How to Attach a Lure to a Swivel

Fishing is a favorite pastime of many people, and some even take it up as a sport or profession. It is why a lot of new gadgets have been created to help increase the durability of your gear, make you more likely to catch a fish, and ultimately make fishing a more enjoyable experience. Swivels and lures are two such gadgets, and while they work well on their own, when they are combined, they work even better; so how do you attach a lure to a swivel?

To attach a lure to a snap swivel, open the snap, hook your lure onto the swivel, and close the snap again. On a rolling swivel, use a split ring plier to pry open the ring and thread one of the eyes of your swivel through the ring, just like you would if you were attaching a key to a keyring.

In this article, we will discuss a few topics relating to the lure-swivel combination, including what lures are, the different kinds of lures that are available, what swivels are, and the types of swivels available on the market. We’ll also be going over how you can attach a lure to a swivel correctly. Now let’s dive right in!

What Are Fishing Lures?

Fishing lures are a type of commercially made fake fish bait that is sometimes used instead of living bait when trying to catch a fish. They attract fish by moving in the water, vibrating, and flashing. They are often brightly colored and are good at reflecting light.

There are usually some hooks attached to the lure to catch a fish once it attacks the lure. The lure is then attached to a fishing line and cast into the water to catch fish with. However, some people prefer to place lures near the top of the water and use a spear or their hands to catch a fish once it comes within reach.

There are a few different types of lures, and each type is designed to be suited to certain water and weather conditions and what kind of fish you are trying to catch. Let’s take a quick look at those types now.


Plugs or crankbaits are lures that are made of strong plastic and are shaped and colored to look like a real baitfish. They usually have two or three treble hooks attached to their body and mostly float on top of the water or suspend near the water’s surface.


Jigs are one of the most popular kinds of lures. They have a weight attached on one side of the lure and a hook attached to the other. Due to the weight, they sink easily and are most often used to catch fish that live near the bottom of a water body. As the name suggests, they are used for the ‘jigging’ fishing style.


Spinnerbaits consist of two sides; a fringed hook side and a single or several spinning metal blades on the other side. They move horizontally through the water rather than vertically like most other lures. 

Spinnerbaits are used differently depending on the water conditions they are used in. They are used near the surface in clear water, where the metal blades can reflect light and color. However, in clouded water, the blades create vibrations in the water that will attract fish.


When they were first used, spoon lures were just what the name might suggest; spoons, but with the handles cut off. The design of these lures has been refined over the years, but they still hold the curved shape of a spoon.  This curve makes them glimmer and jiggles in the water, resembling a wounded baitfish and attracting fish to bite the hook attached at their end.

Soft Bait

Soft baits are made of flexible rubber and are made to look like other small creatures that live in water, like small fish, worms, frogs, and crayfish. They also allow the fisher to mimic the movements of the bait they’re using and come in a variety of colors so they will fit into any underwater environment.

Fly Lures

Contrary to what the name might suggest, these lures are not used to catch flies. Instead, they are most often used for fly fishing but can sometimes also be used in spin fishing. The fly lures are made of a single hook and a fringed “skirt” to conceal the hook and make the lure resemble insects and crustaceans. These types of lures work well where the fish come near the water’s surface, as they don’t normally sink very far into the water.

Now that you know about a few of the most commonly used lures let’s discuss the pros and cons of using lures and when it is a good idea to use them.


  • Lures can be reused as long as they stay in good condition.
  • Better to use if you want to catch-and-release.
  • Easy to change out for a different lure.
  • Will let you cast your line out further than live bait.
  • Create less mess than live bait.


  • Lures are more expensive than live bait (worms, small fish, etc.).
  • They can easily get hooked on plants, trees, or rocks underwater.
  • Need to be moved continuously to interest fish nearby.
  • They don’t work so well in cold water.
  • Need some level of skill to use, so they’re not very beginner-friendly.

When Should You Use Lures?

Lures and live bait have both got their respective uses, but there are times when using a lure is better than using live bait.

Lures work well if you’re trying to catch some large or particularly aggressive fish, if you want to catch and release your fish, or if you want to catch fish in clear or warmer waters.

What Are Swivels?

Let’s take a look at the other factor in a lure-swivel combination; the swivel. Fishing swivels are small gadgets made of two metal rings that are connected to a rotating joint in the middle. They are often used by sea fishers but can be used for just about any kind of fishing style.

They are mainly used for two purposes:

  • The first being to connect two sections of the fishing line, like attaching a leader to a rig or connecting a hook length to the rig body. 
  • The second (and probably more important) purpose is to keep the fishing line from twisting. Since the two rings can twist independently of one another, the things attached to them can also move independently of each other, eliminating the line twist and reducing the chance that your line might become weak or break.

Swivels come in a few different sizes and in a couple of different designs, which we’ll take a quick look at now.

Barrel Swivel

Barrel swivels are the oldest type of swivel available nowadays. They are made up of two wires, which are looped to create a ring or an “eye” to which the line or hookset can be attached. One end of each wire is inserted into the barrel connector in the middle, and the other end is twisted around itself to secure the eye properly.

These are some of the least expensive swivels available and thus are also the weakest.

Rolling Swivel

The rolling swivel has a cylindrical center connector and two looped wires attached to it. What makes this swivel different from a barrel swivel is that both ends of the wire are inserted into the connector in the rolling swivel, as opposed to only one end in the barrel swivel. This allows the swivel to be a lot smaller than a barrel swivel while also being stronger.

