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How to Tie a Swivel on a Fishing Line?

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Are you planning on using that fishing swivel stashed in your tackle box anytime from now?

Then you’re in the right place at the right time — below we will learn how to tie this sometimes essential angling gear to your fishing line.

But first, let’s make sure that you are about to use a fishing swivel for all the right reasons.

Don’t use one just because your fishing buddies are bragging about using it all the time!

There are a few reasons why you would need to tie a fishing swivel to your line from time to time:

  • To keep the line from twisting while reeling in fish that’s fond of barreling, thus keeping knots at bay.
  • reduce the risk of the fishing line rubbing against sharp objects below the water.
  • make it easier to use all kinds of rigs attached to the leader line if you like employing different ones.

Different Types Of Swivels

There are various types of fishing swivels out there.

But the classic ones are the barrel swivel which is the cheapest and most popular of the bunch.

barrel swivel
Barrel Swivel

The crane swivel, which is better than the barrel swivel for most fishing instances.

crane swivel
crane swivel

and the ball bearing swivel which is the most expensive and recommended for offshore fishing.

ball bearing swivel
ball bearing swivel

You can also come across fishing swivels in various colors — pick the best one for the fish you wish to catch as colors can either spook or attract, depending on the species.

Now let’s get to the crux of this article: how to tie a swivel on your fishing line.

How To Tie A Swivel

Just like the fact that there are all kinds of fishing swivels for you to choose from, there are also all sorts of knots that can be used to secure one end of the swivel to the mainline and the other end to the leader line.

Since you are new to tying a fishing swivel to your fishing line, we will focus on and learn about two of the easiest  and perhaps most commonly used methods by professional anglers and newbies alike:

the improved clinch knot and the offshore swivel knot.

Opting for the improved clinch knot is perfect for inshore fishing in which the conditions are not that rough and you don’t have to deal with aggressive predators that would usually twist and turn to break free.

So if you are fond of catching anything from salmon, flounder to panfish, simply follow these simple steps:

Improved Clinch Knot for Swivel

Time needed: 1 minute.

How-To Tie A Swivel with an improved clinch knot

  1. Step 1:

    Guide your fishing line through the one eye of the fishing swivel, and then form a sizable loop.

  2. Step 2:

    Keep that loop intact by holding it down with your thumb and index finger.

  3. Step 3:

    Wrap the end line around the standing line 5 times.
    improved clinch knot illustration 1

  4. Step 4:

    Insert the end of the line through the loop that your thumb and index finger are keeping intact.
    improved clinch knot illustration 2

  5. Step 5:

    You will notice that you have just created a second loop.
    improved clinch knot illustration 3

  6. Step 6:

    Guide the end of the line through this recently-created loop and pull tightly.

  7. Step 7:

    Clip any excess fishing line.
    improved clinch knot illustration 4

That’s it — give yourself a pat on the back because you have just tied a swivel on your fishing line for the very first time! It’s really easy, isn’t it?

But you can’t start fishing yet because a fishing swivel has two eyes, which means that you will still have to attach your leader line, which is the business end of a fishing line, to the remaining eye. To do that, simply follow the above steps on doing the improved clinch knot.

If you are planning on impressing your family and friends as well as boosting your ego by doing offshore fishing where swimmers are much more aggressive and are likely to try to flee by twisting their bodies like there’s no tomorrow, then it is the offshore swivel knot that you should do. Here’s how it’s done:

Tying An Offshore Swivel Knot

  1. At the end of your fishing line, create a loop and then tie if off using the spider hitch knot.
  1. Guide the said loop through the eye of your fishing swivel.
  1. Take the end of the loopback and past the swivel’s eye. Use your thumb to hold it against the fishing line.
  1. Grab the fishing swivel and rotate it through the loop 6 times if you are using a mono line. Using something heavier? You will need to rotate the swivel through the loop fewer times.
  1. Pull the fishing swivel and line, thus pushing the twists to the eye of the fishing swivel.

As you can see, compared to the improved clinch knot this method is more challenging to accomplish. But that’s okay because you will need all the strength that your fishing line could use in order to keep that fishing swivel intact. What’s more, using the spider hitch knot may sometimes require you to use a pair of pliers when carrying out the last step mentioned above. This is particularly true if you’re using massive swivels and heavy fishing lines.

By the way, did you have a brief moment of panic while reading the steps to tying a fishing swivel to your line using the offshore swivel knot because you encountered the so-called spider hitch knot? Well, you can breathe a sigh of relief because here’s how you do this knot:

Spider Hitch Knot

  1. Double your fishing line.
  1. Form a loop and keep it in place by holding it down using your thumb and index finger.
  1. Wrap the doubled line around your thumb 5 times if you are using a monoline for fishing. If you are using a braided line, wrap the doubled line around your thumb 15 times.
  1. Guide the end of your fishing line through the loop you created earlier.
  1. Pull the fishing line tightly, allowing the smaller loops on your thumb to slide into the same loop.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why use a swivel on a fishing line?

The line from a rod and reel is bound to one end, and the length of the fishing line is bound to the other, sometimes ended by a hook, lure or sinker. During line retrieval, the main purpose of the swivel is to enable the line to untwist, preventing unwanted tangling.

Do swivels scare fish?

While you can save time with snap swivels, they are too large and voluminous and will most likely scare off the fish either by their unnatural appearance or just their presence in the water. Yeah, you could catch a few young inexperienced, violent ones, but it’s not a good idea if you want to maximize your chances of catching fish.

Do you use a swivel with a jig?

Not only do snaps and swivels allow you to change lures rapidly, they can also improve the action of your bait. But you can potentially hurt your chances of catching fish if you tie on the wrong attachment for the situation at hand.

What size snap swivel should I use?

You usually want to use a fishing swivel with a maximum strength that is a little bit heavier than your leader line when selecting the correct size.

Can you put a hook on a snap swivel?

Using a snap swivel to attach a hook or lure to the line or leader is another mistake sometimes made.

Bottom Line

If you take fishing seriously, then it’s a wonderful idea for you to be able to master doing the spider hitch knot because later on in your angling life you will surely find relying on this type of knot as indispensable and convenient. For instance, it’s something that’s faster to accomplish than the bimini twist and dropper loop. Ugh! So many knots to learn to make! but don’t worry! We have guides here at to help you learn.

For instance, check out how to tie a fish hook

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