Peacock herl is such a gorgeous material with myriad natural and iridescent colours. No wonder so many classic and modern flies use its powers of attraction. Think of the Diawl Bach, Black & Peacock Spider, Foam Beetle and others lifted by just a few turns at the thorax.

However, for all its beauty, peacock herl has its faults. It is delicate and often brittle (especially when dyed). It is also CITES registered. This means that if you travel to certain countries and meet an eagle-eyed customs officer having a bad day, they are within their rights to confiscate flies dressed with peacock (unless you can prove it has a legal source).

That’s why Andy Kitchener at Semperfli took it upon himself to study peacock herl under a microscope and create a formula of iridescence that mimics the natural material. This was then bonded to a core that won’t break and which can be wound on to a hook.

But how realistic is it? The best formula Andy could find needed a minimum number of different-coloured fibres and could only be created in a thickness of at least 2mm. Anything finer lacked realism. And so, the new Semperfli Synthetic peacock herl was born in 2mm and 4mm widths.

Despite our initial concerns, our tests proved that 2mm herl is ideal for everyday Diawl Bachs, and while it is not as soft as natural herl, it is close in look and feel.

As you would expect, it works best in larger nymphs, size 8-12. Anything smaller starts to look out of proportion. The 4mm option is ideal for bulkier nymphs, such as Montanas and the bodies of smaller lures.

Its advantages are that it is strong, won’t fade and will avoid embarrassment at the airport. There are three colours: black peacock, blue peacock and green peacock. Six metres per pack.

Synthetic Peacock Herl, £4.
Contact Semperfli (and stockists)
Tel 01757 333001.

Diawl Bachs in size 10 (left) and 12.                                                                            
They look authentic and won't fall apart.