polar bear and seal fur

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by rockfish, Aug 25, 2002.

  1. do they sell the stuff around here, because my girlfriend just got back from whistler and she bought 4 packs of polar bear and 3 things of seal fur dubbing for shrimplike stuff and other attractor flies but the polar bear is some killer lookin stuff for clousers and the like, the fly shop worker told her they dont sell this stuff in the states and I would really like it, and i do but is there a way of getting polar bear hair for fly tying around here? just wondering. Ben
  2. Yes, they do sell it in the States

    Problem is, you have to find a place that has it that has certification that it's been killed before a certain date (not sure when). Not many shops carry it, too expensive usually. I have a bunch, and am getting more off a legal pelt. You have to have the right sources. Yes, they both are the best stuff, a natural flash in the fibers.

    There is a shop in spokane that has it. Polar bear that is. Seal, not so sure about. Will see if I can get the #. I know they have custom dyed polar bear. All that I have is white, but am tempted to dye, especially when I get more.

    "You haven't lived until you've run a cataraft. Friends don't let friends run Outcasts."
  3. Well, now that you have told us that your girlfriend crossed the border with fur from an endangered species, which puts her in violation of CITES (Convention International in Trade in Endangered Species), do you really want to discuss this further?

    Polar Bear is nice stuff, but unless it can be tracked back to being in the US prior to CITES, it's quite illegal to possess and to bring it across the border is another thing entirely.

    For more enlightenment on this see: www.cites.org.

  4. Funny,

    You can BUY Polar Bear and Seal legally in the U.S. but getting it from Canada and bringing it over the border is against the law. Kind of like getting grey heron from a local flyshop but the ever so popular blue heron is still illegal. They are both birds of prey!

    All I have to say is SHHHHHHHHHHHH.

    You can obtain the nicest seal in Kamloops and Lake Louise. For some reason Vancouver doesn't have very good batches. I think it has to do with the local dyers or somehing because the stuff from Kamloops looks beautiful.

    The other funny thing is, you can bring a fly tying kit accross the border with all sorts of stuff in it for your fishing trip and it is very hard to tell if anything is endangered if there are labels or if they are mixed in with everything else. It is also tough to tell if it was bought in the US and brough over or if it was smuggled from Canada.
  5. A very touchy subject... More so with some, but not the best idea to be too vocal about what you have and where you got it... It is indeed available in most shops in B.C. and the quality goes from fair to incredible. It is pretty easy to work with and ties wonderful patterns, but I guess its like illegal fireworks... Lots of people use them and have them, and its not a big deal until you get caught by the wrong person with some.
  6. All I can say is shhhhhhhhh!
  7. I was recently looking over a bin of polar bear at a local shop, and wondered how they were getting away with it.

    I like the look of yak hair, fishhair, and super hair, and the fish seem to like it too. Well, err, I've tied some steelhead flies with it
    but haven't actually caught a steelhead on them or fished with them yet. But bonefish and bass liked tan and chartreuse yak. And whatever that big thing was that clipped off my surf candy in the tropics. So I don't see any big need for polar bear anymore. What do you think of these materials?
  8. Materials are for the fishermen not the fish. Thank marketing strategies for helping the community find subsitutes to sell for Indian Crow, Chatterer, Bustard, Heron, Polar Bear, Seal, Ibis and all of the "endangered" species. I can buy any of these materials here in the U.S. legally so why worry about breaking the law? Why worry about subsituting? I tie for authenticity and for personal satisfaction. Call it art or just call it a fishing hook with feathers and fur. Regardless, tie with what suits your fancy and please keep the art alive.
    Being 27 today (happy b-day to me) I don't know anyone who ties atlantic salmon flies with original materials anymore. Most everyone is fine with using ringneck dyed and pantone'd to imitate the indian crow. You can buy pairs still on the east coast and it doesn't hurt the species but it is very expensive. The only feather that is hard for me to find is the ibis (scarlet). Otherwise, I still tie with all the original methods and materials. I follow the ways of our fly tying pioneers like Kelson and Tannant and Grant and Glasso and so on and so fourth.
    I guess what I am saying is don't listen to the folks that try to sell you on subsitutes just because that is the thing to do. Be original and artistic and tie original flies or otherwise the art will die with the folks that kept it going.

