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Thread: Black Bear

  1. #1

    Default Black Bear

    Hey guys,
    I am wondering if any of you have feedback about using black bear hair for fly tying.

    After a quick search I found just a few flies that I could see were tied with it and very little information, other than a generic description of uses.

    However I found plenty of it for sale on line, so I figured someone on here has been using it?

    Just curious to how it ties, pros and cons sort of thing. It seems to be and I am guessing more comparable to deer, elk or moose, rather than something like goat, calf or even Yak?

    Just thought I would ask those of you that may have tried it
    Hope your all getting out


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Manning, S. C. (formerly MD)

    Default Re: Black Bear

    You've probably seen that it's most common use is in tying wings on Salmon or Steelhead flies. I've tied with it quite a bit, but more so for bass jigs. It's my preferred material for hair jigs intended for Smallmouths. Great material if you need a dark brown to black color, and has excellent movement in the water. I like brown bear too, particularly when it's a rusty brown color.

    It's actually more comparable to using Squirrel tail IMO, as it's a solid fiber that does not easily compress, except bear is often not as straight ( but that usually depends on the animal it came from) and for me is easier to tie with than Squirrel. It's a great material for tying small hair streamers such as a Black Nose Dace, or Clouser Minnows, and in combination with other similar materials.

    What you get in terms of usable hair will again depend on the individual animal it comes from, and what part of the body. I've gotten some that was very thin, with little guard hair, while other pieces would be mostly guard hair. The underfur is a bit course compared to many other types, but makes an excellent dubbing none the less, particularly for larger size flies like large Stonefly nymphs. Average hair length in my estimation is about 3" for most I've ever gotten, but again that really depends on the individual animal.

    Hope this helps!
    Remember, no one likes to be behind the big truck, but that's better than being under it!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Black Bear

    Funny.. I've been looking at my local shops for some.. specifically 'brown' black bear hair.. for some older type flies that Tim Tollett at Frontier Anglers tied at a demo.

    Specifically, he was using it for wings in a crane fly pattern..

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Black Bear

    It's great stuff to work with for wings on streamers and salmon steelhead flies-- softer and thinner than bucktail, and not as stiff and slippery as squirrel tail. The hair is usually around 2 - 2 1/2" long

    A 3" x 3" patch is usually something like $3

  5. #5

    Default Re: Black Bear

    That is exactly the type of responses I was hoping for thanks!
    I knew you guys would come through
    I use a lot of squirrel tail and can picture how it would compare more with that and all the better if it is not as stiff and slippery!

    Ultimately I am trying to determine whether I tan this scrappy little hide I have or just pass it on. Sounds like it has plenty of uses and that it may be fun to work with, but I am still not sure if I need a life time supply.
    A 3$ supply may be plenty to start working with rather than throwing down the expense of tanning

    Thanks again for the responses!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Southern Vermont

    Default Re: Black Bear

    Just saw a video of a salmon dry fly tied with all bear hair. I believe its called the "winnie the pooh" apparently its the national fly of finland. The womens national hockey teams are in Burlington for the championships and the Finland coach came into the shop and talked to me boss about it.

    - Tyler

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Upper Mojave Desert

    Default Re: Black Bear

    A couple that I tied a couple of years ago were the "Black Bear Green Butt", and Orange Butt. Got to admit that I never fished them. Here's a link to a pattern.
    Fly Tying Patterns for begginers - - Black Bear Orange Butt Salmon Fishing Fly.
    Another good use is about three hairs for a tail on a nymph.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Black Bear

    Just have to throw out a big shout out to popperfly!
    Thanks to him I now have a great piece of black bear to work with and I'm not talking about the thinned out scrappy piece I was thinking of tanning.
    This must have come from one really nice hide!
    Thanks again guys for all the advice!
    Once I get to tying something up with it I will post it here for your viewing pleasure!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    On a trout stream/Suburban Pittsburgh
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Black Bear

    I have used Black Bear fur as a base for my tail on buggers. Tie that in first and throw the marabou around it. It helps give the marabou a "lift". I bet you could use pretty effectively on Intruder style flies and on tubes.
    ~*~Leave only your footprints~*~

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