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Picking The Correct Peacock Eyes for Stripped Herl

The Thin Black Line

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21 replies to this topic

#1 dontheo

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 10:38 AM

Well, after posting, discussing, reading, web searches, etc and getting more frustrated, I thought it was time to take matters in to my own hands and start experimenting.  What I am trying to achieve is to locate a peacock eye, that when stripped of it's herl, with give one a nice stripped quill with the black line on one side for the segmented look on the body of a fly.  Actually, it's not technically a quill but it will be referred to as one by me here..

 

Stripping of the herl, storage, soaking and chemicals will come later as this is just about locating the right eye feather.

 

quill1.JPG

 

 

These are two peacock quills purchase from a reputable fly tying supplier which is know for their quality.  The reason I picked them is because of the back of the quill.  From research, one should be able to tell from the color or shade of colors on the back of the eye, which feather will be better to produce the black stripe I am looking for.  These, even though quills that were advertised as large and excellent, are pathetic.  The good portion for the marking comes from the "bluish" section and about two inches, up or down, on either side from the blue section.

 

First, we need a controlled lab.  One that is clean and orderly.  This is as good as it gets:)

 

lab.JPG

 

 

The floor was kept free of any featers or other once living body parts by my assitant, Sissie.

 

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reallab.JPG

 

 

Next I stripped the herl and compared quills from both sides.

 

quills.JPG

 

This is what I ende up with.  From the sweet spot on the peackcock eye is a bunch of worse then pathetic quills that had no stripping at all and one could not tie with them even if they wanted to. I knew they ere bad, but they didn't look this bad till I got the herl off.

 

So I dropped back to some moose main, white and black, and got this.  Not real happy because the white hair is so much larger then the black that it shows off as prominent.  Don't laugh at my wings:).

 

moose.JPG

 

So my conclusion is, the advertised peacock was from a juvinile bird which had not fevloped this characteristic I am looking for.  Thus they are not fit for much and will have no stripe.  One can't even tie with them except from the herl down on the lower portion of the stem that I could buy as "strung" for a lot cheaper then an "Eye Feather".

 

I have picked out some very large eyes with various shadings and will run the same experiments again this weekend and post more results.

 

I refuse to let a quill intimidate or beat me.      


Sometimes my mind just wonders


#2 1hook

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 04:15 AM

Lol good post. Hey I know this defeats the purpose of everything your doing but lay down a layer of black thread and leave tiny gaps between quill wraps...same effect

#3 Roofish

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 05:45 AM

Love your dog smile.png

 

<-------------------Reminds me of mine, "Max" smile.png


Roofish


#4 riffleriversteelheadslayer

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 10:55 AM

ok I'm not trying to start any debate or stuff but they peacock eyes you have there are bronze peacock this is actually caused by sunlight more precisely uv rays which bleaches or burns the colors out of the feathers which inturn takes the black stripe you are looking for out of the feather what you want to look for is eyes which are really green which means they are fresher from the bird these have the qualities you are looking for I would suggest you find someone that has peacocks and get some straight from the bird


"Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading".--Thomas Jefferson

 

There is no such thing as a blank day for a fisherman. It will be saved for him by the white-throated weasel, who watches his fishing from a hole in the wall under which is lying a fish that refused all flies; or by the excitment of identifying insects; or by the apple-bloosom in a nearby orchard; and no one would call that day a blank on which he has seen a king-fisher." -- Arthur Ransome Rod and Line, 1929

 


 

 

 


#5 dontheo

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 12:47 PM

Riversteelhead slayer:

 

No, all the info the better.  These pics where taken from the back of the peacock eye.  The front of the eyes were very colorful.  I just finished some mature birds last night that had large and very colorgul eyes too, but they were from mature birds.  

 

What I am trying to tell, is if I go out and buy or collect some peacock eyes, will they have the stripe I am looking for or not by looking at them prior to stripping the herl..    

 

So last night I took three mature eyes, a lot larger and more full thn these.  All looked outstanding from the front, but from the rear, they had different shades of gray.  What I will post later, is that from the shade of the eye, looking at it from the rear, one can determine if it ill have the stripe chracteristic and to what degree.  

 

My neighbor, a bit yonder down the road has some peacocks.  Actually one less as of this morning.  Not sure what got him.  Probably a Coyote.  They are very pretty but nasty birds that make a hell of a lot of noise.  I had some chickens and the HOA made me get rid of them but they let him have his peacocks.  i think I will send Nipper, my Jack Russell down for a visit:). 


Sometimes my mind just wonders


#6 JSzymczyk

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 01:04 PM

Very interesting info!   Just shows that with natural materials, you really must learn to know what you are looking for, and it is a gamble to buy them mail-order.   Not changing the subject, but good quality bucktails are getting to be more elusive in the fly tying world than they should be, like your peacock feathers. 

