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Old 01-24-2000, 07:02 PM
Pete Pete is offline
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Casting vs. Reeling Hand...


I must be going a little nutty.

<b>I am a lefty.</b> I am going to spool up my new SW reel and was contemplating changing from a right hand to a left hand retrieve.

I cast and hold the rod with my left hand for fly fishing and have for years, but what got me thinking is something I read recently (I think from Lefty Kreh) about using your dominant hand when reeling in a fish. He was of the opinion that when you have to reel up line in a hurry (esp. w/ large fish) you should use your dominant hand as it tends to be more coordinated - thus increasing your chances of landing the fish as you have better line control.

In thinking about it, I realized that when:
<li>spin fishing - I cast with my right hand and reel with my left
<li>with a casting set-up I cast lefthanded, but still reel with the left
<li>flyfishing cast left, reel right and strip line with the right hand

Setting the hook with either hand feels natural, however, mending line would seem a little strange if I kept the rod in my right hand and stripped in line with the left.

Does this make me unique, or is it common among other anglers? I am a little worried about transferring hands either after I cast, or after setting the hook on the fish and stripping it in. The transfer would seem to increase the chance of losing the fish.

I'm looking for some people who have switched hands, or anyone with an opinion to offer (Besides <i>"step away from the keyboard"</i> ) regarding the merits of switching to the dominant hand, or reasons to keep it the as is.


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Old 01-24-2000, 08:40 PM
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ssully ssully is offline
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RE:Casting vs. Reeling Hand...

Hi Pete,

I had to read your post twice. I remembered you casting right handed with the spinning outfit. But after I you mention it, I also remembered you recording the data lefty. Funny I didn't pick up on that earlier. And I never saw you tossing a fly at the Dam. Close quarters no doubt.

I am a righty but have very good dexterity with my left hand as well. I can write and throw a ball with either hand but I'm not ambidextrous. But I definitely would not be comfortable fishing lefty. I would lose casting distance and accuracy not to mention missed strikes. I wouldn't be as comfortable playing (control) a big fish lefty either.

I don't know if this applies casting or not since I have never tried fishing lefty. But I am right eye dominant. Now I know if I tried to shoot a firearm lefty I will always be off center. My 11 year old son who is righty couldn't hit a coke can at twenty yards with his BB gun. Until I figured out although he is a righty he is left eye dominant. Once he learned to shoot lefty he can now shoot the lights out. Like I said I don't know if this is applicable. Just my .02
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Old 01-25-2000, 04:17 AM
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RE:Casting vs. Reeling Hand...

I am right handed and strip and reel with my left hand.
With two exceptions my 7 and 12 weights, I set these up right handed to fight bonefish and tarpon. I want to be able to reel with my dominant hand when these fast fish decide to swim back at me as fast as they went out. It can be confusing when I am using the 7 to catch schoolies. I still strip with the left hand but have to switch the rod should a fish get on the reel which does not happen very often with these little fish.
Bob D
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my head tell me to...
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Old 01-25-2000, 06:35 AM
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juro juro is offline
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RE:Casting vs. Reeling Hand...

Very interesting thread!

To respond to Pete, it would seem to me that flycasting is a strict dominant arm thing for the vast majority. I think we all tinker with casting on both sides of our head for wind or just to say we can

I feel (nearly) symmetrically comfortable about Spey casting from either side when using a pulley to set up. I'll let Brian or Bob S. comment on how well I Spey cast lefty, but I 'feel' comfortable. In any case I reel lefty when Spey casting but have noticed that when I have the long rod tucked under the arm and a violent strike occurs, the reel handle bangs into my vest and jacket rat-tat-tat like a jackhammer when a hot steelie screams down river. The handle turned to the outside (righty) would not do that.

Reeling can go either way for me, but I do feel a lot better with the rod in my right hand when fighting steelhead or something that zigs, zags, races and leaps a lot. I'm not about to question Lefty's experiences, and Bob is also adamant about RH for tarpon, and he's done a lot more of that than I.

When I am in an obvious blitz, I throw and fish lefty. As a matter of fact I remember the first schoolie I caught while fishing entirely lefty, near the mouth of the Herring River on the Cape. I also remember the first steelhead I caught Spey casting lefty, above the launch at Blue Creek on the Cowlitz River in Washington State.

