Please Sign In

Please enter a valid username and password
  • Log in with Facebook
» Not a member? Take a moment to register
» Forgot Username or Password

Why Register?
Signing up could earn you gear (click here to learn how)! It also keeps offensive content off our site.

Best Budget Flies: Pat's Rubber Legs

Recent Comments

Categories

Recent Posts

Archives

Syndicate

Google Reader or Homepage
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My AOL

FlyTalk
in your Inbox

Enter your email address to get our new post everyday.

February 04, 2014

Best Budget Flies: Pat's Rubber Legs

By Kirk Deeter

'Tis the heart of fly-tying season, and as such, I want to start highlighting a few patterns that work really well in a variety of situations and are relatively easy and inexpensive to tie. So save money by learning to tie them yourself.  

First on my list is Pat's Rubber Legs. It is also called a "Pickle," a "Jimmy Legs" and a number of other things, but because Pat Dorsey of the Blue Quill Angler in Evergreen, Colo., is credited with refining this pattern (he is also a close friend of mine), I stick with Pat's Rubber Legs. You should plan on spinning some of these up as you're waiting for the snow to melt.

There aren't many ingredients for this fly: lead wire to give it weight, 8/0 thread, Super Floss elastic legs, and medium chenille. That's it. You can mix and match different colors on the legs and chenille to replicate different bugs. For example, I like to tie plenty of brown and tan patterns to fish when dark stoneflies are working well. Using green (or a mottled green like this) gives the fly added versatility. I'll use small, #12 green patterns like this to trick carp — especially grass carp that key on vegetation. If you lay off the weighted core a bit, the fly will suspend or sink very slowly in slow water (like carp ponds). Heavily weighted, it can also be fished very effectively in late summer as a drowned terrestrial.  

The bottom line with any fly like this is that the rubber legs give it action. That slow, tantalizing undulation motion, when mixed with river currents, brings the fly to life, and makes it a very effective attractor pattern. Like the original Girdle Bug, this fly is about profile and color, but the newer materials used to make the rubber legs is what gives it the pop. I'll fish this pattern as my top fly on a double-nymph rig when I'm merely prospecting and don't really favor a specific nymph pattern over another. I also fish it as a dropper on a dry-dropper rig, especially when stoneflies are hatching and the water is just a tad off-color. As is always the case, trout are more inclined to eat a fly that's well-presented, with a drag-free drift, than some spot-on replication that looks good in hand, but not so hot under the water. Never underestimate the power of a good, simple, ugly fly.

The trick with this pattern is figuring out how to tie in the rubber legs. A little trial and error will help you figure that out. But once you do, they're pretty easy to tie. One of the good things about the Donkeys falling flat in the Super Bowl was that I decided to take my chips and dip to the tying bench, and I was able to whip out a couple dozen Pat's Rubber Legs instead of watching the horror show.  

Here are some resources to get you going with this pattern.  For a video, you can check out the Global Fly Fisher site. Master tier Charlie Craven (another pal) does a great job of explaining this pattern in print. And if you just want to buy some to try them out, you'll probably find them in the bin at your local fly shop.

Comments (10)

Top Rated
All Comments
from Dangle wrote 10 weeks 1 day ago

Tied a close version of that stone today. Same kinda chenille body..had some pheasant marabou tied short for the tail. a beadhead, and a pheasant marabou hackled behind the bead, and a sharptail grouse feather tied over the marabou feather....castin, and soft hackle swingin. The swing's the thing, and the tug's the drug. And two good bird dogs contributed to that fly.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Neil J. Selbicky wrote 10 weeks 1 day ago

For a simpler way of tying on the legs take two still attached strands of the material and tie it in a once on the top of the hook. Trim to length. Then tie in the next set of legs the same way, and then the next. The double strand can be split into two legs with the point of the sissor or bodkin when the fly is finish.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dangle wrote 10 weeks 23 hours ago

And mine would have no rubber over the eye...just causes difficulty tying the tippet knot.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from abcdpete wrote 10 weeks 11 hours ago

I've heard it called "Cat Poop" as well. One of my favorite patterns to throw year round.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dangle wrote 10 weeks 8 hours ago

Cat poop? So that's why anglers lick their tippet knot before pulling it tight on their cat poop fly?

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 10 weeks 8 hours ago

Kirk (et al), what is the rubber legs made of? The ones at the big outdoor stores are ridiculous for a piece of rubber legs. What can you substitute?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 10 weeks 6 hours ago

Rock, A length of pheasant tail barb make for good legs especially if you tie a knot in them for the joint. I prefer the white, round rubber legs. They have good movement and I can doctor them up with an ink pen if necessary. If you want to go big-time you can buy the rubber legs which are already segmented.

