Why Use a Swivel When Fishing?

Here is the simple Answer on Why Use a Swivel When Fishing.

  • A swivel prevents fishing line from twisting.

If you still Need Guidance, Read Above Guide

Fishing is an age-old activity enjoyed by millions of people around the world. Whether you’re an avid angler or a casual fishing enthusiast, having the right gear can significantly impact your success on the water. The fishing swivel is one such essential tool that often goes unnoticed but plays a vital role in fishing efficiency. In this article, we will explore why using a swivel when fishing is crucial for anglers of all levels and the different benefits it brings to the table.

What is a Swivel in Fishing?

Before delving into the advantages of using a fishing swivel, let’s understand what it is. A fishing swivel is a small device to prevent fishing lines from twisting and tangling during casting and retrieval. It consists of two interlocking rings connected by a rotating barrel, allowing them to move independently.

Why Use a Swivel When Fishing Saltwater?

Using a swivel when fishing in saltwater prevents line twisting and tangling. Saltwater fishing often involves strong currents and aggressive fish, causing the fishing line to twist during retrieval. A swivel acts as a rotational buffer, reducing line stress and allowing for smoother movement, enhancing the effectiveness of the bait or lure presentation and minimizing tangles.

Advantages of Using a Swivel

Reducing Line Twist

One of the primary benefits of incorporating a swivel into your fishing setup is its ability to reduce line twists. As fishing lines are cast and retrieved, they can become twisted, especially when spinning or inline reels are used. Swivels eliminate this issue by allowing the bait or lure to rotate freely without twisting the main fishing line.

Enhancing Bait Presentation

Using a swivel provides a more natural presentation to your bait or lure. When fishing with live bait, such as worms or minnows, swivels enable them to move naturally in the water, mimicking the behavior of real prey. This increased lifelike action can attract more fish and improve your chances of getting a bite.

Facilitating Tangle-Free Fishing

Tangled lines are every angler’s nightmare, leading to frustration and lost fishing time. Swivels act as a barrier against tangles, ensuring smooth casting and retrieval. This is particularly advantageous when using multiple hooks or rigs, as it keeps each line separate and prevents them from intertwining.

Versatility in Rigging Options

Using a swivel opens up a world of rigging possibilities. Whether you prefer a Carolina rig, Texas rig, or any other rigging technique, a swivel lets you change setups quickly and efficiently. This adaptability is especially useful when experimenting with different fishing methods or adjusting to changing fishing conditions.

Types of Fishing Swivels

Fishing swivels come in various designs and sizes, each suited for specific fishing scenarios. Here are some common types of fishing swivels:

Barrel Swivels

Barrel swivels are the most common type and consist of two rings connected by a cylindrical barrel. They are versatile and work well for many fishing applications, making them popular among anglers.

Ball Bearing Swivels

Ball bearing swivels employs a series of ball bearings to enhance smooth rotation. These swivels are excellent for handling heavy loads and are often used in big-game and deep-sea fishing.

Crane Swivels

Crane swivels are compact and designed for reduced visibility in the water. They are ideal for finesse fishing, where fish might be more wary of larger swivels.

Coastlock Swivels

Coastlock swivels feature a clasp-like closure that makes it easy to change out lures and hooks quickly. They are commonly used in saltwater fishing and for trolling.

Snap Swivels

Snap swivels have a built-in snap, allowing anglers to attach lures or hooks without additional hardware. They are convenient for quick lure changes during fast-paced fishing.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Fishing Swivel

When selecting a fishing swivel, several factors should be taken into account:

Strength and Size

Choose a swivel that matches the strength of your fishing line and the size of the fish you intend to catch. An insufficiently strong swivel may lead to breakages, while an oversized swivel can spook wary fish.

Material and Construction

Opt for high-quality swivels made from durable materials to withstand the corrosive effects of saltwater or prolonged use in freshwater.

Bearing Type

Consider the bearing type of the swivel, as ball bearing swivels offer smoother rotation and increased strength compared to regular barrel swivels.

Swivel Color

If you’re fishing in clear water or targeting skittish fish, choosing a swivel with a low-visibility color can be advantageous.

