Birth of the Patuxent Special

For many anglers in the Potomac-Patuxent chapter, the Patuxent Special is a pattern that holds a lot of good memories and has caught a lot of fish over the decades. The pattern was developed by long time PPTU member and past President Jay Sheppard. Here, Jay tells the story of how and where the pattern was first developed.


By Jay Sheppard:

Below is the place on the upper Savage River where the fly now known as the Patuxent Special was born.  It was in the mid-70s in mid-April.  A cold day...fished for a long hour or two with all sorts of flies and did not even see any trout. I tied on a #10 Michigan Wriggler and tossed it out in the hole under the present (new) bridge of River Road.  On first sweep of the fly across the middle of the pool two trout tried to take it off my tippet!  Suddenly I had action! I slowed my swing and concentrated on the takes and then landed about 8-10 freshly stocked rainbows in the then flies-only section of the upper Savage River.


I later left off the wing case and called it the Tan Woolly Worm...the chenille was named "tan" by Orvis but it then was really a golden ginger color.  By the early 80s those who copied it were having great luck and someone suggested we rename it the Patuxent Special, as that is the river where most of us had some great success.  I have lost count of the number of species of fish it has caught for anglers--both fresh and saltwater.


Here's the recipe for the Patuxent Special PaxSpec.v9.pdf