No fly-fisher should be without at least one version of the Hare’s Ear nymph. This version combines the subtle hues of hare’s fur with a touch of a modern fluorescent material in the form of orange floss added at both the head and tail.
This extra touch can make all the difference, but even without it this pattern is as deadly as it is simple to tie. Although hare’s fur is a wonderful material for tying all sorts of nymphs and dryflies it must be treated properly to get the best from it. The hair from a hare’s ear is perfect for small patterns, but bigger flies may demand the use of fur from the hare’s body. Having pulled a few pinches of fur from the skin they should be examined to see what proportion of dark guard hairs there is to the softer underfur. These stiffer guard hairs give the finished fly its superbly lifelike appearance, especially when teased out to give the impression of legs and gills.
The only problem is that they are difficult to dub on to the thread, relying for support on the softer fur. So, having removed the fur, blend it together between the fingers so that the fibres are well mixed – only then apply it to the well-waxed tying thread.
Hook Size 8-16 heavy, medium and
lightweight Thread Brown Tag
Fluorescent orange floss Rib Fine gold
wire Body Dubbed hare’s fur Thorax
Dubbed hare’s fur Head Fluorescent
1. Fix the hook in the vice and begin winding on close turns of fine lead wire.
2. Cover the central section of the hook shank with the lead wire then remove the waste ends. Fix the wire underbody in place with turns of thread.
3. Cast off the tying thread with a whip finish before catching in fluorescent orange floss at the hook bend. Using a bobbin-holder to apply the floss prevents it from snagging.
4. Wind on turns of fluorescent floss to form a short tag then cast off with a whip finish. Run the tying thread back on and catch in two inches of gold wire. Apply a pinch of hare’s fur to the tying thread.
5. Dub a mixture of hare’s underfur and guard hairs on to the thread, which should be well waxed. The effect should be quite rough, with plenty of hairs sticking out. Wind the dubbed fur over the lead wire.
6. Carry the dubbed fur in close turns over the lead underbody, stopping two thirds of the way along the hook. Take hold of the gold wire and wind it over the fur in open, evenly spaced turns.
7. Secure the loose end of the wire with tying thread and remove the excess. Rather than cutting, the wire may be removed by rocking it back and forth until it breaks.
8. Take a second pinch of hare’s fur, ensuring that it contains a high proportion of the spiky guard hairs. Dub this on to the thread then wind to form the thorax.
9. Cast off the tying thread at the eye with a whip finish. Re-apply the orange fluorescent floss and use it to build up a small, colourful head. Cast this off, too, with a whip finish.
10. Using a dubbing needle, or a piece of velcro, tease out the fur along the body and thorax to create a nice “buggy” effect.
WHERE, WHEN & HOW TO FISH
W H E R E
Absolutely anywhere. This pattern is so versatile that it will catch fish on all water types and at most depths.
W H E N
Apart from very cold conditions when the trout are not really feeding, the Hare’s Ear Nymph will catch fish throughout the year.
H O W
Used as a standard nymph it is normally fished on a floating line and a medium-length leader. It may be used singly or as part of a team and will catch fish on any position from the point of the leader to the top dropper. When tying this pattern it is worth varying the size and weight of hook to cope with varying conditions. The larger, heavier versions work best when the fish are feeding deep, while the smaller, lighter ones prove more effective for trout feeding just subsurface.
T Y I N G T I P
Apply the florescent floss both at the tail and the head with a spigot bobbi- holder. This way the floss is less likely to fray or be discoloured by the fingers.