everything you need to know about the TACKLE...


Rods Reels Lines Weights Traces (Boat) Traces (Shore)
Swivels Hooks Lures IGFA Extras (Boat) Extras (Shore)

A swivel is a metal link with eyes or rings onto which line is tied.  Its purpose is to ensure that twist or spin is not imparted from one section of line (e.g. holding a fighting fish) onto the next section of line (e.g. the main line on your reel).  They come in all shapes and sizes and as a basic rule you can say the bigger the stronger.  If you do not use swivels in your traces, the line on your reel will eventually foul up (aka birdsnests) via the twisting action of fighting fish on the line. This is another varition with three rings or eyes.  It is used to attach a hook or weight or some other piece of equipment onto the main trace.  The main line is attached to point A, the remainder of the trace to point B and the piece of equipment or hook is tied onto point C. Again this three eyed swivel ensures that no twist is allowed build up from a fighting fish on the rest of the trace or main line.  Remember it is only as strong a link as the strongest of your knots... !

This is a clip swivel, and has a safety pin like clip attached to one of the eyes.  You can attach another swivel, e.g. the top one on a trace or a piece of equipment like a lead weight into the clip.  Use them on your shock leader to allow you change traces fast, or at the end of rigs to attach leads.  

Personally I have found that clip swivels with a paper clip type design seem to be stronger than those with the safety pin opening - small ones fail under pressure.

When fishing very foul ground, anglers use actual paper clips inserted into the eye of a standard swivel to make "rottom bottom" links. If the lead gets stuck, a hard pull will open the paper clip, leaving your weight behind, but you keep the rest of your trace.

If fishing really foul ground, scrap metal, e.g. nuts and bolts are one far cheaper alternative to shop bought lead weights!  You might also check out genie clips - a type of junction similar to swivels but far more useful, especially for terminal weights.  Its main benefit is that you do not need to tie or cut knots to change the attachment, be it a weight or other bit of rig.

The "Aussie Swivel" is a specialist piece of very heavy duty equipment (tested to > 1000 lbs) and is used in big game fishing like the Blue Fin Tune now being caught regularly by charter boats in Donegal Bay.

This is a Ball Bearing Swivel and like its Australian counterpart above, it is used in big game fishing, so unless you are going after some monsters, like huge Blue Fin Tuna, don't bother with the expense, as there are plenty of cheaper alternatives, like the standard swivel on the top left.  Berkley is an excellent brand but branded swivels are extremely expensive!

Our thanks to Peter Haigh at for the use of some of the photographs.

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