How to Use a Swivel Fishing

By Wade Johnson

How to Use a Swivel FishingBack in the history of fishing, the standard interconnection on the line was only achieved by tying the good knot to stop the part of rigs from moving up to the mainline.

This was the setup that worked for centuries and still does. But it always comes with the risk of tangling and twisting the line together at the time of dragging.

With time, ease and convenience have taken over the spot. The introduction of the swivel in fishing has taken down all the clutter.

Then the chance of losing the knot itself is always there because it takes great effort and power to do the proper tying is another enigma to deal with.

You cannot imagine before putting the swivel at work, and for that, the right process of unraveling how to use a swivel fishing is a must.

Do not worry, this is going to be extremely easy peasy with no strings attached as our motive is to keep the fishing quite simple, you know!

What is a Fishing Swivel?

The small metal device that is super inexpensive, gives plenty of room to freely rotate in any direction without a hassle.

Made of pure metal, the pivoting joint in the middle with two metal rings on both ends makes the standard swivel complete.

And the real benefit of this tiny metal device demonstrates when you have an artifact lure or live bait, the rig setup tends to move non-stop and the underwater current causes a great chance of line tangling.

Such heavy catches that put greater tension on the line and go hayway all around during the retrieval time is another mess the swivel happily deals with and lowers the chance of line twisting.

All in all, the swivel does bring more benefits to protect the line than hoping for any disadvantages.

Types of Swivels in Fishing

We have 5 of the following top-of-the-line fishing swivels available;

  1. Barrel swivel (inexpensive)
  2. Snap swivel (fast interchangeable)
  3. Ball-bearing swivel (flexible)
  4. Three-way swivel (multifunctional)
  5. Finesse swivel (clip-based)

Barrel, snap, and ball-bearing swivels are common and easy to use. Three-way and finesse swivels, on the other hand, are new at the play and anglers with extreme experience prefer to catch heavy with style.

How to Use a Swivel Fishing

Unlike the varieties of swivels available in the market, the usage part is almost similar.

Allow us to map out the usage process per swivel type to have you decide which is a good fit for you and how they work.

How to Use a Barrel Swivel

A barrel swivel should be part of your fishing gear and put at the front of the line to make fishing easier.

Known to be easier and common to use by a variety of anglers, we do not see any reason not to go with your fishing line.

What You Need to Attach Barrel Swivel to Your Fishing Line

  • Fishing rod and reel
  • Barrel Swivel
  • Fishing line (monofilament is recommended)
  • Monofilament leader (probably between 12 to 18-inches in length)

How to Attach Barrel Swivel to the Line

  • Cut a piece of the line from your main fishing line by the length of 12 to 18-inches to use as a leader.
  • Get the barrel swivel and attach to one end of the main line using a Uni knot.
  • Now get around seven inches of line through one eye of the barrel swivel, and then wrap its free end around the barrel swivel’s eye and back through it.
  • Turn the free end of the line along the main line by forming a loop to the length of around two inches.
  • Wrap that free end through the free-end and mainline by three or four times and pass the free end through the loop you had made earlier by making a few turns around the lines. Do not forget to pass the line through the loop rather than around it.
  • Snug the knot by pulling the free end with a bit of force.
  • Apply a drop of water or saliva over it to tighten the knot firmly. Pull the main line with a bit of power to lock it rigidly around the eye of the barrel the swivel.

How to Use a Snap Swivel

Not complex to set up, but how to use a snap swivel is also easy enough. A bit of practice would make you perfect in attaching the snap swivel to the line.

What is Required to Attach Snap Swivel to the Fishing Line

  • Fishing rod with matched reel
  • Fishing line
  • Leader line to your preferred length
  • Snap swivel

How to Attach Snap Swivel to the Line

It is simple, considering the fact you have the leader line ready and all you are waiting to attach the snap swivel.

  • Get the free end of your main line to go through one end of the swivel eye and tie the knot (preferably Uni) to firmly attach the main line with a snap swivel
  • Now, open the snap, slide the lure through, and close the snap to ensure it is locked and the lure is perfectly attached. This is it!

How to Use a Ball-Bearing Swivel

The most rotatable type of the swivel, the attachment is a no-complex process. But the only issue is price; they are kinda inexpensive but highly flexible to their task.

Required Stuff to Get Ball-Bearing Swivel Attached

  1. Fishing rod and reel
  2. Fishing line
  3. Ball-bearing Swivel
  4. Leader line

How to Attach Ball-Bearing Swivel to the Main Fishing Line

Considering you have the leader line already rigged.

  • Make the free-end of the leader line through the eye of the ball-bearing swivel eye
  • Tie the firm knot (preferably a Palomar knot) to attach one end of the swivel with a leader line
  • On the other end of the swivel while attaching a lure, it is important to first attach it to the separate line, and then attach it back onto the swivel. So, the line that is set up already with a lure and its other free-end should go through the eye of the swivel and then tie using the Palomar knot.
  • That is it anyways!

How to Use a Three-Way Swivel

Uncommon but interesting setup in the fishing swivel, this gives plenty of reasons to attach multiple items on the same rig without much effort, and we meant it!

Stuff Required for Attaching Three-Way Swivel

  • Fishing rod and reel, of course!
  • Fishing line
  • A unit of a three-way swivel
  • Leader line

How to Attach Three-Way Swivel to Main Fishing Line

We believe you have the leader line already rigged and ready to use. So, let’s get straight to attaching the three-way swivel.

  • On all three rings, you can either attach two leader lines with trolling rigs and the center ring to attach weight separately
  • Whichever course you take, make sure to get the free-ends of the leader lines through the eye of rings and tie them using the Palomar knot
  • And on the center rig, this attaches to the main fishing line by tying the Palomar knot

How to Use Finess Swivel

Somewhat new swivel introduced in the market, the look might trick your mind how it could go set up, but believe us this is fairly easy as well.

It already has a hook attached to it which rotates on an axis, and that is where it makes it difficult to understand how this type of swivel would even attach to the line.

What Will You Need to Attach Finess Swivel with Line

  • Fishing rod and the reel
  • Line
  • Finess swivel
  • Leader line

How to Attach Finess Swivel using the Leader Line

Again, we know you have prepared a nice leader line already, nope? 🙂

    • Out of the whole finess swivel, you would be able to spot a regular ring on its one end
    • Through the eye of that ring, get the free-end of the leader line and tie a Palomar knot
    • On the clip-on end, attach a drop-shot weight to it that also has a ring-alike attachment for easy clipping
    • And tie a live worm through that attached hook which converses you to rig a hook on the leader line.


Where there is a chance of line twisting and tangling, the swivel will always prove to be a savior.

The ultimate anglers know the real worth of a swivel, be it of any type but the beginners and those who have not used the swivels before, lack the major guideline on how to use a swivel fishing to make fishing easier.

Now fish in the rough and rocky spots, the unnecessary twists and tangling would not occur by now, all thanks to these fishing swivels!

Wade Johnson
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