Up-Locking vs. Down-Locking Reel Seats

Get to the bottom of the classic rod building debate between up-locking and down-locking reel seats.

The Rod Building Debate Over Reel Seats

Like many trending topics in rod building, the debate over reel seat positioning is more about personal preference than a single answer. There are many opinions, but the reel proof is in the details of how you fish.

Considering your grip and the balance of the rod, the right position of the reel seat can build a more comfortable, performance driven handle with the sleek style to match.

Getting to Know Your Fishing Grip

Whether you’re an experienced rod builder or not, chances are you have been fishing long enough to develop your own preferences.

Since custom rod building is all about fine-tuning the rod for your fishing, this includes tailoring the handle assembly to build the best fit. Preferences in the reel seat’s position can often depend on the fore grip and what’s comfortable for you.

Setting up a handle the right way starts by choosing the best grips and reel seat for the job. Depending on the grips you prefer and the reel seat’s you like, you will find there are endless possibilities to personalize your handle.

Although casting reel seats are usually pinned as down-locking, most spinning reel seats can be flipped to work in either direction.

This sparks the question, “What’s better: up-locking or down-locking?”

And the answer is… well, up to you!

For example, if you don’t like holding the threads and your palm tends to loosen the hood as you fish, then maybe a down-locking reel seat will be better for you to keep the reel firm in place.

But, if you have a certain foregrip and want to trim down the threads for a sleeker final look, an up-locking reel seat can create a better look and feel in your palm.

Again, there is no right or wrong. The most important thing is to personalize the handle for what you want and need while fishing. Boosting comfort, the perfect custom handle assembly will work wonders for your fishing performance.

Rod Balance 101: Reel Seat Position

Like a comfortable grip, a well-balanced rod is a crucial part of rod building that’s often overlooked.

Building a balanced fishing rod will give you an enhanced feel for the rod and also allow you to fish longer periods on the water with far less fatigue.

So, where does the reel seat come into play for balance?

Since it maintains the reel on the rod, the reel seat’s location can also determine if the reel’s weight in the handle will throw off the rod’s overall balance.

For instance, the typical reel seat for a fly rod is up-locking, yet there are a few fly rods with down-locking seats due to the rod’s balance. By accounting for the reel’s weight ahead of time, you can balance the rod with the reel seat either up or down-locking accordingly.

This subtle reverse in reel seat position can create serious results for balancing a custom fishing rod and ultimately, for your fishing performance as well.

Building a balanced rod—customized for your preferences in comfort—unlocks a new level of fishing where you can fish longer and perform stronger than previously possible.




Why Rod Building is Right for You

For anglers who want to make the most of their time on the water, custom rod building provides the equipment boost to take advantage of every hook set.

Factory rods have limitations, but rod building gives you the power to build beyond these limits to engineer exactly what you need for your fishing application.

See what you can build at Mud Hole!