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Hardest part of a fish.

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by Lateral Line, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. Lateral Line

    Lateral Line The Sea Refuses No River...

    What gives you the most trouble when completing a fish? Getting eyes to set correctly? Recreating scale patterns along the seams? Blending colors without over doing it?
    For me it's detailing fins with an air brush. Trying to get the rays to look like a fine line and to run straight. This usually causes me to over paint the fin, making it look darker than normal. I've been experimenting with fine ink pens, which seem to help in certain situations. Practice, practice practice!!!
  2. So many variables for the eyes, fish eyes like fowl eyes can move independently.

  3. Joey Arender

    Joey Arender big mouth alert

    Fins for me as well. Then there is the scale issue to. Oh yeah the markings. And then the scale tipping. Then there is the glossing. Some days I just want to throw my hands up.
  4. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Busting up them big bones in the head of big fish (I sometimes use a chisel and hammer here!) That and getting the cheek meat out in the forward part of the cheek where it has some tendons and such. That's hard to get out that last little bit of meat through the eyes or from the inside for me. And scraping off the excess meat on the throat. I've been meaning to cut some PVC to aid in that, but still just scrape and peel the meat off muddling through without. Of course all the other areas of Fish Taxidermy I've mastered perfectly - lol! Seriously though, skinning is not my favorite part and although much faster than I was years ago, Archie Phillips would laugh at me - lol! I take my time and focus on not making mistakes when skinning. Still takes me a solid hour or more to skin a bass or walleye...
  5. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    Marty what is wrong with taking your time while skinning? I would rather take a little extra time up front than have repairs to make during finishing. To me the most time consuming thing on fish is the finish work, rebuilding shrinkage, getting everything looking to my liking and then painting. When it comes to painting I am just not able to paint a batch at a time, I still do em one at a time.
  6. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    I'm kind've the same way 3Bears with the one at a time stuff. My shop isn't very big to begin with. But, painting - even if I have two or three fish ready they're typically not the same species. So, I end up doing the blending and whites on all and then typically focus on only one after that. I just don't have the volume to have the luxury of pulling three or four crappies or whatever to paint at once because I usually don't have that many backlogged! I still want to keep my turnaround time down so I can't wait too long for more of the same specie to come in.

    Nothing wrong with taking my time skinning. I agree - when I tried to hurry I'd make mistakes. I'm just amazed at folks that can skin 6 or 8 fish a day (or more!) I physically couldn't do that. I think the most I've ever skinned was three fish in one day and that was with a lot of breaks. Messes with my back standing all that time.

    I don't mind modelling. But it IS time consuming. Especially as you do this more and you start seeing more that you missed in the past!

    The more I think about it, I think at this point in my "fish career" (lol) the hardest part is staying motivated. With the interest in fish dwindling more and more each year, it makes it tough to get into a rhythm and stay positive. So, I guess that's my new answer - lol! I can deal with those big bones!
  7. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    My least favorite thing on skin mounts is the tedious finish work before painting -- especially on larger fish like musky and northerns. When I first started I found painting frustrating but after doing it for almost 30 years it's pretty much second nature now. I'm sure most of you can relate.

    Fins don't bother me. i'm actually using Elmer's glue now with good results. It dries clear if you don't put it on too heavy.

  8. Ha ha its comforting to know someone feels the same as me !!! ;) not forgetting carving the body form !! ;D
  9. den007

    den007 Active Member

    Digging jaw meat out from pike and musky………..they still bite after they are dead!

    Also, eye juice squirting at me……especially if it gets on my lips.

    And number one………skinning out fish that are half rotted with soft meat. Got in a big red drum from Texas one year…..summer……slow mail……major stink. I gagged so much I filled a respirator with Vick's Vap O Rub just to finish.
  10. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member


    You are removing the jaw meat from outside of the jaw via a scalpel incision aren't you?
  11. den007

    den007 Active Member

    Hey Cecil!

    Nobody ever showed me that one. I go at it from the inside, and that is the only time I use a scalpel on a fish. Somebody do a you-tube video for me about going in from the outside. That is sissy stuff anyways. LOL
  12. CraigW

    CraigW Member

    Den Check out these links


  13. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    I go from the inside too Cecil. Obviously easy to fix the damage if you do go from the outside. But, yeah those teeth are sharp as heck! I usually have 3-4 knuckles bleeding a little after every pike or musky - lol! Battle scars to be proud of - lol!

    Well, after seeing the links Craig posted I think I am going to do it from the outside from now on - thanks for the tidbit of info! And my knuckles thank you's!
  14. wishbone

    wishbone New Member

    Cleaning out the head and always have trouble skinnig throat latch
  15. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    I always clip the throat latch, Makes it much easier to work down there and no problemo rebuilding at Apoxie Sculpt time. I shove a toothipick or two into the form and then back forward where the t.l. use to attach up under the gills. Makes a nice foundation for Apoxie Sculpt. WAY easier than trying to skin with the t.l. attached IMO...
  16. Jimmy Lawrence

    Jimmy Lawrence Well-Known Member

    1.Interpretation of reference
    2, accurate anatomy when carving
    3. artistic composition of the finished product
    4. making money off of fish.
  17. M.T.

    M.T. Active Member

    I use an eight inch fillet knife and cut the skin membrane on the inside of the jaw on thise pike and musky. Cut it starting from the front towards back on the lower side. Then, take a butter knife which is also quite long and scrape the meat towards the back. Then, get a pair of eight inch needle nosed pliars or hemostats and pull it out, almost in one piece. THis can be down very quickly without getting bit, Hold the head by the eye sockets.
  18. wishbone

    wishbone New Member


    Right on i have done the tooth pick and always end up using apoxie...but i still try to keep it together everytime...i believe ill
    start clipping tl first thing ..save me some grief
  19. den007

    den007 Active Member

    Thanks for the links. I started out in fish just leaving it in. Then, as it dried, Mmmmmmmmmmm, that luscious aroma of rotting flesh filled the shop.