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When should I use a swivel? : When should I use a swivel?

When Should I Use a Swivel in Fishing?

Key Takeaways

  • Using a swivel in fishing can prevent line twists, making it easier to untangle and reducing frustration and time consumption.
  • Swivels make changing lures easier and more convenient, saving time and effort when experimenting with different lures.
  • Swivels improve lure action by allowing the lure to move freely, mimicking the movements of live prey and attracting more bites.

Swivels are a small but essential component in the world of fishing. They offer several benefits that can improve your fishing experience and increase your chances of success. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced angler, knowing when to use a swivel can make a significant difference in your fishing endeavors.

The Benefits of Using a Swivel

Before diving into when to use a swivel, it’s essential to understand the advantages they offer. Here are some key benefits of using a swivel in fishing:

  1. Preventing Line Twists: One of the primary reasons to use a swivel is to prevent line twists. When you cast or retrieve your line, it can twist and create tangles, which can be frustrating and time-consuming to unravel. Swivels rotate freely, allowing your line to spin without tangling, thus reducing line twists.
  2. Easier Lure Changes: Swivels make changing lures much easier and more convenient. Instead of retying your entire fishing line every time you want to switch lures, you can simply attach the new lure or hook to the swivel. This saves time and effort, especially when you’re experimenting with different lures to find what works best.
  3. Improved Lure Action: Swivels can enhance the natural action of your lures or bait. They allow the lure to move freely, mimicking the movements of live prey and making it more enticing to fish. This can increase your chances of attracting bites and ultimately catching more fish.

When to Use a Swivel

While swivels offer numerous benefits, they are not necessary in all fishing situations. It’s important to understand when using a swivel is most advantageous. Here are some situations in which you should consider using a swivel:

  1. Line Twist Prone Lures: If you frequently use inline spinners, metal spoons, blades, or other lures that are prone to twisting during retrieval, using a swivel is highly recommended. Swivels will help prevent line twists and keep your fishing line tangle-free.
  2. Trolling Lures: When trolling lures, a swivel can be particularly useful. Trolling involves dragging lures behind a moving boat, which can cause significant line twists. By using a swivel, you can minimize line twists and maintain a smooth trolling experience. Additionally, swivels make it easier to change lures and leaders on the fly, allowing you to adapt to different fishing conditions quickly.
  3. Live Bait or Dead Bait: If you’re using live or dead bait that is prone to twisting during trolling, a swivel can help prevent line tangles. Baitfish or other bait types can spin or rotate, leading to line twists. By attaching a swivel between your mainline and leader line, you can reduce the chances of line tangles and ensure your bait presents naturally.
  4. Fishing in Strong Currents: When fishing in areas with strong currents, swivels can be beneficial. Strong currents can cause your fishing line to twist and tangle easily. By using a swivel, you can allow your line to rotate freely, minimizing line twists and keeping your presentation more natural.
  5. Quick Lure Changes: If you need to change lures quickly, snap swivels are the go-to choice. Snap swivels allow for quick and easy attachment of lures or hooks without the need for retying your entire fishing line. This is especially useful when you’re experimenting with different lures or when you want to adapt to changing fishing conditions.

It’s important to note that there are situations where using a swivel may not be ideal. For example:

  • When you want to keep things simple and minimize the number of components in your fishing setup.
  • When the swivel may catch on the line guides of your fishing rod, potentially causing line damage or hindering your casting distance.
  • When finesse fishing techniques, which often require a more subtle presentation, are preferred. Swivels can create unnatural flash or movement that might spook fish in clear water or when finesse fishing.

How to Connect Swivels to Your Line

Now that you know when to use a swivel, it’s essential to understand how to connect them to your fishing line properly. The most common knot used to attach swivels is the clinch knot. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Thread the line through the swivel’s eye.
  2. Twist the line around the mainline for 5-7 turns.
  3. Thread the tag end of the line back through the loop created above the swivel’s eye.
  4. Moisten the knot and pull both ends of the line to tighten the knot securely.
  5. Trim any excess tag end of the line.

By using the clinch knot, you can ensure that the swivel is securely attached to your fishing line, allowing for smooth and worry-free fishing.


Knowing when to use a swivel in fishing is crucial for anglers of all levels. Swivels offer several benefits, including preventing line twists, making changing lures easier, and improving lure action. Understanding the situations in which using a swivel is most advantageous can significantly enhance your fishing experience and increase your chances of success.

Remember to consider factors such as the type of lures you’re using, the fishing technique employed, and the fishing conditions you’re facing. By making informed decisions about when to use a swivel, you can optimize your fishing setup and enjoy a more productive and enjoyable time on the water.

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Q: What is the purpose of a swivel in a fishing rig?

A swivel is used to prevent line twisting and tangling in a fishing rig. Its rotating barrel allows the line to spin freely, reducing the chances of knots and tangles.

Q: What are the benefits of using a swivel in a fishing rig?

Using a swivel in a fishing rig offers several advantages. It enhances the presentation and action of bait or lures, improving their effectiveness. Additionally, it allows for easy changing of lures or baits without the need to retie knots, saving time and effort.

Q: When should I use a swivel in my fishing rig?

There are various situations where using a swivel is beneficial. It is crucial when using spinners or spoons that cause the line to twist due to their spinning action. A swivel can also minimize line visibility, especially when using leaders or multiple hooks. Additionally, it facilitates the movement of certain lures like crankbaits or spinnerbaits, making them more effective.

Q: Are there situations where I don’t need to use a swivel in my fishing rig?

While a swivel is generally beneficial, there are situations where it may not be necessary. When fishing with bait rigs or using techniques like drop shotting or Carolina rigging, a swivel might not be needed.

Q: How can using a swivel improve my fishing experience?

Incorporating a swivel in your fishing rig can improve your overall fishing experience. It reduces line twisting and tangles, enhancing your chances of successfully landing fish. It also allows for easy lure or bait changes, saving time and effort on the water.

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