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Gold-Ribbed Hare's Ear Nymph Pattern & Tying Instructions

Fly Tying Recipe: Gold-Ribbed Hare's Ear Nymph
3X-long nymph hook (here, a Dai-Riki 285), sizes 12-20.
Gold, 7/64-inch.
.015 lead-free round wire.
Olive, 6/0.
Gold Ultra Wire, brassie size.
Tail and wingcase:
10-12 pheasant-tail fibers.
Abdomen and thorax:
Hair's mask and rabbit-fur dubbing, mixed.
UV Clear Fly Finish or head cement.
Use different color materials to match naturals.
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Video Transcript:

This is a modified version of a Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear Nymph that I've had considerable success with over the last few years. It's a fly I'm never without.

A 7/64" gold bead adds a bit of flash and weight to the pattern. For a hook, a 3X long Dai-Riki #285 in a size 14 is a good choice. After mashing the barb, place the bead on the hook, small hole first , then get the hook firmly secured in your tying vise.

10 to 12 wraps of .015 lead free wire will help to get the fly down even faster. To wrap the wire so there's no waste, grab the tip with your left hand while keeping the spool in your right. Take ten or so wraps around the hook shank and then use your fingernail to trim the wire off close.

Although not essential, a drop of Zap-a-Gap applied with a bodkin to the hook shank will ensure that once the wire is pushed forward into the back of the bead, it's there to stay. You can then turn the last little bit of wire around the hook shank. There are speedier ways to get lead wire on a hook but most generate a little waste in the process.

For thread, 6/0 olive or brown Danville Flymaster works well. Take a single wrap of thread around the tip of the index finger of your left hand and then pinch the wrap with your thumb. You can then start your thread of the hook shank and take wraps rearward and then pull the tag end forward parallel to the hook shank to break it off clean.

For the rib, break off an 8 to 10 inch length of gold brassie-sized Ultra wire. This can be used to make several flies. Tie in the wire on the near side of the hook and let thread tension carry it to the far side as you take wraps rearward to just above the hook barb. The importance of this will become evident later. Get hold of 10 to 12 natural colored pheasant tail fibers and, while keeping their tips aligned, strip them free from the stem and then cut the little curlies off so they don't get in the way. Measure the fibers to form a tail, a little longer than a hook gap in length and, with a pinch wrap, secure them to the top of the hook shank. Continue taking wraps forward to secure the pheasant tail to the top of the hook all the way up to just behind the bead. You can then take thread wraps rearward to about the hook point.

I'm pretty picky about the dubbing for my Hare's Ears and create custom blends from the short spiky, well-marked hair on a Hare's Ear mixed with naturally colored rabbit fur dubbing. A video on blending custom dubbing material will be coming shortly. With the dubbing, create a long slender noodle on your tying thread that's tapered at both ends. Take wraps so the dubbing starts right at the base of the tail, and continue taking wraps forward to just behind the bead. Then position your thread back to 1/3 the distance from the back of the bead to the base of the tail.

By having the wire on the far side of the hook, the first wrap won't jostle the tail fibers as you begin making open spiral wraps to segment the abdomen of the fly. Once you're up in the thorax region, take thread wraps to secure the wire and then helicopter to break the wire off close. Don't worry, all of this will be covered up shortly.

Fold the pheasant tail fibers rearward and bind them down on top of the fly. You want them spread out here but this is not the top of the wing case.

Get hold of some more of the same dubbing material and build a thin, fairly short noodle on your tying thread. Now right at that 1/3 point, begin building up the thorax of the fly to the back edge of the bead. At this point, you can fold the remainder of the pheasant tail fibers forward to create what will be the wing case. Again, keep the fibers spread out as you secure them with thread wraps just behind the bead. Pull the butt ends of the fibers up and snip them off close, doing your best not to cut the wing case or your thread in the process.

Take a few more wraps of tying thread, followed by a 5 or 6 turn whip finish and then snip or cut your tying thread free.

To really up the appeal of this pattern, I like to finish the wing case with a coating of Loon Outdoors thick UV Clear Fly Finish. Go easy with this stuff, you barely need a drop to coat and build up the wing case. I do like to spread it out a bit with a bodkin so it covers up each and every pheasant tail fiber. Also bring some down over the top of the thread wraps and onto the bead. A small UV torch is used to cure and harden the finish. A few seconds of exposure is all it takes and the wing case should be dry to the touch.

Although it looks pretty good here, really roughing it up with a piece of velcro makes the guard hairs stand out more and adds bugginess and movement to the pattern.

Using different colors of pheasant tail, rabbit fur dubbing and hare's mask guard hairs, you can create different colored flies to more closely resemble the naturals. The custom hare's ear dubbing blends you create can be used in a number of patterns and can, themselves, be mixed, but more on that later. Whatever colors you choose, you can never have too many Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear Nymphs.