Eppendorf tubes or the "scientific" way to the best fly design
(In preparation to the coming season)
By Jurij Shumakov

 

  Some 20 years ago, I was invited to a rather sophisticated New Years party. As usual, between sips of champagne and morsels of Russian caviar, the guests seated around the long dinner table were engaged in pleasant conversation, euphorically floating from theme to theme. The conversation smoothly glided over to the topic of modern science and here, suddenly, a top ranking ambassador's wife heatedly declared that all genetic engineers and molecular biologists must be hanged upside down, giving a number of "reasons" why that kind of scientists are particularly dangerous for humanity and must be eliminated. People who knew me blushed but kept silent and the situation quickly became embarrassing. As tactfully as possible under the circumstances, I attempted to defend my scientific "fate" and profession, saying that genetic engineers are, at least, not less important for the modern world than ambassadors wife, so the lady was a bit confused. She very emotionally begged my pardon, and said that she hadn't meant me personally, so the situation became even more embarrassing and quite absurd. :-)

  For me, that case is a striking example of human behaviour and so called double standards. It is so easy to be categorical and judgemental about matters you don't know very much about, but it is very difficult to realize your own limitations.

  I am sure that by now you are all wondering how modern science and human fallibility come into fly-fishing, let alone fly-tying. Is there a connection? Where is the missing link? The answer should be obvious. As you will discover, the modern science laboratory, especially specialized in micro- or molecular biology and biochemistry, is in fact a real gold mine for the fly-tier. Some people may feel I deserve to be hanged as a scientist, but in the present article I will at least humbly try to contribute to humanity as a fisherman. You see, I am doing my best to make amends! :-)

  A few years ago, when Scandinavian tubes had just come in fashion, I read an article written by Håkan Norling in English fishing magazine Trout & Salmon. The Tempeldog and the Black Green Highlander both came as a revelation and struck me right in my heart. But to become a neophyte in "tube business" wasn't as easy business as I had thought. The absence of the right materials was complicated by almost total absence of suitable tubes. Flies tied on the tubes you could buy in shops looked a bit like people who have enjoyed unlimited access to fast food from MacDonald's.

  To make matters worse, most fly-fishermen demonstrated extreme conservatism, and in some ways behaved and reacted as that ambassador's wife. :-) It was practically impossible to get good advice on finding materials or modern tying technique. I tried everything from Q-tips to the plastic nozzle of special car sprays.

  I continued painfully fumbling in the dark, until one day, quite unexpectedly, my fate as a scientist connected to my destiny as a fisherman: I found it! A new type of disposable tippets had just been delivered for my favourite lab tool, an automatic pipette. Those new tippets were made from transparent high-pressure polyethylene, very strong, long - up to 1 and 1/3 inch in length - and yet moderately flexible. It is hard to break them, but at the same time the plastic melts very easily and nicely to build rims on both sides. The plastic of the tippets is absolutely inert and non-toxic. To top it all, they are tapered, so I could finish my fly with a really fine head!

  My first experiments with the disposable tippets showed that, as general plastic tube material for tying, they were better than anything I could dream about. Further search among many catalogues opened for me the new unexplored world of lab plastic. It was so exciting, that I found ways and arguments to persuade my boss to buy some of them. No-no-no! Don't think I abused the stuff and situation. We bought them, of course, for science, and used them properly! But, I didn't simply throw them away afterwards as you are supposed to. Instead, I used the "disposable" tippets for my fly-tying experiments. Perhaps for this small crime I should be hanged? Nevertheless, I continue my experiments in both labs.

  Finally, I found 4 types of pipette tippets, which were particularly satisfactory, and which I have used for the last few years. Now it is time to introduce my laboratory findings to fly-fishing society! Definitely, if I could find the tubes of my interest in the nearest fly-shop, I wouldn't think about "pioneering" in this field. And I have strong feeling I will soon be able to walk into a fly-fishing shop and simply buy them.

So, lets declare the Races for the owners of shops and firms open! Those who first establish contacts with the Eppendorf Co., or open their own production of the tubes will win, not only our money, but our heartfelt "Thanks" too... :-)


All around tippet and tubes prepared for tying

I mostly use the first type of tippet to build light 1-inch Scandinavian style tube flies. You can tie fly until the very end, and then build a rim and accurate head. This type of tippet can be used for half-inch flies too. Since the tippets are tapered, you can use them with almost all sizes of coneheads as you wish, so your fly will look really proportional.


