There seems to be a season to the question; which hand should
I reel with? Usually about mid June guys walk into fly shops, or
write letters to the 'editors,' and now it has come up in the chat
room here. Ok, so lets try to set it straight. After you have read
this, bookmark it, and then send an email to everyone you know;
whether they fly fish or not, someday they may take it up.
For this column I will assume you are right-handed.
In years past the reels were casting reels and most had the crank
on the right side. You cast with the right hand, then switched hands
and cranked with the right. Most spinning reels are made to
cast with the right hand and crank with the left, although I
have seen many turn the whole rod upside-down and with
the reel on top of the rod, crank with the right hand after
making the cast with the right hand. It looks weird
and there must be a reason they do this. It is because they can
crank better with the right hand than the left, that's why.
Now, right handed fly-fishers cast with their right hand. And then
some switch hands and reel with their right hands as well. Why? Same
reason. But, there needs to be more information here. If you have a
fish whose actions require most of your skill and dexterity focused on
the rod, and the reel is nothing more than a place to store line, cast right
handed and reel with the left hand. Leave the rod in the dominant hand.
The one with the most strength and control.
However, if you have a 'speed-demon.' on the other end and reeling like
crazy is the order of business, then switch hands and also reel with the
dominant hand, the right hand. In other words, have the reel set up so
the handles are on the right side, not on the left.
You will most always see big-game fly-fishers casting and reeling with
the same hand; there speed of reeling is the name of the game; for smaller
fish, and fish that need finesse, they will cast with the right and reel with the left.
One thing more, please do not cast right-handed and then turn the rod
upside-down and with the reel on top, crank with the right hand too. That
really looks very unprofessional. ~ JC