Right or Left Hand Retrieve? Which is Best?

Right or Left Hand Retrieve?

My oldest daughter plays softball. Really well. She is right-handed but can bat either right handed or left handed. Me, I can’t do either. I tried to hit off her teams’ pitcher a few years ago. I don’t even think I got a foul ball.

What hand should you cast with? Which one for reeling in line? These are questions we get every day. Tradition and personal preference both come into play here. Which hand do you use?

Right or Left Hand Retrieve?

  • Are you a Googan? You might be and not even know it. Do you use right or left hand retrieve? We asked some guides in the Florida Keys what they thought of us casting with our right hand and reeling with our left. Their response….”You’re a Googan.” It’s a good idea to switch your rod to the other hand once you hook a fish in saltwater. That way the loose line doesn’t snag the reel handle.
  • Does it matter? It does in saltwater. I have had the line catch on the reel handle before when I didn’t switch hands. You want to make the switch in saltwater. It doesn’t matter so much with trout. I have never had a problem with line tangling on my reel handle for trout. Saltwater species have such speed the line can quickly tangle on the handle.
  • Tradition. Nearly all the old timers would switch hands when they were landing fish. Nowadays I never really see it out West. We just don’t use the reel all that much. Modern leader and tippet materials are so good now. Plus we mostly fly fish from a drift boat. For trout, you so rarely use the reel to fight trout when drifting in a boat. Wading is another story. You don’t have the boat moving downstream to relieve the pressure of the fighting trout. If you are wading you will use your reel more. When drifting you strip the line in rather than reeling most times. Out West reels are in my opinion jewelry. And I like jewelry.
  • Personal preference. For trout, it really comes down to personal preference. Right-handed people tend to cast with their right hand and reel with the right hand for trout. Most times when working with beginners we tend to let them decide which hand they want to reel with. What hand do you feel the most comfortable reeling with? Right or left hand retrieve? Are you a Googan?

Need more info? Check out this article on right or left hand retrieve found on MidCurrent.