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Thread: Peacock herl

  1. #1
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    Question Peacock herl

    In viewing videos and SBS instructions that involve peacock herl I note that the quality of the herl used by the expert tiers has the tiny green barbs (?) on both sides of the little stem as it is picked from the big tail feather.
    My bundled herl has them on one side only. I get the nice two sided barbs only on the little (stems) that I find close eye on the "eye" feathers. In my opinion, these nicely adorned herls make much better looking small flies. Am I missing something or do these better tiers have unique feather sources?
    (Please excuse my improper designation of the feather parts on the peacock.)
    Thanks for your thoughts.
    Last edited by Ray Kunz; 05-01-2013 at 04:40 PM.

  2. #2
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    Ray
    The stem of the feather is called the rachis (RAY-KISS) and the herlis the barb. Coming off the barb are the barbules which lock the barbs together on ordinary contour feathers.

    Good herl has barbules on both sides. If you look closely at your herl you will likely see the barbules on the bare side of the barb are just very stunted.

    Diet is probably the main culprit.
    art

  3. #3
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    Diet is probably the main culprit.
    art

    Also genetics of the different families of Peafoul. Not all herl make good fly tying results.

    If possible, hand select very carefully. This is one of the largest differences we tiers find
    in our tying materials.
    Denny

  4. #4
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    When I buy peacock I usually go for the full eye. The premium herls are the ones on either side just below the eye. They are a little shorter than further down the stem but bushier. Those are the ones I reserve for my flies. There are only 12 to 20 on an eye.

    Fortunately now I know where there is a flock of peafowl so if I want feathers I just need to have a walk around there and pick some up. There is an albino one in the flock. The land owner hates them. One day we must arrange for that and one of the others to have an accident! The problem is the dominant male will not let others grow the tales we want. On the down side I don't know anyone with a big enough oven, I suppose I'll have to joint them.

    Cheers,
    A.
    "Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical
    minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which
    holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a ****
    by the clean end"

  5. #5
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    Thanks guys for the replies confirming my thoughts. This appears to be another reason to avoid buying mailorder.

  6. #6

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    Alan. You really don't want to eat a peafowl. Nasty tasting things.
    It Just Doesn't Matter....

  7. #7
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    Peafowl I have had were fantastic eating... There are places they may be hunted as feral fowl...

  8. #8
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    Hi Hap,

    I have read that peafowl were originally raised for food. If I remember correctly, one of the problems with raising them for food is that they don't grow as fast as other fowl, nor are they nearly as good at converting feed into meat as other fowl such as chickens.

    If they were grown for food, they must not be too bad to eat. I think that they are also in the same bird family as are pheasants, and may in fact be a very large type of pheasant.

    Regards,

    Gandolf

  9. #9
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    They taste very good. At least the one I shot did.
    ‎"Trust, but verify" - Russian Proverb, as used by Ronald Reagan

  10. #10
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    They are just large peasants. I'll not turn my nose up at free protein.
    Cheers,
    C.
    "Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical
    minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which
    holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a ****
    by the clean end"

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