Peacock Herl is an amazing material. It's naturally a
blue-green/green-blue color, but you can have it turn to
bronze by hanging it outdoors in direct sunlight. By the
amount of time exposed to the sun, you can control the color
change. Rotate the herl to get all it evenly exposed.
You can strip the hackle off of Peacock Herl using one of
Peacock Herl stems are usually brittle and will split
when wound tightly around a hook shank. To prevent this
there are different ways of preparing the herl for use.
1. Pink Eraser, rubbed against the herl from the tip towards
2. Using Finger Stalls (they look like thimbles, but made of rubber).
Found in Stationary Stores, used for counting money or handling
papers, same method as the eraser.
3. Stripping using chemicals (chorine bleach), and rinsing in
When using Peacock Herl on the fly, the patterns usually
call for the herl to be tied in at the bend of the hook,
and wrapped forward on the hook shank. The herl is (naturally)
very fragile, and if some means is not use to strengthen the
wrap, the herl will break with the first fish caught. Here
are some of the ways used, to strengthened the herl wrap on
1. If using the herl with hackle attached/removed, soak butt
ends in water before using. This allows the herl stem to soften
and become more elastic in nature.
2. If using herl where the hackle has been removed, you can
use sparingly, some hand lotion, hair conditioner or other ointment.
I prefer Preparation H cream, because it is made with shark liver oil.
(It is great too for chapped hands, from those trying days at
streamside, resuscitating fish that you have caught and are
attempting to release. It also helps speed up the healing
process of any nicks or cuts on your hands.)
1. Wrap the herl strands, around the thread and wrap both
forward on the hook.
2. If a pattern called for thin wire for ribbing, wrap the
ribbing forward with the opposite wrap of the herl.
3. Wrap the herl in at the forward end (eye) of the hook.
Wind thread to rear of hook. Tie off herl, and then wrap
the thread forward in a ribbing wrap) to secure peacock herl.
The eye of the Peacock Feather, is beautiful to look at
and there are many ways it which you can use it to good
effect on a fly pattern. My favorite way is as a wingcase
on nymph flies. The iridescent of the eye, adds something
to the nymph, drawning the attention of the fish. Think
of it as natural Flashbou. ~ Steven
Please check out the Fly Tying Section, on the Bulletin Board, here at FAOL too.
If you have any questions, tips, or techniques; send them to