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Getting to know: Gilbert the Gold-Ribbed Hare’s Ear

Gold-Ribbed Hare's Ear

This is the second in a series of interviews with characters from the Olive books. If you’re already familiar with the books, you’ll know these “folks” being interviewed. If you’ve not yet seen the books, these interviews will give you some insight into the colorful cast of characters who help to make Olive’s adventures so engaging and fun.

Read the first interview, here.

Today, Olive talks with her best friend whom she met on her first day at Camp Tightloops, Gilbert the Gold-Ribbed Hare’s Ear.

Olive: Gilbert! Thanks for stopping by to chat with me today.

Gilbert: Thanks for inviting me, Olive. This is pretty cool that you have your own blog. Maybe I should call you Olive the Woolly Blogger!

Olive: (laughs) You’re silly, Gilbert. So, tell us–what is a Gold-Ribbed Hare’s Ear? By the way, that’s a mouthful so we’re going to abbreviate it with GRHE, OK?

Gilbert: (laughs) Sure thing! I’m not very big, but I definitely have a big name! A GRHE is a nymph fly tied to imitate baetis (mayfly) nymphs. Most mayflies aren’t very big, so that’s why I’m small.

Olive: What’s a nymph, for those who don’t know?

Gilbert: A nymph is an immature insect, before it hatches into an adult with wings. Nymphs live underwater where they swim around or crawl on rocks.

Olive: So how do you go about fishing? Do you zip and dart like a streamer?

Gilbert: Mostly what I do is bounce along the bottom of the river like a real insect nymph tumbling in the current. It’s called ‘dead drifting.’

Olive: Dead drifting? That sounds kinda scary!

Gilbert: Oh, it’s not scary at all. It just means that the fly drifts naturally in the water as if its not attached to a line. I need to look as realistic as possible in order to fool fish, because as you know, fish can get pretty smart.

Olive: You look pretty real to me! I bet you fool a lot of fish.

Gilbert: Thanks! I don’t always catch fish, but nymph fishing is a pretty effective way to catch fish since fish eat most of their meals under the water.

Olive: I’d never met a nymph before I went to Camp Tightloops. Do you remember when we first met at camp?

Gilbert: Of course I do! You were feeling pretty sad because the dry flies were teasing you. That wasn’t very nice of them. The dry flies were sort of a clique, like an exclusive bunch of popular kids. Since I wasn’t one of the cool kids I knew exactly how you were feeling.

Olive: That was really nice of you to approach me and become my friend. Luckily the dry flies didn’t all turn out to be snobs, except for Randal the Royal Coachman.

Gilbert: Yeah, I don’t understand why Randal had such an attitude problem. He was never nice to anyone if they weren’t a dry fly. But karma came back to haunt him because he didn’t make it into The Fly Box.

Olive: Yeah, I actually felt bad for him on graduation day. I wish the best for Randal. Maybe he’s changed by now. I think everyone can change and become better.

Gilbert: I agree. Change is what makes fly fishing so much fun, because sometimes the fish like one fly, and the next minute they want something different.  We have to be willing to change flies and try something new. There’s no point in arguing over what works best, because what works best now may not work at all tomorrow!

Olive: That’s so true. And we all have our own talents and that’s what makes us unique.

Gilbert: Yep, and I love to watch different flies at work. It’s fascinating to me how the dry flies can float, and how streamers, like you, can zip and dart.

Olive: And I like watching how you can dead drift. I’m gonna try that sometime–it actually looks fun!

Gilbert: It is fun, and you should totally try it. Woolly Buggers are great for dead drifting!

Olive: Thanks, Gilbert. I’m going to do that next time I go fishing. Speaking of which, have you been fishing much lately?

Gilbert: Not as much as I’d like. It’s winter time and trout fishing can be pretty slow this time of year. When the water gets cold the fish aren’t very active, but I still like to go as much as possible. Fish still have to eat, after all, and nymph fishing can be very effective during the winter months.

Olive: So, we’ve been best friends for a long time. Not only were you my first friend, but you also rescued me in the third book, Olive Goes for a Wild Ride. Thanks for that, by the way!

Gilbert: You’re very welcome, Olive. That was quite a surprise to me when I found you in the third book. I’m sure glad I did because you had been on a really wild adventure. We were all glad to have you back in The Fly Box!

Olive: Thanks. It was great to be back home, too. One more question. If you were in a movie and you could choose a famous actor to lend their voice talent to the role of Gilbert the Gold-Ribbed Hare’s Ear, who would you choose?

Gilbert: Jimmy Kimmel. He’s funny and seems like he’d be a nice guy. And I know for sure he’s a fly fisherman because he’s talked about it and shown photos of himself fishing on his show. I think I look a little bit like him, too. Just kidding, Jimmy (laughs).

Jimmy Kimmel


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