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Gene Larson

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Reply with quote  #1 
I started out fishing with a Mitchell 300 spinning reel a long time ago.  After about five years, I got into flyfishing and I always looked for a way to continue to reel with my left hand.  The Pfluegers I was using at the time allowed LHR, but at a bit of a loss of that sweet sound.  When I discovered Ross Reels, they were easy to switch, so I've never changed.  

I see a number of folks who prefer to reel their two-handed rods with their right hand.  Assuming they all aren't left-handed, what are they gaining by having to move the rod from the casting hand to their left hand for reeling in?  I've heard the reason that the dominant hand is the stronger one and for big fish you want to have that extra strength in your reeling hand.  I've always felt that having the rod in my strongest hand made more sense.  

Maybe not to old to change,

gl
Jake Hood

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This is an age old debate that has strong support on both sides. I came into fly fishing the same route as you and reeled left handed for quite some time. I fielded complaints from friends with the rebuttal that Lee Wulff reeled left handed , if it's good enough for him it's certainly good enough for me.

However that all changed when I started guiding. From the sidelines the process takes on a completely different perspective. I have watched with surprise and regret many big fish lost by the left hand retrieve. In all but a very few rare instances, the action of a left hand retrieve slacks fish ( unless of course you are left handed and reel dominant left ). You can watch it occur. The rod tip dips as you reel and allows for slack . The primary cause , at least in my mind, is the lack of coordination in your non-dominant hand. 

There's a ton of experience here and I'm sure I'll get strong debate on this topic. However you can test this theory for yourself. Unwind a reel deep into the backing and attach it to a rod butt. Then , without paying any more attention to the reel than you would if playing a fish, reel it up as quick as possible. If, when finished , you have wound that line on clean and even with your left hand you're probably ok to continue. If it stacks horribly to one side or the other, try it with your right and see what happens.
You'll be surprised.

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Todd Hirano

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I used to reel left handed up to 2011.  I am right handed and like you, sought to emulate the logistics of fishing with spinning tackle.  What happened was, in 2011, like many others, I started becoming interested in vintage reels.  I obtained a couple SA System reels through ebay, both set up for right hand wind.  I decided to line the System 8 (Marquis 8/9) and leave it set up right hand wind until I hooked a fish or two with the reel.  I had also shifted to fishing single hand glass rods at that time.  As luck would have it, I ended up hooking into a couple feisty hatchery steelhead on skaters on my local flow and found that I had a much easier time keeping up with a fish that quickly changes directions (as steelhead often do) when reeling right handed.  I could recover line more quickly during those times when a steelhead unexpectedly turned downstream or towards me, those times when you are fooled into thinking you've lost the fish because of the slack introduced by the change of direction by the fish.  It takes some getting used to switching the rod to the left hand after the hookup and reel with the right hand, but no big deal.  I've since switched all my reels over to right hand wind which is convenient since most vintage reels are set up for RHW and I do want more vintage reels in my collection as time goes on!

Todd

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Randy Ruwe

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I started off fishing 63 years ago when I was 8.  A tubular steel rod and cheap conventional reel.  I cast with my right hand and then switched the rod to my left hand.  I never saw a left hand reel back then. 
It has stuck with me all these years and just seems un-natural to me to use a left hand fly reel.
Gene Larson

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Reply with quote  #5 
Jake, I'm going to try your test.  Got a new reel coming that will be used by my left-handed grandson.  I'll set it up as a right hand reel and then try the test.  

One statement that I need more help with--reeling with the dominant hand.  If my leftie grandson reels and casts with his left hand, that puts him in the same boat as I'm in if I cast right handed and then switch the rod to my left hand to reel.  If he casts with his right hand, then he is reeling with his strong left.  He is a violinist and plays it with the bow in his right hand, just as a righty would play it.  So I'm thinking he is fairly ambidextrous and maybe I should encourage right hand casting and left hand reeling?  What do you all think?
Bob Rodgers

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Reply with quote  #6 
My opinion is based on my past experience as a flats (Tarpon, Bonefish, & Permit) guide in the Keys. As with most opinions, it is worth exactly what you paid for it.
 
I’m a big believer in reeling with the dominant hand. I’ve simply seen too many anglers failing to keep up with fish or experiencing cramps in their non-dominant hand during an extended fight to believe otherwise.

Fatigue or cramps lead to mistakes, mistakes cost you fish. I’ve had clients panic when a Tarpon changed direction and actually tip wrap their rod with slack line. I’m convinced this is caused by them realizing they’re waaaay behind the fish and asking their dominant hand to help. Tip starts bouncing and a wreck ensues.[eek]
 
There may be a downside to reeling from the dominant side, but I’m unaware of it.
 
