One of the best – Hare's Ear Spider – wet fly and nymph

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One of the best – Hare's Ear Spider – wet fly and nymph

Post by Southshore » Thu Nov 22, 2018 6:36 pm

Of Captain GD Hamilton's 5 flies, this pattern was the one he favoured for larger trout. How right he was except all sized fish liked it as well, and it deserves its place in angling history along with the Pheasant Tail nymph. Tied from the simplest of materials, short slim body of guard hairs and fur from a hare's mask, no tail, rib of yellow waxed thread or gold wire, finished with a full length Hungarian Partridge hackle. Tied on hooks from a heavy No.8 to an unweighted No.16 it is a truly versatile pattern. For rainbows I would put on a shiny silver flat tinsel rib just to give it that bit of sparkle. How does it perform? Excerpt from Adrian Bell's “Hurunui Pickpocket” NZ Flyfisher article of Nov 1987:
“Brian M had introduced me to the Hurunui the week before. I’d caught my first brown fishing with a Tongariro rig. Compared with a rainbow the take was violent. I’d cast over a riffle just above a long pool. The resident 4 1/2lb hen had charged upstream to take one of Brian’s Captain Hamilton size 12s. I just had to lift the rod tip and the barbless hook did the rest” The Captain Hamilton was a weighted Hare's Ear Spider.
One evening just upstream from the pool where Adrian caught his beauty, I cast a Spider over a shallow riffle at the head of an island and without moving my feet hooked and landed 5 wonderful browns around 3lbs. I kept one for the pot and put the others back for another day. Wanted to stay longer, but as it was, dark was closing in fast, mozzies were attacking, couldn't see the indicator any more, no torch and had to cross a slippery boulder strewn and swift side stream to get back to the car. By this time the spider was in a sorry state; the rib was hanging loose, most of the hackle gone and the body was in tatters. From this I learned that a scruffy fly seems to be more attractive than a neat and tidy one – for evening sedge fishing anyway. Since then there have been many rivers and streams and many chewed spiders. Where this fly really shines is with a Leisenring lift (rising caddis sedge) at the end of the drift and how many surprised hookups have you had there when bringing the flyrod up for the next cast?, While that's an unconscious Leisenring, you could make it a deliberate part of your fishing technique, especially with this fly, and, it opens up water that you can't access fishing upstream. I did say versatile and I'll never go fishing without this one in my wallet. Thankyou Captain Hamilton.

Spider photo acknowledgement:
Note: In the post “Traveling with Flyrods” the big brownie on the end of a Fenwick 6 was hooked with a #12 Hare's Ear Spider. This and an olive nymph were the only two flies I used on this river. (photo by Malcolm Bell. We had a great day that day Malc!)


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