Home Fishing Tips & Advice When to Use a Swivel While Fishing

When to Use a Swivel While Fishing

It’s easy to lose yourself out on the water when you’re surrounded by nothing but nature and fish. The fun that comes with fishing is often what draws new bate into the hobby, but what about the more technical aspects? Many people forget about the minor details like knot tying, top loading, or swivels — each of which should be granted a large amount of focus when preparing to set out on your next trip. 

One of the most annoying parts of fishing is when your line gets tangled and twisted and you’re left undoing rather than fishing. This is the ugly side of fishing that no one talks about, but it might be the most important aspect of it all. Choosing the right swivel for your line can make or break a fishing trip so it’s important to ensure you’re ready with the right gear. Don’t find yourself up the creek without a swivel. 

What is the Purpose of a Swivel?

The swivel is the best way to prevent line tangling and twisting. Once your line gets twisted, you’re left without much choice but to reel it in and untangle it. This whole process can take quite awhile and, as any good fisher knows, time is rather valuable while out on the water. You don’t have that big of a window to begin with as fish are constantly moving and shifting locations, so wasted time is something you’ll want to avoid. 

By attaching a swivel to the end of your main line and attaching a leader to the other side of it, you’re enabling the leader to twist and turn without ruining your main line. These are a fantastic little device that work wonders to prevent compromises and snaps from occurring. Essentially, a swivel is the bridge that keeps a strong fish from snapping your line and allows you properly fish in any deeper waters. 

How to Use a Swivel

A swivel is a relatively simple tool to use. It’s as simple as attaching your bate to the end of your line and as delicate as threading a needle. A swivel — the barrel swivel being the most common type — has two loops which are connected by a pivoting center piece. This enables your leader to twist while your main line remains unscathed. Tying your lines to a swivel is as easy as attaching your leader to one loop and your main line to the other one.

The type of knot you use to attach these lines to the swivel is the difficult part. There are hundreds of variations of knots that fishers use when tying a line together so picking the right one for your swivel should be a long process of testing and trying. It might be luring to tie the knot you’ve been using for years to the swivel — it hasn’t failed you yet! However, one knot could have much less strength compared to another and might snap or unravel. Pick your knots carefully. 

When Should the Swivel be Used?

There are many different types of fishing and each location, season, or person might require a different set of tools to be effective out on the water. In the case of a swivel or a barrel swivel, it’s generally recommended that you reserve this tool for deeper fishing endeavors. This tool is designed for deeper expeditions and larger fish that might be more likely to twist your line.

For anyone who intends to be fishing is more shallow waters which are closer to shore, a swivel might not be a great idea. Swivels, though small, still could add unnecessary weight to your main line which could damage it. Another issue that swivels cause in closer to shore fishing is the time they take to tie. For deeper waters, you can set up your lines and let them ride for hours at a time. Shallow fishing is much more time sensitive and tying two knots might not be beneficial.

Inshore vs. Offshore

The difference between these two types of fishing is generally referred to as inshore fishing and offshore fishing. The definition of these two types of fishing isn’t solidified, but most fishers generally refer to inshore fishing as areas where the water is up to 30-meters deep. Waters here are generally calmer and require less strenuous tools to embark on a quality trip.

Offshore fishing refers to any trip that takes place in waters deeper than 30-meters. The waters here are much more excitable and may require heavier tools to work in. This is why it’s recommended that you bring a swivel along for your offshore fishing trips. The waters alone could be enough to twist or snap your line and you’ll want the swivel to help alleviate some of the line pressure. Salt Strong highlights inshore fishing with a swivel.

Swivels of All Shapes and Sizes

Depending on the situation, you might need to decide on the type and size of your swivel. For those who decide to fish in lighter waters and require a swivel to avoid twisting, you might want to consider a smaller swivel. The smaller the swivel, the less weight it will place on your line, allowing your bait to bob and move as desired. The smallest swivels are barely noticeable as they host little to no extra weight and are compact in design. 

For more difficult terrain, it might be recommended you look for a larger swivel. Though these swivels might add weight to your line, it will be a necessary weight that can hold your line together in rough waters with big fish. For any situation in between, there is a swivel size for you. The barrel swivel is easily the most popular type of swivel, but there are other designs that help in specific situations and types of water. 

Finding the right swivel is a pivotal part of the fishing process, but one that doesn’t have to be difficult. By knowing what type of waters you’re about to encounter and the necessity of the swivel, you can pick the right product every time.

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Growing up on the south shore of Long Island, Chum Charlie has always had a passion for fishing. His favorite fish to catch is a striped bass and his favorite bait to use is bunker. Off the water, he enjoys blogging and sharing his favorite fishing tips & tricks that he has learned over the years.