They are also more expensive than barrel swivels but are also more popular.

Crane Swivel

Crane swivels are similar to rolling swivels in that again, both ends of the looped wire are attached to the central section. However, crane swivels’ central sections are a bit more rounded than those of the rolling swivel. This kind of swivel is the smoothest and strongest of these three swivel types and are mostly used by anglers who need reliable performance under extreme pressure. These are also the most expensive type of swivel.

There are other types of swivels as well; however, they aren’t used as much or as widely known as the three listed above. They are the three-way swivel (which has three eyes instead of two), cascade swivel (which makes use of a bait clip), and a link swivel (also known as a snap swivel). You also have the option of having a “round eye” or “diamond eye” loop on your swivels or having a hybrid of both.

Gather the Necessary Tools and Materials

Now that we’ve gone over both lures and swivels individually, let’s discuss how you can connect the two to get the best results and angling fulfillment.

Of course, the first thing you’ll need to do is make sure you have all of the necessary tools and materials. These include your fishing rod equipped with your chosen fishing line, a lure of your choice, a swivel (rolling or snap swivels work best when being attached to a lure), and any kind of split ring pliers like these KastKing Intimidator Fishing Pliers.

Now let’s move onto how you should go about attaching your lure to your swivel.

Tie a Knot

Of course, when attaching anything to your fishing line, you are going to need to tie it on with a knot. There are several different knots used in fishing, and each of them has its own specific purpose. The improved clinch knot and the non-slip loop knot work well when tying a swivel to your fishing line.

The improved clinch knot is versatile and can be used to attach a variety of things to your line, but will also keep up to 95% of the line’s strength intact. A non-slip loop knot is a great choice to use if you have a larger line on your fishing rod. This will allow the swivel and lure to move with more ease, whereas an improved clinch knot on larger lines might be too tight and will inhibit lure movement.

How to Tie an Improved Clinch Knot

  1. Thread your line through the eye of your swivel, leaving between 6 and 12 inches (15-30 cm) of line.
  2. Leaving a bit of space between your line and the swivel eye, twist the end of the line around the “standing line” about five times.
  3. Thread the end of the line back through space, your left near the swivel eye.
  4. Then thread the line through the loop you just created.
  5. Pull both parts of the line away from the swivel eye slowly. Don’t pull it completely tight yet.
  6. Wet you line a little with some water.
  7. Pull the “standing line” away from the swivel eye until the knot is tight.

Here’s a video that you can watch that will explain this process to you:

How to Tie a Non-Slip Loop Knot

  1. Tie a loose overhand knot roughly 10 inches (25 cm) away from the end of your line.
  2. Thread the end of your line through the eye of your swivel and back through your overhand loop.
  3. Just above your overhand knot, wrap the end of the line around the “standing line” about five times.
  4. Thread the end of your line through the overhand knot again.
  5. Wet your line slightly with some water.
  6. Pull your knot until it is tight.

You can cut off any excess line from the end line of your knot with a pair of scissors or a pair of fishing pliers.

Here’s a video that you can watch that will give you a visual explanation of tying a non-slip loop knot:

Now that you know how to tie your fishing line to your swivel let’s move on to attaching your lure to your swivel. We’ll go over how to attach a lure to both a rolling and a snap swivel.

Attaching a Lure to a Snap Swivel

Snap swivels look and work very similarly to a safety pin. All you have to do to attach your lure to a snap swivel is open the snap. Then you can hook your lure’s ring onto the snap and close it again.

This is the swivel that’s easiest to use and is beneficial to have if you’re going to be changing out your lures quite often. It makes the process of switching out your lures hassle-free and a lot more convenient than using other swivels. If you don’t need to switch your lures out often, you might rather want to use a plain rolling swivel.

Attaching a Lure to a Rolling Swivel

The process of attaching a lure to a rolling swivel is slightly more complicated but not difficult at all. You’ll need a set of split ring pliers for this (or if you have long fingernails, you can just use those). 

Using the split ring pliers to pry open the ring of the lure, move the eye of the rolling swivel (the one that isn’t attached to your fishing line) along the ring until it is completely attached. It’s just like attaching a key to a key ring, simple as that!

Rolling swivels are very durable and are very good at eliminating line twist, which will keep your fishing gear set up in good condition for longer. If you know you won’t be exchanging your lure very often, it would be a good choice to use a rolling swivel.

If this still seems a bit confusing to you, you can watch this video, and hopefully, that will make it clearer:

Of course, if you want to keep things as simple as possible, you could just forego the swivel and tie your lure directly to your fishing line, using one of the knot types explained in this article or any type of knot that you prefer. However, using a swivel will give you a much better fishing experience and will likely also protect your fishing line, ensuring it will last longer.


Due to developing technologies over the years, you no longer have to spend days on the water or lots of money at the tackle shop to ensure you catch a fish. Lures and swivels have been instrumental in making sure of this.

Here is a short rundown of this article:

  • Make sure you choose the right lure for the type of fish you want to catch.
  • Make sure you choose the right swivel for your fishing style.
  • Tie your swivel to your fishing line using either an improved clinch knot or a non-slip loop knot.
  • Quickly hook your lure to the swivel using the safety pin-like mechanics of a snap swivel.
  • Use split ring pliers to attach a lure to a rolling swivel, like putting a key on a key ring.

Most importantly, Happy Fishing!

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