Should You Use A Swivel When Fishing with Lures?

Perhaps one of the most misunderstood piece of fishing tackle is the swivel. A common question many anglers have is whether they should be using a swivel or not when fishing with lures.

In general, using a swivel when fishing with lures will have a negative impact on the action of your lure. The added weight & hardware of a swivel can cause your lure to run incorrectly which will look less natural and appealing to the fish and can decrease your odds of having success.

For this reason, it’s typically best to tie your line directly on the eye of your lure. You lure will have better action; you’ll get more bites and will increase your odds at landing your fish.

In this article we will discuss more in-depth the reasons why using a swivel when fishing with lures is generally not recommend and some exceptions on when it makes sense to use a swivel.

Let’s get started.

How Swivels Impact Lures

Every angler at some point has asked about or experimented with using swivels on lures. The true answer to whether or not you should use a swivel depends on the baits, lures and fishing techniques you plan on using.

In my own experience I don’t recommend using a snap swivel or any other type of swivel when fishing with lures or spinners. The negatives far out way the advantages from my experience.

There are however a few exceptions and instances where it makes sense to use a swivel on your lures, rigs, and fishing techniques.

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits and disadvantages using a swivel has on your fishing.


As I mentioned early the reason why I don’t recommend or use swivels on my fishing lures is that it has a negative impact of the action. This is especially true if you are fishing with small or light lures. The additional weight makes it hard for your lure to run true.

The worst kind of snap swivel to use on lures is the kind that have a corner in them. Never use these. The corner can cause a major disruption on the action of your lure.

Here are a few of the main reason why I generally don’t recommend using a swivel when fishing with lures.

Disadvantages of Swivels

  • Adding more hardware makes it less natural & appealing
  • Tends to lose more fish
  • Adds weight to front of lure
  • Lures will run incorrectly more often
  • Tends to collect more weeds and grass
  • Creates a potential weak point on your fishing setup
  • Swivels can damage rod guides


The two main reasons why some anglers use a swivel is because it makes it easier to swap out lures because you don’t have to re-tie every time you want to make a change. It can also help prevent line twists, which are never fun.

I have found that swivels can work when fishing with spoons, crankbaits or if you are using a lure that tends to cause line twists.

Here are the main benefits of using a swivel on certain fishing lures.

Advantages of Swivels

  • Easy way to swap out lures
  • Reduces lines twists
  • Stops sinkers from sliding

When & When Not to Use a Swivel

As we discussed above using a swivel has some benefits and disadvantages as well. There are certain times where it makes sense to use one and other times where it will negatively impact your fishing.

Let’s talk about when and when not to use a swivel.

When to NOT Use a Swivel

In general, I wouldn’t recommend using a swivel on any fishing lure. A few exceptions might be if your fishing with a crankbait or spoon. Even then I would still prefer to tie my line directly to the eye of whatever lure I’m throwing.

I’ve found that a swivel negatively impacts the action of whatever lure or bait I’m throwing. It’s best to take the extra time and tie to it direct. Your lures will run true, look better and will be more effective.

There might be some lures where you’ll be able to get away with it, but I would recommend not using a swivel when using the following lures:

  • Spinners
  • Spinnerbaits
  • Jigs
  • Texas Rig
  • Certain crankbaits
  • Topwater lures

With that being said, there are some instances where it makes sense to use a swivel with certain lures.

When to Use a Swivel

In my mind when we are talking about using swivels on lures, we are talking about snap lures. The other types of swivels don’t make sense to use. A snap swivel can make it super easy to swap out lures and can help with line twists.

Here are the few cases where I think it makes sense to use a snap swivel.

  • Trolling or casting with lures or bait that are likely to cause lines twists
  • Spoons
  • Crankbaits (I still prefer to not use one)

If you do choose to use a swivel when fishing for lures, make sure it’s the rounded style swivel and not the ones that have a corner. Never use the swivels that have a corner. You’ll have a hard time catching fish.  

Fishing Swivel Q&A

Do you use a swivel with soft plastics? When fishing with soft plastic baits and lures it’s not a good idea to use a swivel. It’s best to tie your line directly to the eye of the hook or jig you are using. You’ll get a better action and will have more success.

Do you use a swivel with Rapala’s? In general, Rapala recommends not using a swivel when fishing with their lures. The best option is to tie directly to your lure. This will provide the best action to the bait. However, there are some anglers that use a snap swivel, but I would recommend tying directly.

Should I use a swivel with a jig? Jigs are designed to be tied directly to your fishing line. You should not use any swivels, snaps or clips when fishing with jigs. Using a swivel on a jig can cause problems and can negatively impact your fishing.

Should you use swivels with spinners? Some anglers prefer to use a snap swivel when fishing with spinners. The only benefit to this is that it allows them to change lures quickly. However, many spinner brands like Mepps recommend not using a swivel with their spinners. As it will impede the action and cause interference.

Should I use a swivel for trout fishing? Some trout anglers prefer to tie their line to a snap swivel and attach their swivel to their lure. While this can be convenient it can also have a negative impact on the action of your spinner or lure. I’d recommend tying your line directly to your lure.

Bottom Line

Using a swivel can make it super easy to switch your lures in and out without having to re-tie which can save time. However, the additional hardware and weight from a swivel can negatively impact the action of your lure which will ultimately result in less bites.

If you can take the extra time and tie your knot directly to the eye of your lure. If you do want to use a swivel on your lures, make sure to only use the snap swivels that are rounded. It’s much better suited for lures than other types of swivels. 

Aaron Warner

Aaron Warner is an avid angler with over 15 years of experience. He has participated and won fishing tournaments all over the country and enjoys fishing for bass, trout, walleye and other species.

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