Tag: retrieve hand

Fly fishing hacks: Do you retrieve with the right hand, the left, or both?

Retrieve hand may depend on sizeWhich hand do you retrieve with? That is the question.

I’m a right handed person, and like most I cast with the right hand and retrieved (i.e. strip or crank the reel) with the left. At least as far as fresh water fishing went. The reason we’re dealing with past tense here is as follows…

Quite some time ago I found myself on a lonely flat in the Keys, in early June. As it happens, my fly managed to connect with a sizable tarpon, and after fifteen or so minutes of fighting I found my right arm and hand cramping up. Call me a sissy if you must, but I even wound up asking for help – my partner-in-crime just laughed. My exhaustion eventually resulted in an exploded rod, when the nasty beast was within fifty feet of the boat and I levered back a bit too much in hopes of putting the nightmare to rest getting the fish in once and for all. I wound up losing two sections of rod, a fly line, and a fly. In retrospect, I realized the cause was simply being a candy-ass tired.

What knocked me down? Casting a 12-weight all morning, and then having to fight the fish with the same arm. Meanwhile, I knew I could have reeled faster with my right hand, only it was incapacitated by the rod in it. Thereafter, I switched retrieve on all the reels I owned which held more than a couple hundred yards of backing to right hand, meaning whenever I hooked up I’d have to switch rod hands before the reeling began. I’m now doing this with all bigger rigs (say anything 8-weight and above), and it has suited me just fine. While I’d like to say I’ve lost fewer big fish as a result, we all know I don’t hook any fish to begin with I haven’t done any empirical study. Nevertheless, it feels quite natural to me now.

I’m fishing the conditions, knowing I can put more line back on the reel with my right hand when I need it most. And I’m giving my right arm a much needed rest in the process. With smaller rods/reels/targets I still cast with the right and reel with the left.

What hand do you fight with? Do you maintain that position regardless of the type of fish you’re targeting, and the gear you’re using? Or are you a switch hitter like I’ve become?

Delusional Inquiring minds want to know.