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Rich Murphy's Pamet Special
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Rich Murphy's Pamet Special
By Rich Murphy

I developed the prototype of this pattern while on an October vacation to Truro, Massachusetts in 1989. My intent then was to develop a large sand eel imitation I could use to capitalize on the striped bass blitzes that are routine during the fall months at the mouth of the Pamet River when, during the ebb of the tide, literally tons of sand eels are flushed into Massachusetts Bay.

The prototype lay-up used a non-descript 3/0 stainless hook, three saddle hackles in the tail construction, an olive over pink bucktail wing and a five minute epoxy head with pearl and red Krystal Flash highlights. The prototype swam and breathed very well, and caught lots of fish.

The current model, Rich Murphy's concept, uses natural hair instead of hackles as a primary tail material (yak, polar bear, or buck tail) The illustrated example is tied with natural polar bear. Hair is more durable, less prone to fouling and mung accumulation than feathers. The current model also uses an EZ Body head that can be replaced as required without trashing the rest of the fly. I prefer to tie it on 3/0 or 4/0 high carbon steel hooks, like TMC 600s, Owner AKI, Gamakatsu SC15-2H, or Trey Combs Big Game. High carbon hooks are harder than stainless hooks so they will hold a keener cutting point longer.

Materials: Pamet Special

    Hook:  3/0 or 4/0 hook. An 3/0 Owner AKI is used in the procedure illustrations

    Thread:  Fine monofilament.

    Tail:   Bucktail, polar bear, or yak and Crystal Flash.

    Wing:   Bucktail, olive, dark olive and pale lavender.

    Body and throat:  Krystal Flash.

    Head:   EZ Body.

Tying Steps:

1. Select a 3/0 or 4/0 hook of your choice. I prefer using TMC 600, Owner Aki, Gamakatsu SC15-2H, or Trey Combs Big Game hooks myself. An 3/0 Owner AKI is used in the procedure illustrations. Barrel wrap the hook shank with fine monofilament thread from the base of the hook eye to the beginning of the bend of the hook.

2.Tie in a tail consisting of a 1/8" diameter bunch of light pink bucktail (3 - 5" in length) over seven strands of gray ghost Krystal Flash over a " diameter bunch of natural yak, polar bear, or white bucktail, 4-8 " in length. Add a drop of super glue to the joint. In Figure 1 and the rest of the illustrations, natural polar bear is used as the primary tail material.

3. Tie in a wing consisting of a 1/16" diameter bunch olive pale olive bucktail (4-6" in length) over a 1/16" diameter bunch of dark olive bucktail (4-6" in length) over of a 1/16" diameter bunch of pale lavender bucktail (3 - 5 " in length) over the tail assembly as shown in Figure 2. Add a drop of superglue to the joint.


4. Add six strands of sand ultraviolet Krystal Flash (from Hareline Dubbin) over six strands of shrimp pink Krystal Flash (3-5" in length) to both sides, seven strands of peacock Krystal Flash to the top (3-5" in length), and seven strands of red Krystal Flash (1-2" in length to the bottom as color highlights. Add a sparse drop of superglue to the joint. (See Figure 3).

5. Select a 3" long piece of medium EZ Body and remove the two polyester reinforcing strips from the tubing. Slide the EZ Body over the hook eye and tie down on the hook shank as indicated in Figure 4. Wrap the thread forward towards the hook eye about " to cinch the tubing to the rest of the pattern material . Whip finish and add a drop of Super Glue to the joint.


6. Shape the EZ Body into elliptical head shape as shown in Figure 5. (EZ Body is a very cool material in that in has a long term memory for shapes into which it has been manipulated.) Tie off the EZ Body by whip finishing and adding a drop of super glue to the joint.

7. Use a soldering iron or a wood burning tool to neatly cut off the excess EZ Body beyond the tie down point. (EZ Body is primarily nylon, a material that is about as strong as steel per unit weight but has a much lower melting point. If sufficient is applied to EZ Body, it will melt like butter.) Melt the remaining thread and EZ Body at the joint into a neat bevel along the base of the head. This eliminates the "bottle-neck" effect that will result from attempting to trim the excess EZ Body from the head mechanically with scissors or a straight razor. In Figure 6, I am using an ancient wood burning tool (putting out about 20 watts) with it's tip filed flat to do the operation.


8. Add color to the completed head using permanent ink markers (dark olive (top edge)over lavender (top quarter) over bronze (top half)) as shown in Figure 7.

9. Cover the forward quarter of the head with a sparse coat of five minute epoxy that has just begun to gel. Allow the epoxy to set. Apply and align 3.0 mm (excuse the mixing of unit systems) black on silver stick-on prismatic eyes as shown in Figure 8. Apply a sparse finish coat of five minute epoxy and allow to cure before using.

~ Rich Murphy


How does the Pamet Special work?

Author Rich Murphy
During the height of a Northeast gale on the morning of August 29, 1997, I used six Pamet Specials similar to the these to land and release 10 striped bass over 36" long at the south end of Longnook Beach in Truro. (I bit off the 15 pound tippet and added 3 feet of 30 pound test to the leader as a substitute after losing the first big fish.) The largest measured about 45" and weighed 35-40 pounds (no scale at the point of release). I estimate that I hooked up with 16 fish over 36" that morning. Of those, I lost 4 to bad hookups. The remaining two were too big to land through the 3 to 5 foot swells. It was an astoundingly rare and brutal morning with mature sand eels densely littering the surf rack line.

An older guy bait casting a little to the north of me was hitting even harder than I was. He was using a homemade 12 foot fiberglass rod and a truly non-descript reel. His terminal tackle consisted of a weight that looked like of a sash cord below an over-under rig baited with sand eels. Using a windup like a hammer thrower, he was casting at least 300 feet offshore. I watched him work slack jawed for quite a while. Later he told me that such coincidences of tide, wind, concentrations of bait and big stripers nearshore was commonplace when he was young. Mid-1950's, I guessed.

Maybe someday, through the concerted conservation efforts of state and federal resource agencies, private alliances such as the Coastal Conservation Association, and individuals like you and me, that abundance will be restored.

As a postscript, I used one Pamet Special to set the only world record I possess: five adult terns caught and released on one outgoing tide, September 11, 1995, mouth of the Pamet River, Truro, Massachusetts. ~ Rich Murphy

Credits: Jeff Smith at www.flyfishsaltwaters.com kindly shared this fly with us.

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.


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