How To Tie: Night Terror

Night Terror
Inspired by the Nightmare jig, the Nightmare is a great articulated steelhead fly.

Don’t be fooled by this steelhead fly’s simplicity. Designed for movement, the Night Terror undulates and pulses in the current without losing bulk and profile – and to top it off, it is easy to cast!

With the popular Nightmare jig as inspiration, I set out to create what I now call the Night Terror – a fly that I religiously swing on the coastal waters in Washington state.


Hook: Aqua Flies Swing Hook, size 2
Shank: Aqua Flies 33mm round eye
Thread: Black 3/0 or 210 denier
Tail: Black rabbit strip
Body: Red Estaz
Body: Black and red marabou
Flash: Pearl or holographic tinsel, medium
Collar: Natural guinea

Step 1

Tie in a segment of Senyo’s Intruder Trailer Hook Wire. The wire should extend about an 1.25” off the end of the shank (enough to easily attach a hook). When tying in the wire, have the wire run down each side of the shank. Two-thirds of the way down the shank, double the wire over onto the top or bottom of the shank and cut off excess wire.

Step 2

For the tail, tie in a short rabbit strip. The rabbit strip hide should line up with the end of the wire, leaving the fur to extend over the hook.

Step 3

The body of this fly is simply red Estaz. Wrap the Estaz two-thirds up the shank.

Step 4

To give the fly movement, first, by the tip, tie in a piece of black marabou. Pull the fibers back to expose the tip and snip the tip off. This leaves pulled-back fibers and the stem in your fingertips. Take wraps around both to secure the plume to the shank. Rub the back edge of your scissors against the stem to fold the fibers rearward. This will get them roughly pointed in the right direction.

Palmer the marabou forward with 3-4 wraps. With each wrap, pull the fibers back. Damp fingers can help with this.

Step 5

Tie in a piece of red marabou and wind it forward using the same technique and number of wraps used with the black marabou.

Step 6

Cut three strands of small pearl tinsel. Each strand should be twice as long as the total length of the fly. Tie in each strand at the midpoint and fold back towards the rear of the fly. Space the flash equally around the shank of the fly.

Step 7

Peel away the fluffy bottom of a natural guinea feather. Stroke the fibers backward on the stem and tie the feather in at the tip. To complete the fly, wrap the feather and capture with thread, whip finish, and add head cement. If desired, clip off the bare part of the shank where it was secured by your vice.

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