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How to Tie the Pat’s Plus

Producer: Tim Flagler

Pat’s Plus is basically a refined version of a Pat’s Rubber Legs. In some regards, it’s even easier to tie than the original.

For a hook, a Dai-Riki #700 in size 8 or 10 is a good choice. Start by mashing the barb. This is often necessary in order to get the bead onto the hook.

I’m going to be using a 5/32” black nickel tungsten bead, the unslotted variety. I like to pick up the bead with my bodkin and get the small hole centered between my fingertips. This allows me to insert the point of the hook into the small hole and bring the bead around the bend and up to behind the eye. I’ll then get the assembly firmly secured in the jaws of my tying vise.

.02 lead-free wire is used to add even more weight and to help stabilize the bead. Get the wire started on the hook shank above the point and take 10 or so nice, tight, touching wraps. You can then helicopter to break the wire off close.

Now’s a good time to reach for some Fly Tyers Z-Ment and apply a small amount to the hook shank. I’ll then quickly shove the wire wraps forward, up into the bead.

After replacing the brush applicator, get the tag end of the wire correctly wrapped around the hook shank. Because of the Z-Ment, the rest of the wraps should be locked into place so they won’t spin.

For thread, I like UTC 140 Denier in black. A bobbin with an extra-long tube allows you to add a good bit of pressure to your thread wraps. Start the thread on the hook shank behind the weight and take a few wraps rearward before snipping or breaking off the tag.

Small black round rubber legs are used for the tails and legs of the fly. For the tails, a 3” length that’s been doubled over is plenty. Get hold of the loop end and place it on top of the hook shank, and start taking thread wraps to secure it. Try to keep the strands centered right on top of the hook. Wrap all the way to the start of the bend then back up to the weight. Get hold of the loop and snip it off close then continue taking thread wraps over top of the weight and all the way up to the back edge of the bead.

Black and coffee colored variegated medium-sized chenille is used to create the body of the fly. Strip a small amount of material from one end to expose the string core. Secure this string end to the top of the hook shank behind the bead and bind the material down allowing it to roll to the far side of the hook. When you reach the base of the tails, start taking thread wraps forward all the way back up to the bead. You can then start making touching wraps with the chenille to form the body of the fly. Because of the weight, you should notice that the body gets a little thicker as you wrap forward. Anchor the chenille with a few tight turns of tying thread, then snip the excess off close.

Although not absolutely necessary, I like to give the chenille a little haircut. I’ll trim it pretty heavily on the top and bottom to give the body a somewhat flattened shape. Then I’ll cut a little taper in at the back end, by the tail. Take wraps with your tying thread to kind of bind the chenille down to about the 1/3 point on the hook shank.

Using the same rubber leg material, snip off and double over a 6” length and get hold of it leaving an inch-long loop. Place the loop on top of the hook shank behind the bead and take a few open spiral thread wraps to loosely bind it down. Carefully work the rubber leg material underneath the thread wraps so you end up with a single strand on either side of the fly. Once the material’s positioned, use tighter wraps of tying thread to lock it down.

Chocolate brown pheasant tail fibers are used for the wing case. Strip 16 or so free from the stem as you want a fairly substantial, wide wing case. Snip the curlies off square so they won’t catch on anything then turn the fibers so the tips point to the right. While keeping them spread out, place the fibers on top of the hook shank and take thread wraps to secure them. Again, a nice wide wing case is desirable. Lift the fiber tips up then snip them off close, trying not to cut the rubber legs in the process. Continue taking wraps of tying thread to bind the pheasant tail down really well.

Dark brown Australian Possum dubbing is used for the thorax of the fly. Pull an ample clump free from the packet and set it aside for the time being. Give your bobbin a gentle counterclockwise spin to uncord and flatten the thread. You can then use a dubbing needle to split the flattened thread and insert the index finger of your left hand between the two strands. Pick up the clump of dubbing you set aside and slip it into the split thread. Remove your left index finger to sandwich the dubbing in place. Give your bobbin a real good clockwise spin to cord up the thread and spin the dubbing into a nice, fuzzy, tapered noodle.

Start taking wraps with the noodle to build up a substantial thorax on the fly. End with your tying thread at the back edge of the bead. Pull the wing case forward, out over top of the bead and take 2 or 3 thread wraps to really lock it down. Then, reach in with your tying scissors and, very carefully, snip the excess fibers off as close as you can.

UV cure resin works wonders when it comes to anchoring the tying thread and tidying up the wing case. There’s no need to make a huge bulging wing case, just enough to coat it and the thread wraps. When you’re satisfied with how things look, turn on the torch and give the resin a healthy shot of UV light to cure it. You can then trim the tails off to about a full hook in length. Then trim the back legs so they extend about halfway down the tail. Try to get the front legs cut to about the same length as the back legs.

You may have noticed that I didn’t whip finish. The UV resin coating the thread wraps is enough to keep them from unraveling, so you can just snip your tying thread off close.

Finally, use a little strip of velcro to brush out the Australian Possum. The wilder it looks, the better. If you like, give it a little pruning on the bottom to further enhance the flattened look of the fly. And that’s the Pat’s Plus, super buggy and super effective.