Poll: Strong Hand or Weak Hand Winding - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-17-2002, 12:21 AM Thread Starter
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Question Poll: Strong Hand or Weak Hand Winding

Do you spool your reels for winding in with your strong hand or weak hand?

I'm right handed, cast with right hand on top and I spooled my reels for right hand winding retrieve and palming... I'm a long ways away from being an ambidextrous spey fisher... gotta go practice
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-17-2002, 12:43 AM
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Since I have never reeled with my right hand, it is not my strong hand even though I am a righty. I know what you mean though, to answer you Q: I spool for left hand retrieve but cast righty.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-17-2002, 01:10 AM
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I am oh soo goofy...

I am left handed and reel with my left hand so you would think I would cast with my right...HA!

I cast with my left, hold the rod with my left during the drift and when I am fighting a fish on the line (stripping) the rod is in my left hand and I am stripping with my right. The second that the fish is on the reel, the rod is transferred to my right hand so I can reel with my left UNLESS the fish runs at me and I need to pick up line fast, so then I switch the rod to my left hand, procede to strip with my right until the fish is back on the reel. At the point, I again transfer the rod to my right hand so I can reel with my left.

Got it!? :eyecrazy: :eyecrazy:

The above transfers can take place more then a couple times while I am fighting a fish...I must say it has got to be quite humerous to witness!!

Ryan S. Petzold
aka Sparkey and/or Special
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-17-2002, 02:09 AM Thread Starter
Gotta use two hands!!!
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Yes this transfer of the rods from hand to hand is what triggered this poll.

For me it's just a mirror image of your situation:
- cast with right hand
- fish the swing with the right hand, retrieve line with left hand
- set the hook with the right hand
- switch rod to left hand once the fish is on the reel
- palm and retrieve with right hand

I found this to be quite comedic, not to mention a few lost fishes, so I wanted to find out how others do it :hehe:

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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-17-2002, 02:59 AM
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Thumbs up To me LEFT is right.....

I will not dwell on this, but I always have spooled my fly reels with my left hand.

Why on earth should one start to send the gear around on risky tours, at that very precious moment when a fish finally has taken the fly?

Raise the rod firmly when the fish's weight is felt, put your hand on the reel and lean back to fight. That's all you do when one hand is assigned to the rod and the other to the reel. As in all combat: avoid confusion!!


PS. On all the FF bullentin boards I have been on, about 5% of the capacity has been spent on this question - there willl never be an end to this "fight"... DS

Last edited by Per Stadigh; 02-17-2002 at 07:29 PM.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-17-2002, 06:54 AM
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I bet this is something to see. Changing hands when a fish is on. Have you ever dropped you rod? I've never heard of such a thing, but obviously people do it. For the record, I'm left handed - cast right - reel left.
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-17-2002, 10:27 AM
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I cast with right hand.

First 20 years of fly fishing for trout the reels were set up for right hand reeling. Never really had to fight fish fish from the reel.

Since 1980 when steelhead and salmon fly fishing started converted to left hand reel so can fight fish directly from the reel as much as possible. You do not want slack line off the reel and then have a strong running fish like these take off.

To much risk of the loose line snarling through your guides and broken rods of which I have seen many especially from king salmon.

None of mine yet though :hehe: :hehe:


"Steelheading builds character, take nothing but pictures and memories, leave nothing but tracks"
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-17-2002, 10:34 AM
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I am right handed and spoll with my left hand and cast with my right hand.. the same as throwing a ball . I would never switch hands and actually it feels more comfortable spooling with my left. It seems that although my left is not my stronge side I can spool even faster because it is not my strongest... my wrists seems to have less tension as I spin it.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-17-2002, 10:52 AM
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It's interesting what seems "natural" to people. I'm right handed, cast right, wind reel with right. Yes, the rod changes hands when fighting a fish. But I've been doing this for over 30 years and it's certainly "natural" to me. I've understood for many years that my technique is wrong. But, changing hands and reeling with my dominant hand is instinctive to me. More importantly, I can't ever remember losing a salmon, steelhead, bonefish, tarpon, dorado, bonito, false albacore, roosterfish due to changing hands. I've certainly lost fish, but I really don't feel any were due to this "bad" habit. Different strokes. Whatever works for you.

