Fishing Faux Pas: Using Spinning Tackle Upside Down

Every once in a while I see someone using a spinning outfit upside down. The reel is on top, and the rod guides are pointing upward. This usually appears at an angler-crowded lakeshore or ocean beach. And there among the fishermen is the village idiot.

This drives me nuts. I want to run over and shake the guy. "What's the matter with you?" I might yell at him. "Spinning tackle is so easy. How can you be using it completely wrong?" The right thing to do, of course, would be to quietly offer some friendly advice. But I can't. I get too upset at seeing this, so I just shut up and go somewhere else.

Upside-down spinning gear is not easy to use. I tried it, as in the photo, just to see if I might be missing something. To cast (if right-handed), you have to hold the rod and reel upside down with your right hand while opening the bail and holding the line with your left. What follows is an awkward two-handed sweep as you throw the lure.

As the lure lands, you have to move the rod to your left hand, close the bail, and crank the reel backwards with your right hand to retrieve line. It's so awkward--and so illogical--that I'm amazed that anyone would ever try it. It makes about as much sense as shooting a rifle being held upside down, something that I've thankfully never seen.

So how can an angler be so dumb? Or so ignorant? I and other angling writers have written for decades about basic spin-casting technique. It's been covered ad nauseum in every available media. Maybe the guy is just illiterate or has no television.

Anyway, every time I see this happening, I just cringe. It's the epitome of fishing stupidity. Maybe there's something even worse, but I don't know what that would be.