Peacock herl substitute – why would I want that?


One of my favourite fly tying materials is peacock herl. I’ve tied hundreds of flies using this classic material, and I sure will continue to do so.

The iridescent sheen of peacock herl just adds something special to a wide variety of fresh and saltwater flies. Most often I use it as a body material, but it is great as a winging material in saltwater streamers.

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But the fragile herl can be tricky to work with and a herl body looks best when it is new. So for saltwater flies… and other flies that are exposed to aggressive environments and hard use I wanted to have an alternative – especially for a body material.

Finding out that several countries already have restrictions in dealing with plumage from peacock, made it even more relevant.

Try, try and try again

So Ulla and I spent a lot of time trying to make a convincing Peacock herl colour to my Woolly Sparkle Dub. The tricky part of that process was not really getting the basic colour right. The problem was achieving the right amount of sparkle in green and bronze highlights mixed into the brew.


So I did a lot of testing. I covered half of a hook shank with the real stuff, and the rest with my latest wannabe peacock. Then I inspected the result with different light sources (mostly natural) and with light at the front and passing from behind. I even filmed the process under water :0)


After a week I ended up with a combination of 3 colours of our superfine textured natural wool and 2 colours of Ice Dub (which were both mixed colours). So it’s probably not all wrong to say, that our WSD – Peacock Sparkle is made up of fibres in 8 to 10 different shades and varying degrees of iridescence and opacity.

Well… now it’s here

We are very pleased with the result, and I’ve already wrapped up a bunch of one of my favourite flies, The Coachman using this material. Now I’m onto Red Tag, Black & Peacock Spider and tons of other classic flies.


This is not replacing Peacock herl – but it is a fine substitute, that’s super easy to use, has the right shine and luster and will take any beating… and still look great.

The Woolly Sparkle Dub in the brand new colour Peacock Sparkle is – like all of the 18 colours in the series – made of 90 – 95 % natural wool and a bit of sparkle. Check it out.


Find more info, fly patterns and tying- and fishing tips on Woolly Sparkle Dub here…

Watch Woolly Sparkle Dub videos here… 

You can buy Woolly Sparkle Dub right here… 

You can buy Natural Sculpin Wool here… 

Tight lines