By Nick Simonson
The Zebra Nymph is a heavy-metal pattern that trout and panfish can’t resist. With alternating wire strands for the body and pheasant tail fibers for the tail and legs, it’s a perfect combination of flash and finesse.
Hook: Curved Nymph 12-18
Thread: 6/0 Black
Head: Black Nickel Bead
Tail: 8 PT Fibers
Abdomen: Wound Silver & Black Medium Ultrawire
Thorax: 2 Peacock Herls
Wingcase: Pearl Mylar
Legs: PT Fibers, folded back
Start by placing a curved nymph hook adorned with a black bead in your vise (1). Then tie in two three-inch strands of silver and black ultrawire down the bend of the hook, and a set of 8 PT fibers for the tail (2). Advance your thread over the PT fibers up to the thorax area and begin carefully wrapping the ultrawire forward, forming the zebra-stripe abdomen of the nymph. Tie off the wire and trim when you reach the thread (3).
Next, tie in a strand of pearl mylar and one peacock herl and advance your thread over the PT fibers to just behind the beadhead, where you can split the fibers into two groups of four on either side of the hook (4). Wrap the peacock herl forward and tie it off behind the bead, trimming the excess and fold the pearl mylar forward over the herl, forming the wingcase before tying off and trimming behind the bead head (5). Fold the PT fibers back into place and trim them even with the back of the thorax before whip finishing and adding a drop of head cement for posterity (6).
This heavy, flashy nymph is great for getting down where hungry fish lurk and can be customized with various colors to match the hatch. Tie them in various sizes, from ultra small midge larvae in size 18 or 20, to big summer bug selections in 10s and 12s for whatever time of year you’re fishing.