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

Mark Johnson
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Parts of the Reel

Most reels are made for left-handed anglers, with that side facing the rod, while some reels are made for right-handed use.

`A left-handed reel requires a left-hand rod, and a right-handed reel requires a right-hand rod.

The line on the reel, which attaches to the end of the rod, is placed on the left side. In some instances, it can be threaded on the right side as well.

The spool of the reel has the handle that you use to release the line. The handle can be on the right or the left side of the spool, depending on the reel’s design.


A left-handed reel needs the handle to be reversed, depending on the model, left-handed reels can be instantly switched from right to left hand simply by flipping it over, placing the handle on the opposite side of the reel, and then sliding it into place.

The handle on left-handed reels is on the left side of the reel, and the handle on right-handed reels are on the right side. Make sure, however, when you’re sliding it into place that you check that the handle fits to the fingers of your hand.

Once you have the handle in place, test that it locks by turning it with your hand. If it does not work, you can also tighten a screw underneath the reel to ensure that it is locked.

If your reel has multiple ball bearings, arrange them so that the entrance of the fishing line is on the left side of the reel.

Finally, if the reel has a level wind feature for your fishing line, set it so that it is on the left side of the handle.


This is The main body consists of a body tube, handle, shoulder plate, and the endplate. The handle is attached to the shoulder plate and the endplate. It's the actuator system that sets the carbide spool apart. The screw pin and the two spool halves containing line links take up the bottom half of the body tube.

The following photo shows the parts of the reel, and how each piece has been assembled to form a complete body.

Gear Box

One fishing reel has two fishing line cables; one for winding in and the other for paying out. One of these needed to be moved across to the new "cable stop" or gear box.

First, remove the left-hand "stop", a little pin or plastic stop that is exactly the same on both sides. Once removed, you will be able to move the left side "stop" to the "gear box".


The Line:

Before you can change a fishing reel from right to left-handed, you will need to know which direction you want the reel to spin. To do this, you will need to be able to visualize your line entry while fishing.

Drag Adjustment Knob

For spinning reels, drag adjustment and braking are two different things. These are the main tools of fight management, for giving the fish enough resistance to tire itself so it can be reeled into the boat, and for slowing the fish down in case it’s moving too fast.


Now that you have determined the correct bail type, unfortunately this is where the left-handed reels just don’t fit. You cannot change a standard bail to a left-handed bail on most mainstream fishing reels. However, there are some exceptions. For example, some of the Lamson reels use the same levelwind system on both the right and left models and you just switch the bail from one side to the other.

Anti-Reverse Switch

Most spinning fishing reels that are meant for left-handed fisherman have an anti-reverse lever on the right side of the handle. Loosen and remove the anti-reverse lever at the same time to install it on the left side.

If the manufacturer of your fishing reel changed the position of the anti-reverse lever from the manufacturer’s default, the instructions that came with the fishing reel will say where it should be installed.

If there is no instructions that came with your fishing reel, then you need to place the anti-reverse lever into the default position.

That means you need to flip the lever to its upside-down position, and then flip it back into its right-side up position, or to the top side of the fishing reel.

Now you can fit the lever into the anti-reverse switch and fasten it into place on the left side of the fishing reel handle using the mounting screw.

Steps to Change a Fishing Reel

Follow these steps to change your fishing reel from right to left handed retrieve.

There are a couple things to note before we get started. The first is you’re going to have to know how to disassemble the reel. If you don’t know this, have the dealer or manufacturer do it. They’ll know exactly what’s going to be easiest for you to do.

There are also a couple different ways to change the thread direction on a reel. It’s just a matter of preference. It really isn’t that big of a deal in the long run as long as you keep in mind that you’re supposed to pass this thread in a different direction each time.

First you have to grind off the right-hand thread at the point where it goes into the reels body. You will want to put a grinding wheel on your Dremel tool and then grind off the thread in a counter clockwise direction until you get down all of it. It is best to try to remove as much as the thread as you can in the first pass but you can always go back if you’re not deep enough.


As you can see, it's possible to maintain a betta fish tank without too much fuss. However, I know from experience that there are times when you just don't feel up to it. Maybe you're feeling under the weather or you have a million things to do at work…

Well, don't worry. In some cases, it's perfectly okay to delegate maintenance tasks to a professional. In fact, there are all sorts of experts who can make your life easier when it comes to fish care.

These include betta fish breeders, aquarium maintenance specialists, fish tank maintenance companies, professional fish feeders, and private betta fish petting zoo attendants. I hope that by following these simple maintenance tips, you can enjoy your betta fish for many years.

Good luck!

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