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

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