I know a lot of old guys who swear buy the rubber spider which is not to far from this pattern.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dangle wrote 10 weeks 3 hours ago

Forget the pheasant tail!!! Rubber legs cost too much? Please! They are cheap, and you can tie lots of flies with a package. Rubber has revolutionized fly fishing. It is the MOVEMENT of rubber that causes the fish to accept the fly as a living, moving bunch of protein! Pheasant tail does little movement. The rubber in the picture was called "flex floss" I do believe. Shiny-er, and lasts a long time in your fly box. Rubber deteriorates, and the legs will fall apart after not much time in the box. Those are made of the material of Spandex, and not rubber. I had an entire box destroyed by the rubber legs decomposing. You don't want rubber. Ask the fly shop guy, and buy the right stuff....go cheap, go wrong. And the spandex material moves more than round rubber as well.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 10 weeks 2 hours ago

Dangle; Last I looked, they wanted 12 bucks for a couple preformed plastic legs. There has to be a common household product that will do as well.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dangle wrote 10 weeks 1 hour ago

I told you what you need..."flex floss," and the problems with rubber. If you are a tier you use the raw material, and tie it in. Not preformed legs, and can't imagine preformed being close to that cost you quoted. Minus describing the tying process up the hook shank, you tie two equal length pieces, and thread wraps in the middle of the sections tied on TOP of the hook. One piece gets pulled to the side where you want the legs making two legs, and the other side you pull the other piece, and place it where you want. I then wrap the legs making a sightly wider gap, and then wrap the chenille between the two legs on both sides. Wrap up the shank, and do it again if you want more legs. I've seen thousands of flies, and sold them, and tied them, and have never seen a nymph like the one in the picture tied with pheasant tail legs. They are used on dry flies, hoppers, not wet flies like the one shown. And even there the Spandex has taken over. A bag that will tie lots of flies costs maybe $3.00 Comes in the right color, and the thickness you need. Size of the Spandex should match the hook size. (small for small size hooks etc.)

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Dangle wrote 10 weeks 1 day ago

Tied a close version of that stone today. Same kinda chenille body..had some pheasant marabou tied short for the tail. a beadhead, and a pheasant marabou hackled behind the bead, and a sharptail grouse feather tied over the marabou feather....castin, and soft hackle swingin. The swing's the thing, and the tug's the drug. And two good bird dogs contributed to that fly.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Neil J. Selbicky wrote 10 weeks 1 day ago

For a simpler way of tying on the legs take two still attached strands of the material and tie it in a once on the top of the hook. Trim to length. Then tie in the next set of legs the same way, and then the next. The double strand can be split into two legs with the point of the sissor or bodkin when the fly is finish.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dangle wrote 10 weeks 23 hours ago

And mine would have no rubber over the eye...just causes difficulty tying the tippet knot.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from abcdpete wrote 10 weeks 11 hours ago

I've heard it called "Cat Poop" as well. One of my favorite patterns to throw year round.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 10 weeks 8 hours ago

Kirk (et al), what is the rubber legs made of? The ones at the big outdoor stores are ridiculous for a piece of rubber legs. What can you substitute?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 10 weeks 6 hours ago

Rock, A length of pheasant tail barb make for good legs especially if you tie a knot in them for the joint. I prefer the white, round rubber legs. They have good movement and I can doctor them up with an ink pen if necessary. If you want to go big-time you can buy the rubber legs which are already segmented.

I know a lot of old guys who swear buy the rubber spider which is not to far from this pattern.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dangle wrote 10 weeks 3 hours ago

Forget the pheasant tail!!! Rubber legs cost too much? Please! They are cheap, and you can tie lots of flies with a package. Rubber has revolutionized fly fishing. It is the MOVEMENT of rubber that causes the fish to accept the fly as a living, moving bunch of protein! Pheasant tail does little movement. The rubber in the picture was called "flex floss" I do believe. Shiny-er, and lasts a long time in your fly box. Rubber deteriorates, and the legs will fall apart after not much time in the box. Those are made of the material of Spandex, and not rubber. I had an entire box destroyed by the rubber legs decomposing. You don't want rubber. Ask the fly shop guy, and buy the right stuff....go cheap, go wrong. And the spandex material moves more than round rubber as well.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 10 weeks 2 hours ago

Dangle; Last I looked, they wanted 12 bucks for a couple preformed plastic legs. There has to be a common household product that will do as well.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dangle wrote 10 weeks 8 hours ago

Cat poop? So that's why anglers lick their tippet knot before pulling it tight on their cat poop fly?

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dangle wrote 10 weeks 1 hour ago

I told you what you need..."flex floss," and the problems with rubber. If you are a tier you use the raw material, and tie it in. Not preformed legs, and can't imagine preformed being close to that cost you quoted. Minus describing the tying process up the hook shank, you tie two equal length pieces, and thread wraps in the middle of the sections tied on TOP of the hook. One piece gets pulled to the side where you want the legs making two legs, and the other side you pull the other piece, and place it where you want. I then wrap the legs making a sightly wider gap, and then wrap the chenille between the two legs on both sides. Wrap up the shank, and do it again if you want more legs. I've seen thousands of flies, and sold them, and tied them, and have never seen a nymph like the one in the picture tied with pheasant tail legs. They are used on dry flies, hoppers, not wet flies like the one shown. And even there the Spandex has taken over. A bag that will tie lots of flies costs maybe $3.00 Comes in the right color, and the thickness you need. Size of the Spandex should match the hook size. (small for small size hooks etc.)

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

bmxbiz-fs