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WITCH HAND DO YOU USE?

By Rick Madeja

 

Now before you think that I have gone mad or that you may have entered the wrong web site please read on!

I am right handed. In fact if I even tried to write my name with my left hand there is no telling what it would say, that is why I use only left hand crank reels, if this makes no sense to you please let me explain!

Almost thirty years ago when I was first learning to use level wind bait casting reels my father told me that if I could get accustomed to using left hand crank reels I would become a more efficient fisherman! I really did not understand what he meant at the time! I only knew that my Mitchell 308 spinning reel had the handle on the left hand side so it just felt natural for me to crank with my left hand. At that time you could not even switch the handle on a spinning reel to the right side if you wanted to.

When I went to purchase my first bait caster back in 1977 there were not many left hand crank reels to choose from! The reels with the handle on the left side were only the better or "High-End" models, if I remember correctly I paid well over $100.00 for my first Ambassador 5001C. That was a lot of money for a 13-year-old kid to spend! But I still have that reel and although it looks its age (like we all don't) it still works just fine.

Today if you were to look in my rod box you would not find a single right hand crank reel! It's not just because I learned that way either, I feel that by cranking with my left hand it lets me fish more effectively! I have never been able to master casting with my left hand; in fact I have accidentally thrown a few rods in the lake trying to learn! If you are right handed and have mastered casting with your left congratulations!

Does this sound efficient to you? You cast with your right hand and then switch hands and put the rod in your left hand. You then crank the handle with your right hand and then at the end of your cast you once again switch the rod back to your right hand and start the process all over again. Think about all of the time and movement that is wasted! I got tired just typing the process. If you are a tournament angler saving time will mean more casts, more casts means your bait is in the water longer, and we all know that the longer your bait is in the water the better your chances are of catching fish.

Saving time is not the only reason I fish this way! I feel that I get a better hook set with my right arm or even better if I can get both hands on the rod. I also like to fight the fish with my strong arm. I also believe that in certain situations a fish could be lost in the time it takes to move the rod from one hand to the other!

If you are Bass fishing and you are "Flippn or Pitchn" and you pitch to a likely spot the fish will often strike as soon as the bait hits the water and if you are in the middle of switching the rod from one hand to the other you might miss that fish. One missed fish might not seem like a big deal but if you are competing in a tournament it might mean the difference in earning a check or if the bite is very tuff, getting skunked!

If you are fishing in heavy wood cover it is important to get the fishes head turned out of the cover on the hook set. A fish will swim as hard as it can once it realizes it is hooked! If you get the fishs head pointed out of the cover instead of into the cover most of the time they will swim right out and away from the wood. I feel that by casting, pitching or flipping and working the bait and setting the hook with my dominant arm I have an advantage!

Don't just practice out on the water either, spend some time casting out in your yard or go to a park and cast there, if there is a pond or lake near by go and fish from shore and practice you casting skills. I heard Denny Bauer a Bassmasters Classic champion say in an interview that he practiced his pitching and flipping skills right in his living room, he would flip and pitch a jig to a spot under one of his wife's house plants, he said that she was not impressed because the jig  beat up the plant and the drywall behind it. But with Denny earning close to two million dollars in career tournament winnings I think she got over it.

Today there are many different manufactures that offer quality left hand crank bait casters and they are not just the "High End" models either, there are some very good reels available at a reasonable price. Check out one of the Sport shows that will be held this winter. Most of the reel manufactures will have a booth with all of their products for you to view or try and when you find what you are looking for there will also be retailers at these shows where you can purchase these reels. While working sport shows this winter in support of my sponsors I have been pleasantly surprised by some of the great features and technology available in a $100.00 bait caster these days. You dont have to break the bank to own a high quality bait caster with the handle on the right or the left side. Left hand crank reels might not be for you, but I am a tournament angler and I need every advantage I can get.

Good fishing and be safe on the water.