Saltwater vs. Freshwater Fishing

Different fishing environments require different swivel characteristics. Select a swivel suitable for either saltwater or freshwater fishing, depending on your chosen location.

Properly Attaching a Swivel to the Fishing Line

Attaching a swivel to your fishing line can be done using various methods. Two common techniques are:

Using Knots

One method involves tying a suitable fishing knot, such as the improved clinch or Palomar knot, to secure the swivel to the line.

Using Snaps

Alternatively, you can use a snap to attach the swivel to your line. Clip the snap onto the swivel, and you’re ready.

Common Misconceptions About Fishing Swivels

Despite their many advantages, fishing swivels are often misunderstood. Let’s debunk some common misconceptions:

Swivels Scare Fish Away

Some anglers believe swivels may scare fish away due to their visibility or sound. However, the benefits of using a swivel far outweigh any potential drawbacks, and they generally do not deter fish.

Swivels are Only for Saltwater Fishing

While swivels are frequently used in saltwater fishing, they are equally beneficial in freshwater fishing scenarios. They are versatile tools that enhance fishing experiences regardless of the water type.

Swivels Make Fishing Rigs Complex

Contrary to this belief, swivels simplify rigging options and provide ease of use. Once anglers become familiar with different swivel types and applications, they find them indispensable in their fishing setups.

Tips for Maintaining and Replacing Fishing Swivels

To ensure the longevity and performance of your fishing swivels, consider these tips:

  • Rinse swivels with fresh water after each saltwater fishing trip to remove any salt residue.
  • Regularly inspect swivels for signs of wear, such as rust or bent components.
  • Replace swivels when they show signs of damage or become difficult to rotate.

The Swivel’s Role in Catch and Release Fishing

Catch-and-release fishing is becoming increasingly popular among anglers as a conservation measure. When practicing catch and release, swivels play a crucial role in minimizing fish stress by allowing them to move freely without added line twists.

Swivels in Different Fishing Techniques

Fishing swivels find applications in various fishing techniques. Let’s explore how they are used in different scenarios:


In spinning, swivels prevent line twists caused by the spinning reel. This enables anglers to cast easily and ensures their lures or bait spin naturally in the water.


When using baitcasting reels, swivels maintain the integrity of the line and prevent backlash, making casting and retrieving smoother.


Trolling involves dragging lures or bait behind a moving boat. Swivels facilitate this technique by preventing the line from twisting, allowing for consistent lure action.

Fly Fishing

Fly fishing lines are lightweight and prone to tangling. Swivels help reduce tangles and ensure a more enjoyable fly fishing experience.

DIY Swivel Alternatives and Their Risks

Some anglers may consider homemade swivel alternatives to save costs. While creative, these alternatives often lack the durability and precision of purpose-built fishing swivels, potentially leading to equipment failure and lost fish.


Fishing swivels are an essential yet often overlooked tool that can significantly enhance your fishing success. Swivels play a critical role in ensuring a smooth and enjoyable fishing experience, from reducing line twists to enabling versatile rigging options. So, the next time you head out to the water, don’t forget to include a reliable fishing swivel in your tackle box. Happy fishing!


When should I use a swivel when fishing?

Using a swivel in fishing is beneficial in various scenarios. Anglers should consider using a swivel when fishing with a bait or lure that tends to spin or twist the fishing line during retrieval, especially in situations with strong currents or while trolling. Swivels are particularly useful when employing certain rigs, such as Carolina or drop-shot rigs, where the bait or lure must move freely without causing line tangles.

What are the benefits of a swivel?

The benefits of using a swivel in fishing include preventing line twist, reducing tangles, and maintaining the integrity of the fishing line. Swivels enhance the presentation of the bait or lure, allowing for a more natural movement and increased chances of attracting fish. They also make changing hooks, baits, or lures easier without retying the entire setup, saving time and effort on the water.

Do pro fishermen use swivels?

Swivels are indeed valuable tools in fishing, and both recreational and professional fishermen frequently use them to optimize their angling experience. Pro fishermen often rely on swivels to streamline their rigs, enhance presentation, and improve their overall success in catching fish, especially in situations where precision and efficiency are paramount.

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