Does Left or Right-Handed Baitcasting Matter?

Fishing is a leisure activity enjoyed by millions of people all around the world. Although it might seem like an activity that anyone can pick up, there are several skills you need to learn. There’s also lots of information about the equipment you’re using that you need to learn in order to become an adept angler.

Does left- or right-handed baitcasting matter? Traditionally, most baitcast reels will have the handle on the right side. However, now there are many left-handed versions available, so you might not need to worry about the switch. So, it doesn’t matter if you’re left- or right-handed. 

You’ll want to have as much information as you can before purchasing a baitcasting reel and committing one way or the other. In this article, you’ll find out the pros and cons of left- and right-handed baitcasting. You’ll also learn how baitcasting reels are different from other fishing rods. 

Are There Baitcasting Reels for Left- and Right-Handed People?

Up until recent years, almost all reels were made with the handle on the right side. As a result, right-handed casters would need to make a cast and then switch hands so that they could crank the reel with their dominant hand. It’s a slightly annoying process, but experienced fishers will tell you that it’s quick and easy once you adapt to it. However, when someone new uses baitcasting reels, it isn’t as easy or natural.

The old right-handed reels were easier to use for left-handed fishers because they could cast with their dominant hand and crank the reel with their non-dominant hand without needing to switch hands. This made for a more natural motion than for right-handed baitcasters. 

However, in recent years left-handed baitcasting reels have become far more common. Now, they are even more common than right-handed reels. With these new reels, the crank is on the left. So, right-handed casters can cast with their right hand and reel with their left hand. 

This isn’t the traditional approach, but in many ways, it makes more sense. Although you don’t get to crank with your dominant hand, you don’t need to switch hands after casting. Having a more natural motion between casting and reeling in a fish is essential for less experienced fishers.

So, if this were 20 years ago, your handedness would have a significant effect on your ability to use a baitcasting reel, but now it doesn’t. Now that there are options for both people, you shouldn’t have an issue.

You should keep in mind that if you’re right-handed, you should use a left-handed baitcasting reel and vice versa. The handedness of the reel refers to the side of the reel the crank is on. If you don’t want to switch hands, you should choose the option that is the opposite of your dominant hand.

How Does Handedness Effect Baitcasters?

When you’re out fishing, you may have a moment where you wish you could cast a little farther. This is because when you cast farther, you increase your chance of catching larger fish. To do this, you need to tune your baitcasting reel for more distance. Luckily, the things you need to do to cast farther have nothing to do with handedness.

To cast the farthest you can, follow these steps:

  • Clean your rod and ensure that all the factory grease is gone.
  • Replace it with light oil.
  • Clean the ball bearings with a solvent and let it dry.

Once this is done, you should notice that the spinning line spool will take more thumb control and finesse to handle. However, it will also cast much farther than it did before.

Furthermore, if you use a larger rod, you will be able to get more distance in your cast than with a shorter rod. Longer rods generate more rod-tip speed, which makes it so the lures fly faster and farther than shorter options. 

There is a risk that when you go for long casts your lure will snap off. If this is happening to you, you should use a shock leader. To apply a shock leader, use an Albright knot to splice a stout monofilament shock leader. It should be a few feet longer than the rod. The shock leader will absorb the initial force from the extended cast and reduce the risk of your lure breaking off.

The only difference you will have that depends on your handedness will be how you hold the rod. When you’re casting, you will have your dominant hand higher on the rod than your other hand. So, if you’re right-handed, you will have your right hand higher, and if you’re left-handed, you’ll have your left hand higher.

Proper Technique

You also need to use proper technique to get as much distance as possible. Field & Stream’s article “Do You Cast a Baitcaster Farther Left Handed or Right,” by John Merwin, explains the importance of using proper technique to cast the farthest you can.

Normally, when you cast, you use a short-stroke snap cast to get 50 or 60 feet of distance. However, when you want to cast farther, you need to reach back more.

