It’s easy to forget just how much the humble swivel does for modern anglers. Just try to imagine what a horrid world it was back when you had to cut your line and tie a knot every time you wanted to switch lures.

Swivels have made an angler’s life much easier on a boat or on a river bank. Gone are the days of threading tiny eyelets and fumbling with fishing line. Instead, a lure can be latched on instantly and easily.

This handy contraption has also made targeting certain bottom-dwelling species or aggressive fighters easier. If you’re not completely sold, here’s a compiled list of the most common swivels and their benefits.

1. Barrel Swivels

Fly Fisherman with Lure Box

Image credit: Vadym Farion via shutterstock

The barrel swivel is the original fishing swivel. It’s an incredibly simplistic little piece of stamped parts, composed of nothing more than two coils of heavy wire and a barrel that is pressed together to keep the wire in shape.

Moreover, the original barrel swivel is what makes modern angling easy, and at some point, every angler will use one.

2. Ball-Bearing Swivels

These swivels are essentially just barrel swivels with a ball-bearing introduced to hold the wire ends in shape. The addition of the ball bearing alleviates line twisting, which prevents the line from snarling.

The introduction of the ball-bearing swivel was a great leap forward for fishing, and most anglers have replaced their barrel swivels with ball-bearing swivels these days.

3. Snap Swivels

The snap swivel is the universal adapter of the fishing world. These gizmos allow anglers to switch out bait and lures with ease. They’re also a cheap and easy way to switch out leaders or whatever else might strike your fancy.

Nevertheless, snap swivels are excellent for any new angler who might get snagged since the snap swivel allows for easy detachment. It’s also the preference for anglers who fish in rocky areas or places where there may be white water or dams.

4. Finesse Swivels

Finesse swivels are something of a new oddity. With these swivels, a hook is built into what would be the barrel of the swivel. The placement of the hook allows for attaching a weight to the bottom of the swivel in what is essentially the reverse of a bobber rig.

As this intriguing device’s popularity increases, so do its uses. Are you curious about what to use it for? Consider trying it out on a drop shot; the results may surprise you!

5. Three-way Swivels

A funny-looking device, the three-way swivel allows for adding attachments, more commonly known as rigs. Some of the most popular rigs with this swivel are the three-way swivel rig, drop shot rig, or float rig.

Typically, rigs are used in areas with obstructions or debris and areas of fast-moving water or current. When it comes to what you should be targeting. Catfish are the most common for the three-way swivel rig and float rig. In contrast, the drop shot is among the most universal in freshwater and saltwater angling.

6. Crane Swivels

Crane swivels are the friend you never knew you had. Especially when using swimbait.

You see, the swivel is linked to another swivel and allows the bait to flutter around freely. Thus, this means they are exceptional when using soft plastic baits or swimbait.

7. Stainless-Steel Swivels

These days you can get all the same swivels you always could, but now you can get them made from more durable materials.

Aside from being more durable, these are best used in saltwater fishing since they are corrosion-resistant. Furthermore, it is likely that you are going for a much larger target, and stainless steel will make for a stronger link in your line over other swivels.

8. Duo-Lock Swivels

Duo-Lock Swivels are another form of a snap swivel, but are used for larger freshwater species or aggressive targets. Thus, for freshwater fishing, these are best for monster bass, catfish rigs, and walleye. Although, don’t discredit its uses when it comes to saltwater fishing, with the duo lock complimenting any inshore fishing setup.

Being a more deeply curved swivel, the duo-lock pairs well with any hard baits and allows for the natural movement of lures in the water, as their intended use by the manufacturer.

But, it should be noted that the duo-lock isn’t without its issues. Unlocking during a dog fight is a common complaint. Here’s a tip, bend the hook closure slightly with pliers. This improvement will make the swivel harder to open, and you will never lose your catch again.

A Few Final Thoughts

Like most gear, swivels are available in a price range from dirt cheap to crazy expensive. At first glance, it’s easy to assume that each type would have the same outcome while fishing.

Alas, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Certain makes and materials are used in freshwater angling, while other types of swivels benefit saltwater setups.

Just like the fishing line or the bait you place on your line, the swivel is also geared towards certain species. And in closing, this tiny piece of equipment should not be overlooked.

What swivels do you use? Please let us know in the comments!