What Are Swivels Used for in Fishing?

A swivel’s primary advantage lies in preventing your fishing line from twisting. Therefore, swivels should be used when there is a risk of line twists.

It’s important to note that line twists can be detrimental to anglers as they can weaken the line and lead to knots, such as the troublesome wind knots that may occur during casting.

Fishing is a game of strategy and technique, not merely casting your line and waiting for a bite. Using the proper equipment and tackle will improve your fishing experience and increase your chances of success.

The fishing swivel is a vital gear that frequently goes unseen. In this post, we’ll discuss What Are Swivels Used for in Fishing, including their types, uses, advantages, and how to pick and use them efficiently. Swivel awareness will advance your fishing skills, whether you’re a seasoned pro or a novice.

Understanding Swivels in Fishing

Swivels are crucial to any angler’s armory because they may be used for various fishing tasks.

They improve bait presentation, enable quick lure changes, offer strength and longevity to the overall setup, and decrease line twists. Let’s delve more into these advantages.

Types of Swivels Using In Fishing Rod

Swivels come in various varieties, each created for a particular fishing application. If you know their differences, selecting the ideal swivel for your needs will be easier. Among the common varieties of swivels are:

Barrel Swivels

The most popular kind is a barrel swivel, usually called a basic swivel. They are made up of two rings joined by a cylinder-shaped barrel. Barrel swivels are adaptable and appropriate for a variety of fishing circumstances.

Ball Bearing Swivels

Ball-bearing swivels are more advanced and offer superior performance. They have ball bearings between the rings, allowing for smoother rotation and reducing line twists significantly. These swivels are ideal for high-stress situations and heavy-duty fishing.

Crane Swivels

Crane swivels feature a longer, crane-like design, which provides added strength and reduces the risk of line tangles. They are commonly used in saltwater fishing, where the conditions can be more demanding.

Three-Way Swivels

As the name suggests, three-way swivels have three rings instead of two. They are primarily used in fishing setups that require multiple lines or when using a dropper rig.

Three-way swivels provide versatility and enable anglers to fish simultaneously with different baits or lures.

Benefits of Using Swivels in Fishing

What Are Swivels Used for in Fishing

Reducing Line Twist

One of the primary reasons anglers use swivels is to minimize line twists. When casting or retrieving, the fishing line tends to spin, causing twists and loops that can result in tangles and decreased casting distance.

Swivels allow the line to rotate freely, preventing these twists and maintaining a smooth line flow.

Enhancing Bait Presentation

In some fishing techniques, such as trolling or using live bait, it’s crucial to present the bait most naturally and enticingly.

Swivels help achieve this by allowing the bait or lure to move more naturally in the water without being affected by line twists.

This increased freedom of movement can attract more fish and improve your chances of a successful catch.

Facilitating Quick Change of Lures

Anglers must often switch between lures or bait quickly, especially when targeting various fish species or adjusting to changing conditions.

Swivels make this process seamless by providing a convenient connection point between the mainline and the leader or terminal tackle. Instead of retying knots, you can easily detach and attach lures or bait, saving time and effort.

Choosing the Right Swivel for Fishing

Selecting the appropriate swivel for your fishing needs is crucial to maximizing its benefits. Consider the following factors when making your decision:

Size and Strength

Swivels come in various sizes and strengths to accommodate different fishing lines and target species.

Choosing a swivel that matches the line’s breaking strength and the anticipated weight of the fish you’re targeting is essential. A too-small or weak swivel may result in equipment failure and lost fish.

Material and Durability

Swivels are typically made from stainless steel, brass, or nickel materials. Stainless steel swivels offer excellent corrosion resistance, ideal for saltwater fishing.

Brass and nickel swivels are more affordable and work well for freshwater applications. Ensure the swivels you choose are durable and capable of withstanding the conditions you’ll encounter.

Bearing Type

Consider using ball-bearing swivels if you aim for top performance and reduced line twists.

These swivels incorporate ball bearings between the rings, providing smoother rotation and increased durability. However, remember that ball-bearing swivels can be more expensive than barrel swivels.

Proper Use and Maintenance of Swivels

To make the most of your swivels and ensure their longevity, it’s important to follow proper usage and maintenance practices. Here are some essential tips:

Proper Attachment to Fishing Line

When attaching a swivel to your fishing line, use appropriate knots like the improved clinch or uni knot.

These knots provide a secure connection while allowing the swivel to rotate freely. Avoid using knots that restrict the swivel’s movement, as it defeats the purpose of using a swivel.

Regular Inspection and Cleaning

Periodically inspect your swivels for wear, corrosion, or damage. Replace any worn-out or damaged swivels immediately to avoid potential failures during fishing.

Additionally, clean your swivels after each fishing trip by rinsing them in fresh water and allowing them to dry completely. This helps remove saltwater or debris that may impact their performance.

Replacing Worn-out Swivels

Swivels, like any fishing tackle, have a limited lifespan. With regular use, they may become worn out or lose their smooth rotation.

