There’s a huge price difference between barrel swivels and ball-bearing swivels. In fact, quality ball-bearing swivels can cost four or five times as much. And since you always need a good selection of swivels in different sizes, it’s quite tempting to buy a bag of the cheapest ones possible. But this can be a huge mistake—especially when line twist is a factor. Want to know why?


If you’re bottom fishing, or just looking for a quick and easy way to attach tackle to your fishing line, that barrel swivel is up to the task. But let’s say you’re trolling spoons for Spanish mackerel. Or, maybe you plan to try chunking for tuna. In both of these cases, line twist can become a major problem. And there’s only one way to ensure you keep that twist out of your fishing line: use the ball-bearing swivel.

What about the cost? You have to pay to play, but you can minimize the pain. By buying swivels in bulk the cost goes down significantly. Yes, it’s painful to spend $50 on a bag of swivels, but the cost per swivel can drop down to a dollar or less. If you buy ball-bearing swivels over the counter in bags of three or five, you’re likely to pay 25 or 30 percent more. An example: if you order a 50-pack of 90-lb AFW ball-bearing swivels from, it goes for $45.99 ($0.92 each). But if you get a three pack, the cost is $3.99 ($1.33 each). Hey, remember, you spent tens of thousands of dollars on that fishing boat and thousands more on rods and reels—don’t cheap-out when it comes time to buy those swivels.

Written by: Lenny Rudow
With over two decades of experience in marine journalism, Lenny Rudow has contributed to publications including YachtWorld,, Boating Magazine, Marlin Magazine, Boating World, Saltwater Sportsman, Texas Fish & Game, and many others. Lenny is a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and he has won numerous BWI and OWAA writing awards.