The first walleye I ever did I made a paper mache liner and filled them with sawdust no kiddin I was happier then a pig In mud
cause I good actually start seeing some results when I look back I did a horrible paint job of them thou
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I used to buy mache from Haynes at Popular Bluff Mo. Then scrounged excelsior from around town, would put a layer of mache into the fish skin and wrap a excel. body, ram a bit more loose excel. into the head sew them up, card the fins and let them dry.
Took a number of ribbons back in the early 1980's before I learned to carve bodies.
Have also sewn sacks and packed sawdust into them.
The best one was using sand in hard scaled skin, like gar, then empty the sand when dry.