How to Change a Fishing Reel From Right to Left-Handed

What does this title mean? Can you transform a right-handed reel, let it be a spinning reel, a bait caster, or a spin caster, from being right-handed to left-handed, or vice-versa? Fishers hardly ever open up their reels and change something about them, unless there’s some clogging happening. Other than that, the reels are sealed tight, and you don’t really play with their mechanism. 

We’ll explain. What happened is that manufacturers have noticed that creating a strictly right-handed reel or a strictly left-handed reel minimizes their sales, because they’re crossing out a considerable bulk of the fishing population, preventing them from using a specific model.

Subsequently, they’ve resorted to creating ambidextrous reels. This means that you, as an angler, can move the handle from one side to the other according to your preference and needs. That is what we’ll walk you through today.

Step-By-Step Guide for Changing a Fishing Reel’s Handle From Left to Right

Let’s get straight down to business and explain, in the simplest way possible, how you can make the most out of an ambidextrous handle, and move it from the right side of the reel to the left side of the reel, and vice versa. Keep in mind that the process is the same no matter at which side you start and which side you end.

1. Find Dust Cap and Unscrew It

First of all, locate the dust cap, which will be on one side of the reel opposite to the handle, and start unscrewing it. The dust cap could be metal or plastic, and you don’t need any tools to unscrew it. You can easily do it by hand. Just keep it somewhere safe, as it’s not super big, so you might lose it effortlessly.

2. Find The Handle and Unscrew It

On the other side, you’ll find the handle, and you need to unscrew that too by turning it opposite to the direction that it usually goes.

So, if you reel your line clockwise, you’ll turn the handle in the counterclockwise direction, and if you reel the handle counterclockwise, you’ll turn it in the clockwise direction. Anyway, you’ll turn it in the direction where there is some resistance, and then you’ll notice it coming out in your hand.

3. Lubricate the Handle

This step is optional, yet it makes such a massive difference in the end result. When you lubricate the handle from the inside, everything becomes so much smoother, and you’ll find that the quality of your fishing trips has increased significantly. Specifically, if you persist with the habit of lubricating your handle every time you switch it from one side to the other.

4. Put Handle Where the Dust Cap Was

Now that you’ve got both pieces in your hand, take your lubricated handle and screw it where the dust cap originally was. You’ll need to ensure that everything is snug, as you don’t want the handle falling out without you noticing.

5. Put Dust Cap Where the Handle Was

Next, we’ve got the dust cap lined up. Take it, and put it where the handle initially was. Again, make sure that you screw it incredibly tightly. As we’ve mentioned before, the dust cup is even smaller, and the possibility of you losing it is even greater.

6. Tighten Everything

Take one more round, and make sure everything is tightened. You don’t need any tools for this; you can literally do it on a boat, at home, in your garage, or even in your car. Just as long as you keep a vigilant eye on the pieces that you unscrew and then screw everything tightly back on, everything will be just fine.

7. Take It Out Onto the Water

The only way of making sure that your fishing combo, reel, and rod, is working perfectly is to try it out. Hence, after you change anything on your reel, rod, or even your line, you must take it out to the closest waterfront and give it a go. That is to confirm that you’re entirely comfortable, and that everything is working as it should.

Advantages of an Ambidextrous Handle

Having an ambidextrous handle on the reel definitely contributes to the fact that the price tag might be bulkier. So, why should you go for a reel with an adjustable handle? 

If you’re right-handed, then maybe you should go for a right-handed reel, and if you’re left-handed, perhaps you should go for a left-handed reel and be done with it?! Let us try and change your mind right now. 

Simply because there’s a long list of advantages to these reels, and you’ll unquestionably get a lot of bang for your buck when you invest your money in an ambidextrous reel.

Try Different Fishing Techniques

A lot of fishing techniques require that you cast and retrieve your line with your dominant hand. Nonetheless, there are other techniques that require that you cast with your non-dominant hand and retrieve with the dominant one and vice versa.

Besides, you could be trying to use a fishfinder or a GPS if you’re doing more precise fishing. There are so many fishing techniques that might require you to utilize both hands at once, or have to rely on your non-dominant hand a little bit more than you normally would. Hence, an ambidextrous handle would come in handy when you’re so inclined.

Teach Your Children

If you’re a veteran angler and you’re blessed with children, it’s only natural that you’d want to teach them everything you know. It’s a well-known fact that most of the earth’s population is right-handed.

Subsequently, if you’re one of the minor population; left-handed, it’s almost absolutely certain that not all your children will be left-handed like you. Now, what if you want to teach your right-handed children how to fish? 

There is no need to spend extra money on a new fishing reel, specifically a beginner one, when your fishing cabinet is chock-full of different reels that you can utilize however you want. The adjustable handle relieves you of all of that, and allows you to teach all of your children, lefties and righties, how to fish properly.

Lend to Others

Fishing as a sport or hobby can be done either individually or in groups. Besides, due to the fishing sport being so highly competitive, a lot of people form incredible friendships through it. They start exchanging fishing experiences and gear. 

Yet, if you have only right-handed reels, you can’t swap gear, or at least reels, with a left-handed angler, and vice versa. On the other side of the spectrum, if you have ambidextrous reels, you can exchange them with anyone. That’s in addition to having the benefit of trying out countless reels without having to pay for all of them, which is always a great advantage of the fishing communities.

Helps You Learn How to Cast and Retrieve With Both Hands

We all wish we could use both hands for our everyday daily tasks, as most of these tasks prove that one hand is always more dominant than the other. Even if you hone the skills of your non-dominant hand, it’ll never be like your dominant one. That actually includes some sports such as weightlifting and archery.

On the contrary, since the actions involved in the sport of fishing are rather simple, you can actually utilize both hands almost equally, and having an ambidextrous reel will help you do exactly that.

You’ll be able to focus on your non-dominant hand as much as you want while still using your dominant hand when competing or when you’re actually chasing a prey.

Higher Price When Selling Second-Hand

As we’ve mentioned before, ambidextrous reels are significantly marked up due to the fact that they’re ambidextrous. Consequently, if you’re trying to sell a reel second-hand, you’ll get a much better bargain for an ambidextrous reel than a normal one, simply because the first provides more services than the latter.

Do All Reels Have Ambidextrous Handles?

Yes and no! How? We’ll explain. Can all reel types be ambidextrous? Yes, they all can. As a matter of fact, there are ambidextrous spinning reels, ambidextrous baitcasters, and ambidextrous spincasters. Nonetheless, don’t assume that a reel is ambidextrous unless it says that on the package. So, always look for the word ‘’ambidextrous’’ or ‘’modifiable’’ before you choose to go for a specific reel.


To recap, an ambidextrous reel is like having a jack of all trades. It eliminates the problems that being a strict lefty, or strict righty can bring with them. What’s more important is that the process of transporting the handle from one side to the other can’t be easier, and it allows you to do some maintenance in the process through lubricating the handle. Our final advice is that if you can go for an ambidextrous reel, then definitely do it; you’ll have no regrets.

You Can Also Check:

What Are the Parts of a Spinning Reel?

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