Castle Killer (baptized into the Scandinavian Style)

Castle Killer (baptized into the Scandinavian Style) by Jurij Shumakov
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Butt: Glow red floss.
Tail: Yellow Angel hair.
Body: rear half: Electra Holo, braid, gold; front half: mix of Peacock Black ice dub and STF Black dub.
Rib: front half: oval gold tinsel.
Body hackle: front half: orange cock.
Wing: yellow Mirage flashabou, small bunch of Serebrjanka fur died yellow, yellow Angel hair, bunch of polar fox died black over the wing fine black Angel hair.
Throat: Kingfisher blue guinea fowl.
Cheeks: jungle cock.
Head: red varnish.

 

Holo Silver Black Templedog

Holo Silver Black Templedog by Jurij Shumakov
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Butt: magenta floss.
Tail: magenta floss.
Body: rear half: Electra Holo, braid, silver; front half: mix of Peacock Black ice dub and STF Black dub.
Rib: front half: oval silver tinsel.
Body hackle: front half: white badger cock.
Wing: red Mirage flashabou, small bunch of Serebrjanka fur died fairy brown, dark brown and red Angel hair, Peacock mirror flash; bunch of polar fox died black over the wing fine black ripple flash.
Front hackle: white badger cock.
Cheeks: jungle cock.
Head: black.

 

Rusty 03

Rusty 03, by Jurij Shumakov
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Butt: glow orange floss.
Tail: glow orange floss, over 2 strands of orange Mirror flash, small bunch of light brownish squirrel.
Body: rear half: copper embossed metallic flat tinsel; front half: Holo Copper ice dub.
Rib: oval copper tinsel.
Body hackle: front half: light brown cock.
Middle wing section: small bunch of light brownish squirrel.
Under wing: 2 strands of orange Mirror flash, bunch of light brownish squirrel.
Wing: small bunch of Serebrjanka fur dyed Mörrum brown, copper Angel hair, small bunch of Serebrjanka fur dyed Mörrum brown; over the wing a few strands of fine Mörrum brown ripple flash.
Front hackle: teal dyed ginger.
Cheeks: jungle cock.
Head: brown.

 

Glimmering Rapala, (variant of Rapala Fly)

Glimmering Rapala, by Jurij Shumakov
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Rear hackle: red cock.
Body: rear half: red holographic flat tinsel; front half: black floss.
Middle wing section: small bunch of Serebrjanka fur dyed red, a few strands of red angel hair.
Wing: bunch of Serebrjanka fur dyed fairy brown, over the wing a few strands of fine Mörrum brown ripple flash.
Front hackle: soft brown cock.
Head: black

 

Lady Haute Couture

Lady Haute Couture, by Jurij Shumakov
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Tag: silver oval tinsel.
Tail: red SLF hank.
Body: red pearl flat tinsel.
Rib: silver oval tinsel.
Body hackle: red cock.
Wing: 4 strands of the red Mirage Flashabou, small bunch of Serebrjanka fur dyed fairy red; red angel hair and pink pearl ripple flash; small bunch of Serebrjanka fur dyed red; red and black angel hair; small bunch of polar fox dyed black, over the wing a few strands of fine black ripple flash.
Front hackle: black cock.
Cheeks: jungle cock.
Head: black

 

Pearl Black Halfincher

Pearl Black Halfincher, by Jurij Shumakov
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Tag: oval gold tinsel.
Butt: Glow red floss.
Tail: orange SLF Hanks.
Body: rear half: Pearl flat tinsel; front half: STF UV Black dub.
Rib: oval gold tinsel.
Body hackle: front half: orange badger cock.
Wing: orange mirror flash, small bunch of mixed Serebrjanka fur died yellow and orange, red and orange Angel hair; bunch of polar fox died black over the wing fine black ripple flash.
Front hackle: orange badger cock.
Cheeks: jungle cock.
Head: black.

 

Oxford Shri Transformer
(I canТt call this fly and those ones bellow as a "Shrimp", because the actually are not).
(In cooperation with Terence Dunlop from Derry, N. Ireland)

Oxford Shri Transformer, by Jurij Shumakov
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Tag: oval silver tinsel.
Tail: fibres of golden pheasant breast feather dyed red, over two strands of blue mirror flash.
Body: rear half: black floss; front half: red-copper holographic ice dub.
Middle hackle: white badger.
Rib: oval silver tinsel.
Under wing: two strands of blue mirror flash and small bunch of white tippet squirrel.
Wing: naturally brown carcajou.
Front hackle: orange cock.
Cheeks: jungle cock.
Head: red.