Follow these steps to cast farther:

  • Reach far back with your arms and shoulders.
  • Cast forward hard.
  • If you’re right-handed, you should use your left hand to bring the bottom of the rod toward you quickly. If you are left-handed, then use your right hand to bring the bottom of the rod toward you quickly.
  • Finish off the cast by stopping abruptly.

Abruptly finishing your cast will transfer the maximum amount of energy to the lure as it leaves the top. If you continue with a forward cast, you won’t get as much distance as you want.

What Is a Baitcasting Reel?

Like with any reel, a baitcasting reel is best used in certain fishing situations. However, there are other situations where you would be better off using a different type of fishing reel. Before using a baitcasting reel, you should keep in mind that this reel is meant for more experienced anglers.

A Guide to Choosing Baitcast Reels” by Justin Hoffman tells how baitcasting reels give anglers more control and precision than regular fishing rods. This is because the spool moves while you cast. So, the angler can place their line more precisely. However, it’s more challenging to use than a regular fishing rod. You need a level of skill that allows you to produce the perfect amount of power required to move the spool.

What Should You Consider Before Purchasing a Baitcasting Reel?

Now that you know what a baitcasting reel is, you’re probably wondering when you should use one? There are several things you need to consider when determining if a baitcasting reel is best for your situation. 

Some of the factors to consider when purchasing a baitcasting reel include:

  • Fish size
  • Line and lure choice
  • Your experience level
  • Accuracy
  • Maintenance 
  • Price
  • Durability
  • Risk of jamming and tangling

Fish Size

First, you need to consider what type of fish you’re trying to catch. Most reels aren’t made for catching large fish. Instead, they’re designed to reel in small and medium fish while you’re on a casual expedition on the lake. 

If you’re planning on catching some bigger fish, a regular spinning reel won’t work. Instead, you’ll need to use a baitcasting reel. For reference, a smaller fish would be sunfish, a medium one is smallmouth bass, and a large fish would be flathead catfish.

Baitcasting reels are designed to be strong enough to handle the extra resistance that larger fish will give. They’re more durable, so there’s less of a risk that a large fish will cause damage to your rod.

Line and Lure Choice

When you’re choosing the type of line and lure to use, you’re also deciding which reel is the best choice. If you decide to use lines that are around 10 pounds, a spinning reel would be a logical choice. It will give you the flexibility that you need to keep the line from breaking.

However, if you want to use a line or lure that’s heavier, you’ll need to use a baitcasting reel. Baitcasting reels provide a higher level of control than other reels, which is required when using heavier lines.

If you aren’t familiar with the different types of reels, the main difference between a baitcasting reel and a spinning reel is the placement and direction of the spool. Baitcasting reels use a spool that’s perpendicular to the rod. Conversely, spinning reels have a spool that’s in line with the rod. 

This means that the line comes directly off the spool when you use a baitcaster. However, if you use a spinning reel, it first moves directly away from the rod before turning at the bail to follow the line of the rod.

Your Experience Level

If you’re a beginner, you might not think experience level makes much of a difference in fishing. However, when it comes to using a baitcasting reel, some experience is necessary. Newer anglers should use a spinning reel instead of a baitcaster. This is because it takes longer to set up a baitcasting reel, which isn’t something many new fishermen will want to spend time doing. It’s also far more challenging to use a baitcasting reel because it requires more control.

If you’re an experienced fisherman, you should consider using a baitcasting reel. It will take some time and effort to master this reel. However, if you take the time to learn how to use it properly, you’ll enjoy the extra accuracy and precision the rod provides.


If you’re looking for a reel that provides incredible accuracy, a baitcasting reel is for you. With a baitcasting reel, you can aim for a spot and hit it perfectly every time. However, to do so, you will need lots of practice. You can also quickly stop the baitcaster if you make a bad cast and reel it back in before you have any problems.


When you buy anything, you should think about how much maintenance it’s going to require. The maintenance level is an essential factor. Luckily, with fishing reels, it doesn’t take much work to maintain it.