It’s crucial to replace them when necessary to maintain optimal performance. Carry spare swivels in your tackle box to ensure you’re always prepared.

Tips and Techniques for Using Swivels Effectively

Now that you understand the importance of swivels let’s explore some tips and techniques to use them effectively:

Using Swivels with Leaders

When using a leader in your fishing setup, it’s recommended to connect the leader to the swivel using a loop-to-loop connection.

This allows for easy and quick replacement of leaders without compromising the integrity of the entire setup. Loop knots, such as the perfection or surgeon’s loop, work well to create these connections.

Selecting Swivels for Different Fishing Techniques

Different fishing techniques require specific types of swivels. For example, barrel swivels may be sufficient for casting and retrieving lures.

However, when trolling or using heavy baits, ball-bearing swivels offer superior performance and reduce line twists more effectively. Consider the fishing technique you’ll use and choose the appropriate swivel.

Matching Swivels with Hooks and Lures

Ensure the size of your swivel matches the size of the hooks and lures you’re using. A size mismatch can affect your bait’s presentation and action, potentially reducing your chances of attracting fish.

Also, consider the weight and buoyancy of your lures when selecting swivels, as this can impact your setup’s overall balance and performance.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using Swivels

While swivels are beneficial tools, it’s essential to avoid inevitable mistakes that could hinder their effectiveness. Here are some common mistakes to watch out for:

Overlooking Swivel Quality

Choosing low-quality or poorly constructed swivels can lead to frequent failures, decreased performance, and potential line breaks.

Invest in reputable brands and ensure your swivels are high quality and capable of withstanding fishing demands.

Neglecting Proper Swivel Size

Using the wrong size of swivel can impact its functionality. A swivel that is too small may not rotate smoothly or handle the stress of a larger fish, while a swivel that is too large can be bulky and affect the natural presentation of your bait. Always match the swivel size to the fishing line and the target species.

Failing to Maintain Swivels

Regular maintenance is crucial for the longevity and performance of your swivels. Neglecting to clean or inspect them can result in corrosion, reduced rotation, and potential failures.

Allocate time to clean and inspect your swivels after each fishing trip to ensure they remain in optimal condition.

Swivels in Saltwater Fishing

Saltwater fishing poses additional challenges due to the corrosive nature of saltwater. When fishing in saltwater environments, consider the following aspects:

Corrosion Resistance

Saltwater can quickly corrode fishing tackle, including swivels. To combat this, opt for swivels made from corrosion-resistant materials like stainless steel or titanium.

These materials are more durable and better equipped to withstand the harsh saltwater environment.

Heavy-duty Swivel Options

Saltwater fish species are often larger and more potent than their freshwater counterparts.

Therefore, using heavy-duty swivels that can handle the increased strain is essential. Look for swivels with higher breaking strengths and robust construction when fishing in saltwater.

Swivels for Freshwater Fishing

Freshwater fishing has its own set of considerations. Here’s what you should keep in mind:

Lighter Swivel Options

In freshwater fishing, the target species are generally smaller and less aggressive than saltwater ones.

As a result, lighter swivels are often sufficient for most freshwater applications. Lighter swivels allow for better sensitivity and can enhance the overall fishing experience.

Fine-tuning Presentation

Freshwater fishing often requires delicate presentations and finesse. Swivels allow you to fine-tune your setup by adjusting leader lengths or changing lures quickly.

This versatility can make a significant difference when targeting finicky freshwater fish.

Innovations and Advanced Swivel Technologies

The fishing tackle world is constantly evolving, and swivels are no exception. Manufacturers are continually developing new technologies to improve swivel performance. Here are a few noteworthy advancements:

Self-lubricating Swivels

Some swivels now incorporate self-lubricating materials or bearings. This feature ensures smooth rotation without additional lubrication, reducing maintenance requirements and enhancing overall performance.

Anti-reverse Swivels

Anti-reverse swivels are designed to prevent the backward rotation of the line, and this feature is especially beneficial when using heavy lures or trolling at high speeds. Anti-reverse swivels provide added security and prevent line slippage during intense fights with fish.


In the above portion of my blog, I have written a simple guide on ” What Are Swivels Used for in Fishing “Swivels may be small, but their impact on fishing success is significant. By reducing line twists, enhancing bait presentation, and facilitating quick lure changes, swivels contribute to a more enjoyable and productive fishing experience.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

When should I use a swivel when fishing?

You should use a swivel when fishing when line twist is a risk, like with:

  • Live/dead bait that spins (e.g., trolling ballyhoo)
  • Lures with spinning blades or propellers
  • Heavy currents or strong tides
  • Frequent lure changes for convenience

Skip swivels when:

  • Fishing finesse techniques with light lures
  • Wanting a more natural lure presentation

Do you use swivels with lures?

Yes, using swivels with lures is a common practice in fishing. Swivels help prevent line twist caused by the spinning motion of lures, allowing for smoother and more effective fishing.

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