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What’s the Deal With Hare’s Ear?

Last night, I slumped back in my chair and away from the tying desk. It’s lit like an operating room. With three hi-wattage beams shining on one very small object from left, right and center, my eyes don’t miss much. Combine that with 2X-power readers and some steady hands, and I can turn out well crafted flies as small as you like. I have no trouble inserting details into a fly, but I’ve never approached fly tying with that kind of goal anyway.

Like most good fly tyers who are better fishermen, I learned long ago that realism in a fly is one thing to a trout and another thing to a fisherman. So I scrapped that bias and whittled my patterns down to the elements that I believe attract fish. My guiding theory on fly design is that trout are looking for a reason not to eat my fly. So I limit materials only to what’s necessary. Nothing more.

Hare’s Ear is one of those materials. Here’s why . . .

That’s Not a Dead Drift

Fly fishers talk a lot about a dead drift. And why shouldn’t we? So much of our time is spent trying to replicate this elusive presentation that the concept of drifting flies without influence from the leader dictates a large part of what we do. It’s what we think about. We plan for it, rig for it and wade into position for it.

. . . If you just twitched or stripped your fly, it cannot dead drift next. Anything under tension drifts with some influence from the leader. And that’s not a dead drift.

The Downstream Fisher Yields to the Upstream Fisher

Most sports have a set of unwritten rules, generally agreed upon by those in the know. But the trouble with the unwritten rules of fly fishing is that many newcomers aren’t aware of them, and it might take seasons of error before realizing that you were pissing everyone else off while wading downstream into the upstream guys.

Dry Fly Fishing — Back Door, Side Door, Front Door | When the first cast matters most: Part Two

When fishing dries, the cautious angler has many chances to fool a rising trout. Start behind the trout at the back door. Next move over and try the side door, beside the trout. Then try going right down the middle and through the front door.

Making consecutive casts with a dry fly produces often enough to believe that the next cast will seal the deal. But there’s a lot more to it . . .

Eggs and Olives

The early spring season is very much defined by the resurgence of the egg pattern. And by the time the suckers are done doing their thing, our hatch season is in full swing. Then, just like that, the egg bite turns off. Suddenly the trout favor mayfly and caddis imitations over the full-color egg options.

But as reliable as the egg bite can be in early spring, you don’t want to sleep on the Olives . . .

Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #24 — Transitions are tough

The river is full of challenges and the trout dictate the terms. A versatile angler is ready for anything. But it helps to be thoughtful about every transition, every time you alter your rig or tactics on the water. Is the change a good bet? And if so, what adjustments need be made?

When the First Cast Matters Most: Part One — Streamers

While fishing the long flies, accuracy is paramount. In a recent conversation with my friend, Bill Dell, he made an excellent point that changed the way I fished streamers again. Bill’s thoughts forced me to rethink the habits I’d fallen into. And that hammered me back into shape.

Bill told me he doesn’t make a cast until he’s in the ideal position, until he can deliver the streamer to that sunken log near the bank with exactly the angle he considers best. He refrains from any lead-up casts. Rather, Bill saves the initial cast for when he can deliver the knockout blow — no jabbing on the way in. Here’s why . . .

Local Knowledge

You know the water level, clarity, the hatches, weather and more. That’s great. But local conditions are different from local knowledge. Here’s what I mean . . .

Fear No Snag Emblem Sticker

$5.00

Fear no snag. Have a little faith. Dare to make the next cast far back under the tree limbs and into the shadowy pockets. There ya go. Fish on!

— — —

  • Sticker is 5X5 inches
  • Printed with a UV and weather resistant finish
  • When mounted as a window decal on your vehicle, this Troutbitten sticker serves as inspiration to go fishing instead of running errands, every time you get in the car.

Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #3 — Fish New Waters

I’m a wanderer. On the water, I’d rather explore a new section of river than visit a familiar one — almost always. There’s excitement and an expectation of the unknown in and around every trout stream. I’ve found too many remarkable things around the bend to expect...

Streamside | Hatch Mag Tight Line Leader

We've gotten a lot of questions, comments and reactions to a few recent articles that we published about Sighters, Tight Line Rigs and Why Fly Line Sucks. It's cool to see so much interest. Many of the questions are about the mono rig itself, and there is definitely...

Net Fix

If I had a million dollars I would still approach fly fishing with a low budget mindset. I guess it comes from my fishing roots as a boy: cheap spinning tackle, rubber hip boots (big enough that I would "grow into 'em"), minnows and some Berkley Trilene.  We used 6lb...

Night Fishing for Trout: Know your water, and make a plan

** This Troutbitten article is part of the Night Fishing for Trout series. You can find the full list of articles here. ** I drove far back on the dirt roads with my boys this morning. We took the long way around. They got a kick out of some over-steering and gravel...

Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #43 — Two Ways to Recover Slack

Much of what we learn about fly fishing comes from instinct. Fishing, after all, is not that complicated. It does not take a special set of talents or years of study to figure most of this out for yourself. It just takes a tuned in, heads up approach out there on the...

Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #11– Tie your own flies — Here’s why

Every top-notch fly angler I know ties his own flies. The only exceptions are a couple friends who used to sit behind the vise but now have friends who tie custom patterns for them. Custom. That’s the important word here. And having your own set of flies, tied just...

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