How To Change Your Fishing Reel From Right To Left-Handed

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Every angler loves to get on the water and fish for whatever catches their fancy. But sometimes, the new fishing reel you get isn’t up to snuff. Therefore, you should take the time to figure out what’s making it perform poorly.

The reel is the main tool used to control the line while casting. Many people who buy a fishing reel don’t realize that they need to change how they handle the reel. Essentially, the way you hold your reel is important because it affects its performance.

To solve this problem, this article will go through the basic parts of the reel and the steps on how to change a fishing reel from right to left-handed. Read on!

how to change a fishing reel from right to left handed
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How Do Spinning Reels Work?

To understand the basic principle of how a fishing reel works, you can use the spinning reel as a perfect model. This type of reel performs well with smaller baits, making them ideal for smaller fishes. It is also simple to handle, making them ideal for beginners in fishing.

To summarize, the anglers lift the bail to release the line from the coil. When there is a catch, the angler then closes the bail and rotates the handle. 

This method transfers the rotating action to the spool, allowing them to retrieve the fishing line. The retrieval speed and switching of the spool release of the line differ depending on the fishing reel you use.

Understanding the Parts of A Spinning Reel

You will need to understand just how a reel works before attempting to make adjustments to one. The most important tool for your success as an angler is not a hammer or a shovel but the reel itself.

Understanding the parts of the fishing reel handle and the principle of how the reel works are also important before manipulating the reel arm. This knowledge will ensure that you can put it back together without damaging any parts of it.

spinning reel

The parts of a spinning reel arm are as follows:

  • Bail Arm
  • Drag Adjustment
  • Spool
  • Gear Box
  • Body
  • Foot/Seat
  • Handle
  • Roller
  • Anti-reverse Switch

Bail Arm

It is a part of the spinning reel that makes the casting action easier for anglers. This part is flipped forward to allow the line to uncoil freely.

Furthermore, it eliminates the backlash experienced during fishing by guaranteeing that the line will not run loose off the spool when the bail arm is flipped down.

Drag Adjustment Knob

An angler can raise or reduce friction or drag on a line by using the drag adjustment knob. This part is crucial, especially if the fish you are catching prefer to struggle and tug the line back into the water.


This is the main part of the reel arm that secures the fishing line to the reel. It is usually made of either graphite or aluminum material enough to carry the force of the line you are using.

Gear Box

A gearbox combines the power of an inner spindle rotation with the rapid rotation of an external roller. Therefore, rotating the handle doubles the revolutions, making it easier to retract or release the line.

Body or Frame

The reel body is the central piece that holds all the features together, from the support arm, and gearbox to the foot.

If you have a reel that contains some components that are not designed to be used on both sides, you might be required to adjust the arm when changing which side your handle goes on.

Foot or Seat

One of the essential parts of the fishing gear is the reel foot. It’s crucial to properly or snuggly fit both components of the fishing kit to remain stable during rapid motion and stress when fighting a fish.


Usually, the reel handle is located in the right hand. It is the most important component when switching from a right to a left-handed reel because it is the part you shift.


The line roller is a vital component of a reel arm. It helps to keep the reel balanced by allowing the reel to rotate freely without sticking or binding.

A line roller also aids in the elimination of line twists by driving possible twists toward the line’s working end. The rollers must be the right size to provide the required tension needed to ensure proper line tautness.

Anti-reverse Switch

The reverse switch found on a fishing reel is designed to prevent the reel from spinning backward when you let go of the reel handle. This part thus prevents knotting and breakage of the line brought by the backward motion.

How to Change the Side of the Spinning Reel Handle

There are many reasons why you would want to switch or adjust the reel handle. Maybe your dominant hand is on the right, but the reel handle is on the left side, making it harder for you to turn it.

Whatever the reason may be, It only takes a few minutes to learn how to swap reels for a more comfortable experience.

Switching From Right to Left-Handed

If you are casting in the left hand, follow the steps below to switch a right-handed reel to the left.

1. Remove the dust cap on the right side

2. Unfasten the screw by turning the reel clockwise direction, then remove it

3. Reverse the position of the handle and the dust cap (right and left, respectively)

4. Tighten the screw of the handle on the right side (clockwise), then return the dust cap on the left

Switching From Left to Right-Handed

If you use your right hand for casting, this one’s for you. A lot of fishing reels in the market are designed to change the side of the reel handle.

Follow these few simple instructions to swap your reel handle from the left hand to the right side.

1. Remove the dust cap on the left

2. Unfasten the screw by turning the reel in a counter-clockwise direction, then remove it

3. Reverse the position of the handle and the dust cap (left and right, respectively)

4. Tighten the screw of the handle on the left (counter-clockwise), then return the dust cap on the right side

Take note that switching your reel from right to left hand will only apply to spinning reels as other types of reels (baitcasting reels, for example) may have a fixed reel handle side. 

Furthermore, it is also recommended to add some lubricant maintenance on the spinning reel midway before assembling the gear back together for better fishing quality. 


If you want to change the side of your reel handle, the switching will still depend on the type of reel handle you are using.

Spinning reels are the most versatile and preferred reels for small fishing. This type of reel usually has a removable reel handle side allowing you to change where it is located. 

Furthermore, proper maintenance of the reel also plays a vital role in its performance.

We hope this article taught you how to change a fishing reel from right to left-handed. If you are interested in topics on fishing and want to read more, let us know!

Diana Nadim
Fishing Expert
Diana began fishing at the age of seven, as it has been a long-time family tradition. From catching small bullheads to catching strippers on the backwaters of Bighorn, she loves to get out in the wild and have a marvelous day on the water. Her dad was an expert angler, and he taught her fishing along with her two siblings. They used to go to the Bighorn River in Montana and Henry’s fork, Idaho. As a pragmatic person, she is obsessed with creating well-researched and practical guides and reviews of the best fishing methods and gear.
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