All you need to do to maintain a reel is to disassemble it and clean it with a suitable solution. Once you grease the gear teeth and oil the bearing, you can reassemble it, and you’ll be ready to go.

Luckily, the process doesn’t change based on handedness. “10 Tips for Proper Reel Care” by Ed Harp from gives some tips for maintaining your fishing reel.

The main steps for maintaining a fishing reel are as follows:

  • Gather your tools and cleaning supplies.
  • Carefully take your reel apart.
  • Hold your reel with your off-hand and clean with your dominant hand.
  • Remove the fishing line before removing the spool.
  • Clean each part individually.
  • Grease the gears.
  • Clean the bearings with lighter fluid.
  • Put everything back together.

However, baitcasting reels are more structurally complex than other reels like spinning reels. It will take a little longer to disassemble and reassemble a baitcaster. You should note that it isn’t more challenging to do; it just takes longer. So, if you don’t mind taking that extra time, you won’t have a problem maintaining a baitcasting reel.


Price is a huge factor when purchasing a fishing reel. You wouldn’t want to buy one for $200 if you can get one that’s just as good for $50. Generally, spinning reels are far more affordable than baitcasting reels. However, that’s because they aren’t as high-quality as baitcasting reels.

Spinning reels aren’t very durable, so you might need to purchase a new one sooner than you would a baitcasting reel. If you’re only going to fish occasionally, a spinning reel should work for you. If you want to make a long-term investment, you should consider purchasing a baitcasting reel.


Durability is an essential factor to consider when purchasing a fishing reel. If you’re looking for a reel that will last you a long time and can be used frequently, a baitcasting reel is your best option. They have a more complex construction, making them sturdier and more durable. As a result, they’re less prone to wearing out and breaking.

Risk of Jamming and Tangling

Anyone who has spent a substantial amount of time fishing has experienced their fishing line getting tangled or jammed. Your reel getting tangled has the potential to ruin your entire day out. This is especially true for beginners. As a result, you should choose a reel that has a lower risk of tangling and jamming.

There is no fishing reel available that will never jam. These things happen, and sometimes it’s unavoidable. However, spinning reels don’t jam as often as baitcasting reels. So, if you’re particularly worried about a jam, a baitcasting reel might not be the right choice for you.

Regardless of handedness, the process is the same to fix a jammed baitcasting reel. The steps to fix a jammed baitcasting reel are as follows:

  • Remove the knotted fishing line.
  • Unscrew the cap from the base.
  • Press the release button.
  • Pull some fishing line free from the spool.
  • If you find a knot, cut the line and re-thread your rod with the rest of your line.
  • Inspect the line and then lower the cap onto the base and screw it back on.
  • Re-tighten the thread.

Other Critical Features to Consider

Other essential features to consider include the line capacity of the reel. Baitcasters usually have a bigger line capacity than spinning reels.

Additionally, you should consider the casting distance of the reel before purchasing. This is especially important if you don’t want to fish from a boat because you need to get the line far away from the shore. Baitcasters have a higher casting distance, but it’s hard to maximize. Spinning reels have a shorter casting distance, but it’s easier to maximize their range.

Finally, you should consider the gear ratio of the reel you purchase. Typically, baitcasting reels have a bigger range of ratios than other options. 

The best time to use a baitcasting reel is when you’re in harsh conditions. These reels are far more durable than other reels, so if you’re fishing in a storm, a baitcasting reel is the best option for you. Baitcasting reels are also preferred for saltwater fishing. This is because these reels have more accuracy than spinning reels.

In Conclusion  

Handedness isn’t something to worry about when it comes to baitcasting reels. You can get just as much distance on your cast no matter what your dominant hand is. However, you should keep in mind that you’ll want to use a baitcasting reel that has the opposite handedness as you. This will make it so you can cast and reel in fish in one smooth motion. Finally, remember that using baitcasting reels is more complicated than other options. So, it isn’t recommended for new anglers to use these types of reels. Instead, you should use a spinning reel for your first few times on the lake. Other than that, anyone can use a baitcasting reel!

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