The Edson Tigers

This set of streamers is a companion set created in 1929, coincidently the year of another stock market crash. The light and dark versions of these old bucktail streamers are found in most recipe books, better stocked fly shops and your grandfather’s fly wallet. Bill Edson originally tied these with gold metal cheeks instead of Jungle Cock eyes. His mail order catalog developed quite a following and the once optional gold cheeks were so much in demand that they became his standard. When you can find these streamers today, they are tied with a Jungle Cock cheek tied short, or with no cheek at all to save cost. If you want to try these streamers with the metal cheeks, you can get them from

The Dark Tiger has a dark wing and a light body while the Light Tiger has a dark body and a light wing. There are old theories that you should select your fly color in accordance with the sunshine. Dark streamers for dark days-light streamers for light days. I’ve used that method and it works but to be honest, I’ve switched colors and had good results too. Bill used yellow chenille for the Dark Tiger and peacock herl for the Light Tiger. The length of the yellow chenille body is a good approximation of a mayfly nymph and I’ve lost track of the number of fish I catch on flies tied with peacock herl. This tells me that these streamers imitate multiple food sources and will fish well under varying conditions.

The Edson Dark Tiger wing is made with the brown hair off a buck tail dyed yellow. If you select the hair from the base of the tail, the wing will flare and you’ll quit in disgust. Try the yellow tinged brown hair near the tip of the tail. It isn’t as hollow and the hair around the base and lays down a great wing.

Recipe for the Edson Dark Tiger
Thread – Yellow (or yellow lacquer over black)
Tag- Several turns of gold tinsel
Hook – 4x shank
Tail –Two yellow hackle feather tips, small, tied back to back
Body – Fine yellow chenille
Throat – Two small red hackle tips (or hackle fibers)
Wing – Brown hair from yellow dyed bucktail, as long as the tail
Cheeks- Jungle Cock tied short

Recipe for the Edson Light Tiger
Thread – Black
Tag- Several turns of gold tinsel
Hook – 4x shank
Tail –Barred wood duck, showing two black bars
Body – Peacock herl, tied full
Wing – Yellow buck tail, as long as the tail
Topping- Short red neck hackles, 1/3 length of wing
Cheeks- Jungle Cock tied short

The tails on both streamers are distinctive and I recommend you tie them as the recipe describes, I think they’re important. The red feathers are something I feel free substituting fibers for hackle tips because they are small and seem to be there for color rather than movement. I use Jungle Cock for the cheeks because when my streamers have eyes or cheeks they catch more fish. Jungle Cock is getting cheaper in small bunches if you shop around.

There are a lot of flies to tie and to fish with, and almost all of them catch fish one day or another. As more and more new patterns appear on the scene, we forget the old standbys. Then, if you’re lucky, you stumble onto a recipe of an almost forgotten fly that had its hey day long ago. You tie it, cast it, and then you’re mesmerized by the intensity of the strike. It turns out that the fish never forgot the fly, we did.

Don’t forget these old flies; some of them were bringing big fish to old nets long before you and I were born.

About PuckerbrushFlies

Fly fishing father
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