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Eastern Spring Creek Tackle Selection


Eugene Macri

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© 2017 E. P. Macri Jr.


Spring Creeks usually require different tackle than most anglers are accustomed to. The selection for South-Central Pennsylvania is based on many years of experience. Here's the breakdown for the best results.

Rods: I prefer rods from 8 to 9 foot in length. A good all around rod is around 8. 6 feet for summer fishing. These rods are for 2, 3 and 4 weights. The 3 weight is the best in my opinion. Some anglers may actually opt for two different actions in 3 weights. One that is very stiff for the occasional larger fly such as a streamer or sculpin and less stiff but with enough power to do the jobs with smaller flies, midges, nymphs, dries and terrestrials. Don't go by what the manufacturer puts on the rod or advertisement. These terms seem to have become meaningless in the last few years. Use rods that your are comfortable with. Avoid rods below 8 feet in my estimation. You'll handicap yourself. I know that Ed Shenk uses smaller rods and I know Ed Shenk and you're not Ed Shenk so get over it!

I prefer the faster actions but some do not. This is especially true for guys that are heavy handed on the strike. You'll leave a lot flies in the trout's mouth on these light leaders. Of course, we are talking about graphite, bamboo is a more forgiving instrument and I do occasionally still use these rods on our spring creeks.

Remember too short of rod does not allow you to control the drift on these streams which have subtle currents. You'll get a lot drag and you won't know it. Keep as much line off the water as possible. Avoid excessive casting or you'll spook the trout on most of these waters easily.

Lines: I prefer weighted forwards but double tapers will do especially for dry fly fishing. Clean your line often. Most anglers don't.

Reels: Reels are the preference of anglers but play the fish off the reel with light lines and light tippets. So make sure your reel has a smooth adjustable drag. Don't use too light a reel because it won't balance properly and you'll get casting and arm fatigue!

Leaders: I won't even try to start a discussion on this because it has become so insane these days but try this on for size: Avoid leaders with too many knots! What? Yes, because these knots catch on everything in the stream AND CAUSE DRAG! But that's not what it says in that wonderful book you just bought. You've been warned!

How long should your leader be? That depends on what you are fishing and where you are fishing. Leaders of 9 to 10 feet with tippets of 3x to 8x. If you are fishing a sculpin pattern don't be a fool and tie it to a light tippet. On the other hand don't try and tie a 24 midge on 3x. Use the leaders you are comfortable with in casting and striking. If you are successful with shorter leaders and can get away with them that's fine. But refine your game so you have few variables except the tippet and you'll be more successful. Remember Macri's Rule on Leaders: Always use the heaviest tippet you can get away with!



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