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Grannyknot 04-26-2010 08:49 AM

Peacock Herl
From a beginner:
Whats the best way to get a nice tight wrap of peacock herl? Say on a BHPT. I get mine almost to the point where I am about to tie it in and it snaps (not always, but 8 out of 10 times).

Is this common?
Do I need the super expensive hackle pliers?

Kytroutbum 04-26-2010 09:23 AM

I never use a hackle pliers unless I really need to. 1) Is your peacock old and brittle? I've found some packs I had a while are. 2) Are you nicking the point of the hook? Using a hackle pliers, that's a possibility. 3) When I wrap my peacock herls, I twist my tying thread around it and wrap both herl and thread at same time. It seems to eliminate herl breakage while wrapping, it strengthens the fly's body and I find I can skip using wire. Look at my suggestion for adding a little red dubbing to the thread in the Prince Nymph thread, it works.

Randall Sale
the Kytroutbum

PeteCz 04-26-2010 09:25 AM

GK, I'm by no means an expert but I have developed a different approach from most folks.... Most books, etc tell you to create a rope of Herl with 3 strand or more and then wrap those. But to be honest, I have never had much success making those wraps look all that good. What I do instead, is take one strand, tie it in by the tip, but about 1/4 to 1/3 from the very tip. The tip is usually the best looking but the most if you go down just a little ways on the herl is more stable and still has most of the look of the very tip.

I then wind the herl (without pliers) so that the fibers are all nice and close to each other. It gives a nice bushy effect to the herl section...give it a try.

Kytroutbum 04-26-2010 10:16 AM

PeteCz has it right. Tie in a ways from the tip, wind from tip end on first. I only use one or two herls when I wind mine since I dub my thread.

Troutman 04-26-2010 10:16 AM

soak it in a glass of water for a few minutes to soften the herl stem just like you would for a stripped herl fly. ex... quill gordon, before tying in and wrapping. less likely to break. Its gonna get wet anyways.

Grannyknot 04-26-2010 02:00 PM

Thanks everyone. I will try some of these tips tonight and see what happens.

flyman 04-26-2010 08:49 PM

Tie it off several times during the process. Leave the thread at the rear of the thorax and let the wraps of peacock push the thread and bobbin forward as you wrap it forward. I've tried to wrap it with thread to reenforce it and I just don't like the way it looks. Tie it off with thread every 2 o4 3 wraps of peacock. That way if it come loose, it will still be tied off and you can just trim the loose ends. I will also say this, not all peacock herl is created equal, if you find a good source buy it bulk.

jeffnles1 04-26-2010 09:15 PM

I usually tie in 2 or 3 strands and then put a couple drops of head cement on the thread wraps before wrapping the peacock hurl. I find it helps hold things together and makes the flies last longer.

I tie quite a few soft hackles with peacock bodies (fish like these by the way, especially with starling for the hackle).


Grannyknot 04-26-2010 09:38 PM

Thanks for the help everyone. I used a little bit of everyone's advice tonight practicing with peacock herl. Give me some constructive criticism of what I've done.

Here is a Pheasant Tail rendition I have been working on. It is actually tied with some old ring neck feathers, and the heads always look a little odd, because by the time I get there, I am just happy the whole thing hasn't slung apart. Also, I am terrible at whip finishing.

Below is the first Prince Nymph I have ever tied. I feel like I did ok, except that I learned that it might have been easier to use a bead head to hide my ugly whip finish and tie offs. I know I didn't use the right hackle, this was all I had in my small collection of materials.

Please let me know what you think I could have done differently to make them better. Thanks.

BlueRaiderFan 04-27-2010 12:17 AM

I toss them as far as I can and then check for damage...I guess you could call it a herl.

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