Fishing Swivels Types

Don’t you just hate it when you are out fishing and your fishing line starts getting tangled thanks to the bait twirling or a hooked fish trying to free itself?

It ruins the entire momentum you build while fishing and you have to stop and take a break in order to untangle the line. When your line twists this way, it also often gets damaged. For these reasons, it’s always best to prevent such instances from happening in the first place.

If you are someone like me who often gets their fishing lines twisted, there’s good news for you. Luckily, some tools can help prevent such instances. These are called swivels. There are several different types of such fishing equipment designed for specific fishing needs. This guide will walk you through these types in order to help you choose the right one for you. 

Fishing Swivels Types and When to Use Them

Since fishing swivels come in several types of shapes, sizes, and materials, you should be aware of their types. In order to choose the most suitable type of fishing swivel for yourself, you should also be aware of when to use them. Here’s a thorough rundown of each type, as well as how and when to use them:

  • Ball-Bearing Swivels

Fishing Swivels Types: Ball Bearing swivel

One of the most popular types of swivels that people use is the ball-bearing swivel. Since it has ball bearings inside the swivel between the head and body, it is expensive compared to other types of swivels. It also adds weight to the swivel, which makes it ideal for use in off-shore fishing or if you plan to catch large fish. 

These high-end swivels can withstand very heavy loads despite the heavy ball bearings in them. The bearings also allow them to turn freely and twist without breaking as easily. 

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  • Crane Swivel

Fishing Swivels Types: Crane Swivel

Crane swivels are very similar to barrel swivels; however, they tend to be a slightly more revolutionized version of the latter. This is because crane swivels have additional wiggle room to turn without twisting, which means that they can withstand heavier loads. In some ways, crane swivels are an in-between of the barrel and ball-bearing swivels in terms of their price point and how well they work. 

Crane swivels are excellent for big fish like catfish, crawler rigs, and baits like spinnerbaits and live baits (check out our article on types of fishing baits). However, they cannot be used for extremely large fish either since they might break from the weight. 

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  • Extreme Swivel

Extreme swivels, also known as Australian style swivels, are popular types because of their heavyweight, size, strength, and durability. These typically were used by professional fishermen but are now used by many for deep-sea line fishing. This is because they perform well and are much better than the typical swivel. 

These swivels can or cannot include ball-bearings depending on which one you get. However, regardless, they will not break no matter what because they have the most amount of rotational force.  You can use these swivels if you are fishing for large fish like swordfish, big blue marlin, and giant tuna. The one drawback of these swivels, though, is their big price tag. They are twice the price of a ball-bearing fishing swivel, which itself is also quite expensive. 

If you plan to get an extreme swivel, we recommend you consider getting the Lobo lures Aussie-style swivels.

  • Barrel Swivel

Fishing Swivels Types: Barrel Swivel

The most common type of swivel is barrel swivels because they are lightweight and inexpensive. They are also perfect for a beginner since they are comparatively easier to use. However, they are not best for when you are fishing for large fish since they might break from the weight. These come in different types, sizes, shapes, and materials. Depending on your experience level and preference, you can choose whichever suits you best.

It is important that you choose the appropriately sized swivel because otherwise if a big fish is caught, the swivel will not rotate. This means that your line might still twist and get damaged. Hence these swivels might not be as durable. If you use the correct sized barrel and with a lightweight fish, you will be good to go. 

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  • Corkscrew Swivel

Fishing Swivels Types: corlscrew swivel

Though they are comparatively not as popular as the barrel or ball-bearing fishing swivel, these are also high-functioning. They offer a fast release that is secure at all times. Moreover, it is also quite easy to use. It provides maximum protection from any fishing lines tangling or twisting together. However, corkscrew swivels are difficult to find at any market since they are not readily available. 

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  • Three-way Swivel

Fishing Swivels Types: Three way swivel

It is one of the most popular fishing swivel types you can find. In simple words, a three-way swivel is a barrel swivel that has three ends instead of two. In terms of its functioning and design, this is much like the barrel swivel, except that it has an additional eye or loop, which can be helpful when you are using multiple fishing lines or have several fishing rigs.

