Swivels are a simple but yet important part on your fishing gear when it comes to rigging. The swivel keeps your line from twisting, acts as a weight stop on your line along with spreading bottom rigs ( 3-way swivel) for proper presentations. Swivels are also used as a component on a leader to attach your line.
A fishing swivel is a small device consisting of two rings connected to a pivoting joint. The device is usually made of metal, and the pivoting joint is usually ball or barrel-shaped. The line from a rod and reel is tied to one end, and a length of fishing line, often terminated by a hook, lure or sinker, is tied to the other. The main purpose of the swivel is to allow the line to untwist during line retrieval, preventing undesirable tangling. This is particularly important for users of monofilament test line. A secondary benefit of the fishing swivel is that it may stop a sliding sinker, which depending on fishing method may be placed before or after the swivel.
Barrel swivels are classified as part of the terminal gear that an angler may use while fishing. Terminal refers to various sinkers, hooks, snaps and swivels used to rig the line so that a bait or lure can be presented to a fish. Swivels are typically made of metal and commonly found in silver or black. Barrel swivels feature’s two connecting eyes that are attached to each other by a rotating barrel or cylinder in the middle. Barrel swivels act as a connection point and help reduce line twist especially when using spinning gear.
Every time your fishing line gets a twist in it between the rod and the lure or the rod and the fish you are catching, it weakens. If the twists are few, the weakening is negligible, but as the number of twists in the line increase, the weakening becomes increasingly substantial. Eventually the line will break easily and unexpectedly. One solution to the problem is to install a ball bearing swivel between the rod tip and the lure or hook at the end of the line. As the lure or fish on the end of the line spins, the swivel will allow the line to rotate and maintain its strength.
The rig gets its name from using a three-way swivel – the one thing that remains constant in all the variations on how the rig can be tied. The three-way swivel is attached to the main line. Leaders (of varying lengths) are then tied to the remaining two eyes. The bottom leader holds a weight to get the bait down, while the other leader holds the bait or a lure. Three-ways are a common rigging method to present live bait, either stationary in current areas as well as on a slow troll or a drift. Of course, this set up can also be used to troll minnow baits, plugs or spoons. The rig can also go beyond the basic, which I’ll discuss momentarily, and variations on a simple three-way rig are rampant in fishing circles.
A snap swivel is a piece of terminal fishing tackle that incorporates the swivel and a small snap that resembles a safety pin. The swivel consists of a metal barrel that holds two eyelets that turn within the barrel, independently. This helps prevent lures and other tackle down line from spinning and twisting the fishing line. The snap allows you to easily attach lures and other terminal tackle to your main line. You can use the snap to build rigs anywhere a standard swivel would be used.
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