Quick Guide to Snaps and Swivels

Your terminal tackle is essential to your fishing setup, but smaller pieces of the tackle can get left behind as an oversight. Snaps and swivels are some of these small odds-and-ends that tend to get overlooked – that is, until your line tangles or you’re robbed of a catch due to a weak spot in your line.

 

Snaps and snap-swivels make it easy to clip lures to your line, provide better lure action than a rigid knot, and keep line from fraying at lure-tie points. Some light-tackle fishermen believe that swivels impede casting accuracy by preventing the lure or bait from being reeled to the rod tip prior to a cast while others also believe that swivels spook fish, or worse, attract toothier fish which could lead to a cut-off in your line. Luckily, thanks to new developments in swivels, these arguments don’t hold as much water as they once did.

 

Choosing the right snaps and swivels can make a huge difference in your fishing experience. From reducing line twists to ensuring durable connection points between line and lure or leader, the addition of these small items in your terminal tackle can improve your setup.

Swivels

In-line spinners tend to twist lighter lines and even some trolling rigs, but the addition of a swivel can alleviate this issue. Swivels consist of two rings connected to a pivoting joint. There are two primary benefits to using a swivel:

1. Allows line to untwist during retrieval

2. May stop a sliding sinker

Types

Most saltwater anglers will benefit from one of two main types of swivels: ball-bearing and barrel. There are also many additional types to consider aside from these two:

Swivel Type Guidelines PROS CONS

Ball-Bearing

These contain polished stainless-steel ball bearings positioned between its spindle and body, enabling  the swivel to rotate freely and negating any twist, even under heavy load.
  • Can handle heavier loads
  • Best for off-shore trolling
  • Price (this is more of a perceived disadvantage)

Barrel

These are comprised of a nickel-plated brass barrel that has been swaged around brass pins with formed heads and eyes.
  • Low Cost
  • Wide Range of Sizes
  • Inability to turn under heavy loads

Extreme Swivels

These “Australian-style” swivels are streamlined, torpedo-shaped  and designed for extreme, heavy-tackle fishing in situations that may tax other swivels
  • Good for giant tuna
  • Good for trolling or chunking for big yellowfins and bluefin
  • Good for drifting for swordfish and trolling or live-baiting for big blue marlin
  • They sell for approximately twice the price of comparable ball-bearing swivels

Finesse Swivels

Also known as a ‘Power Swivel’, these offer a barrel design with extremely high strength in compact sizes.
  • Extremely compact
  • Good for finesse fishing
  • Extremely durable
  • Larger non-stealth fish may benefit from a stronger, larger swivel with less chance of twist

 

Construction and Finish

Materials/Color: Most swivels are comprised of nickel-plated brass with stainless steel rings and snaps, and some swivels are taken through further processing to create a black finish (ideal for those who fear that a shiney swivel will spook a fish).

 

Sizing: Even the smallest of swivels will be stronger than your line, so always opt for the smallest swivel possible. The standard theory is to use one that’s slightly heavier than the leader.

Hinges: Choosing the right hinges is based mostly off of the type of fishing you’re planning to do. For instance, in offshore trolling, use ball-bearing snap swivels exclusively. As mentioned, their friction-free performance prevents line twist at all trolling speeds and when fighting fish. Keep in mind that serious trolling warrants the use of a snap swivel that features welded rings on each end. Double rings give the swivel more latitude to rotate and stay in balance, eliminating any resistance that could lead to line twist.

Snaps

If you’re not dealing with in-line spinners and twisting lines, then you may suffice with a simple snap. These pieces of terminal tackle connect your lure to your line, making for easier lure action than when using a rigid knot. There are many types of swivels to look for:

 

Snap Type PROS CONS Best for:

Duo-Lock Snap

  • Easy to open and close
  • Rounded profile gives good lure action
  • Can open on its own for hard fighting fish
  • Ultralight to light freshwater fishing

Coastlock Snap

  • Wide range of sizes
  • Easy to fasten
  • Recessed lure eyes can pose a problem for snap insertion
  • Inshore saltwater fishing

Hooked Snap

  • Easy to use
  • Mid-range strength
  • Hard to find
  • Light to mid-weight freshwater fishing

Fastlink Snap

  • Fairly Weedless
  • Limited range of sizes
  • Cannot use with recessed lure-tie points
  • Surfcasting

Cross-Lok Snap

  • Extremely strong and durable
  • Difficult to fit through smaller hooks and lure eyes
  • Heavy Lines
  • Strong Tackle

 

Swivel and Snap Care

As one of the smaller and more overlooked pieces of your terminal tackle, swivels and snaps can get left in the dust when it comes to maintenance and care. Be sure to rinse them thoroughly with water after fishing. Check that swivels still rotate freely and that damage has not been incurred (especially after handling a large fighting fish).

Snaps and swivels will tire over time and should still be replaced regularly even with routine maintenance. Doing so will guarantee that they’ll do their job and hold together when you need them most.

 

Check out Hook Line & Threaders' Snaps & Swivels

SHOP SNAPS AND SWIVELS HERE

If you can’t find what you are looking for please send an email to Sales@HookLineAndThreader.com and we will try to find it and give you the best price! 

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