, being smaller in diameter than the Ambassadeur and having many desirable features, levels the playing field somewhat.

These two reels would not be considered casting reels, so are not in the same class as the high speed bass type reels.   But with the new bass type reels being made in LH opens more windows, but as they go smaller, they loose features that we have grown addicted to. 


And I have a friend who has found that if he is casting, he prefers using the LH bait-casting reel, which matches his spinning reel type usage.  However if he is trolling out of a boat, then he prefers the old RH reels.  This is pretty much my conclusion also and probably because I own a lot of the older RH crank reels, and I am way too stubborn to change them all over now.



 Adjusting These High Speed Reels :  In the old days of the Ambassadeurs shown above, used two small sliding pith balls on a shaft that were supposed to put a slight braking action on the inside of one side of the reel spool to help eliminate backlashes.  This may have helped, but not a lot, and the fisherman needed to learn to educate their thumb against the spool sides to control the spool's speed, (especially at the end of the cast).  Many of us old geezers that worked with our hands all of our life, have so thick of skin that this thumb braking was next to impossible, and we just gave up with all the backlashes and went to spinning outfits.


With the advent of modern bass fishing, the reel manufacturers began to awake.  Smaller and higher speed reels came into being along with a way better centrifugal breaking system became standard.  Most of these newer systems now use a magnetic type braking system against the spool's side.   These reels were a game changer.  And until you try one that has been adjusted for the lure being used, you will not believe what is possible.  With the spools being narrower along with the level-wind disengages during casting, eliminating that extra drag and longer casts.  You say what about the level-wind not matching up with where it left off.  This does not seem to be a problem, probably because of the narrow spool.  They do not have a lot of line capacity, but 100 yards of 12# mono is plenty for this type of fishing, therefore the narrow spool seems to function quite well.


There will usually be two adjustment knobs, one (a small knurled knob) on the side that the reel handle is on.  This knob adjusts the endplay on the spool.  It needs to be set so the spool does not have a lot of endplay, but at the same time minimal friction.  The other adjustment will usually be a larger and less pronounced knob on the opposite side of the reel handle.  This will usually have some reference numbers on the outer edge.   Between one or the other, OR BOTH, of these adjustments you can fine tune the reel for the lure being used.

The most important thing in setting up these reels, is to properly adjust the setting of this casting brake.  These need to be set for each different weight of lure you will be using at that time.  To set this cast control devise, tie on your lure and reel it to the tip of your rod.  Tighten the knob on the opposite side of the handle until it's pointer is midway between the numbers.  Tighten the handle side knob as tight as it will easily go.


Now hold the rod straight out or in a slightly upward position, push the disengage lever.  The lure will probably not fall, now slowly turn the reel handle side knob counter clockwise until the lure starts to fall.  Let the lure hit the ground and watch the spool. The spool should not spin more than one revolution after the lure hit’s the ground.  If it spins more than one revolution, tighten the cast control knob and repeat the procedure.   If the spool does not spin after the lure hit’s the ground, the cast control could be set slightly too tight.  Loosen the knob and repeat the procedure.  If you do it only from the handle side, your knob movement is very critical, so it may be best to get it close with the handle side knob and then fine tune it with the cast control knob, that is why you needed to set it initially in the center of it's range.


Between these two knobs, you should get the braking adjustment close.  NOTE each different weight lure, you may have to fine-tuned the reel.


Now, DO NOT cast as if you are mad at the rod, but try to flip it, more of a wrist motion, otherwise you have induced way more motion where the magnets can not overcome the spool speed.  Each cast needs to be performed in as near the same effort otherwise you will still get backlashes.





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Originated  03-21-2015,  Last updated  02-11-18
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