How To Change A Fishing Reel From Right To Left Handed

Are you ready to embark on your fishing adventures? If yes, then it is imperative to have the proper equipment. Fishing expeditions can be fun and relaxing with the right gear. When shopping for this equipment, research is the key. The majority of anglers fail to realize that a standard reel is particularly designed for single-hand operation. The basic reels are typically made for right-handed individuals. So what does happens if you are a left-handed person? There is nothing to worry about as this blog will address the commonly asked question: “How to Change a Fishing Reel from Right to Left Handed?” The article offers a step by step guide to facilitating left-handed people in easily making the switch.

Although there are various fishing reel types accessible in the market, the basic process is quite similar. With this blog, you will be easily able to change a fishing reel from right to left handed. Prior to learning the steps, it is imperative that you understand the diverse segments of a reel. Moreover, it is essential to know that the switching process will not damage your reel. You can easily change it left-hand reel without even using tools. This process can easily be performed in a boat or from the comfort of your home. Even light fishing reels can be changed from right to left handed option.

Parts of diverse fishing reel types

The variety of fishing reels types and fishing rods accessible in the market is impressive. Some of the brands cater to left-handed anglers while majority manufactures right-handed rod and reels. There are various segments of a fishing reels. Understanding these components and the role it plays will aid you in changing the reel from right to left hand without any hassle. 


The body of the fishing reel comprises several components including the handle, body tube, and endplate, and shoulder plate. It is the actuator system that differentiates the carbide spool. The bottom half of the body tube is made with two-spool halves and a screw pin. Recognizing these parts is imperative when it comes to assembling them.


Converting the reel to be left-handed implies that the handle should be reversed. Contingent upon the model, the majority of left-hand fishing reels can be converted from right to left. This can be achieved by flipping it over, then putting the handle on the opposite side, and finally sliding it back in its position. 

For a right-handed reel, the handle is on the right side whereas the left-handed reels have a handle on the left side. It is imperative to ensure that when you slide it in position; the handle fits perfectly in the fingers for your hand. After positioning the handle, check if it is locked by turning it. Tighten a screw under the reel if it doesn’t work to guarantee that it is locked. 

In case the reel has multiple ball bearings, organize it in a manner that the fishing line’s entrance appears on the reel’s left side. Lastly, where the reel and the fishing line, you must set it for the handle’s left side. 


Prior to altering a fishing reel’s direction from right to left-handed, it is imperative to be aware of the direction in which you want the reel to rotate. In order to do so, you should be capable of visualizing the line entry while you are fishing.

Gear Box

Every fishing reel comes with two-line cables. One of them is for paying out while the other one is for winding in. One of the line is required to move across to the new gearbox or “cable stop.” Initially, you will have to remove the left-hand “stop”. This is a tiny pin or comes in the form of a plastic stop. It is exactly the same on both sides. After it is removed, you will be capable of moving the left side “stop” towards the gearbox.


First, you will need to figure out the accurate nail type; it is unfortunate to know that standard bail cannot be shifted to cater to left-handed individuals. This is true for the majority of common fishing reels and rods. However, with the vast variety accessible in the market; you will be able to locate some exceptions. For instance, Lamson reels use a similar system of level wind on both sides: left and right. As a result, the bail can easily be switched from one side to the other.

Drag Adjustment Knob

Braking and drag adjustment are two different concepts when it comes to a spinning reel. These tools are essential for managing a fight with the fish. It will give an ice fishing reel ample resistance to keep fighting till the fish tires out. Then your catch can be reeled in the boat. Moreover, it also helps in slowing down the fish in case they are moving fast.

Anti-Reverse Switch

The majority of spinning fishing reels are designed with an anti-reverse lever on the handle’s right side for left-handed anglers. Moreover, you can easily loosen and remove the anti-reverse switch and install it one the left side. 

If the producer of the fishing reel changes the lever’s position, then the instruction manual of that reel will guide you regarding the installation of the anti-reverse switch. In case, the instruction is missing, then place this switch in its default position. It implies that you will have to flip the switch and put it in an upside-down manner. After that, flip it again so that it comes on the top side of tbt fishing reel. 

You will be able to fit the in the anti-reverse switch by fastening it in a position on the left side. Use a mounting screw on the fishing reel’s handle. 

What side should my fishing reel handle be on? 