Hence, these are commonly used in rig fishing when you have live baits and are planning to catch flounder fish. They are lightweight and made of brass. This means that they might break if there is a lot of violent motion or heavy force. If you use with a heavy force, they can tangle all three loops. You can consider getting a three-way swivel if you plan to go for mid-sized fishing and don’t want to spend too much since they are inexpensive. 

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  • Finesse Swivel

Fishing Swivels Types: Finesse Swivel

This swivel type is also known as a power swivel and has a design similar to that of a barrel swivel. They do have a small size like the barrel swivel, but they pack much more strength. Because of this, they are not as visible to fish either and can maneuver through the water easily.

However, because they are a bit of an upgrade from barrel swivels, they are also more expensive. You should use finesse swivels if you are just starting out with fishing and don’t mind spending a bit more. They are great for beginners because they tend to be easy to use. Moreover, they are also perfect to use if you plan to catch small or medium-sized fish, even though they will likely not break from heavyweight and larger fish. 

If you feel like finesse fishing swivel is the most suitable type for you, our top pick of such swivel is the Gamakatsu G Finesse Swivel.

Caring For Your Fishing Swivels 

Regardless of the type of fishing swivel you choose from the above-mentioned options, you have to ensure that you keep them in tip-top condition so that they continue to work effectively for you. Here are some things you need to keep in mind when it comes to how you should be caring for your fishing swivels:

  • Rinse your swivels after you use them
  • Check your swivel to see if it is still working and is twisting appropriately if you have used it on a big catch 
  • After some time, you will need to replace the swivel, especially if it is not working appropriately 

Using Snaps Instead of Fishing Swivels 

If you don’t come across twisting lines as often and don’t want to go through the hassle of installing swivels each time, there is an alternate option. You can instead use snaps, which are considered to be easier to use. They also allow you to maneuver through the surface of waters without being inhibited by swivels. 

Here are the two snaps you can choose from:

  • Duo-Lock Snap

Fishing Swivels Types: duo lock snap

This has one lock mechanism that is pretty easy to open and close. However, this also means that a fish hooked onto the line can also easily open it. You can prevent this from happening by simply bending the hook slightly backward.  

A duo-lock snap is an excellent choice for a beginner or someone who cannot easily use a fishing swivel. This is because these are relatively inexpensive and are much simpler to use.

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  • Cross-Lok Snap

Fishing Swivels Types: Cross Lok snap

On the other hand, if you plan to fish heavy and large fish, then you might need to use the cross-lok snap. It is designed to withstand heavy weight and pressure, as well as tackles from any struggling fish. For this reason, this type of fishing snap is not suitable to use if you plan to fish smaller fish. Though this snap is quite durable and strong, you might experience difficulty getting it through smaller hooks. When you close the cross-lok snap, make sure you securely hook it to the top of the wire. 

Final Words on Fishing Swivels Types

Finding the right fishing swivel type might be an arduous and tricky process. However, now that you know everything about them and when to use which one, the choice might be much simpler. Depending on the weight and size of the fish, you should opt for the most suitable swivel. The barrel swivel is a popular choice for many, but it might not be the best choice for everyone. 

In the end, it all comes down to your preferences, fishing type, and budget. So, what are you waiting for? Get your fishing swivel now to begin your smooth fishing experience!



Photo of author
He is an avid outdoorsman and fishing enthusiast who loves to get out on the water and catch fish. With over 10 years of experience, Jay has become a master of the art of angling and has mastered techniques such as fly fishing, ice fishing, trolling, casting, and more.
Photo of author
He is an avid outdoorsman and fishing enthusiast who loves to get out on the water and catch fish. With over 10 years of experience, Jay has become a master of the art of angling and has mastered techniques such as fly fishing, ice fishing, trolling, casting, and more.