Last edited by wrke; 02-17-2002 at 10:54 AM.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-17-2002, 02:04 PM
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Cast right... fight right... spool left...occasionally I get the running line snagged on the reel handle if I don't remember to roll my right wrist at the end of my cast.

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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-17-2002, 02:26 PM
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I'm right-handed and reel with my right hand. I cast both right and left-handed depending on the wind etc though I feel better casting with my right. Funny thing though I don't seem to be able to cast any farther with my right.

I don't think switching the rod from from right to left hands really makes much difference. I can honestly say I've not lost a fish due to this and those that I know say the same.

The last fish caught was just a couple weeks ago using a friends rod. He reels with his left hand. Several times while playing the fish, I'd natuarlly take my right hand to grab for the reel handle. Of course I ended up with a hand full of nothing! Now that didn't feel good at all!

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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-17-2002, 07:04 PM
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another weird one

Okay, when fishing two handers I can cast off either shoulder, but have all my reels spooled for right hand retrieve (yes, Per--I do switch hands frequently after hook up--even on the Thompson!) Haven't dropped a rod so far but I've juggled a few...


with my single handers for trout fishing I cast right and reel with my left hand. I've always done this and it feels weird to switch hands with a single hander.

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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-17-2002, 07:49 PM
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I cast and reel right-handed. I spent so many years reeling a Silex it doesn't feel right to do otherwise.

What is perhaps more important than switching hands in terms of not losing fish is which hand can you reel fastest with? Ever try timing how long it takes you to reel in a set amount of line?

A few years ago the handle fell off my fly reel during a multi-day trip on the Squamish. The only way I could reel was to sort of jam the tip of my finger into one of the holes in the spool. Actually managed to catch several fish this way.. this was much more challenging than reeling with either hand and made me appreciate who ever invented the reel handle.

Many years ago (1969?) I asked Earl Anderson, a veteran tackle salesman who worked at Woodwards then, why right handed fly reels were wound with the right hand and right-handed Mitchell 300s were wound with the left. His response was that the handle was on the right side of the fly reel so:

(1) line being stripped in with your left hand wouldn't tangle on the handle; and
(2) the handle wouldn't smack against your vest/fly boxes when you were casting.

I guess he'd been asked that question so many times he had to think of something..

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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-17-2002, 10:36 PM
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Cast right, reel left

I've cast right and spooled left since I was about 10 and learned to use a spinning rod/reel. I think the answer is to stick with whatever habit you've developed. I've read Lefty Kreh's idea that you should reel strong hand for greater speed, but suspect that speed might only be an issue rarely and on some saltwater speedsters. I haven't found a freshwater fish that it mattered with. I think it matters even less with our long rods. Actually, the hand question I want to ask is casting off-shoulder...
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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-18-2002, 05:02 PM
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"Strong" Hand?

I recently discovered this board after being baptized in the religion of spey just a few short months ago. I've learned a great deal here in a short time and find this to be a congenial and informative place. I hope I can make a contribution or two along the way as I progress from neophyte to acolyte in my new-found faith.

Like most of you, I've seen this strong hand/weak hand debate played out many times before (in the 'one-hand' world). I always feel like I'm missing something. I'm right handed and reel left-handed. I've had folks tell me I should reel with my right because it's the 'stronger' hand -- presumably what they mean is the 'faster' hand. After all, it isn't strength we seek in the reel hand, but faster revolutions of the reel, right? Which brings me to my point: if a fish turns and runs at me I don't think I'm going to be able to keep up with it regardless of which hand I'm reeling with; I'm going to be stripping line until the battle turns. And I can do that as efficiently with my 'weak' hand as my strong. As I see it, the only situation in which it might be advantageous to maximize RPM's is when I'm picking up slack line to get the fish back on the reel after I've got him under control. For me, strength is far more an issue -- particularly with big fish -- as it concerns the rod hand. It seems more than an acceptable tradeoff to sacrifice a few seconds of speed on loose line pickup to gain the added power and leverage that comes with a strong rod hand.

IMO, the biggest disadvantage of left-hand reeling is that you don't get to use all those great Hardy Perfects with agate line guide... :hehe:

But, as I said earlier, I always feel like I'm missing something when this discussion takes place. Can someone enlighten me?

Last edited by sisyphusmpn; 02-18-2002 at 06:28 PM.
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