The Hare & Copper

The Hare & Copper is a favourite New Zealand pattern that is my favourite fly. It is a very simple fly to tie, it always swims right and it represents a large number of different food sources.

I use four different Hare & Coppers.

#14 Bead Head with a 1/8 brass bead

#16 unweighted

#16 weighted with four wraps of .2 lead

#16 bead head with a 2mm tungsten bead

This Hare & Copper is a #14 copper bead head  is the one I use when fishing a dry and a nymph on a dropper. I prefer the brass beads as they are not as heavy as the tungsten beads i could use. The tungsten beads of a similar size cause havoc with my cast, and I have yet to discover a tungsten bead that is the right size to replace the copper bead.


Hook                 Kamasan B175 #14
Bead                 1/8 inch copper coloured brass bead
Thread              Black Uni 6/0
Tail                    Cock Pheasant Tail
Ribbing             Copper Wire
Dubbing            Hare’s Back Guard Fur

Tying Instructions

1. Flatten the barb and put the bead on the fly.

2. Wrap in some thread and tie in a decent clump of pheasant tail fibres about half the length of the fly. Note the thick clump of feathers in the tail. This means that the fly can get damaged and still have a decent tail.

3. Tie in the copper wire rib.

4. Dub in the hare’s fur. Note that this is a rough fly and does not need perfect dubbing. In fact I far prefer a rough dubbed Hare & Copper than a smooth one.

5. Bring the ribbing forward and tie off.

6. I finish with 4 half hitches because I have never learned to hand whip finish and the half hitches work well.

7. Glue with a flexible cement like Dave’s Flexament. Superglue sets all the hare’s fur together so is not as good.

Why the Hare & Copper Works

The reason the Hare & Copper is such an effective fly is it suggests food to trout. It may not represent anything perfectly but it suggests it is a water boatmen, a mayfly nymph, a mayfly emerger, a caddis nymph and a few other things. More importantly most trout see it and think “Food”.

Aside from its suggestive properties the Hare & Copper always swims correctly. No matter how it is presented it will be the right way up as it is a 360 degree fly. It does not have a wing case or legs that can swim the wrong way and put fish off.

The other great virtue of a Hare & Copper is how fast it is to tie. I can tie them in 2 minutes easily, and quicker if I concentrate. This is very handy as I would expect to lose or wreck at least 100 unweighted #16s, 200 bead head #16s and 50 bead head #14s in a season, and probably more if the evening rise fishing is good.

Preparing Hare’s Fur for Hare & Coppers