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Choose The Right Swivel

Views: 6     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2019-12-18      Origin: Site

There are many types of swivels designed to match specific fishing applications. However, two basic designs cover most salt water needs: barrel and ball-bearing.

Quality swivels are available in both ballbearing and barrel varieties for a huge range of fishing applications.

The basic barrel swivel comprises a nickel-plated brass barrel that has been swaged around brass pins with formed heads and eyes. Barrel swivels are extremely popular due to their low cost and wide range of sizes. However, their biggest disadvantage is their inability to turn under heavy loads.



Construction and Finish

Most swivels are made of nickel-plated brass, with stainless-steel rings and snaps. Many anglers shy away from shiny swivels, fearing that a fish may mistake it for food and cut the line. However, I prefer a shiny, nickel-plated finish on my trolling swivels, for several reasons. To begin with, I’ve only been cut off once by a fish that attacked my swivel, and that occurred many years ago. However, I’ve lost two fish because of black snap swivels that broke during the fight.

Swivels are snubbed by some light-tackle fishermen who believe they impede casting accuracy by preventing the lure or bait from being reeled to the rod tip prior to a cast. Some anglers also believe that swivels spook fish, or worse, look like a tasty tidbit to toothy critters, which could lead to a cut-off. However, thanks to new developments in swivels, these arguments don’t hold as much water as they once did.


Under minimal load, a barrel swivel should perform to spec. However, when sized inappropriately or subjected to heavy load (e.g., trolling deep-diving plugs, lengthy or repeated battles with big fish, soaking baits in a strong current), the friction within the swivel will slow or halt its rotation. When this happens, the swivel will fail to perform its job and allow twists to travel up the fishing line.


This cutaway view of a ball-bearing swivel shows how the bearings are positioned to reduce friction.

By comparison, a quality ball-bearing swivel contains polished stainless-steel ball bearings positioned between its spindle and body. This enables the swivel to rotate freely, negating any twist, even under heavy load. The perceived disadvantage of ball-bearing swivels is their price. However, in certain situations — especially offshore trolling — you can’t afford not to use them



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