Why you should always retrieve with your left hand

We always purchase left hand retrieve reels. Why? It’s pretty simple. It’s much more efficient. Switching hands after casting is a wasted movement. If you cast your lure out 30 yards, stop it, then switch hands, then flip the bail (or start retrieving on baitcasting models), you’ve wasted an extra movement.

Further, a lot of lures are hit by fish the second they hit that water, or that initial descent. If you have to switch hands, you will miss those early bites. It’s very crucial to be able to flip the bail, or engage the retrieve, immediately so that you can set the hook on a spool with the anti-reverse engaged.

On spinning reels, it doesn’t matter too much. They can all be converted to left hand retrieve. On baitcasting models, you will have to buy an entirely different model, you can not take out 1 screw and flip the handle over to the other side. The picture above this article is a left handed retrieve model.

When purchasing a baitcasting reel, you need to pay attention. The “left hand” models are the ones where you hold the rod in your right hand and retrieve with your left. The handedness of a reel is named for the hand that does the retrieving, not the one that holds it.

If you have been a right hand retrieve person your entire life, making the switch is easy. You’ll get used to it after about 20 casts with your new hand.

If you are starting out new, start out the right way and use the left hand retrieve, whether it’s spinning or baitcasting.

If you cast with your left hand and your left hand is your strong throwing hand, then you should reverse everything you just read and get right hand retrieve models.

We always recommend the lacrosse throwing motion to get the furthest casts. Here is how you should hold your fishing pole.


Of course, there are a multitude of different ways to cast. But this is the best motion to get your lure the furthest. See our special casting article.

Using left hand retrieve on all your rods and reels allows you to have the most efficient cast and retrieve. If you are spending an entire day on the water making hundreds of casts, this will save you time and eliminate wasted motion.

Tight lines!

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Editor in Chief

Over 40 years of fishing experience! Began as a young boy at age 10, and slowly grew deeper and deeper into this hobby! Have been a writer and technology reviewer since 1990.