This post links up to a series of my favourite flies and the fish I catch with them. As mentioned in the previous post, The Natural Look, these flies are not necessarily new or spectacular inventions, but rather flies that have been tweaked to perform better under specific circumstances. The Nuclear Hare’s Ear is exactly that, a classic nymph that I played with to add more movement and a bit of colour.

It wasn’t long ago that Ed Truter talked about ‘magic materials’ to me over the phone; it was one of the strangest concepts I had ever heard of but when I listened to his explanation – and also correlating it to my own knowledge and experience in the back of my head while he was preaching – it made perfect sense. There are materials that simply outperform others and these materials, including rabbit fur, peacock herl, deer hair – and especially klipspringer hair according to Ed, and grizzly hackle feathers, are often the reason why some patterns become famous, and not because of what those flies actually imitate or look like – i.e., the Coachman and Royal Coachman, the Red Tag, the Snake fly, and even some of our local stars like the Papa Roach, DDD and the Zak (I simply couldn’t resist adding that again – Tom Sutcliffe obviously knew what he was doing).

There are many magic materials, and one person’s list may not necessarily correspond to others, but some of the key magic materials Ed and I agreed on that I tied into the Nuclear Hare’s Ear included rabbit fur, CDC and peacock herl. I topped this little bomb with fluorescent orange icing as an extra trigger.

Ewan Naude’s opinion about bass and small flies changed after this decent smallmouth bass was landed on the Nuclear Hare’s Ear.

So instead of just a straight forward Hare’s Ear nymph (not taking anything away from the original, it is a brilliant fly and especially for schooled fish) consisting of natural rabbit fur and a black or gold bead that one would typically drift into the feeding lane of a fish, my aim with this nymph was to draw strikes from a distance and also to keep fish interested or make them commit with the extra subtle movement of the loose, zonker fur tail (I tied it longer than usual with reason in this case) and palmered CDC (slightly over dressed perhaps for skittish grayling and trout, but again perfect for what I intended to use it for). As Ed commented, the fly looked very ‘buggy’ and it also proved to be very effective on the first two outings in which case spotted and smallmouth bass and Clanwilliam yellows could not leave it alone and swam well out of their way to go and eat the suspending fly.

Clanwilliam yellows cannot resist a suspending Nuclear Hare’s Ear.

What was quite remarkable about the fly was that fish that had already seen us and seemed spooked could not resist eating the fly anyway. I fished it with a dead drift under a dull indicator, sometimes giving the fly the odd twitch for explosive takes. This post will be followed with a more detailed step-by-step tying demo, which you can check out here.

A twitched Nuclear Hare’s Ear will tempt even a spooked smallmouth bass to eat the fly.

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