Bugskin Flies

By Mike Hogue

Bugskin is the brain child of Chuck Ferminsky and is a material which is very interesting and a bit different. Bugskin is a polished split leather. One side has a texture and usually the other side is more or less suede. Generally the leather is a thin, easy to work with material and it provides some alternatives which are not available from other materials. A couple of things which are nice is that as a whole the material is natural, while some of the finishes are nothing natural, it is much like some of the dyed materials we use. The other thing is the material generally absorbs water, this is useful for flies which swim or sink.

I decided to add Bugskin as a material to my catalog and I contacted Chuck about using some of his patterns. Listed below are some of Chuck's favorite patterns. I have tried to show several styles to give you some ideas what the material could be used for. I sell Bugskin in several colors and it is always a popular material. If you are unable to locate this contact me and I will let you know what colors I have on hand.

Chuck's Bugskin Nymph:

Hook: Mustad 9672, size 10

Thread: Black 6/0

Tail: Partridge Fibers

Body and Thorax: Black or Mottled Brown Bugskin

Belly: Brown or Black Rabbit

Hackle: Hen Saddle

Chuck cuts a narrow strip and uses it for the body and the back. Straight forward nymph pattern. You can add weight by wrapping lead wire around the hook shank if you wish.

Chuck's Bugskin Stonefly

Hook: Targus 200 or Mustad C53S, size 6-10

Thread: 6/0 Black

Body and Back: Brown Bugskin and Mottled Brown Bugskin

Thorax: Brown Rabbit

You can add weight by wrapping lead. To get a wide and flat body, tie lead on each side of the hook shank before wrapping the body. The back uses a different color of material for a contrast.

Bugskin Crawdad ( AKA Mudbug)

Hook: Mustad 7980 or 9672 size 4-8

Antenna: Red Fox Squirrel Tail

Eyes: Burnt Mono, Rib: Copper Wire

Claws and Back: Mottled Brown Bugskin

Legs: Brown Hackle, Body: Olive Dubing

Bugskin Saltwater Minnow

Hook: Mustad 3407 , size 1/0 to 4

Body: Flexo Tubing over Crackled Holoskin Bugskin

Eyes: 3D Dome Eyes

The back is colored with marker and is coated with epoxy. The Bugskin is cut to a minnow shape and inserted into Flexo tubing.


Bugskin Saltwater Minnow 2

Hook: Mustad 3407 , size 1/0 to 4

Body: Flexo Tubing over Crackled Holoskin Bugskin

Eyes: 3D Dome Eyes

This is basically the same pattern as above but it is a different color and is used for stripers off the NJ coast.

I decided to include one of my patterns in this set to. I have fished this pattern for many years and it is bascially a Whitlock Chamos Leech Pattern. Originally this pattern appeared in the Whitlock's Guide to Aquatic Trout Foods. This has been a great pattern for bass and I have caught a fair number of fish on this fly. One key to making this is to use wide pieces of leather. I often use a piece that is almost 1/4" wide and I tend to use strips that are about 6-8" long. You want a long piece to get it to swim right.

Above: Using a ruler to cut the leather, the cutting board is from a craft store and will keep from cutting your table top. If you are in a pinch, double up a small square of cardboard.

Usually I take a ruler or straight edge and cut the patch. Sometimes you need to apply some pressure to the ruler and keep a firm handle on the leather, or it will tend to slide around and slip. I use new razor blades to cut this and often use the single edge style for leather as it has a handle on the back, if it slips you are less likely to get cut.

Mike's Bugskin Leech

Hook: Mustad 36890 size 6-8

Tail: Red Yarn

Thread: 6/0 Black

Rib: Copper Wire

Eyes: Small bead chain

Body: Dubbed Glister, Peacock, Sometimes I use squirrel dubbing

Back: Black, Mottled Brown, Tan or Olive Bugskin

Hackle: Large, wide Chinese Neck, strung hackle or Hen saddle


Begin by tying on a pair of eyes in figure 8 wraps. I usually put them on to the point where the wire loop stops on a salmon hook.



Glue the eyes down by adding a drop of Zap a Gap.




Tie in the tail.





Tie in the ribbing wire.





Dub the body and wrap it forward.




Tie in a hackle






Tie off the hackle and tie the Budksin back in behind the eyes.





Wrap the wire in even spaces and tie off. Dub the around the eyes.






Pull the leather over the eyes and tie off. Form the head and whip finish.

That's it. You can use several colors of Bugskin, I like to use Black, Olive, Brown and Tan. I have also made these in Red, Hot Orange and Hot Pink. Purple might be good too.If you don't have the right color, you use tan and color it with a marker.This can also create a two tone effect.


Email: Mike@eflytyer.com

For more Info Contact:

Mike Hogue / Badger Creek Fly Tying / 622 West Dryden Road, Freeville, NY 13068

Phone: 607-347-4946