 

Paddy Shri Transformer
(In cooperation with Terence Dunlop from Derry, N. Ireland)

Paddy Shri Transformer, by Juruij Shumakov
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Tag: oval silver tinsel.
Tail: fibres of golden pheasant breast feather dyed orange.
Body: rear half: yellow SLF hank; front half: Green Highlander green floss.
Middle hackle: Green Highlander green cock.
Rib: oval silver tinsel.
Under wing: two strands of pearl mirror flash and small bunch of white tippet squirrel dyed Insect green.
Wing: naturally brown carcajou, over a few strands of fine fairy brown ripple flash.
Front hackle: white badger cock.
Cheeks: jungle cock.
Head: black.

 

Black Pearl Shri Transformer
(In cooperation with Terence Dunlop from Derry, N. Ireland)

Black Pearl Shri Transformer, by Jurij Shumakov
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Tag: oval silver tinsel.
Tail: red polar bear.
Body: rear half: pearl film over black floss; front half: black floss.
Middle hackle: red and yellow cock.
Rib: oval silver tinsel.
Under wing: small bunch of black arctic fox.
Front hackle: white badger cock.
Cheeks: jungle cock.
Head: black.

 

Rusty Chopter

Rusty Chopter, by Jurij Shumakov
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Tag: oval cooper tinsel.
Butt: glow orange floss.
Tail: glow orange floss, over 2 strands of orange Mirror flash.
Body: rear half: copper embossed metallic flat tinsel; front half: mix of Golden brown and Holo Copper ice dub.
Rib: oval cooper tinsel.
Body hackle: front half: ginger cock.
Wing: orange Mirage flashabou; small bunch of Serebrjanka fur dyed Mörrum orange, copper and holographic gold Angel hair, small bunch of Serebrjanka fur dyed Mörrum brown; over the wing a few strands of fine Mörrum brown ripple flash.
Front hackle: brest feather from usual pheasant.
Cheeks: jungle cock.
Head: cone size S.

 

Green Helmet
(Variant of M. Frödin Green Helmet)

Green Helmet, by Jurij Shumakov
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Tag: oval silver tinsel.
Tail: fluor green floss.
Body: rear half: Electra Holo, braid, silver; front half: mix of Peacock Black ice dub.
Rib: oval silver tinsel.
Body hackle: front half: black cock.
Wing: yellow Mirage flashabou; small bunch of Serebrjanka fur dyed insect green, yellow and holographic silver Angel hair, small bunch of Serebrjanka fur dyed green Highlander; chartreuse and holographic silver Angel hair, Peacock mirror flash; bunch of polar fox dyed black over the wing a few strands of peacock.
Front hackle: black cock.
Cheeks: jungle cock.
Head: Orvis green cone size M.

 

Witch Sword

Witch Sword, by Jurij Shumakov
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Tag: gold oval tinsel.
Butt: glow orange floss.
Tail: glow orange floss.
Body: orange pearl flat tinsel.
Body hackle: orange cock.
Wing: 4 strands of the yellow Mirage Flashabou, small bunch of Serebrjanka fur dyed orange; holographic gold, yellow angel hair and orange Mirror flash, small bunch of Serebrjanka fur dyed fairy orange; over the wing a few strands of fine orange ripple flash.
Front hackle: fairy orange cock.
Cheeks: jungle cock.
Collar: ostrich dyed orange.
Head: red.

For those who like to keep hook strongly fixed, these tippets give an excellent opportunity to have built-in original tippetТs hook holder. You just cut appropriate length at the rear part of tippet.

 

Holo Gold Black Templedog

Holo Gold Black Templedog, by Jurij Shumakov
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Tag: oval gold tinsel.
Butt: glow red floss.
Tail: magenta floss.
Body: rear half: Electra Holo, braid, gold; front half: mix of Peacock Black ice dub and STF Black dub.
Rib: oval gold tinsel.
Body hackle: front half: fairy orange badger cock.
Wing: pearl Mirage flashabou, small bunch of Serebrjanka fur dyed brown, dark brown and red Angel hair, Peacock mirror flash and red pearl ripple flash; bunch of polar fox dyed black over the wing fine black Angel hair.
Front hackle: fairy orange badger cock.
Cheeks: jungle cock.
Head: black.

 

Holo Yellow Templedog

Holo Yellow Templedog, by Jurij Shumakov
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Tag: oval silver tinsel.
Tail: yellow SLF Hanks.
Body: rear half: holographic silver flat tinsel; front half: Yellow Ice dub.
Rib: oval silver tinsel.
Body hackle: front half: white badger cock.
Wing: yellow Mirage flashabou, small bunch of Serebrjanka fur dyed yellow; yellow and silver holo Angel hair, bunch of polar fox dyed light gray, over the wing yellow Angel hair and fine dark grey ripple flash.
Front hackle: glow yellow cock.
Cheeks: jungle cock.
Head: yellow.

 

This article continues on page 2

Jurij Shumakov © 2003