Is there a Peacock herl substitute?

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

  1. generic

    generic Active Member

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    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?
     
  2. David Dalan

    David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

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    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.
     
  3. troutpocket

    troutpocket Active Member

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    yes.

    http://www.azflyfishing.net/proshop/product.php?productid=16166

    I've used this stuff quite a bit on smaller nymphs (sz 16-20) and it does the job. I still like the natural stuff for larger (12 and up). Try twisting the herl around your thread to reinforce it before wrapping it. Or spin it in a dubbing loop.
     
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  4. Patrick Gould

    Patrick Gould Active Member

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    maybe peacock micro chenille?
     
  5. Stonefish

    Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

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    Ice Dub peacock
     
  6. Tim Cottage

    Tim Cottage Formerly tbc1415

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    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
     
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  7. jwg

    jwg Active Member

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    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
     
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  8. troutdopemagic

    troutdopemagic Active Member

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    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.
     
  9. Jack Devlin

    Jack Devlin Active Member

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    David Dalan's suggestion is a good one. Also, you could reverse wrap fine wire over the herl body. That works pretty good too.
    Nothing quite like real peacock herl.
    Jack
     
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  10. Jamie Wilson

    Jamie Wilson Active Member

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    the ice dub sub is a good one but I like the rope - either from thread or wire - with 3/4 strands of herl
     
  11. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

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    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 :)
     
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  12. jessejames

    jessejames Flyslinger

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    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
     
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  13. generic

    generic Active Member

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    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.
     
  14. David Dalan

    David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

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    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.
     
  15. S Fontinalis

    S Fontinalis Active Member

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    Hareline Ice Dub, peacock color.
    Perfect sub!