Through the years, I've reeled levelwind for salmon righty, level wind for steelhead righty and lefty, spinning lefty, push button lefty - all depending on availability more than preference. Since I don't really use that stuff anymore, I guess I always reel lefty until convinced otherwise.
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Old 01-25-2000, 07:50 AM
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trutta trutta is offline
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RE:Casting vs. Reeling Hand...

where have I seen this thread before? &lt;g&gt;...
I cast (and mend) right handed and strip, and retrieve left handed. I don't change hands and I do like to put the fish on the reel regrdless of size (just a personal preference). I feel awkward holding the rod with the left and in order to retrieve with my faster hand (the right). I agree that my dominant hand retrieves "can" retrieve faster and therefore I suspect it would help with, say, tarpon. But I don't think I could control what the rod does if I held it with my left hand. Interestingly, I feel about the same spey casting from both sides (with single, double speys and even two handed overhead casts)... not that I can spey cast very well &lt;g&gt;. I guess having both hands on the rod make the difference there. It is true that while casting (single handed) the line sometimes catches on the handle, but hell, once in a while it catches around the butt section too ==8-O so changing the reel setup would not help there.
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Old 01-27-2000, 06:22 AM
ronl ronl is offline
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RE:Casting vs. Reeling Hand...

Pete- I've been switching from castin with my right hand to reeling with my right hand since I began flyfishing about 8yrs ago. Have no problem with the switch because I make up my mind to reel in rather than strip in when the fish makes its first run. The longer the run the more time you have to make-up your mind. I generally only reel in with a large fish or one thats being stubborn otherwise I strip the line with my left hand and then switch(if need be) to release the fish. Basically its a matter of personal preference- do what works for you. just my .02 rel
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Old 01-27-2000, 07:31 PM
marvin marvin is offline
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RE:Casting vs. Reeling Hand...

Amazing how many of us leftys seem to be out there, considering we're what, 10% of the population? Anyway, with fly gear, I cast with my left and reel right. Tried switching a few years back, but didn't feel comfortable with it. So far, I've been able to keep up with the fish, but wouldn't mind hooking something that could greatly outswim my reeling . I've never bothered to pick up a lefty spinning reel, so all of mine reel left. And my conventional reels are reel-right.

Adding to the confusion, I'm right-eyed, so I shoot righty with gun or bow.

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Old 01-27-2000, 09:07 PM
Tod D Tod D is offline
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RE:Casting vs. Reeling Hand...

Marvin - I was about to comment about the seeming preponderance of lefties... Alas I'm a righty.

Pete - I think I read the same point about dominant hand reeling (I think it may have been in one of the "Lefty's Little Library..." books). At any rate, I attempted to follow it last year when sw fishing. Maybe it's just me (or an indictment of my skill level), but I found it counterintuitive. When spinfishing I reel lefty as well, so I found myself overthinking my right retrieve, occasionally missing a strike, and in general feeling out of sorts.

Juro - terrific new site; it's making me antsy for ice-out.
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Old 01-31-2000, 08:36 PM
wrstern wrstern is offline
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RE:Casting vs. Reeling Hand...

Have wondered about this for about 15 years. Lefty Kreh and Flip Pallot say reel with the dominant hand for endurance and speed; Tom Earnhardt and Lou Tabory say the opposite. I have tried both methods over the years, and last year forced myself to fish the whole season Lefty's way. I'm switching back to reeling with the weak hand. I never found it particularly difficult to reel with my weak (left) hand; I did find it difficult to fight fish with my weak hand -- My timing was way off.

My sense is that, at least since Lee Wulff popularized the idea, the majority of saltwater and salmon anglers hold the rod in the dominant hand. Others are ambidexterous, comfortable with what they learned starting out or think the hand switch is traditional and like the challenge. That's not to say that Lefty Kreh is wrong when he says that the dominant hand can reel longer and faster; it's just to say that he is looking at half the picture.
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Old 02-01-2000, 09:15 AM
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Hawkeye Hawkeye is offline
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RE:Casting vs. Reeling Hand...

I am a righty and have always cranked 'em in with the left. I guess it's a holdover from my early spinning days. I have accidentally rigged up for a righty reel and have hated it. I don't think the margin of difference in speed between my right and left hand is large enough to really make much of a difference. When I get a fish that runs at me faster than I can reel I either back up on the beach or strip the line until I can reel or feed it back to the fish.
Tight Lines,

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