Is there a Peacock herl substitute?

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by Kaiserman, Apr 5, 2013.

  1. x2
  2. Well, that's what I was thinking. Simply tie more patterns.... sheeesh :)

    Ice Dub looks like peacock herl but doesn't have the odd ability to change color tints as does actual peacock. I use both but for some patterns, genuine peacock herl works best.
  3. I know, but when you suck at tying as much as I do, it just takes longer. Besides, I do tie several in each pattern, just wish I could get longer life out of them. With those helpful tips from earlier posts, I think it will help.

    I did tie one bug and "encased it" it Super Glue. Worked great, then a fish thought it would go and snap it off! That's what you get when you forget to check your tippet/knot after 6 fish in 15 min. It was one of those "frenzy" moments, where I could barely keep up with them....then it was over.
  4. The weird thing is that the now mangled herl bodied fly generally continues to catch fish like it did when you first tied it on.....if you change're doing it for yourself...not the fish.
  5. When I was first learning to tie I was told there is simply no heel substitute because it indeed has magical powers and it is simply a part of all trouts diet. When it gets mangled keep fishing it till the fish simply won't touch it, then save it. If nothing else the mangled flies will make awesome stories for you grand kids.
  6. After re-reading this thread, I can't help but ponder why we would even think of wanting to replace one of the greatest fly tying materials known to man? Dubbing is good, sure, but why not use the real thing????????
    Pat Lat and McNasty like this.
  7. Now that I know how to tie it properly (thanks to advice from here), I probably won't! :)
  8. Dave,
    This photo is an example of a peacock herl body made by twisting the herl and wire together then wrapping. Sometimes we can go too far with the twisting part of the process and the herl or the wire will break but after doing it a few times we get a feel for how much twisting is too much. This process makes for a very nice body. I try and get away with the smallest diameter wire I can.

    kelvin, Jamie Wilson, flybill and 2 others like this.
  9. Nice!

    Yeah, mine don't look like that. Hopefully (as I get better) they will. Thanks for sharing!
  10. I like to tie in the herl then wrap the herl around the thread in tight turns after about 6 to 8 wraps take a turn around the hook to prevent the herl from breaking at the tie in point then continue to wrap the herl around the thread until you think you have enough to complete the fly this makes for a practically indestructible body or collar it's herl chenille
  11. In addition to this, I dab a layer of head cement onto the underlying thread and then over wrap with my peacock "rope". Works well for shaping dragon bodies as well!
  12. Peacock Ice Dub is a great product, IMO. Of course, I'm hardly a purist. I use it for all my larger peacock applications, and I have not observed any drop off in effectiveness of those patterns versus the same patterns tied with natural herl. What I have noticed is that the bugs I tie with Ice Dub are much more durable. In some cases, the "bugginess" that teased out dubbing provides turns some effective flies into bonafide killers. The color-changing property of natural herl fascinates me personally, but I doubt the fish are as impressed as I am with that effect. Besides, the Ice Dub contains copper-colored fibers, so that effect is at least somewhat covered.

    All this said, I still use natural herl for small bugs, and for situations where the cool, rough, yet even profile that herl creates is simply "correct," even of the tier is the only one who really cares. All the methods mentioned for strengthening herl are good ones.

    Perhaps the takeaway is that this topic is no different from any other fishing discussion: everyone's got their own opinions, and nobody is wrong. At least in our own experiences, we are all right.
  13. that's exactly how I do it
  14. great idea
  15. The wire suggestions are good, and I agree that peacock is magic. I do use peacock ice dub, but only for thorax on certain workhorse flies and don't consider it a substitute.

    However, for really fine flies, like my #22 and #24 shellback midge emergers, wire would make them sink.

    I counter-wrap black thread on the tiny flies that need to stay up in the film so it doesn't add weight.

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