The herl in and just below the eye of a peacock feather can be used to form the segmented body of small flies. The quills are flat and distinctly marked giving the fly a realistic abdomen. You can easily make your own. However, if you don’t want to or don’t have the time, they are available commercially.
Polish Quills provides packages of hand stripped quills in 13 different colors. Each package contains at least 25 quills. Hand stripping is less likely to fracture the quill, unlike chemical stripping. The dye won’t fade.
I have used these quills for small flies. The stripped part of the quill is about 1 inch long. This is enough for mayfly or midge imitations. I have only had one quill split out of the packager I used. You need to shop around for this product. I have found packages for as little as 4 dollars to just over 7 dollars. With shipping, this is fairly expensive. If you are tying a lot of flies, this may be worthwhile. But there are other options.
In the next post, I’ll describe how to strip and color your own peacock quills. In addition, artificial quills are also available.
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