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Thread: Polar Bear?

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Polar Bear?

    Someone recently gave me some Polar Bear pieces, and I am not seeing the material in any of the patterns or books I'm familiar with. I noticed in William Sturgis "Fly Tying" from 1940, that he sometimes seems to use Polar bar and bucktail interchangeably and occasionally asks for died Polar Bear on Salmon flies. So I'm guessing that it is just so uncommon now (and maybe illegal in the States) that we don't see it in modern patterns.

    Any advice? Anybody use this for streamers or other flies?
    Thanks
    Rob

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Polar Bear?

    Hi Rob,

    There are many uses for this hair on streamer and salmon patterns. The fly below uses it as a sort of hackle around the shank. It produces a sparkle and on some attractor patterns it is good stuff.


    I would advise keeping it as an exotic material for use when the urge or need to tie something special comes up. As for legality, as long as you don't raise a fuss over having a couple 1 or 2 inch pieces I doubt very much you have reason for concern. Most of the hair that shows up for sale has been vetted at some point. Just because there is no paperwork with a piece of hair doesn't mean that it is of nefarious origin.

    Consider yourself fortunate to have some,

    Ard

    PS. I had to take a look for other flies I've used the hair on and have another. The hair can vary in color and what is used below is a bit more amber than the sparkly stuff above.


    The really white fibers are burnt goose shoulder feather & the darker wing is the hair.......

    Guess I use it more than I thought, the wings on my Skykomish Sunrise are made with it to, BTW this is a great salmon and steelhead trout pattern.


    The more I look, the more I find below is a Rouge River Special with PB wing.
    Last edited by Ard; 10-25-2013 at 12:52 AM.

    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Polar Bear?

    Classic Black Nose Dace streamer calls for Polar Bear as the first layer of the wing. I've tied a ton of them over the years and always used Bucktail because I never had Polar Bear. Like Ard said save it for the exotics you'll probably never see it again!
    "I was born to fish" Lee Wulff
    "There's more B.S. in fly fishing then there is in a Kansas feedlot." Lefty Kreh
    " It ain't over till it's over." Yogi Berra
    "Your not old,you've simply acquired a patina." Swirlchaser

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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Polar Bear?

    Hope I didn't get too carried away with the pictures but you ask...........

    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

  7. #5
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    Default Re: Polar Bear?

    I think that PB hair has a special effect when tied into streamer patterns. The iridescence that you see when the hair is dry; which you don't see with bucktail, is amplified when the hair is wet; it becomes almost translucent in the water.

    Good PB is hard to source; most of it comes from old PB rugs that someone has cut up into 2"x2" squares. You have to be careful and selective to get good PB hair patches.

    PB hair is one of my 3 favorite fly tying materials, the other two being peacock herl and marabou.

    I've used it on the Alaska Mary Ann streamer pattern and posted a pic of it several years ago. Unfortunately, I can't find the pic now; although I think it's posted in the Share Patterns subforum.

    Pocono

  8. #6
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    Default Re: Polar Bear?

    It's awesome streamer material:







    and hairwing material:


    Gary

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  10. #7
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    Default Re: Polar Bear?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pocono View Post
    I think that PB hair has a special effect when tied into streamer patterns. The iridescence that you see when the hair is dry; which you don't see with bucktail, is amplified when the hair is wet; it becomes almost translucent in the water.

    Good PB is hard to source; most of it comes from old PB rugs that someone has cut up into 2"x2" squares. You have to be careful and selective to get good PB hair patches.

    PB hair is one of my 3 favorite fly tying materials, the other two being peacock herl and marabou.

    I've used it on the Alaska Mary Ann streamer pattern and posted a pic of it several years ago. Unfortunately, I can't find the pic now; although I think it's posted in the Share Patterns subforum.

    Pocono
    I think there's ten tonne's of truth here. United States, and you have same, you'd better be prepared to 'prove' how old is that patch. "The Man" can look at the fly and 'Been here for a long time.' Something 'new' and you will/could be responding to some 'hard questions.'

    PB has been a 'no-no' for decades as are a few classic feathers.

    fae
    When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost. - Billy Graham"

  11. #8
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    Default Re: Polar Bear?

    Wow, thanks for all the great information and photographs! I had to google pretty hard to track down a picture of the Alaska Mary Ann (great streamer, great name). I have a couple of pieces each about the size of my hand, so I guess I should use it. It does have a kind of iridescence about it, much more so than calf hair or tail. I think this is pretty old though.

    Anyway, I'm inspired. Thanks for being so generous with your knowledge (and photos).

    Rob

  12. #9
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Polar Bear?

    Some good information here about ownership/possession of certain specific exotic materials. In many cases it depends on if your material is pre-CITES or post-CITES as far as when it was harvested or received.

    http://www.nrdc.org/wildlife/cites/p...ar-bear-IB.pdf

    United States-Relevant Animal Parts Laws

    I have pre-CITES PBH and someone would have to pry it from my cold, dead, hands to take it away. PBH is a tri-lobal fiber and in it's NATURAL state (not dyed) when it's above or underwater and sunlight hits it, it gives off a rainbow iridescence. There are synthetics that do that, but the 'action' of the material is a lot different.

    Another thing about PBH... there are different lengths of this material (similar to any natural animal hair) and you have to have the proper length for the application for it to have the properties you're after. Just like tying an EHC... if you are tying size 16 and using hock hair, it's naturally shorter and will flare properly when you tie it in. If you use longer body hair, they cut off the base to get the tips at the proper length, it doesn't flare right because it isn't hollow at the tie-in point.

    I have 3 patches, 1-1/2", 2-1-2" and 4" and they are all used for different flies- and when I tie up these flies for others to use, I use calftail, bucktail, possum, or another similar 'substitute'... but if I tie the flies for MYSELF, I use the real deal... =)

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