 

What kind of BS HOA would make you get rid of chickens but let someone keep peacocks??  Ain't NO WAY I would ever live somewhere there is an HOA. 


the gales of November remembered...


#7 riffleriversteelheadslayer

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 04:12 PM

the green I am talking about is the herl itself is quite green not that bronze color front or back the fresher from the bird the more green the herl is my friend has peacocks on his farm and I go over there sometimes and pluck a few eyes off and they are excellent with the stripe but after a few months off the bird they are the bronze herl and the stripe goes away


"Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading".--Thomas Jefferson

 

There is no such thing as a blank day for a fisherman. It will be saved for him by the white-throated weasel, who watches his fishing from a hole in the wall under which is lying a fish that refused all flies; or by the excitment of identifying insects; or by the apple-bloosom in a nearby orchard; and no one would call that day a blank on which he has seen a king-fisher." -- Arthur Ransome Rod and Line, 1929

 


 

 

 


#8 dontheo

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 06:20 PM

 RRSHD

 

Do you find any difference between a juvenile or adult peacock?  i know where i am going tonight:)  

 

i did find that the eyes that had the most color on the back and were mature kept the stripe.  But this would simplify things if you could get fresh quills as long as you wrapped them right away and then coated them.  

 

JS

 

i get my bucktails "Rocky Mountain Dubbing"..  They are tanned so they don't stink as bad.  It doesnt bother me but the dogs cant be left alone anywhere near the untanned ones..     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sometimes my mind just wonders


#9 riffleriversteelheadslayer

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 06:28 PM

juvenile birds don't have as long or full quills as for the stripe I'm not sure never really checked


"Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading".--Thomas Jefferson

 

There is no such thing as a blank day for a fisherman. It will be saved for him by the white-throated weasel, who watches his fishing from a hole in the wall under which is lying a fish that refused all flies; or by the excitment of identifying insects; or by the apple-bloosom in a nearby orchard; and no one would call that day a blank on which he has seen a king-fisher." -- Arthur Ransome Rod and Line, 1929

 


 

 

 


#10 keep_lookingup

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 02:53 PM

Ones that are fresh off the bird are very green but they do turn bronze after a few months. In laws had peacocks.

#11 sandflyx

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 02:59 PM

light makes them turn bronze, keep them in a box with no light they stay green.


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#12 dontheo

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 03:29 PM

Well, I stripped them all and have a bunch of nicely ills with strips. I put them in my dubbing drawer in some cigar tubes. Just for the hell of it, I am going to go back and take one tube and give those a little rub of something to keep them soft. I read all the controversy on this but I think once they are tyed in and coated with head cement the water and enamel theory won't matter. What a pain in the ass. No wonder they are not used as much today.

Sometimes my mind just wonders


#13 Patriot

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 12:25 PM

Discovered this thread while trying to find - you guessed it! - large, mature peacock eyes for the same reason that the OP was.

 

Does anyone know of a source for decent mature peacock eyes?

 

Thanks!



#14 mvendon

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 12:10 PM

Discovered this thread while trying to find - you guessed it! - large, mature peacock eyes for the same reason that the OP was.

 

Does anyone know of a source for decent mature peacock eyes?

 

Thanks!

 The easiest and most inexpensive solution to this problem is to buy Polish Quills in natural that are already stripped. If you want to go the other route, you'll have to find peacock eye feathers that are between 40 and 50 inches in length. Buy at least 100 of these and then sort them out. You'll get around 7 to maybe 10 that have really good contrast. A bunch will be cream with varying shades of brown for contrast, and the rest will either have no contrast or very little. At almost a dollar a feather now, that gets expensive in a hurry for just finding a few eyes that will be really good. Even the Polish Quill brand will have quite a few of the cream/brown contrast, but there's usually several that have that really good almost white to black contrast per package. The longest eye feathers have been on the bird the longest, are usually the largest in eye size, and have the most chance of good contrast in the eye area. Buying eye feathers from fly shops for this is a crap shoot at best since they're cut shorter in length and there's no way of knowing the initial length. They used to be much cheaper than they are now when you bought in bulk from a feather place. If you can go to a fly shop for selection, look for large eye feathers that are worn on the top of the eye. They're the ones that drag on the ground when the bird is on the move. It still doesn't guarantee the contrast though.  Hope this helps.

 

 Regards,

                  Mark



#15 flytire

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 12:44 PM

I bought a 100 pack of peacock eyes from aliexpress in China and gave them away. Poor quality for bleaching

I also bought a 100 pack of bleached quills from a seller on eBay from the U.K. and they werent the best quality either

Polish quills can be good but theyre mostly for small flies as 50-60% of the quill is usable

Respect someones else's ideas. We are all different people. Your way is not the only way.

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