    Also, keep your receipts. Rob might call the cops on you.
  9. From a practical standpoint, if a material is not readily available in the flyshops I frequent, I am not going to tie with it. If material comes from an endangered or threatened species, I am definitely not going to tie with it. I don't keep track of which species are endangered or threatened, but I figure I'm pretty safe with the materials I use because nothing is exotic. I disagree with the proposition that using materials already on the market from threatened or endangered animals "doesn't hurt the species." If you buy stuff from animals that are already dead (even if they were dead before it became illegal to kill them or sell or possess materials from them), when the supply runs low it will just create an incentive for someone to run out and kill more. And by the way, the only thing that is important to me about my flies is that they catch fish. It is meaningless to me that Syd Glasso tied his spey flies with real heron. If I can tie a decent spey fly with schlappen or other materials, I don't get an inferiority complex over the fact that I used a different material than the "masters" did. Just remember, spey flies were originally tied with feathers from the spey cock, which is now extinct. If Syd Glasso sat around worrying about the fact that he couldn't tie an authentic spey fly without that material, he wouldn't have started using heron. Time to evolve, Troutman101.
  10. No, I probably wouldn't call the cops, as I lust for a little, too. And I have thought about how easy it would be to cross the border with it, if only to be the only fly tier in my neighborhood to have some.

    But I definately feel that this lust is in my lower nature, and take another clip off the calf tail.

    But go fishing for an endangered salmonid and brag about it, and I'll drag you by the short hairs down to see the warden.
  11. Syd also evovled the modern era of spey flies, using schlappen and bright colors for northwest patterns.

    The spey cock is not extinct, its just a hybrid that got lost, and is coming back due to the interest in tying spey patterns.

    You should read Shewey's book, its quite enlightening.
  12. "I disagree with the proposition that using materials already on the market from threatened or endangered animals "doesn't hurt the species."

    Ever heard of GMO's? :HMMM

    The feathers are collected typically from aviaries right off the ground. Bustard is not endangered but is very hard to raise out of the wild. Seal is collected "pre-E.S.A." which means that they were already killed before the E.S.A. was initiated which requires proof of pre-E.S.A. receipt.

    "when the supply runs low it will just create an incentive for someone to run out and kill more."

    Does roadkill count? How about farming the animals? Is that wrong or are you a vegetarian?

    "And by the way, the only thing that is important to me about my flies is that they catch fish."

    And your idea of art is probably www.boobs-r-us.com right? My interpritation of art is slightly more original than most when it comes to fly tying. This is an opinion not a fact. I tie for myself and for people who appreciate what I am capable of. I don't market them unless it is worth it to me. I need not only personal satisfaction but I also need to trust that my client appreciates what I do. His or her wallet depicts this.

    "I don't get an inferiority complex over the fact that I used a different material than the "masters" did. "

    Neither do I. Otherwise, I would be looking for Spey Cock hackle from Scottland. Which I would be looking a long time since it is only available in limited supplies. Most of the featers are already spoken for. Oh, let me guess, you were trying to educate me right? Maybe you should come over and take a look at my library and tell me what book is missing from my collection.
    Even Tom Whiting has a tough time finding a good enough feather to imitate the Spey cock. I still appreciate his efforts though. He did do a great job with the black cock hackle and the matches for the Spey Cock were exceptional. Fortunately he was kind enough to hand select every feather in order to find the best pick. Keep an eye out in the future, he will be marketing "Spey Cock" after he receives enough feedback from enough people.

    Knowledge comes from the past, present and future. Your only limitations are what you can't imagine. Don't assume that I limit myself because I use materials not readily available from a flyshop. This is the complete opposite. Take a look at some of Schmookler's books. Take a look at Shewey's new book. John is very specific about allowing anyone to tie Spey flies with readily available materials for "fishing". Schmookler is bringing fly tying to a level of "art" versus "fishing". I really appreciate his progress and so does many other folks in the tying community. I appreciate both concepts.

    Care to beat your chest a little more?
  13. "But go fishing for an endangered salmonid and brag about it, and I'll drag you by the short hairs down to see the warden. "

