Give the Herl a Whirl

To flash or not to flash?

No, I don’t mean wearing a raincoat and running up to groups of women. I’m writing about whether flash should be added to flies, and, if so, how much.

I read recently in Tying Small Flies that flash is a critical trigger for trout. That touch of shine to impersonate a bubbleback on a pheasant tail nymph. Some ribbing on a midge pattern. Touch of gold on a hare’s ear. But, when I last fished the Swift, long-time angler Gary told me that Swift trout hate gaudy flies.

So, what to do? For now, I think I’ve found a healthy median for some of my flies: peacock herl.

There’s something pretty magical about it. It is iridescent, reflecting light in multiple wave lengths. But, it’s very subtle. Moreover, its fibers can give the impression of moving legs and gills.

I think it is one reason The JT Special streamer tends to do well. And, I’m adding it as a thorax to some of my emerger flies, and it seems to be making a difference.

So, give the herl a whirl the next time you’re tying flies. This feisty 17″ fish fell prey to the call of the herl.

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3 thoughts on “Give the Herl a Whirl

  1. I have some peacock herl I haven't used for a while, so I think I'm gonna try to tie up some JT Specials. Any other good herl patterns you recommend?

    All these pics from the Swift are getting me excited for my annual Black Friday trip there. Hopefully the good fishing will hold up!

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