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how do i keep fish scales from falling out and popping up?

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by jimmy82, Dec 13, 2013.

  1. jimmy82

    jimmy82 New Member

    I'm just now trying to get into fish. Every one that I do after skinning the scales start to fall out and after fleshing even more either fall out or stick out. H
    ow can I stop this?
  2. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    Paint your fish with white school glue before skinning. Allow it to dry for an hour or so, then begin skinning. As you loosen the carcass, cut it in cross-sections and take out. This aids in preventing folding the skin, which will loosen scales, especially on crappie. Flesh by scraping gently from back to belly, rather than from head to tail. On a really tender fish, you can soak in denatured alcohol overnight prior to skinning. This tends to tighten up the scales. Long term, you can remove the fish from its wrapper and place in the freezer uncovered for a few months. This also toughens the skin and prevents scale slippage. That's about all the tricks I can think of for now!

  3. double barrel

    double barrel New Member

    "How do I keep fish scales from falling out and popping up?"...Don't mount any fish but gars. lmao! Nailem to a tree and schelac when dry. After the last maggot falls off brush on a coat of varnish.
  4. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    You got me on that one Double Barrel, LOL!!!!
  5. jim tucker

    jim tucker Active Member

    What kind of fish are you doing...if it is a walleye you need to be more gentle...if it is a crappie, when you get the answer let ME know.

    Seriously until you really know what you are doing you will have this problem. the answer is ALWAYS be more gentle and try not to bend the skin too much.
  6. double barrel

    double barrel New Member

    Soak all my crappie in alcohol overnite before skinning. Next morning, take crappie out, ad a 12 oz can of coke and sip on it when skinning. If scales pop off, at least you won't give a $hit.
  7. den007

    den007 Active Member

    Jimmy…..first advice, get the right tools. What are you using to skin and flesh?

    Secondly…….gentle……these are not deer hides.

    3….don't stretch in the process.

    4….tender fish…….advice given is good. I like to have crappie freeze dried, but have lately been doing more and more in the traditional way. I am prone to leave the non-fatty flesh on a crappie rather than scrape too hard. Alcohol soak is good. Alum really tightens things up even better in my opinion. Don't keep them sloppy wet when skinning.

    5….Best……skin a fish in front of an experienced fish head, and listen to the critique.
  8. If you paint with the school house glue , What happens to the glue after you put it in the water solution for the soak? dose it dissolve or are you using it for a base coat . Just a beginners question . mark c
  9. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    It melts off like ice cream when placed in your preservation solution. For my preservative, I use water and borax with Lysol to kill the fishy aroma. Soak crappie in this for 20-30 minutes and then mount.
  10. Joey Arender

    Joey Arender big mouth alert

    Try not to pick the fish up. Rather place it on something you can rotate as you work. But mostly don't sweat it to much. They all lose scales at some point. Several ways to fix lost scales, from sculpting them in, making a mold to press them in, or drawing and painting them in.

    It makes for more finish work but I found removing the head on fish just to make cleaning head and skins easier and faster pretty much stopped all my scale loss issues. And putting them back on isn't that much work so...
  11. Mark in IL

    Mark in IL New Member

    Joey - I have been thinking about doing this as well. If you have some time, could you give us some basic "do"s and "don't"s when it comes to removing the head before skinning the fish? Thanks - Mark
  12. Joey Arender

    Joey Arender big mouth alert

    Cut around the scale line of the head from where the gill cover connects all the way around to throat latch....i find a good pair of curved scissors allow me to get almost a perfect cut. on really big fish, I use a pair of bone cutters to get through top of collar bone....continue Cutting skin In front of the collar bones to throat latch. At this point I remove paired fins and either dorsal cut for a pedestal or side cut for a wall mount.

    So actually I remove the skin first. You will find it just lays open as you skin.... Then I remove eyes and clean cheek meat. Then simply disconnect head from body and clean everything out... Pm me if any questions.
  13. Mark in IL

    Mark in IL New Member

    Hi Joey - Thank you very much. I will send you a PM if I need some help. Thanks again - Mark
  14. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    Be gentle!