As anyone who has spent much time fly fishing for whatever species they want, and particularly if you are a fly tyer also, then you probably are very aware of the fish catching quality of Peacock Herl.
You know this stuff: Found in most all fly shops, mail order fly tying suppliers, craft shops etc.
The color, the iridescence, the sleekness, whatever it is, Peacock Herl has “IT”. Now for as long as Peacock Herl has been used, those that tie much with it can tell you that while it makes some beautiful bodies and other fine effects on a fly pattern, it is not the most durable material to tie with and expect it to hold up. What to do to make it more durable……… That is the question?
Now some tie with it as it is and put with the fact that if you catch a fish it is quite possible you may have to replace your fly also! Others have gone away from using Peacock Herl for bodies and gone to dubbing their bodies on flies with Peacock look alike dubbing. I have done that and really like this:
However, some time ago, I learned that traditional Peacock Herl could be used in a dubbing loop made of wire for strength purposes, twisted into a rope and then wrapped on body style. This reinforced Peacock Herl body works wonderfully and holds up better when fish are feeding and looks amazing durable. Plus, you get the real thing on the body of your fly…..
Here is a picture of a fly that I just tied this morning that uses the Peacock Herl in a dubbed wire body rope. Now this is an old traditional Wet Fly (some call them Soft Hackles, I do). Panfish, and particularly, Bluegill love this little pattern. Rest assured you can exercise lots of flexibility with this fly. Example: Peacock Herl in a wire loop is optional, Red Tag for the tale can be left off (Why, Bluegill love Red somewhere on a fly), and finally, your choice of hackle for the front can be of your preference. (In this case, I used Dyed Partridge in a Yellow Olive color.)
- Hook – I use a 2457 Tiemco style scud hook size 10
- Thread – Black 6/0 your preference
- Tail – Just a tag end of Red Yarn
- Body – Fine Gold Wire tied in as a dubbing loop
- Body 2 – I use at least 6 strands of Peacock Herl. More if you want a bigger body
- Hackle – Dyed Partridge (Again, color is of your choice)
- Remember, you can double click on the picture to get a better view.
- Begin by applying your thread to the hook and bring it back to the point on the fly straight up from the barb.
- Tie in a short piece of Red Yarn at this point. Not too long and serves as an attractor color to get the fish’s interest.
- Next take a fairly long piece of Fine Gold Wire and fold it in half and tie it in like you would a dubbing loop.
- Then take at least 6 strands of Peacock Herl and tie them in so that you have your wire loop and Peacock Herl laying next to each other.
- ***Key Part here – Make sure your wire dubbing loop is open and ready to work with. Take your Peacock Herl and bring it down along side one side of the loop. Take the Peacock Herl and begin wrapping it around one side of the loop only. Keep twisting until the loop on that side is totally wrapped with Peacock Herl. Then insert your dubbing loop twister into your loop which should tighten your loop for you. Then twist the dubbing loop tool until the Peacock Herl is twisted into what looks like a chenille rope. Wrap the Peacock Herl forward leaving enough space at front of the fly to tie in your hackle. Tie off dubbing loop and clip any excess left.
- Hackle – Tie in your Soft Hackle feather by the tip and make (3) full turns around the hook (one in front of the other) sweeping them back each turn in wet fly style.
- Whip Finish Knot – Go Fishin’
If you have any additional questions on this pattern don’t hesitate to jump right in the conversation and leave a comment.