A question that is surprisingly quite common in the fly fishing community is, “Are fly fishing reels reversible?”
One probable reason this question is so common is because all fly reels come out of the box with the handle on the left side, which means, you need to use your left hand to crank the reel. For those of us who are right-handed, which is obviously the vast majority of the population, this might seem a little counter-intuitive, especially when you consider that the fly reel is designed with no gearing in place like a spinning reel. This means you can only reel in a fish as fast as you can turn the crank.
Saltwater makes the difference
If you have a large, fast moving fish, the difference between winning and losing will likely be based on how fast you can reel it in. This is particularly important if you’re going after salt water fish, which tend to be larger. If you’re more inclined to fish in freshwater, then you’ll probably be okay keeping the reel on the left side.
Now, for those of you who want to yell, “BUT I CAST WITH MY RIGHT HAND!” I totally get it 🙂 Consider this idea, though. Try casting with your right hand and then when you’ve hooked the fish, switch the reel to your left hand and reel it in using your right hand (that is, of course, if your dominant hand is the right hand).
Switching the reel
Switching a reel to a right-hand retrieve is fairly easy to do, but requires you to take the reel apart and follow some simple directions provided in the manual supplied with your new reel. If you don’t have a manual, there are plenty of videos online to guide you through the process. In any case, you’ll want to do this before you put your line on, though.
So, just to recap things here: Yes, you can switch your reel to be a right-hand retrieve. However, it really only makes sense to do so if you’re going after larger trophy fish in salt-water environments. Otherwise, keeping your reel as a left-hand retrieve, even if you’re right-handed, is totally normal and totally acceptable. It’s up to you, though. There’s really no right or wrong way, so long as you successfully reel in the fish.