How To Change A Fishing Reel From Right To Left-Handed?

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Change a fishing reel from right to left handed

You might be new to fishing, and it might not be very clear for you when you realize that most fishing reels are exclusively for a single hand.

If you accidentally bought a right-hand reel but are a lefty (someone who uses the left hand primarily). Then it might be difficult for you to fish with that reel. However, the good thing about fishing reels is that their direction can be changed.

But, you will have to follow a few simple steps to change the handle and controlling of the reel from right to left hand. The process of changing the direction of the reel does not impact its performance and can be used anywhere.

But, of course, the best way to save yourself from all the hassle is to ask the shopkeeper for the reel you want, be it right or left side.

Right Or Left-Handed Fishing Reel?

With age, we find out which of our hands are the dominant ones. If it is our right hand, we use it for almost everything, and the same goes for the left hand. Fishing is all about hand-to-mind coordination.

So, you must know which your dominant hand is. While fishing, you have to hold the rod in one hand and the reel in another. So, the question that you need to ask yourself in which hand do I need the reel?

Showing the Difference of Right and left hand fishing reel

If your right hand is dominant, then you should hold the rod in your left hand and hold the reel in your right hand. But, once you get an expert in fishing, you can switch between hands, and it will become your second nature.

I have rods with reels on both sides so that I can fish with whichever reel I feel comfortable with, according to the situation. But, the most important thing to remember while buying a rod is to buy a rod and a reel that is opposite to the dominant hand.

How To Switch Reels: From Right To Left Hand

If you don’t have much experience in fishing, then as soon as you buy a rod with the fishing reel on the wrong side, you might ask yourself how to change the fishing reel from right to left-handed or vice versa?

It might also seem like a tedious and challenging task. But, in reality, it is very easy to change the direction of the reel. So, let me guide you through the easy reel-changing process.

Steps To Change The Direction Of Fishing Reel:

I am now going to mention four easy steps to change the reel direction from right to left-hand side.

  1. Find the dust cap on the top right side of the fishing reel and unscrew its cork until it is removable.Showing where to find the Fishing Reels screw
  2. Then unscrew the handle of the reel on the left side. You can only unscrew it by rotating it clockwise –otherwise, it will only become tighter.
    image of changing the fishing reel handle side
  3. Now, insert the reel arm in the location from where the dust cap was removed and then tighten it by screwing the reel clockwise.image of connecting the fishing reel from right to left hand
  4. Finally, take the dust cap, put it on the left side of the reel, tighten it in the space, and screw it up.

These were the four simple steps to changing the direction of the fishing reel from the right to the left-hand side.

Now, you no longer would have to be worried about the question of how to change the fishing reel from right to left-handed because now you know the answer.

However, I usually lubricate my reel arm and dust cap before I screw them on the fishing rod. Doing this improves the performance of my fishing reel, and it also helps in maintaining it. My reel runs smoothly for a long time after lubricating it.

How To Confirm That Everything Is Connected Perfectly?

So, now that you have changed the direction of the reel from the right to the left-hand side, you may wonder whether or not you have connected the reel perfectly and whether or not it will work perfectly. But, there is a way to check the reel.

The easiest way is to spin the reel and see if it is lagging or swinging and not tight near the screw. Another way is to hook a small weight on the hook and try to roll in the reel and see if the reel responds to the motion you are performing.

If the reel has a problem with either of these things, I suggest that you unscrew the dust cap and the reel handle and screw them again to ensure that the rod works perfectly.

Can You Switch The Handle On A Baitcaster?

No, we cannot change the direction of the handle of a baitcasting rod. This is because a baitcasting reel is very different from a spinning reel, and it doesn’t have its handle connected from outside like in sinning real. Instead, it is connected to the whole mechanism of the reel from inside.

Image of a Baitcaster Reel

So, if you are a lefty (dominant hand is left) and if you want to buy a baitcasting rod, you should buy the rod that has the handle on the left side. This is the only way of using a baitcasting rod for your dominant hand.

Besides, it is way better than getting the handle changed because if you get your reel opened once, it won’t work in the same way or smoothly as when it does originally.

I suggest that you don’t try to open the reel up or change the direction of its handle because it can make the brake of reeling dysfunction not properly closed up.

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Final Verdict:

The process of changing the direction of a reel on the rod is very easy. And once you have gotten the hang of it, then it is simple. Once you learn which piece goes in which place when you are assembling the reel, you will be able to do it even in your sleep.

Frequently Asked Questions

#1 – How do I change my Penn reel from right to left?

It is very easy to change the direction of the Penn reel from right to left. You first remove the dust cap from the right side and then unscrew the handle on the reel, which will be on the left side. You will have to rotate the handle clockwise to unscrew it.

Then you need to put the arm of the reel on the right side of the rod (In the place from where you removed the dust cap) and then tighten the arm into the place by rotating it clockwise.

Finally, you need to put the dust cap you took from the right side and put it into the left side and screw it in place by moving it clockwise until it is tightened. And you will have the direction of your Penn reel changed in no time.

#2 – Can you get left-handed fishing reels?

Yes, left-handed fishing reels are now readily available both in fishing stores and in online stores.

There was a time when only right-handed fishing reels were available, but with time and more exposure to fishing, the fishing companies have started making rods and reels suitable for left-handed people.

#3 – Are there left and right-handed fishing reels?

Yes, as we discussed above, there are reels for both types of people: those who have a dominant right hand and those who have a left dominant hand.

You can either buy a reel that suits your hand to mind coordination, or you also have the option to change the direction of the reel in a few fishing rods, so you can also do that.

#4 – Why are the fishing reels left-handed?

Not necessarily, no. not all fishing reels are left-handed. There are both types of reels: left-handed and right-handed. You can buy either of them from a good fishing store.

You can buy the fishing reel according to your hand preference. For example, if you use your left hand more, you can buy the reel according to your left hand, and if you use your right hand more, you can buy a reel for fishing with your right hand.

#5 – How do we know if a reel is left or right handed?

You can easily find out if the fishing reel is right or left-handed by looking at the direction of the reel handle. If the reel handle is on the right side, then the reel is left-handed. But, if the reel handle is on the left side, then it is right-handed.

#6 – Can you make a left handed fly reel right-handed?

Changing the fly reel from left to right hand is easy. Here is how you can do it: first disassemble the reel, meaning that you have to open it up completely.

Then you need to unwind the whole reel and wrap it on another reel temporarily so that it doesn’t tangle until you take it back to the original reel. Next, you have to turn over the bearing. Bearing plays an essential role in changing the direction of the reel.

So, you need to turn the bearing and then rewind the reel on it. Now, whether your reel will move clockwise or anticlockwise is determined by bearing. Finally, assemble back the reel and try it to check if it is working correctly or not.

#7 – Why are bait casters left handed?

The mystery of left-handed bait casters is that they evolved from the old winds of yesteryear. The level winds are paid with a line on the flip of a lever.

The early baitcasting reels were designed with the handle on the right side, as cranking was an essential feature of the reel, not casting. So, now that the reels have evolved, the designers keep that old design with a slight change of reel on the right side.


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  • Since 2009 I've been writing on different media portals about fishing. Here on this website, it's time to share those experiences I've witnessed in my entire life so far. Let me help you get the best stuff you need while fishing.

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