Part Eight

Bullet Proof Your Herl
By George E. Emanuel

Peacock herl is one of the finest fish attracting materials found in nature. It has an iridescent quality that fish find very hard, if not impossible, to resist.

It is also perhaps the most fragile material in our arsenal!

We can however, with a little extra effort, reap the rewards of tying with this wonderful material, and enhance it's durability to a more than acceptable level.

We start out with a nice tight thread wrap on the shank of the hook which will be covered by our peacock herl. (This will also work with Ostrich, which while not as fragile as peacock, can also benefit from this technique.)

Now we tie in our herl, and a length of fine wire, (color of your choice.)

We now use "Daves Fleximent" to coat our thread base thoroughly.

Grasp the herl with your left thumb and index finger, bring a length of thread from your bobbin down along the herl, between your thumb and index finger and back over the top of the hook. Wind forward to the appropriate spot. Now let go of the bobbin with your right hand.

With your left and right hands spin the herl and thread together between your fingers to make a sort of rope of herl and thread.

Wind this herl/thread rope forward, adding one twist for each pass around the hook, and tie off.

Now counter-wind the fine wire forward and tie off. You can now perform any other operations to complete your fly.

The glue will obviously grasp each of the fibers with which it contacts. Daves Fleximent is specifically used as it will penetrate materials and actually bind them all the way to the wire on the hook. It doesn't make a fancy finish for heads, but it cements materials very, very well.

By twisting the herl with the thread, we are actually doing two things. The first of these is adding strength (the thread) to the fragile herl, and the second thing we are doing is causing the herl to "pop" or stand at attention on the shank.

The wire counter-wrapped up the shank is an extra layer of protection for the herl and prevents it from unraveling in the unlikely event that one of the other systems fail.

Herl catches fish, and there is no reason we can not, or should not, use more herl in our flies. If tied in as shown here, you will have come as close as we can, at this time, to a "Bullet Proof" herl fly. Now, bring on the fish!

If you have any tips or techniques, send them along, most of this material has been stolen from somebody, might as well steal your ideas too! ~ George E. Emanuel (Chat Room Host Muddler)

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