    I hear that one! That will never happen again.
  14. Troutman, you crack me up. If anyone is beating his chest, it's you with your high falutin' assertion that your conception of art is slighly more original than most; that you have the veritable Library of Alexandria when it comes to fly tying books; that Tom Whiting gets your seal of approval for his efforts to develop a feather that imitates the spey cock; etc., etc. Give me a break. You can tie with whatever you want. I'm glad you consider fly tying an artform. Maybe one day I will too, though it will be when I'm retired, have 2 1/2 hours to tie one Atlantic Salmon fly and am too broken down to be on the water. I use materials that are readily available at my local flyshop because, unlike you, I lack the commitment to the art that would require me to scour the earth for "original" materials (and this is compounded by the fact that I'm lazy). And when I tie something up, it's usually in anticipation of a specific outing I have in mind and I don't have time to find something that's missing from my shop. So, for example, I wanted to fish for sea run cutts a few weeks ago and wanted to tie a fly that required tan marabou. My flyshop didn't have it (well, they did have it but the color stunk) so I used tan craft fur instead. Was it perfect? No. Did it make a reasonable approximation? I don't know - it looked okay to me. As to the debate about using materials from endangered or threatened species, as with many questions, there is often a legal answer and an ethical answer. Kind of like: yes you can -- without breaking the law -- swing big streamers on sink tip lines while fishing a certain Olympic Peninsula trout stream and "incidentally" catch threatened dollies/bull trout; yes, you can (well, you used to be able to) fish size 14 egg sucking leeches during the Methow River winter whitefish season and "incidentally" catch endangered steelhead. Is it ethical? There, I'm done beating my chest. (By the way, can I buy some flies from you? They sound pretty great. I'll take anything that isn't tied with tiger fur or black rhino tail hair :WINK )
  15. Rockfish does it again!!!! It's been awhile since you've stirred the pot, Ben. In addition to pre-ESA, I think it's okay to possess seal fur if you killed the seal yourself in self-defense, right?

    Tight lines,

    Andrew :EEK
  16. yeah its pretty good stuff, like steelheader said it has a certain shine to it, just got back from fishing the quilcene river fish out in the chuck stacken up on there way there. gonna be some big ones. I got some seal fur reel covers if anybodys interested. Ben :WINK
  17. Yes indeed.

    I do enjoy a little bragging and I also really enjoy other people brag a little. How can you prove a point or gain a perspective without credentials? It doesn's seem probable. Mr. Cutthroat, I enjoyed debating with you and like I would offer to any counterpart, it would be a pleasure to fish someone who shares different opinions on a particular activity. I would hope that everyone would have a different opinion than me only to gain a new perspective and to learn a different way of doing things. I still have a long ways to go you know. Who knows where I will be when I am in my 50's or 60's. Will I still get skunked? No less than anyone else. We are talking about fishing here you know.


    Gee, I thought I stirred the pot!
  18. You can find pick up a sample of harbor seal around Damon Point or the outer beaches of Ocean Shores and Westport as soon as the Grays Harbor gillnetters have an opening this fall. They seem to fall prey to some kind of brain virus or lead poisoning that causes big holes in their heads. Harbor seals are still protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, although the extension of that protection didn't make since to me since their population seemed to be increasing 20% per year for a while. Lepto slowed them down just for awhile. The fur is black/gray/white mottled, with the white having a nice sheen but a little short. I used to take samples of the stuff, not legal, but not harming the population in any way. But be sure you get a fresh one because, PU!, you can't approach a month old one from up wind even. I lived out there for the last twenty years and one of my big problems was the dogs loved to roll in dead seal!
  19. Actually, you want arctic type or harbor seals that are babies (not that I'm saying to go shoot one against ESA). It's just that they're white and their fur has a shine you can't describe. Much better feel then even seal ex. Plus, with the white, you can custom dye, that's if you can find some pre-ESA.

    I have my legal sources for all sorts of plummage/fur. Grizzly, Polar Bear, legal Herron, etc. I don't tie alot of atlantics, too much time. I only tie for profit for those willing to pay the high price associated with them. One of these days I'll be able to tie up the really fancy ones that take a couple days tying nonstop 24/7 with all the bells and whistles. lol But back on my point, you can find the legal stuff out there, it's just hard AND EXPENSIVE.

    To say that if you buy something pre ESA you're going to start a stir and have more killed illegal is a bit off the mark. Usually that is what causes people to create the aftermarket knockoffs (ie Seal Ex by Poul Jorgenson). When I used my last bit of legal seal fur about 15 years ago, I didn't go out and hire an Inuit (sp?) to go shoot a baby seal for me and send me pelt. I bought dubbing fur/synthetics to use in it's place. Same goes for some of the hard to find/embargoed feathers I use as well. Now, if I find some pre ESA furs/feathers I whore them up like you wouldn't believe. I bought a good quarter pelt of Grizzly and a big swatch (about 1 1/2 foot square) of Polar Bear when they arose. Have possibility to buy what's left of the old polar bear rug when they're done with the reshaping (a guy brought a rug from the early 1900's in for retrofiting into a half mount and I'm getting leftovers hehehe). But, when I run out of polar bear, am I gonna go out an have someone shoot one for me? Nope, I'll go back with either my krystal flash or buck tails.

    No preaching, just fishing!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    "You haven't lived until you've run a cataraft. Friends don't let friends run Outcasts."
  20. What is an Indian Crow? I was just looking at an alevin pattern and the yolk sack originally called for IC. I didn't expect it to be red.

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