Fishing Reel Double Handle VS Fishing Reel Single Handle


Fishing reels come in a variety of styles and configurations to suit different fishing applications and angler preferences. One of the key differences between fishing reel models is the handle design - reels may have a single handle or a double handle. Both handle types have their own pros and cons for different fishing situations. Here we'll examine the differences between double handle and single handle fishing reels and when each type may be the better choice.

What is a Double Handle Fishing Reel?

A double handle fishing reel, sometimes called a crank handle reel, has two handles on either side of the reel that the angler uses to operate the reel. Spinning reels and baitcasting reels can both come equipped with double handles. The handles are mirror images of each other and turn in unison to retrieve the fishing line.

Benefits of Double Handle Fishing Reels

Faster Retrieval - The main advantage of a double handle reel is the ability to retrieve line much faster than a single handle model. The dual handle design provides increased torque and winching power to quickly take up slack line or reel in fish. This makes them advantageous when fishing techniques require fast line pick up.

Increased Cranking Power - The dual handle system also allows the angler to put more power into the crank. Increased leverage enables an angler to use their whole upper body when fighting larger or more powerful fish that make long runs.

Reduced Fatigue - By using both arms to operate the reel, anglers can avoid fatigue in one arm or hand from repeated cranking. The effort is distributed across both sides of the body. This helps prevent cramps or muscle strain when having to reel for extended periods.

Easier Operation for Kids - Children or anglers with less arm strength can find a dual handle reel easier to operate due to the extra leverage and reduced strain. The handles give them an advantage when reeling in fish.

Better Control & Balance - With a handle on each side, some anglers feel they can control the reel better and maintain more balance when fighting a fish. The reel won't shift as much side-to-side during cranking.

When Double Handles Excel

  • Fast lure retrievals - double handles allow quickly picking up slack line between lure casts.
  • Deep trolling methods - quickly take up line when trolling crankbaits or spoons at depth.
  • Fighting big fish - extra cranking power helps subdue large, strong fish making long runs.
  • All day fishing - reduces fatigue from handle rotation over many hours of fishing.
  • Fishing heavy cover/structure - added leverage helps pull fish out of heavy vegetation, docks, timber.
  • Kids learning to fish - easier for young anglers to operate handle and reel in fish.

What is a Single Handle Fishing Reel?

In contrast to a double handle design, a single handle reel has just one rotating crank handle installed on the right or left side of the reel. Like dual handle models, single handle comes in both spinning and baitcast reel styles. The lone handle is used to operate the reel mechanism and retrieve the fishing line.

Benefits of Single Handle Fishing Reels

Precise Control - With just one handle to concentrate on, some anglers feel single handles allow for more precise reel control and efficiency. Less hand and arm motion is required for subtle handling.

Compact Design - Single handle models are inherently more compact than dual handle reels. This saves space on the rod and can be more ergonomic for palming the reel while casting.

Line Twist Reduction - Without a mirrored dual handle that could potentially tangle line as it retrieves, single handle reels simplify the spool and line lay for less chance of knots and birds nests.

Traditional Feel - Many veteran anglers are accustomed to single handle reels and prefer their classic simplicity, ease of control and maintenance. They offer an old school experience.

Price - Very budget-friendly fishing reels will typically be a single handle design to reduce manufacturing costs while maintaining fishability.

When Single Handles Excel

  • Flipping/pitching - precise, pinpoint casts and presentations with minimal handle rotation.
  • Stream fishing - lighter feel and increased finesse for trout, panfish.
  • Ultralight tackle - compact design matches well with ultralight rods and line.
  • Teaching kids - lets them easily focus on one handle for proper reel operation.
  • Finesse techniques - less movement and hardware mass aids subtle lure action.
  • Rod balance - single handle reels position the weight closer to the rod for a natural balanced feel.

Double Handle VS Single Handle Fishing Reels Compared

Now that we've examined the distinguishing traits and benefits of both double and single handle fishing reels, here is a side-by-side overview of how they differ:

  • Retrieval Speed - Double handle reels allow much faster line pick up and fish fighting ability.
  • Cranking Power - Dual handles provide increased torque and leverage for power.
  • Operation Effort - Double handles distribute the workload across both arms and hands.
  • Control - Single handles offer more finesse for precise lure presentations.
  • Handle Design - Double handle reels are bulkier and heavier overall.
  • Reel Balance - Single handle models place more weight inline with rod balance.
  • Line Twists - Single handles minimize line knots and jams better.
  • Tradition - Single handles give a classic, old-school reel feel.
  • Learning Curve - Double handles have a slight learning curve for coordination.
  • Cost - Single handle reels are generally more budget-friendly.

Determining the Right Reel Handle Type

With an understanding of the design differences, performance advantages, and tradeoffs of each fishing reel handle system, anglers can better match the right style of reel to their fishing needs. Consider these key factors when deciding between single and double handle configurations:

Fishing Method - Finesse techniques like jigging gain from single handle subtlety. Power fishing calls for dual handle speed.

Species - Double handles help control big gamefish making long runs. Single handles finesse small species.

Power - Heavier line, cover fishing demands double handles added torque. Light tackle benefits from single handle delicacy.

Experience Level - Beginners often find single handles easiest to learn on. Veterans adeptly utilize dual handles.

Reel Type - Baitcasters designed for power fishing naturally pair with double handles. Spinning reels can excel with either handle type.

Conditions - All day fishing is less tiring with double handles sharing the workload.

Budget - Pricing may steer anglers toward more affordable single handle models.

With the right fishing reel handle system matched to your fishing style, species and conditions, you gain an advantage right at your fingertips. While personal preference is always a factor, making an informed decision based on your key needs will ensure you select the ideal handle configuration to help land more fish.

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