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  • Writer's pictureRay Sugg

Best Fly Ever!

Bead Head Hare's Ear, Sugg style

I have probably caught more fish on a bead head hare's ear than all other flies combined. Like many fly fishermen, I started off using dry flies exclusively. It's fun to see the fish take the fly on top, and there is no question about whether or not you got a bite. One Summer while tubing Deep Creek in Bryson City, we floated past a man fishing with a fly rod, and I pulled over to watch him for a minute.

He was using some type of nymph, which I later found out was a girdle bug, and he was using a small cork bobber (OK, strike indicator). He would wait for a few tubes to pass, roll cast upstream, and even I could see the indicator go under from where I was. I watched him catch and release five wild browns and rainbows in the 10-12 inch range from the same run - it was truly a life-changing experience! Not long after that. I was indictor nymphing and catching trout in places and on days I would have been skunked using dries. Once I got started nymphing, it did not take me long to learn of the fish-catching qualities of rabbit fur. I tied my first hare's ears with a deer hair tail like the traditional pattern, and caught a lot of fish on them. I started thinking that if the goal was to get the fly down as quickly as possible, the deer hair actually works against that, so I started tying mine with goose biot tails like a prince nymph. Here is a video on how to tie the bead-head hare's ear:

The bead-head hare's ear is my go-to fly on my favorite cow pasture creek, and in all waters and conditions when I think the fish will not be "looking up". Here are a few pictures of some of the trout I have caught on a hare's ear.

wild brook trout

stocked brook trout

wild brown - you can't see the fly, but trust me - it's a hare's ear

stocked brown - on a size 18 hare's ear

a few wild rainbows from the cow pasture

and a couple of stocked rainbows

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