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Old 11-24-2012, 12:09 AM
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Default Herl vs. Swords?

I'm getting ready to tie a couple of zug bugs, but I only have herl and eyes. Most recipies call for a sword tail. I've been searching google, but have not been able to find out what the actual difference is between a strand of herl and a sword strand. Can anyone enlighten me on why I should purchase a sword stalk? Are they more colorful? Pointy? Thinner? Or what?
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Old 11-24-2012, 12:13 AM
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Default Re: Herl vs. Swords?

The sword ones are shorter and do come to a point. I think they are also from a more iridescent part of the peacock plume closer to where the more colorful eye in the peacock tail feather is. I think anyway.
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Old 11-24-2012, 02:13 AM
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Default Re: Herl vs. Swords?

The best example I can give (using pictures I already have) is that the sword feathers have fibers on just one side and are reminiscent of a sword in their appearance. While the 'Herl' are the long fibers 2.5 - 4" found along the quill of an eyed tail feather.

The tail on this Light Spruce is made from Sword fibers, they were only about 1" total length before I tied them in.
Click the image to open in full size.

The long fibers that make up the under wing on this Golden Witch are herl fibers.
Click the image to open in full size.

It has been forever since I tied a Zug Bug but I believe you need them for the tail. If this is true in a pinch I would use what I had but if I remember correctly the pattern calls for sword fibers. As you can see they are much more iridescent than the regular herl fibers and that I believe is why they are used on the nymph.

I had just tied these about 2 weeks ago and had the pictures handy, here you can see both for comparison as well as on the streamer version above. The tail is sword while the front portion of the body is made of herls wound around the hook; much brighter green the sword feathers.
Click the image to open in full size.

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Old 11-24-2012, 10:59 AM
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Default Re: Herl vs. Swords?

So shinier, and more colorful. I'll probably pick some up, the next time they are available. Thanks.
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Old 11-24-2012, 03:41 PM
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Default Re: Herl vs. Swords?

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