When (And How) To Use A Swivel With A Spinner

Fishing for trout using Rooster Tail, Mepps, or Panther Martin spinners is one of the more popular methods out there. A lot of people think that you need to use a swivel when you’re fishing with a swivel, and in this post, I’m going to be talking about whether or not that’s actually true.

When fishing with spinners, they should never be attached directly to a swivel. Having a swivel too close to the spinner will interfere with the action. To use a swivel with a spinner, attach the swivel to your main line, add an 18-inch leader, and then connect the spinner. 

What’s important to note is that you actually don’t need to use a swivel all of the time. There are certain times when it can help, but there is a way to do things correctly. We’ll jump into those now.

Do You Use A Swivel With A Spinner

I’ve heard people talk about why they use a swivel with a spinner, and the reason is normally for line twists and to add some weight. That does make sense, but it’s not always needed.

The only time I use a swivel with a spinner is when I’m trolling or jigging. The swivel will be attached to my main line, I’ll then attach a leader, and then tie on my spinner. For casting and retrieving, I’ll connect my main line and leader directly and not use a swivel.

A lot of people do use a snap swivel to attach directly to their spinner. That can work and the good thing about it is that it’s easy to change between lures.

The downside is that it’ll interfere with the lure and it won’t spin as well. I’m going to be getting more into doing things properly or how to remove line twist if you’re not using a swivel.

The reason you want to use a swivel when you’re trolling is that you have a lot of line out, you’re dragging it behind the boat, and you’re reeling in. That’s a lot of movement and your spinner will turn a lot. You need to reduce that line twist.

Make sure you use as small of a swivel as you can.

If you’re just casting and reeling in, you don’t have as much line out and it isn’t spinning as quickly. There’s an easy way to get rid of that line twist, and that’s why a swivel isn’t needed.

How To Easily Remove Line Twist

If you’re not using a swivel, you’ll have to remove the twist every 8-10 casts. You can do it more often if you notice your line twisting up. The good thing about it is that it’s super simple.

Here’s how to remove the twist in your line:

  1. Cast and reel in until your spinner is around 6-8 feet away from you.
  2. Lift your rod tip so your spinner is out of the water.
  3. Let it hang there for around 30 seconds and it will untwist.

When To Use A Swivel With A Spinner

Swivel to spinner

The only time I’ll use a swivel is when I’m trolling or jigging with a spinner. The reason is that there’s a good amount of line out and it’s going to be hard to get rid of the twist.

One of the main reasons I like using a swivel is that it lets me attach a weight. I can use a 3-way swivel with a clip-on weight or I can use the swivel to hold my sliding weight in place.

The one thing you’ll want to remember is that you shouldn’t attach your swivel directly to the spinner. It’s easy to change your lures that way, but the benefits aren’t worth it to me.

If you’re casting and retrieving but still want to use a swivel, put the swivel 18 inches above your spinner. You’ll get less line twist and your lure will still be able to spin correctly.

I don’t like using a swivel if I don’t have to because it’ll prevent the spinner from spinning correctly. It’s not going to make the fish not bite, but the majority of the spinner companies recommend to not do it.

It’s also going to add more tackle, more knots, and more things that can break or get snagged. I like using as little as possible but that’s just me. Some people like convenience, and in that case, you might want to always use a swivel so you can quickly change between lures.

What Swivel Works Best With A Spinner

Barrel swivel for spinner

If you’re trolling, jigging, or casting using a spinner, the best swivel is going to be a small ball-bearing swivel. You’ll want to keep this as small as possible because the larger ones will interfere with the spinner. Bead chain swivels also work well for trolling.

There are a lot of swivels out there that don’t spin very well or are pretty weak. I’d recommend you pay a little bit extra for something that works really well. You’ll have it for a longer time and it should perform better.

My favorite swivels over the past little bit have been the Spro Ball Bearing Swivels (on Amazon). The quality of them is top-notch, they’re compact, and they’re strong. I like using as small of ones I can get away with and normally use the size 5 or 6.

How To Set Your Spinner Up With No Swivel

If you’re just casting and retrieving then I’d recommend you use no swivel. This is what I do 90% of the time and have never had any issues (as long as I remove the line twist on a regular basis).

I almost always use braid as my main fishing line. I like it because I can use heavier stuff, it seems to cast better, and it’s a lot more sensitive than mono/fluoro. For trout fishing, I’ll normally use a 10 lb braid for smaller trout.

I’ll then use a fluorocarbon leader and tie it directly to the braid (2-3 foot leader). I like fluoro because it sinks and it’s invisible in the water. For normal trout, I’ll normally use 4-6 lb fluoro. You can tie them with whatever knot you want but I normally use the Surgeon’s Knot.

Once you have your leader attached, the next thing you’ll want to do is tie your spinner directly to it. This is what most of the manufacturers say and that’s why I’m going with it.

Again, you can use whatever knot you want but I like to use the Improved Clinch Knot. It’s easy and has always done the job.

How To Set Your Spinner Up With A Swivel

Weight for spinner

If you’re trolling with a spinner, you’ll want to use a small swivel to stop the line from twisting. I already talked about the one I like to use, but you can stick with what you already have if you want.

If you’re fishing pretty deep then you might want to add some weight to your line. You can use a sliding weight that goes above your swivel or you can use a 3-way swivel and attach a clip-on weight. It’s not really a big deal what type of weight you use but you won’t need a lot of weight to get it down.

Again, I almost always use braid as my main fishing line. It tends to last longer than mono and fluoro as well, so I’m a big fan of that. You can then attach your swivel to your main fishing line using whatever knot you like. I normally use the Palomar Knot.

After that, you’ll want to attach your leader material to the other end of the swivel. Give yourself 2-3 feet of leader to work with and then attach your spinner. That’s pretty much all there is to it.

Jon Webber

I'm by no means an outdoors or fishing expert, but it's something I've been interested in for over 20 years. I created this site to test out different gear and techniques to see what actually works.

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