Hare's Ear Bug

Published Nov 7th 2010

This is the simplest and most generic fly you can imagine, and it's a killer!

By ,

Hare's Ear Bug

When I ran through the step-by-step shots for this article I was a bit surprised that we actually managed to get as many as 12 different steps documented--me shooting pictures and my friend Ken Bonde Larsen tying. And I even had more pictures to choose from.

But then I thought: why not? Some people have never tied a fly, and if this will be their first fly 12 steps is not too many. For the seasoned fly tyer I could just say: some teased out dubbing on a hook, but that wouldn't necessarily mean much to a beginner.
So I kept the large number of steps, but as you can see - even as a beginner - it is actually just some hair on a hook, and nothing more! But in spite of its simplicity, this is one efficient fly, and will serve well as an imitation of a lot of small and nondescript animals such as scuds (gamaruses), water cresses and even caddis larvae.

Small gray/brown and elongated?

Hare's Ear bug is it.

Where I live we use it both in the salt and the fresh.
Fished actively over sea weed and its likely to be mistaken for a gammarus. Same thing in a lake.
Dead drifted or fished using a lift in a stream. Well it certainly looks like a tumbling scud or cress bug or even a hatching caddis to my eyes. What the fish think, I don't know, but it's a fact that they find it edible.

So get out your hare's mask, your rabbit skin or any other soft, grayish brown fur you might have. Make sure it's not too coarse, and dub along as we tie one of the simplest flies in the world.

HookShort shank, wide gape. Carp hooks are great.
ThreadTan, 8/0
BodyHare's ear dubbing

Step 1 - straighten hook - If you use a swept shank (point to the side) carp hook, you can start by straightening the hook.
Step 1 - straighten hook
Step 2 - hook ready - Use a short shank, wide gape hook
Step 2 - hook ready
Step 3 - weight - Add some weighted thread on the front third of the hook shank
Step 3 - weight
Step 4 - start thread - Start the thread and secure the weight
Step 4 - start thread
Step 5 - dubbing - Take the thread to the rear of the hook shank and start dubbing it... but sparsely!
Step 5 - dubbing
Step 6 - continue dubbing - Start dubbing the hook shank
Step 6 - continue dubbing
Step 7 - form body - Don\'t be afraid to go back and forth a couple of times, but keep the dubbing sparse.
Step 7 - form body
Step 8 - finished body - That\'s it! A nice, cylindrical body shape
Step 8 - finished body
Step 9 - whip finish - Whip finish in front of the body
Step 9 - whip finish
Step 10 - cut thread - Duh!
Step 10 - cut thread
Step 11 - teasing time - Use a Velcro stick to tease out the dubbing
Step 11 - teasing time
Step 12 - varnish - Secure the thread with a dab of varnish
Step 12 - varnish

Hare's Ear Bug country

Some people might argue that the fly would be better with a tail. You could rib it for durability. Add some hackle for legs. Use two colors to imitate a caddis. Add antennae.
Not on my shift!
The ease and simplicity of the fly is its strength, how weak it might ever be. And as I always say: it's way faster to tie two or three than to start fumbling with tinsel or copper for ribbing. And once it's teased out you have all the tails, legs and antennae you need.


User comments
From: Guy - Full name and email anonymized  Link
Submitted November 14th 2012

I Love the look for this pattern, I will definitely be trying it on UK Stillwater trout.
I tied one last night with an orange dubbed "egg spot". I look forward to seeing how it performs.

Thanks for a great pattern.


From: Guy - Full name and email anonymized  Link
Submitted November 14th 2012

This looks like a great pattern for uk still water fishing and stalking. I tied one up last night with an orange dubbed "eggspot" I will see how it performs. Very excited to try it thanks for putting it on the site!


From: dante cassani · dantecassani·at·hotmail.com  Link
Submitted March 31st 2011

conratulations for this page i like very much dante

GFF staff comment
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·globalflyfisher.com  Link
Submitted March 29th 2011


I'm not trying to offend anybody, but adding dubbing to a hook can hardly be called an invention can it? Nobody's trying to steal the thunder from Walt here (I never heard of him or his fly before now!), but I'd be surprised if somebody hadn't done this before Walt... like Frank Saywer. Try googling Saywer's Killer Bug and you will find something very similar to Walt's Worm and somewhat similar to this fly.

Flies as simple as this one is nobody's invention. They have been "invented" and tied by thousands of fly tyers all over the world for hundreds of years.


From: John · jsmith·at·yahoo.com  Link
Submitted March 29th 2011

Its a Walt's Worm invented by Walt Young.

From: Ken Craigue Jr · kcraiguejr·at·yahoo.com  Link
Submitted November 20th 2010

That's no trout -- it's a football!! Only bigger :)

From: Jeroen van Wijk · freestone·at·hetnet.nl  Link
Submitted November 10th 2010

Maybe now people start believing in the small flies we use for seatrout!
We've been using sizes 12, 14 for the last years with very simple dressing as well.
They have been picked up by a lot of big seatrout; they like to follow a big flies, but eat the small ones.

Instead of straightening a hook, I like to bend (forge) them on purpose. It will hook fish more easy, but that my believe

From: Paul Slaney · stillwater·at·btinternet.com  Link
Submitted November 9th 2010

That's a killer fly!! A similar one in dyed olive fur works well for me.

From: Patrick · jap·at·skynet.be  Link
Submitted November 9th 2010

I know that this is a good fly for seatrout, but I ad some flash in the dubbing.

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