by Tim Flagler

In doing research for this article, I was rather shocked to find out that Pat Bennett didn’t invent his Pat’s Rubber Legs until 1995. The pattern is so ubiquitous, particularly in the western United States, I thought it’d been around for at least fifty years. The research also revealed there had been predecessors to it, principally the Girdle Bug.

Mr. Bennett came up with what most people now know as the Pat’s Rubber Legs while fishing in Island Park, Idaho. It’s a somewhat simple affair that’s often tied heavy with considerable wraps of lead or lead-free wire. This is beneath a usually coffee and black chenille body with black or brown Flexi-Floss legs, antennae and tails protruding outward. Mr. Bennett designed the pattern to imitate a stonefly, which it does admirably, but many consider it to be a general attractor pattern.

As is the case with other fly patterns, tiers, myself included, have come up with a multitude of variations over the years. For me, getting to this pattern, the Jiggly Pat’s, has been an evolutionary process. Of course I started out tying a pretty standard Pat’s. The Flexi-Floss legs, however, kind of threw me. I found them to be a bit unruly and they ended up pointing in random directions on the finished fly, not my favorite look.

Because of this, I swapped the Flexi-Floss for small-sized black round rubber legs. These I find offer more movement and greater consistency between individual flies. I also added a tungsten bead, for additional weight and to give the fly a round, somewhat broad head, similar to stonefly naturals. While I was at it, I separated the fly into an abdominal section of coffee and black chenille and a thorax of picked-out chocolate brown Aussie Possum. Of course the thorax needed a wing case, which I produced with pheasant tail fibers and UV cure resin. And, oh yeah, I trimmed the chenille to gently taper and flatten the body. I call the pattern the “Pat’s Plus” and pretty much fish it as opposed to an original Pat’s.

The third step in the evolutionary process is called the “Get It Down Pat’s”. It’s tied on a jig hook and features a tungsten bead, the same round rubber legs as it’s predecessor but a kind of unique extended body of furled chenille. The idea was to create a Pat’s that would be less likely to get snagged on the bottom, hence the jig hook which typically rides more hook point up than a traditional J hook. Also, I ‘ve found short-shanked hooks tend to lose less fish than longer-shanked ones, for me anyway.

The Jiggly Pat’s is the most recent step in the evolutionary process . . notice how I didn’t say final. It’s for all intents and purposes a Get It Down Pat’s but with an articulated abdomen that’s free to move up, down and sideways with the slightest bit of motion from the fly or the current. Some have suggested leaving the hook bend on the trailing section but I prefer not to, as unhooking two hooks is always more difficult than one.

Jiggly Pat’s

Detailed instructions for tying a Jiggly Pat’s stonefly nymph. This is part of a series of Tim Flagler’s collaboration with Fly Tyer Magazine. Check out his article about the fly in the Spring 2023 issue of Fly Tyer Magazine. Recipe: Rear Hook: Lightning Strike NH7, size 10. Thread: UTC 140 Denier, black.

Jiggly Pat’s Recipe:

Rear Hook:                Lightning Strike NH7, size 10.
Thread:                      UTC 140 Denier, black.
Body:                          Variegated chenille, medium, black/coffee.
Tails:                          Round rubber legs, small, black.
Front Hook:               JF2 jig hook, size 10.
Bead:                         Slotted tungsten, 5/32”, black nickel.
Thread:                      UTC 140 Denier, black.
Weight:                      Lead-free wire, .020.
Articulation joint:       8-pound test leader material (Maxima Chameleon).
Body:                          Variegated chenille, medium, black/coffee.
Legs:                          Round rubber legs, small, black.