The Importance of Swivels

By on February 23, 2011

Many anglers underestimate the effect swivels have when fishing for salmon. Whether you are mooching, jigging or downrigger fishing, your swivels play an important role. Especially when you are trolling for salmon using a flasher.

A flasher’s main job is to create sound. The rotation of the flasher in the water sends out powerful vibrations. Salmon feel these vibrations in the water and are attracted to them. In order to rotate freely, most flashers have a ball bearing swivel on the head. If a flasher doesn’t have a ball bearing swivel on the head your flasher will continue to rotate, but it will start to put twist in your line until eventually your line will break, usually about the time you get a good hard strike.

The angler will often blame his line, or a bad knot. The truth is, it is most often his swivel. A cheap barrel swivel (especially in saltwater) soon loses its ability to rotate, thus damaging your line and leading to break offs. Always use flashers with ball bearing swivels on the head. Even better, tie a ball bearing snap swivel on your main line and attach that to the ball bearing swivel on the flasher, and prevent any line twist.

Put a Silver Horde golf tee on your main line above the swivel. This will help keep weed from sliding down your line and fouling your flasher. The golf tee will also help protect your knot.

Equally important is the swivel at the tail end of the flasher. A cheap barrel swivel on the tail end of a flasher allows a fish to leverage against the wide, flat surface of a flasher. I’m sure most anglers have witnessed a salmon rolling and twisting the hook out of its mouth.

A ball bearing swivel will allow the salmon to roll and twist without leveraging against the flasher. So, land more fish and enjoy your trip – just by using ball bearing swivels.

Tom Nelson
Tom Nelson is the publisher of Known throughout the Pacific Northwest as the “Dean of Saltwater Fishing,” he has helped develop and test tackle and gear for Scotty, Pro-Troll and Silver Horde, is a regular speaker at area sports shows, has taught more than 5,000 students how to fish during his classes at western Washington community colleges, and is the co-founder of the Puget Sound Anglers.