Holey Head Flies
Flies like Bead Head Flies appeared in many countries independently
and long ago. Mormyshka - the Russian variety of this fly with at
least a century long history has a number of features and advantages.
Most probably Mormyshka was invented in the last century in Russia.
The prototype was big spoon-baits used in wintertime ice fishing, trying
to imitate scuds.
Winter fishermen made it much smaller in size and changed the
way of fixing it on the line. As a result there appeared an efficient
lure that spread quickly among winter fishermen all around Russia
and Scandinavia. I managed to find the most ancient mention of
it in the book by L. P. Sabanejev Fishing Calendar
published in Moscow, 1885. Mormyshka changed little since then
and it is still used mainly in winter ice fishing. Some factories in
Finland and Russia started serial production of good quality
For the past few years Mormyshka has been used in summer
fishing with the long rod and a float. It is used either with live
baits or alone. Also anglers use Palmers tied on Mormyshkas.
Some years ago when I started to use Mormyshkas in fly-fishing.
I asked craftsman to solder Mormyshkas on nymph fly hooks
and I tied my own and standard fly models on them. Those flies
were very similar to the Bead Head Nymph and as efficient as
the latter but they caught the bottom much less.
At first sight Mormyshka is a spitting image of Jig Head or Bead
Head on the hook. But at first only! On more thorough
consideration you can discover a big number of advantages:
Let's have a thorough look at the design of Mormyshkas and the
ways of making them. The head is soldered near the eye and can
have different shape and design. As the base form it is cast entirely
of tin or solder. A little more difficult are the heads with crown but
they are much more efficient. They are made in the following way.
You punch a crown of the needed shape with a hole of thin
(about 0,008 inch) sheet brass, copper or silver. You put the
hook on the crown and thread a tungsten wire through the hole.
Then you drop a little solder in the cup made by the crown then
cool it and remove the wire. It is advisable the solder be with
rich silver content, this way when using brass crown you obtain
absolutely gorgeous Mormyshka head. The crown can be either
above or below the hook. You can make Mormyshkas with a
double-sided crown but they are considerably more expensive
and not worthwhile. As a part of fun you can also make hooks
with gold crowns. [See drawing at the end of this article.]
1. Mormyshka is not always globe-shaped. For example you
can make it flat imitating the Stonefly head. You can shape it
like the Dragon fly head etc.
2. Mormyshka catches the bottom much less because the point
of the hook is in upward position.
3. In contrast to Jig Head, Mormyshkas have no upper eye.
That enables you to create miniature flies with a very realistic
shape of the head.
To tie Holey Head Mayfly I choose Mormyshka with silver crown
most often. Shining natural silver from which the crown is made
makes it definitely tempting for fish. Such a fly has a realistic
silhouette and especially nice with a little flatted head when
imitating nymph. With proper color design Holey Head Mayfly
is often irresistible.
For the Holey Head Stonefly I can recommend Mormyshka with
a brass crown below the hook. Many Stonefly species have
yellowish color of the bottom part of the body. Yellow color
of the metal imitates the insect well and attracts fish.
I use Holey Head Gammarus mainly for lake fishing to imitate
Gammarus,[Scuds]. In the water the fly is in upside-down position.
Its legs, point of the hook and the crown of the head are pointed
upward. Such a position of a nymph doesn't alert fish but on the
contrary, to my mind, is an extra triggering factor.
Combined with Mormyshka there should find application all the
models of flies tied on bead head: Hare's Ear, Pheasant tail, Zug
Bug, Prince, Soft hackle and others. Your own proven models
can be also very friendly with Mormyshka. ~ Vladimir Markov