From Russia To Alaska
By Bob Kenly
The story of
this fly/lure has a long complicated trail of events starting at my
home in Missouri, Sweden, Russia and finally Alaska. It also involved
two tiers with vastly different philosophies, myself and Yuri
Shumakov. Yuri and I share many life experiences starting with the
time we were soldiers in our respective armies during a tense period
of history, both now realizing that history brought us closer together
than separated us. In effect, an odd couple who rarely agree on the
subject of fly tying but together envisioned a different fly.
prototype of the Turbo Shrimp
model of the shrimp came to me after I had finished with my
"Flyrod C" and started searching for something new to play
with. I rarely tie this way, just to sit down and tie something
without first at least having an idea what I'm planning to end up with
seems like a waste of materials but in this case I didn't even have a
clue what the final product would look like or what its use would be.
What I ended up with was a shrimp with a rubber body, again turning
back to my experiences with the Flying C I added a spinner.
So now what, I
thought it might make a nice salt water fly for my friend heading to
the Texas Gulf coast for the winter. But one more thing before I just
forget the whole idea, show it to my friend Yuri, a master of
understatement, who has a unique way of expressing his likes and
dislikes. "ARRRRGGGG, it looks like a shrimp with an egg and
propeller stuck up its butt", not exactly the comment I was
looking for but at least he took the time to offer an opinion. I
almost forgot about the shrimp thing when Yuri sent another E-mail,
this time with some ideas for my shrimp (he probably he saw some
genius behind the concept but on second thought I doubted it). He was
off to Kamchatka to open up a new section for salmon and steelhead,
the shrimp might just be fun to try. Since the Scandinavians used a
shrimp constructed from flexible brightly colored drinking straws he
felt that would make a perfect body for a shrimp. The other idea was a
name for the pattern, "Turbo Shrimp", not a bad idea at that
so from then on the name stuck. Upon Yuri's return from Russia I
received an e-mail from him about the use of my shrimp pattern.
Turbo Shrimp Yuri tied
Yuri's e-mail in
forgot to say about Turbo Shrimps. I think this device has rights to
be on market. I've caught with it Rainbows, Dollys, Silvers and
Kundzhas. Most productive were color combinations: deep pink body with
purple and violet legs and antennas and orange body with fluorescent
green legs and antennas. Char and kundzha took both with confidence,
while silvers preferred pink and purple. We caught 1 rainbow on
orange-green and 2 ones on pink-purple. Frankly speaking I fished with
them only last day and gave 2 Turbos to a friend of mine to try. They
worked very well, so he refused to give them back".
Spotted Char Yuri caught
on Turbo Shrimp, -04 Kamchatka
OK, at least
the news from Russia was better than I anticipated but I wondered if
the fact that Kamchatka is so isolated with relatively little fishing
pressure had some bearing on the end result. Alaska's fishing was
finished for the year so I'd have to wait another year before that
question would be answered. Even though Russian salmon and Alaskan
salmon are basically the same breed and even known to intermingle in
the ocean they have different temperaments fostered by their
respective environments. What one fish finds attractive the other may
not, making me afraid Yuri's experiences in Far East Russia might not
be repeated in Alaska. Yuri felt the Turbo Shrimp was so successful
that other Russian tiers would find it useful so together we wrote an
article for the winter issue of NAHLYST (the only Russian language fly
Turbo Shrimp I tied for
George for Alaska 2005
George was off to Alaska for several weeks in mid August for Silver
salmon so there was my chance to have someone try the Turbo Shrimp
under actual Alaskan conditions. He targeted Silver salmon on the
Russian River, a beautiful place located on the Kenai Peninsula famous
for its huge Sockeye and Silver runs. George's only complaint was he
couldn't keep the Sockeye from grabbing the fly before it got down to
the Silvers. We never even thought of the pattern as a Sockeye fly,
targeting only Silvers. After George's experiences on the Russian
River we can only wonder what other species of Alaskan fish would find
the Turbo Shrimp attractive.
caught by George 2005,
Russian River Alaska, using a pink Turbo Shrimp
Shrimp has two stages of construction, (1) a tube fly is tied and (2)
the spinner components are added last. In theory any tube fly can be
converted to a "Turbo" device, it just takes imagination to
push the envelope even further.
Tube: brass or
aluminum about 1 inch long (25.4 mm) I prefer Lined tubes as a brass
cone head is added to the fly.
Thread: color to match the fly.
Hair: I use Yak dyed to the appropriate color but any other
suitable hair can be used.
Flash: Krystal Flash in your color of choice
Eyes: I make all my eyes by using heavy mono, glass seed seed
beads and epoxy.
Shell: flexible cocktail straws or Flying C 4mm diameter
Cone Head: Brass.
(Note: This is the
way I assemble this device but in no way are these instructions
written in stone. A lot of my fellow tiers feel I over complicate my
work but that's just my personality. If you have a better way, do it).
To start this
fly I cut a tube longer than I need for the finished fly then I make a
cut on the tube but do not remove the excess. This allows me to mount
the fly in the tube fly adapter. When its time to add the cone I snap
off the excess, mount the cone on the liner, and using a lighter burn
the liner to form a stop for the cone.
step tying the Turbo Shrimp
antenna flash, eyes and legs to the tube. I add bands black thread to
simulate body segments (another optional feature).
Now is the
time to make the shell from whatever material you choose. Cut the
straw or rubber tubing at an angle to form a shrimp shape. Fit the
shell to the tube, using thread, tie the shell to the end of the tube.
Snap off the excess tubing and attach the cone head, burn to form the
end of the tube.
Second step tying the fly
it for the fly, nothing complicated, next job will be to assemble the
spinner portion of this device (I really don't know what else to call
it or what category the "Turbo Shrimp" falls into).
for the spinner assembly:
single, double or treble.
Wire: Stainless steel lure wire about .028 inches in diameter
(It doesn't have to be exactly lure wire, any stainless steel wire
will do as long as you are able to bend it into shape).
Clevis: Any that fits on the wire, I prefer the folded type.
Blade: French, size #0 , However you do have other blades to
Beads: 4mm plastic ( I prefer red) and 1/8th inch solid brass
First the hook
is prepared by tying on a piece of stiff mono, The mono will hold the
hook straight. The wire is bent to an open loop, if it purchased that
way that step can be eliminated. The hook is placed in the loop, the
wire closed and threaded into the fly along with the hook's stiff
mono. After you are sure the hook is properly aligned then push the
wire all the way in. On the other end of the fly its time to assemble
the remaining components. First, a plastic bead, then a brass bead,
then the spinner and clevis assembly. Now its time to finish the whole
affair by making an eye on the wire and cut off the excess wire. For
making just a few devices the best method is needle nose pliers to
form the loop. There are tools to make loops but most aren't worth the
price especially the cheap ones. Wire forming pliers that jewelers use
work fairly well for small amounts of work.
If you travel
Alaska for any period of time it becomes fairly evident Russia had a
profound influence on the culture of Alaska, even to the point where
Russian is the local dialect in some places. Its not unusual, as in
the Kenai village of Ninilchik, to see signs both in English and
Cyrillic. This is a simple and admittedly elegant pattern with its
roots in Russia and Scandinavia but one that has many uses also in
Alaska. We've both wondered what other species of fish would find this
pattern attractive such as Atlantic salmon (different colors of
course), in smaller sizes, Sea Trout both in Europe and Argentina.
Both Yuri and I offer this pattern to anyone who is willing to give it
a try especially those fishermen from Kamchatka and Alaska.
any great work passion is needed, and boldness in large doses, and
these qualities we have as human beings in general".
Bob Kenly 2005 ©