Bob
Lee Lashway

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Reply with quote  #7 
What Todd said. I am RH, but started reeling left-handed in the trout world and with the first steelhead rig many years ago. Once I got my first Perfect, however, the world was changed and I haven't really looked back. It is a little awkward changing hands on the rod sometimes, but I look at it as keeping me from horsing the fish too much.
Gary Carlson

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Reply with quote  #8 
I started steelhead fishing 40+ years ago in Alaska using a casting rod which I built and a level wind Ambassador reel. It was a pain to transfer the rod from my right to left hand to reel after each cast so I learned to reel left handed. I can reel faster with my left than with my dominant right and find that it is more convenient with my spey rods also. If I am stripping with my left hand to keep up with a charging fish my LH reel is there to move to when done stripping. Some say that a RH reel is more out of the way when shooting line but holding the shooting line with my bottom hand has never caused the LH handle to catch the line. 
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Bill Pierce

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Reply with quote  #9 
My first fly rod was back when I was a senior in high school in 1970. The reel was set up for left hand and the only other fishing was with a spinning reel and that was also lefty so it didn't make a difference one way or the other. Jump ahead many years I get an opportunity to fish for Atlantic Salmon on the Margaree River in Nova Scotia. Long story short I hook a fish and never land it because after several runs the reel I'm using binds up and won't allow line to peel out as the fish decides to make what was getting close to his last attempt to escape. Before I can rip off line by hand to try and free up the spool my leader gives out and the fish is gone. Luckily it was the last day of the trip and not the only fish I hooked into. When I get home I decide to buy a decent reel and talking to the guy who is an avid Salmon and salt water angler he asks if I reel left or right. I say left and he explains that there are two schools of thought on retrieving line. He takes out two reels one of each gives me the left first and says start winding as fast and as long as you can. Then came the right and I have to say it felt more comfortable to me. After I purchased the reel I converted my trout and salt reels to right hand and never looked back. No right or wrong way just what feels comfortable to you the user I guess.
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Brady Burmeister

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Reply with quote  #10 
I much prefer to fight fish with my dominant hand/arm, and at this point I'm positive my left hand could out-retrieve my right hand.
Poppy Cummins

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
No right or wrong way just what feels comfortable to you the user I guess.


The above says it all and this would seem to apply to most everything connected with the tackle we use.

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Poppy=Red Shed Spey Rod Pimp http://www.redshedflyshop.com FRSCA-Founding Member How you get the line out and fishing is personal preference so as long as it works and is easy no one should care but the caster. MSB
Leo Moore

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Reply with quote  #12 
My experience with this. I have been fly fishing for 50 years and am old school, cast right, reel right. Back in the 80's I read Lee Wulff's book and changed a reel to left hand wind because I had been doing it wrong. I was all thumbs, couldn't do it.

Go ahead to last summer and a friend of mine had a line I wanted to try on one of my rods. I borrowed his reel and line for the day and went fishing. He reel's left. I spent the whole day with the handle of the reel digging into my side while I let the cast fist out. I'm going to stay with right hand wind.

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Gene Larson

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Reply with quote  #13 
That is the one of the reasons I'm afraid to try right hand wind, been doing it the other way so long, I'm afraid I'd really screw something up at a critical time if I changed.
Ron Thompson

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Reply with quote  #14 
I'm another "No right or wrong way just what feels comfortable to you" guy.   Started as primarily a Right/Right caster/reeler, 'cause I like to 'feel' the fish through my fingers holding the line.  Once I got into fish big enough to leave a 'skid mark' on my two (line) fingers, I adapted.  
R
Michael Walsh

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Reply with quote  #15 

I'm a right-hander.

I've been fishing for over 50 years - all sorts from minnows to sailfish & all sorts of reels (fly, centrepin, multiplier, and spinning/bait).

I cast right handed. I reel with whatever hand is required for the reel on the rod - if it's a classic Hardy, Walker, etc, then that will be RHW, and I hold the rod with the left.

I've not converted a reel from RHW to LHW for the purposes of making it 'easier'; factory setting is fine with me.

When fly fishing river left, I will swing holding the rod with my right hand. When on river right, I will mostly swing holding the rod with my left hand.

I have never lost a fish due to changing hands for holding the rod from the swing to the fight so as I can reel with the hand needed for the particular reel.

This debate is always interesting, but I would be of the opinion that there is probably no 'right' way, but your own way - that status in which you feel most comfortable & confident.






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