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Fish Shrinkage

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by WilliamHansen, Nov 29, 2010.

  1. I have a customer that brought me five sunfish to do in a group mount. He SWEARS the smallest was 10 1/2 inches. Took them out to work on and not one is over 9. Of course I did not measure them when he brought them in (like a dummy). Is it possible that they shrunk that much in the freezer? They have only been in there for three months, and he brought them to me in a vacuum sealed bag. Any ideas?
  2. wishbone

    wishbone New Member

    NO they didnt shrink...............i had i a "19 inch" crappie brought to me...i didnt measure either until later....it was 14"..i called him and told him ....he laughed and said "oh i must have miss measured...but still a nice slab eh".....i was worried hed argue but didnt.....i think be honest cause it is what it is.

  3. a 41 inch pike will lose a inch in the frezer..
    i would guess a 10.5 panfish wouldent lose 1.5.
    thinking he was like most fishermen and dident even measure it in the first place..
  4. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Sorry but those pan fish did not shrunk that much. 5/8" maybe but not 1 1/2". Call you client and tell him you just took them out and there is no way a fish this large. Yes it's your fault I measure them right in front of my client if their frozen I ask but also explain that when I take it out and there is a difference I'm the first to know and your going to be the second and then prices will change.
    It's not going to be easy to explain this to him, if he's an ok client it will be ok if not your going to catch heck from him for he will accuse you of changing fish and you could be in trouble. Let this be a lesson learned and now measure and put a clause in your contract about frozen fish so that you won't be responsible for their bad measurement.
  5. On a lighter note to this thread; while fishing tournaments, I've had fish experience extreme weight loss while in my live-well for just a few hours. They often drop 20% of their body weight. By the way.... does anyone have a live-well that could hold a 245 lb man?
  6. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, oftentimes we don't have the luxury of measuring fish in front of our customers becasue they are frozen. And, of course sometimes there will be a fairly large discrepancy once thawed (unthawed??? LOL!) What I do when there's a significant discrepancy is I immediately take photos of the fish along a tape with mouth closed and tail squeezed AND I also include their original wrappings (towel, bag, whatever) in the photos too. Then, you make a phone call. Make sure your customer is measuring the same way. Some will measure with the mouth open which can add a 1/2" or more here. Make sure they took their time when measuring. If the fish is flopping around it isn't easy to get an accurate measurement. Tell him/her fish WILL lose a little bit of length after freezing and that you should be able to get that back. (Pull the fish after thawing and you'll hear the spine crack and it'll move a little bit). More often than not, customers are pretty understanding. Offer to email the photos you just took. It's pretty hard to argue against your claims IF yoiu can show proof of their wrappings and that it's their fish. At this point if you still haven't worked through things you have a couple of choices. What I normally do is stretch the fish a bit when mounting. You can do this both at the tail section and by increasing the distance at the head. (In reality, you're stretching everything in-between). Then, when pick-up time comes (put your normal curves into the fish) if he/she still complains teach him/her how to measure a mounted fish. You can get a little creative here with the tape. Certainly creative enough to add a half inch or so! Measure the back loosely and the front loosely and divide by two for the actual measurement. Practice this before he/she comes for pick-up so that you get the numbers you want - lol! If he says anything just say the length came back after thawing.

    The other option (if your customer is adamant about it being longer AND they sound like they're going to be jerks about it) is to wrap it up and freeze it and tell them to come and pick-up THEIR fish along with their deposit. (BTW, I've Never had to use this option!!!)

    Practice your creative measuring and explain how length changes once the curve is in...
  7. D.C.O

    D.C.O Dreamcatcher Outfitters & Taxidermy

  8. Had a long conversation with the customer. He is a guide and had clients along with him when he caught the fish. He packaged the fish when they were done and said his clients probably got the wrong package. He was disappointed to say the least, but took the blame. They were caught fly-fishing, and the biggest was almost 12 inches and over two pounds. "I'll just have to go back and catch some more next year." He wants to use them for a display at sports shows he attends.
  9. franchi612

    franchi612 New Member

    Just suggest repos then. I would think he has pictures of them. I bet somewhere is a taxidermist saying, wow these fish are way bigger than the customer said!
  10. den007

    den007 Active Member

    Marty's idea is a good one. In fact, I take a before and after pic of all mounts. If there is a discrepancy, I call right away and show them the tale of the tape. When UPS busts up one of my replicas, I also have a photo to send them ....along with the insurance claim of course.