Irrespective of the fishing reel types you have or wish to own, you must always opt for the side that seems and feels comfortable to fish with. This is a choice that can be made according to your personal preferences. Even though, having the handle on the contrasting side can be useful. For example, if you are left-handed, then your reel must be on the right side. Likewise, if you are a right handed individual; then setting your reel handle to the left side should work amazingly for you. The reason for this is because shifting hands will not be necessary subsequent to each cast. This makes it faster and far more efficient. Since majority of people tend to be right handed, most of the spinning reels and spin-cast reels are designed to be on the left hand. Given that your dominant hand is accustomed to catching the fish, you should opt for left-handed fishing reel types. However, if you are used to reeling with one particular side, you must not alter it.

Right or Left Hand Retrieve

Another imperative element to take not of when changing the reel from right to left hand, is the question of which hand you will be using to retrieve. To answer this question, you need to reflect on which fishing reel types you will use and the sort of fishing adventure you will be going on. Some people use their spinning reels with their left hand to retrieve and hold the rod with their right hand. With this technique, you can cast with your right hand. After the lure touches the water, you can hold the reel with your right hand and rod with your left. This method is utilized for baitcaster reels that only have a handle on the left side.

Some of the main spinning reels are super easy to switch from left to right hand. However, the majority of people like to use a baitcaster for right-hand operation. Keep in mind that if you are able to reel with your right and left hands, then you have great skill.

Spincast reels such as the Zebco Spincast always come in a right hand version. The tradition of left-handed fishermen began after the introduction of spinning reels.

Steps to change Reel Position for Fishing Reel Types 

The novices in the fishing world need to recognize the way a reel works. Altering a fishing reel’s direction to outfit ones hand preference, only requires few minutes and will augment the overall experience. It is imperative for anglers and fishermen to gain the basic understanding of fishing reels as it will empower them to make the appropriate adjustments.

The market is full of fishing reel types including conventional reel, spinning, baitcaster, and a spincast reel. All these varieties come with slight differences. Along with that anglers try to opt for a reel according to the fish species they intend to catch. As their main choice, fishermen prefer using spinning and spin-cast fishing reels. However, for heavier and larger fish the common choice revolves around a conventional reel or a baitcaster. The decision is also based on the level of ease which tends to be the main reason for beginners to opt for spinning reels.

So how can you change the direction of reels from right to left handed? 

This step-by-step guide ensures that you find it easy to switch directions to meet your hand preferences so that the fishing adventures are more pleasurable. 

When switching from a right handed version to a left one; you must be aware of numerous things. For starters, you should know how to disassemble the reel. If you are unaware of this, go to the dealer or the manufacturer rather than forcefully opening it. You might risk the fishing reel to break.

While altering the direction of the reel from the right-handed to left-handed one, you need to be meticulous. Spinning rods tends to be the easiest when it comes switching from right to left. 

For the first step, you must detach the dust cap, which is located on the right side of the spinning reel. Repeat the process till it comes out. Next, you need to unscrew the handle of the reel on the left side. This can be done by turning the handle in a clockwise manner. After that insert the reel arm on the right side. It will be inserted at the point where you just removed the dust cap from. Then tighten it by turning the reel clockwise. Reposition the dust cap in the opening on the left side. Screw it back in the reel till it’s tight. 

It is as simple as that. You have now switched your ice fishing reel from right to left hand. 

Can the handle on a Baitcaster be switched?

Contrary to the popular belief, all baitcasters do not come with the option of switching handles. Certain big manufacturers do offer this option, allowing you to switch the sides of the handle. In its history, baitcasters tend to have the handle on one side. Baitcaster reels generally switch sides when it comes to professional tournaments.

The market is full of high-performance reels such as Penn International who do not bother being fancy because they do not compromise on quality. Bigger fishing reel types such as Abu Gracia place their handles in one spot.


This blog post explains the different parts of fishing reel types accessible in the market with the aim of teaching “how to change a fishing reel from right to left handed?” Once you are aware of the different segments, it will be easier for you to change the reel from right to left hand. The procedure of altering a fishing reel from right to left hand is simple.

The trick is to simply unscrew the parts of a spinning reel and flip it to switch directions. You must pay attention to the dust cap and the handle and also make sure that you are up to date on maintaining the fishing reel. This will make the process of changing reel from right to left hand, a lot easier. 


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