Fly Tying · On the Vise

On My Vise: The Starling and Herl

The Starling and Herl is a very quick and simple fly to tie, consisting of only two materials those being peacock herl and starling for the hackle.

Closeup of the Starling and Herl
  • Hook: Standard wet fly hook 16-18
  • Thread: Black 8/0 or 70 Denier
  • Body: Peacock Herl (usually from the eye)
  • Hackle: Starling

I tie this anywhere from 16 to 18 and sometimes a small as a 20 but if that’s the case, the size 20 I will just tie more as a Stewart’s black spider without any herl.

The Peacock hurl itself (and sometimes I will use one that has been dyed a different color such as green or purple under tone) can represent blue wing olives emerging or even a small darker Caddis.

 You will have to experiment since I have found that using the Herl strung (which means it’s a handful that is all stitched together and comes in the plastic packaging) is sometimes a little bit too large once wrapped around the hook, so for that I have used it from the peacock “eye”which is really the tail.

When working with starling be very careful because the feathers are extremely fragile.

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