Are There Left-Handed And Right-Handed Fishing Rods?

This is a very frequently asked question when people begin their angling career.

The simple answer is no, however, it all lies in the left-handed reel or right-handed reel attached to the rod.

So there are no left-handed or right-handed rods, but the placement of the fishing reel determines the casting and retrieving side.

We will look in this article at how to set the rig up to be left-handed or right-handed for different fishing applications.

Keep on reading and find out how the different configurations are set up on the different types and styles of rods.


How To Set It up

There are some differences depending on your style of fishing and whether you are using a spinning reel or a baitcasting reel.

Another pervasive question newcomers ask is whether you should buy a left-handed or a right-handed reel for traditional fishing.

Let’s first look at your casting angle.

If you are right-handed, you will cast with your right hand.

Because it is your strongest hand, you will switch the rod over to your left hand and reel again with your dominant hand.

This method is not very sufficient because you change over after every cast and waste a second or two.

The same happens with left-handed people. They always favor their dominant hand to do the casting and the retrieving action.

It is set up where the reel handle is on the right side for right-handers and vice versa for left-handers.

That is also the main reason why there are left-handed fishing reels and right-handed fishing reels, which may be confusing.

A bait caster will set their fishing rig up with the reel at the bottom of the rod while spinning reels will be on top.

Most Efficient Setup

The classic bait caster reels were more convenient for left-handed people who cast with their dominant hand and reel with the right hand.

Recently that has changed with the left-handed fishing reel becoming more popular for right-handers while casting right and reeling left without switching over.

This is a much more efficient way of casting and it will not take long to get used to this very convenient method.

So, in essence, a reel with the reel handle on the right side is the proper setup for a left-handed person.

The handle on the left side of the reel will be more efficient for the right-handed person. This way, they can keep the rod in the dominant hand and become more efficient with all fishing styles.

In a proper setup, the spinning reel handle will be on the left-hand side for the right-hander and the other side for a left-handed person.

A newcomer should learn from the start in this convenient way than with the conventional reel handle setup.

It also happens that those who prefer baitcasting reels will, in most cases, also crank the reel with their dominant hand.

So a left-handed bait caster will have the reel handle on the left while the bait caster fishing reel handle for right-handers is on the right.

How Will the Dominant Hand Affect Casting

As you can see, the way you set the rod up with the reel will determine whether it is for left-handed or right-handed people.

Left and right-handed people can use the setup they are used to, but learning to be more efficient will be rewarding.

Rods are not sold by identifying them for their handedness, but for the style you can use and if you can catch larger fish.

The reel and the position of the reel arm and how it is attached to the rod can determine that.

Some reel manufacturers provide a reel that anglers can switch so the rod can be used for left and right-handed people.

Most reels come from the factory with a left hand retrieve but can be switched over quickly and easily.

Different Types Of Reels

While anglers can use many different reels for various fishing styles, they are all the same.

The difference is how you set the reel up for the style of fishing you are interested in to do and become proficient in.

Fly Fishing

The fly reel comes from the factory set with a left-hand retrieve, which means the reel handle is located to the right.

This means left-handed anglers can cast with their dominant hand and retrieve efficiently with the other hand without switching hands.

Experienced anglers will tell you quickly that it is better to retrieve with your dominant hand because you can crank much faster.

With this type of fishing, you do not want to change the reel, and the hand-switching is of no consequence.

To retrieve quickly may be the difference between losing your catch or getting it safely reeled in.

So you can see that with fly fishing, you always want to use the dominant hand for casting and retrieving fast.

Spinning Reels

The spinning rod is always set up with the reel handle on the left side, and the reel is located on top of the rod.

This is the right way to set it up for left-handed beginner anglers and experienced anglers.

This way, the right-hand angler can cast with the dominant hand and retrieve with the left hand without switching hands.

This means the right-handed caster will cast with their dominant hand and retrieve in a clockwise direction with their non-dominant hand.

This also means the left-hand angler should switch over the reel to cast with the left hand and retrieve with their right hand.

So, cast reels for spinning rods are made backward because manufacturers know that right-hand anglers will retrieve them with their left hand.

Baitcast Fishing Reel

This type of rod is set up differently and the reals for them are either left or right-handed and can not be switched over.

If you are a left-handed angler, you will need to find a reel with the cranking handle on the right side.

The opposite is true for right-handed anglers who need to use a reel with the handle on the left side.

A baitcasting reel needs to have a good or high gear ratio for stronger and faster line retrieval.

To be efficient with baitcasting, you must have the right reel to cast and retrieve without changing your hands.

That is also why the gear ratio of the baitcasting reel is essential for beginners and experienced anglers.

For beginners, the best ratio can be anything from four to as high as eight to determine how many lines they can retrieve.


As you can see, it is vital to know that the different types of fishing styles will determine what handedness reel you need.

Hopefully, this will answer all your questions regarding left-handed and right-handed rods and reels to improve your knowledge and angling skills.