Saturday, August 29, 2015

More from Paul about the Dark Edson Tiger

My friend Paul DiNolo recently sent me the following remarks:

Hi Peter,

The "Dark Edson Tiger" streamer has been one of my "go-to" flies for over thirty-five years. The pattern has a long and distinguished record as a highly successful streamer, especially for those anglers who fish the Rangeley Lakes region of western Maine. The fly was originated by Bill Edson of Portland, Maine in either 1928 or 1929.

The Rangeley lakes district was the spawning ground for many famous streamer fly designs, and a wide variety of tying styles evolved which would provide the development of some historically effective patterns like the Grey Ghost, the Black Ghost, the Colonel Bates, the Supervisor, the Nine-Three, and both the Dark Edson Tiger and Light Edson Tiger to name a few.

With all the possible choices, I was almost immediately  attracted to the Dark Tiger. The reason made perfect sense to me. It looked like the simplest fly to tie and it didn't require a large assortment of expensive or hard to get materials.

I started by looking up the tying sequence and discovered that there seemed to be no one definitive pattern, but with only minor variations they were all about the same, and they all performed quite well. Edson's originals featured "real" jungle cock eyes. When these got to be too expensive he tied in little pre-formed brass cheeks to suggest eyes. There have been other small modifications, but the Dark and Light Tigers remain very effective to this day.

I tie my Tigers in a few different sizes, depending mostly on the kind of water that I'll be fishing, and the angling methods that the various stream conditions dictate.

This sample was tied by Paul DiNilo "to be fished".  

On bigger rivers, I will cast a size #6 or size #4  5-x long Tiger quartering downstream and let the fly swing until the fly is directly  downstream. Then I will strip the fly in with a varied erratic retrieve. If nothing happens, I will take a step or two downstream and repeat the process. This might not be the most exciting type of angling, but it does work well. However, this is not my favorite type of fishing. Given a choice, my first instinct is to fish dry flies on the riffles, runs and pockets of the beautiful little mountain streams that criss-cross  much of northern New England.

When the trout don't seem inclined toward surface feeding activity, I have no moral dilemma regarding going down to the trout's level with streamers, nymphs, and wet flies. The geometry of these small streams will not allow wide down and across swings. Fishing the small pockets and runs of a small headwater brook requires accurate short line casts aimed to a point just above a suspected trout location.

Tied by Paul DiNolo according to the original recipe that
specifies a gold tag and jungle cock eye.

In these situations I usually fish a size #10 or size #12 4-x long version of the Tiger. When I get the fly in the right spot, I will retrieve the fly back in a series of short twitches. When possible, I like to bring the fly forward, and then let it slide back as if it were a minnow fighting a losing battle against the stream flow. This technique can present you with some surprises. If you find the time to go north for a trout fishing day trip, try teasing some of these in front of little wild trout. It could open the door to some very rewarding angling.

---Paul DiNolo

Saturday, August 22, 2015

A fun project while waiting for my back to get better

I took a couple of days off from work this week to help my back mend from a mishap last Sunday. [I am writing this on Saturday, six days after the "accident".]

Before I get to the fishing-with-flies part of the story, let me say that I am a big fan of AAA.  I have been a fan because of the great help our local branch has been in arranging details for our last four two-week car trips (two "out west" and two in the Maritime Provinces of Canada).

I am an even bigger fan now.  I had never used roadside assistance before last Sunday, but in the future, should I ever get a flat tire again, AAA will be "Plan A".  Not "Plan B"!!

After I got my flat tire I was able to get off the road and even parked under a shade tree on flat level ground.  The temperature was nevertheless over 90F.  I am too old for this!

I used my Toyota Sienna manual to assist me in locating all the parts needed to change the spare tire.  (I have just learned that some new cars don't even come with a spare tire. Yikes.)  I couldn't believe it, but my spare tire is actually under the middle of the car and must be lowered by rotating a nut under the carpet under the second row of seats.  When you have lowered the little doughnut tire all the way to the pavement, you need to crawl under the car and retrieve it.  I nearly burned myself on the hot pavement.

Next, I proceeded to unscrew the lugs.  Or, I should say I "tried" to unscrew the first lug nut.  But the freaking lug wrench is only 12" long!  What kind of leverage can I get from that, even if I stand on it and jump up and down, which I did after first wrenching my back trying to pull the dang lug wrench up. My back was killing me.  I learned later from a friend that he had experienced the same set of events two years ago and after hearing a "pop" in his back was at first unsure whether he should then call 911 or AAA!  I called AAA.  I was lucky I think.  I only waited 45 minutes, and in the meantime I limped slowly to a Dunkin Donuts only about 100 feet up the street.  I treated myself to a ice coffee with two shots of caramel and two creams, and then decided that a couple of doughnuts would ease the pain.


So... while at home resting and healing this week I coincidentally received a new photographic toy that I wanted to use with my fish fly photography.  I've never had too much luck using a flash with close up photos of flies.  But this new contraption emits light from a larger area, which helps prevent the "hot spots" or bright reflections off of shiny surfaces that I get with a flash.  

It's a bank of LED lights and this is designed for video as it provides constant lighting. It slides right into the hot shoe of any camera.  It is a plastic fitting so I need to be careful.  On the other hand, I expect to use it only for fly photography and always indoors.  Unlike a flash, with constant lighting "what you see is what you get".

Here are a few product shots.

About 50 bucks

The fly is there to help you gauge the size of this

Angled forward toward the camera here, it appears bigger than it is.

Below is what I did with this set up.  These are the Edson Tigers you may have read about in the last few posts.  I like how these turned out.  The colors are brought out nicely.  I do think I should have backed away a bit or zoomed out slightly to provide more space around the fly.  The way they are here, the larger ones are too tightly cropped.

All are tied by Paul DiNolo.

From smallest to largest hook size: