Posts Tagged ‘GRHE


A classic bead head nymph…

Time flies (no pun intended) and what was innovative (like a bead head) in the early 80’s is now a classic, basic fixture in fly tying of nymph patterns. Still a great, basic nymph pattern! The tinsel rib is seen less today, but the glint of segmentation is still an eye catcher. I still enjoying taking these macro shots of flies I’ve tied and use.



Unrequited Love: GRHE

Photography-Macro-Fly Tying-Hares Ear-SwittersBIn the day, the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear (GRHE) was a must have, go to nymph pattern for the fly fisher along with the Pheasant Tail Nymph (PTN). The two patterns covered the Clinger, Crawler, Swimmer, Burrower nymphs for mayflies. The gold bead head brightened up the pattern along the way, but one would be hard pressed to find this pattern today in most fly shops (or am I wrong?)

Synthetics (dubbings), wires and beads have allowed for smaller, denser patterns that are easier/faster to tie and seemingly as productive as the older fur/hair concoctions. I admit, I have not tied many of this pattern in the last ten or so years. I have about a couple dozen left, all on Mustad hooks of old.  Rabbit is still a part of many blended dubbings and worthy of use. So, is the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear. I bet many new tiers have not used gold tinsel in their tying.


Fly Tying: Hare’s Mask, Dubbing

Hare's Masks of Different Dyed Colors (MadRiverFlyTyingMaterials Pic)

As a beginning fly fisher or tier, you will note the GRHE or some variation of the very popular/productive Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear. The tying process often involves selecting a small plastic bag, off a hook, which contains rabbit fur or a blend of rabbit fur and a synthetic. The primary appeal of the fur is the guard hairs amongst the fur, which when applied or dubbed to the hook creates a spiky appearance. All this fur, in fact, comes from a Hare’s Mask. The fur is longer about the cheeks and quite short up near the ears. The masks are offered in dyed colors with the natural mask still the most popular. I am not sure there is any advantage to buying the mask as opposed to plucking that bag off the hook. But, if you like the more hands on effort at dubbing and blending, it is always interesting to buy a mask and see what you create. Store the mask where moths or mice cannot get at it (sound advice for all your materials).


Stubble in Trouble (The Respectfully Tucked Away Hare’s Ear Nymph)

The Hare’s Ear..The Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear…The Bead Head Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear….so it progressed. And, did it progress right out of your fly box? Oh, some of you still have a spot for a few along with the must have Adams. But, in the quest for the new fix, I think perhaps, if not taken for granted like you know who, then you have perhaps opted for that new curvaceous  hook and some concoction that owes its worthiness to the original bristling gem…the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear.

The GRHE or the beaded version, became the nymph staple up until about eight or so years ago when boredom, innovation or anarchy set in and the Hare’s Ear became respectfully tucked away. No, you say. Well, perhaps not you, but the old dynamic duo of the GRHE and the PTN (Pheasant Tail Nymph) have been set aside in a 7 year itch sort of way….later to be appreciated. Oh, and don’t think just because you reflexively resort to a hare’s ear dubbed thorax you’re off the hook. This is a good pattern for the chunky, clinger mayfly nymphs. Don’t let it go the way of the Green Butt Skunk and Woolly Worm!!!

Tutorial (Tier initially uses pheasant tail fibers for tail….see how easy the classic is forsaken? Then note in the bead version the tail is hare’s ear tied in at the tail).


Pheasant Tail Nymph (Tired and True)

I have stated my boredom with GRHE’s and PTN’s (a little insider acronym stuff there) But, truth be told and that is what we do here for better or worse, the Pheasant Tail Nymph is an excellent nymph in streams and stillwaters. Above you see ones I have tied as a flashback nymphs with copper wire ribs (a touch to heavy of wire, should have gone to small wire) and a peacock thorax. The flashback is mylar or strands of flashabou or Krystal Flash and the pheasant tail fibers are swept back to suggest legs. Sometimes in small sizes these legs can be omited and the fly tied in the traditional style (sans legs).

 A beadhead can be included for flies that are destined to tumble down moving waters. I would forgo the bead head on any fly that you intend to present in a steady, parallel direction, say in stillwates. The abdomen can be tied traditionally with pheasant tail feather fibers or for added density use copper wire, which is really nothing more than a Copper John. I have never altered from the natural color but recently I saw a PTN at the East Lake Resort store, which was tied with red pheasant tail fibers. It was nice looking pattern (see photo). the PTN is a very good and simple to tie pattern to match mayfly nymphal stages. These shown flies are on size 14 and 16 hooks. So although I am tired of some flies that does not mean they aren’t true(ly) (had to make sure you got the header) dependable patterns. Tumbled down a stream, tied on as a dropper or fished in the surface (without the bead) this fly is a proven fly and you always see it noted and recommended for the obvious reason.  

In the top pic you see Chironomid Pupa’s with peacock or peacock Ice Dub thorax and wine colored Krystal Flash body and silver ribbing. I tied them in two sizes (12/16’s). I tied green wired ‘Copper John’s’ behind those you see Cracklebacks, a Renegade and Olive Parachute. My boxes start out neat but I have remarked before upon how they end up: Double click on photos to zoom in for a detailed view.  I like the shot above, which I took outside in direct sunlight. Tim B. of planettrout gave me advice several months ago that his son takes certain shots outside. Turned out nice, I think. (Read!)


Sunday tying

The ubiquitous GRHE (Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear) made from the mask of a rabbit/hare. I did not use rabbit for the tail, but rather hackle fibers. I am very allergic anymore to rabbit fur. Here, I used Kudra fur for the abdomen and rabbit for the thorax and pheasant tail for the wingcase.   


(Left) I have had great success with this black & grey basic nymph. It has worked for years in either lakes or rivers. The tail and hackle are black and the abdomen and thorax are grey Kudra fur. It is ribbed with copper wire.


This was suppose to be a Timberline Emerger and I infused more radical hairs for breathability and life. I used chickabou for the tail and Kudra fur for the abdomen, then hackle tips for the wing and crazy fibers for the thorax.


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