How to Change a Fishing Reel from Right to Left-Handed?


Fishing is an interesting activity that requires basic equipment, great skills, and patience. The experience varies depending on the type of fish you hope to catch and the fishing area or spot. There are different techniques involved with catching various types of fish; as a beginner, you should know to pack the right tools.

One of the many effective and often useful pieces of equipment in fishing is the reel. It comes in different sizes and forms; an angler gets to choose what is suitable to use. The spinning reel, however, is the most popular.

In the operating of these reels, you may either use your left hand or right hand. Unfortunately, beginners don’t always know this, and when they discover they bought a right-hand reel instead of a left-hand reel, they start to panic. Not to worry, this article explains the different types of reels available and how to change a fishing reel from right to left-handed.

What are the Different Types of a Reel?

The standard reel is designed to be a single-hand reel; however, they may exist in right-hand or left-hand forms. Understanding how reels work makes it important to know the various types available to choose what is most convenient for your skill level.

Below are the 4 types of reels.

Spinning Reels

Spinning reels are the most popular reels for fishing because they are simple to use and beginner-friendly. It also has exposed parts for adjustment. This reel is available as both right-handed and left-handed.

This model goes back to the 19th Century when it was originally used in North America. Due to its efficiency and simple design, it has continued to be one of the best choices for fishing tilapia, catfish, etc.

Baitcasting Reels

The baitcasting reel is a difficult type of reel to use because it is designed for heavier fish. It is not beginner-friendly like the spinning reels. It mostly comes in a right-handed form.

Spincast Reels

Another type of reel almost similar to the spinning reel is the Spincast Reel. It is used for smaller fish; however, it doesn’t have exposed parts like the spinning reels. Due to the enclosed parts, it is a lot difficult to use or control.

It is also a common model designed for professionals.

Conventional Reels

The conventional reel is quite similar to the Baitcasting reel because it is used for catching heavy fish. Also, it is quite tricky for beginners to use.

Read on how to hook a minnow here.

What are the Parts of a Reel (Spinning Reel)?

While you know about the various types of reels, it is also pertinent that you know the different parts of a reel. The knowledge of these parts will help you solve problems, should they ever exist.


Every reel has a handle, which is the most crucial part. It is the feature responsible for hand orientation, i.e., left hand or right hand. This handle is often threaded to an internal socket to ensure it is easy to remove whenever necessary.


The next significant part after the handle is the body. It is the part that contains other essential components such as gear box, dust cap, support arm, etc. The body of a reel varies depending on the reel’s design.


A feature that holds the fishing line in place to ensure fish doesn’t fall off when caught is the spool.

Gear Box

The handle is controlled using a feature called the Gear Box. It usually works in rotations to make sure the reel doesn’t snap when fishing. However, during the hand orientation change, the gear box is unaffected.


The bail is a significant part responsible for casting the reel forward and back to its original state.

Anti-Reverse Switch

Another vital feature that stops the reel from rotating away from a preferred spot or area is the anti-reverse switch.

Drag Adjustment Knob

With the help of a drag adjustment knob, the spool is connected to the shaft. It allows for easy adjustment against high friction.

How to Change a Reel from Right to Left-Hand: A Step-By-Step Guide

If you bought a right-handed fishing reel, but you are used to being left-handed, there is no cause to worry. There is a way you can change the reel from one hand orientation to another. Follow the step-by-step guide below to see how.

Step 1: Find the Dust Cap

There is a dust cap on every reel (spinning) that keeps it together, ensuring it is firm. You should look for that dust cap on the right part of the reel, unscrew and remove it.

Step 2: Unscrew Reel Handle

With the dust cap removed, other parts of the spinning reel become loose and exposed. What you should do next is unscrew the reel handle on the left. The ideal way is turning the handle clockwise.

Step 3: Insert a Reel Arm

As soon as the reel handle is unscrewed, insert a reel arm into the area where you removed the dust cap.

Step 4: Tighten the Reel Arm

With the reel arm in place, turn the reel clockwise to tighten the reel arm.

Step 5: Return the Dust Cap

Instead of the right part of the reel, return the dust cap on the right side. Make sure you screw the dust cap properly until it feels tight and firm.

Step 6: Ready to Use

Start using the reel left-handed

From the steps above, it is pretty evident that what you need to change the orientation of your reel is a reel arm. First, however, you must lubricate the reel arm and dust cap before re-orientation to prevent friction.


Whether you are a novice or a professional angler, changing the hand orientation of your spinning reel is a must-know. You need this valuable piece of information if you ever get into a situation that requires you to change from right-hand to left-hand. As long as you get your reel right, fishing in a preferred water area shouldn’t be a problem.