This article will outline why barrel swivels are so important when fishing. Many anglers tend to use snap swivels because of convenience, but this isn’t a good idea in many fishing situations, which is why the snap swivels cousin the barrel swivel should be used instead. A barrel swivel simply has two metal rings with the “swivel” in between to prevent line twist.
Many uninformed anglers use snap swivels so that they can easily change from a lure to a snelled hook quickly. While this may be a tiny bit faster, there are two problems with this method. First, snapping a swivel directly to a lure ruins the “action” of that lure and second snapping a snelled fishing hook to your swivel is a very inefficient way to fish with bait.
Barrel swivels are sold in various sizes and match the size of the line that you are using. Many barrel swivels will actually say what ‘pound test’ they are, so you simply use a barrel swivel that matches the pound test of the line you are using. In some cases you find it necessary to use a barrel swivel that is a bit bigger or smaller than the line you are using, depending on the situation.
As I said a swivel of this type is simply two metal rings with the “swivel” in between, so your line is tied to one end, then another piece of line is attached to the opposite end. The second piece of line (or “leader”) is then tied directly to whatever lure you are using. In the case of hooks, the hook (or hooks) is tied directly to the leader. This eliminates any metal being attached directly to your lure or hook, thus effectively ruining the “action”.
When using hooks and bait, you can use pre-tied gang hooks. These hooks can be purchased or tied yourself, but they are ties with a leader, so attaching them to barrel swivels is extremely easy. No matter how you get them, having pre-tied gang hooks with you when bait fishing is a great idea, and makes using this type of swivel that much easier.
The other thing to remember is that having two knots tied to a barrel swivel is a very strong union, and is very helpful in preventing line twist. Line twist is a problem when fighting fish and when fishing in current. Few things can weaken fishing line like line twist, so preventing line twist is very important.
The bottom line is that barrel swivels are very important when fishing, and at the end of the day you will find that using this type of swivel isn’t much more time consuming than using their ‘snapping’ cousins. These swivels are simply a much more efficient and effective way to prevent line twist and help you catch more fish.