Is there a Peacock herl substitute?

#1
Every time I tie a bug with this stuff, within three or four fish (sometimes just one) the fly is toast. Is there a synthetic substitute out there for Peacock herl?
 

David Dalan

69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E
#2
Mix the herl with thin brass wire. Tie them both on and then twist (not too much or the herl will break...just try it and you'll see). This makes a "brush" of herl and wire. Then wind the body, and never have the herl body come apart again.

I think peacock herl and ringneck pheasant tail are special and have no substitutes.
 

Tim Cottage

Formerly tbc1415
#6
The short answer is no. Peacock has magic properties that can not be imitated. Imitation peacock has about as much juju as imitation jungle cock in other words none.
Do as David Dalan suggests and it will be very durable.

TC
 

jwg

Active Member
#7
I usually twist the herl and the tying thread together, then wrap.
The herl is usually a rope I twisted up out of 3 pieces.
The main issues is starting, which is where the herl may break if the herl and thread are not coming off the hook in the same spot, on the same side of that same spot, when you start wrapping.
Jay
 
#8
I've been using Peacock Ice Dub on some bigger nymphs and streamers and it seems to work well, but for most everything else, twisting it with wire or counter ribbing it is the way to go. If your flies are extremly fragile, think about tying twice as many as you normally would.
 

GAT

Dumbfounded
#11
Yup, as noted, there are substitutes. As also noted, the genuine article has properties that are difficult to imitate. If you look at a nymph pattern made primarily from peacock herl underwater, like say, a Brown Forked Tail (what is incorrectly called A Prince Nymph), you'll notice it has a copper look to the body -- not green. When you pull it out of the water, the body once again has a green cast... that's danged hard to imitate.

The techniques mentioned above do add durability to peacock herl. I simply always use wire to rib the material. If it's a dry fly, I use very fine silver wire.

Most natural material patterns eventually start to fall apart if they are working. This is the reason you tie more than one :)
 
#12
Every time I tie a bug with this stuff, within three or four fish (sometimes just one) the fly is toast. Is there a synthetic substitute out there for Peacock herl?
Your comment answers the question; "After three or four fish" hell some of us would be thrilled to sacrifice a bug to get three or four fish.:cool: Peacock is magic stuff no substitute.
PS you still retired or did you go back to work?
jesse
 
#13
Thanks guys! I'm an "amuture" fly tier at best. Never heard of those options before...but then again I never asked. What's that old saying? "The only dumb question, is the one that isn't asked." I think I will have more success with my flies staying together now.

I agree with no substitute for Peacock. Although, I may try some of those other options, on really small flies for the thorax. I'm not good enough to get the wire and peacock together, without making it look like my fly has a serious tumor.
 

David Dalan

69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E
#14
Thanks guys! I'm an "amuture" fly tier at best. Never heard of those options before...but then again I never asked. What's that old saying? "The only dumb question, is the one that isn't asked." I think I will have more success with my flies staying together now.

I agree with no substitute for Peacock. Although, I may try some of those other options, on really small flies for the thorax. I'm not good enough to get the wire and peacock together, without making it look like my fly has a serious tumor.

Try this then....Tie in some thread when you tie in the herl. Like thread ribbing. Then wrap your herl and tie it off. Take the thread you tied in and use it as ribbing, but wind it in the opposite direction you wound the herl. This should keep you from having files that look like they came from the Lazy H Ranch, and still increase durability. You can also try the brush method using thread.

When making your brush gently pull the herl and the thread/wire snuggly together. Use hackle pliers to clamp down on the pair, while still under gentle tension. Use a toothbrush to "fuzz" the herl. Then use the pliers (maintaining gentle pulling pressure) to twist the wire/thread and herl into a brush. Then wrap as normal.

Either of these suggestions (or the ones above) should have you rocking near indestructible herl bodied flies in no time.

For dry flies, try various monofilaments as a brush/rib material. Actually adds some buoyancy.
 

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