How to Use Swivels With Lures

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Dig deep into the corners of your tackle box or bag and you may just find a swivel. Swivels are pieces of terminal tackle that seem to end up strewn about the box or bag and often not paid much attention. However, swivels are a necessary part of many rigs that could not effectively be tied or fished without them. One of the more common and useful swivels is the double eye barrel swivel. When correctly rigged, the swivel allows an angler to present a variety of baits in a natural manner to attract fish.

Cut a length of fishing line from the end of the main line. This will be used as a leader for your fishing rig. A good length for the leader is 18 to 24 inches. However, longer leaders may be used based on the fishing situation.

Slide a float or egg weight onto the main fishing line. A float will allow the hook and bait below to suspend at a particular level in the water. A weight will carry the bait lure to or near the bottom and allow the hook and bait lure to float just off the bottom. Choose a float or weight based on the fish species you are trying to attract.

Tie a barrel swivel onto the end of the main line with a Trilene knot. Form the knot by passing the free end of the line through the eye of the swivel for several inches. Bring the end of the line back around and through the eye one more time. This will form a double loop at the eye of the swivel.

Turn the end of the line up and wrap it around the main line three times. Pull the free end down and pass it through the double loop formed at the eye of the swivel. Moisten the knot and pull down tightly. Trim excess from the knot with sharp scissors.

Attach one end of the leader to the opposite eye of the barrel swivel. Once again, use a Trilene knot to secure the leader to the swivel. Moisten the knot and pull down tightly to secure.

Attach a hook to the free end of the leader with a Palomar knot. Tie the Palomar by passing several inches of line through the eye of a hook. Turn the free end back and pass the line back through the hook eye the same way it went through initially. This will form a loop in the line to one side of the hook.

Pull the free end of the line along side the main line above the hook to form a double line. Adjust the line so that the loop formed to the side is about three to four inches long. Tie an overhand knot with the loop and double line, pull the loop down and then over the bend of the hook. Moisten the knot and pull down tightly to secure.


  • Attach a plastic or natural bait lure to the hook so that it is presented naturally to the fish.


About the Author

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.

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