How to Use a Snap Swivel Fishing and Why They Work

Snap swivels are an essential tool in the tackle box of many anglers. They are highly versatile, easy to use, and have a wide range of applications. If you are …

Snap swivels are an essential tool in the tackle box of many anglers. They are highly versatile, easy to use, and have a wide range of applications. If you are a novice angler or looking to expand your fishing skills, then learning how to use a snap swivel can be a game-changer.

You may have seen a wide range of different swivel types, including a barrel swivel, a ball bearing swivel, in-line spinners, crane swivels, and more. This article will guide you through the benefits of using a snap swivel on your next fishing trip and how to use them effectively.

What Is a Snap Swivel?

Snap swivel
A snap swivel attaches a fishing lure to a fishing line with a swivel and snap, preventing tangling by allowing the line to spin freely.

A snap swivel is a small metal piece of fishing tackle that is designed to attach a fishing lure to your fishing line in a quick and problem-free way. It consists of the central swivel and a snap on one or both ends. 

The point of the swivel is to allow your fishing line to spin freely and prevent it from becoming twisted or getting tangled. You can also quickly change the fishing lure you are using without having to re-tie the knot, making it a very handy item to keep on board.

You’ll find snap swivels come in a huge range of sizes and strengths to accommodate different fishing conditions, lure sizes, and small or large species of fish. You’ll want to select the right size swivel for the fishing lures you will be using to ensure it works properly.

Snap Swivels vs Standard Swivels

Snap swivels are designed to allow for quick and easy changes of lures without having to retie the line. This type of swivel will have a clip on one or both ends that can be opened and closed, allowing you to quickly attach or remove a lure or bait while you are out on the water and actively fishing.

Standard swivels have two rings that rotate independently of each other, reducing the chance of line twists and improving the natural presentation of the lure. These swivels are not usually quick to change out but can be extremely useful when fishing in currents or around vegetation that might twist your line.

How to Use a Snap Swivel

Snap swivels are designed to connect the main line to the leader, lure, or bait and can offer several advantages, such as quick and easy attachment, a reduction in line twists, and improved bait presentation. 

To use this swivel, start by choosing the right swivel based on the weight of the lure you will be using and the species of freshwater fish you are targeting. Open the snap and attach the leader line, and lure to it. Then, attach the snap swivel to the mainline, and you’re ready to start fishing. 

Snap swivels are particularly useful when fishing for species that are known to spin, such as trout or salmon, or when using lures that tend to spiral during retrievals such as spoons and blades.

The Benefits of Snap Swivels

Snap Swivel 1
Snap swivels allow for quick and easy lure changes without needing to retie the line, prevent line twists.

They Allow You to Switch Lures Quickly

One of the main benefits of using a snap swivel is that it allows you to quickly and easily switch lures without having to retie your line. This can be particularly useful when you’re trying to figure out what the fish are biting on and need to experiment with different types of lures.

They Out Line Twist

Snap swivels are great at preventing line twists. Line twists can cause problems when casting, retrieving, or fighting a fish, as the twisted line can become tangled or more prone to being snapped. Swivels will spin freely, allowing the lure to rotate without twisting the line.

They Offer Some Protection from Teeth

Snap swivels can offer some protection from the teeth of certain fish species, such as pike, musky, and barracuda. When these fish strike and bite down on your lure, the snap swivel can act as a buffer and prevent the leader or main line from being damaged.

They’re Great for Fishing With Kids

Snap swivels are great for youngsters since they make it easy to quickly change lures without having to tie a new knot. This means less time spent tying knots and more time spent fishing and keeping kids interested and focused.

Disadvantages of Snap Swivels

It’s Just One More Component That Can Fail

One of the most significant disadvantages of a snap swivel is that they are an additional component that can fail. The metal wire used to make the swivel can wear out over time, and the swivel can become jammed or corroded. This can lead to lost fish, lost lures, and lost enjoyment.

They Can Catch Weeds

Snap swivels can catch weeds or other debris in the water as you cast or retrieve them into certain areas, making it difficult to reel in your main line. This can also create more resistance in the water and reduce the sensitivity of your rod tip or line when detecting bites.

A Snap Swivel Can Affect a Lure’s Action

The additional weight and bulk of a snap swivel can alter the lure’s action and how it moves through the water, making it less natural or effective for landing the biggest fish. Generally speaking, this is normally not a problem for larger lures and baits, but finesse presentations can become unbalanced. 

It Might Scare the Fish

Snap swivels are made of metal that can reflect light and make noise as they move through the water, which can potentially scare fish away from the area. This is especially true when catching fish in clear water or when targeting species that are particularly timid or suspicious.

What Size Snap Swivel Should I Use?

The size of the snap swivel you should use will depend on the weight of your lure, as well as the size of the fish you are targeting. 

As a general rule, you should choose a snap swivel that is rated for a higher weight than your lure

If you are targeting larger fish, you may need to use a heavier snap swivel, while very light baits or smaller fish will need a finer snap swivel.

Snap Swivel FAQs

Which Lures Work Well With Snap Swivels?

Snap swivels work well in situations where you will often be changing lures, such as when using crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and jigs, as they allow for quick and easy lure changes without the need to re-tie knots. However, you can use a snap swivel with almost any type of lure, from spoons to crankbaits and everything in between.

Can You Put a Hook on a Snap Swivel?

Adding a hook directly to the snap is possible but is not recommended since it can make the swivel much less effective. It can also make it difficult to change lures or bait quickly while also causing the lure or terminal tackle to spin unnaturally in the water.

Can You Use a Snap Swivel on a Topwater Lure?

While it is possible to use a snap swivel on topwater lures, most anglers won’t recommend it. Snap swivels tend to create additional weight and drag on the line, which can alter the action of the lure and affect its ability to float and move on the water’s surface.

Do You Use Snap Swivels with Soft Plastics?

Soft plastic lures are usually rigged using a hook and a weight, and a snap swivel may not be needed in this setup. However, if you want to change lures frequently or if you’re using a pre-rigged soft plastic lure, a snap swivel can be useful.

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AUTHOR
Jeff Knapp is an expert fisherman, guide and outdoor writer whose work is widely published across a range of sites including Tackle Village. Jeff is based in Pennsylvania and loves exploring the waterways of that state in pursuit of smallmouth bass, largemouth, panfish and trout.
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