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What have I gotten myself into... Lol ;)

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by DogSoldierChick, Apr 28, 2014.

  1. Ok guys... First of all I'm a nut as some of you may already know from my posts... First thing I ever mounted was a bobcat a little over a year ago. Yep I started on a bobcat. Scary looking critter when I was done with it that somewhat represented a cat. Lol. I've came a long way and just finished a Lynx that got good reviews... Deer still need work but are scoring decent for commercial work in my area and I am forever improving and studying. I'm also decent at birds my first being a wood duck, since I've done everything from turkeys to Sandhill cranes...

    It was time to get my feet wet literally on fish. I'm sure skin mounts are not to be my favorite as I don't favor smelling or eating fish over a gut shot coyote but I'm a determined lil cuss at anything I do...

    First for the laughing part.... Well as I said I don't enjoy smelling fishy, my brother in law caught a large striped bass 30 lbs from the TN River. Knowing my experience being none we agreed on a price and he insisted on a skin mount as most do here. That's cool with me (please don't yell at me for saying I think moving skin is taxidermy).

    But if you do yell it's cool, I got a streak of George in me and don't mind to discuss opinions.

    I'm a purist in all my other taxidermy so why not this... Anyway I had a guy teaching me the very basics of commercial work and he was with me the day I skinned this fish. I love how my BIL kept saying this female was so fat with eggs!
    So after a full day of skinning nasty yotes I decided the way I smelled it was the day to skin the fish. I made my initial cut and was working it away with my hand when my fingers slid into the FEMALES sperm sack... It shot up my arm and all over my face. Granted I'm not the first on here I'm sure to get a fish facial but being a girl dripping in fish sperm I was mortified. Not only the smell but the thought of this fish just jizzed on me induced a nice gagging fit that lasted more than a moment.

    Onto where I'm at now. So the fish goes into the freezer. A year later and dozens of birds and mammals under my belt I think ok here we go.

    Now it takes days to get the guy who was to teach me and I lined up together. We go to work on the fish and its cleaned in no time. It soaks in borax water overnight per his instruction and I wash it thoroughly in dawn. Then rinse clean and borax. At this point we pack the head with maache and mount the body stapling the back closed. No hide paste. Then we wait. It's been a week now. He told me to buy sanding sealer and give him a call when it's dry.

    Now I love this guy but he will tell you straight ill teach you how I do commercial grade taxidermy work, I've done it 50 years and am retiring. I don't care to do it any different or learn new ways. Ill teach you how I did it. It's up to you to learn, improve, research, etc if you want to. So I've learned to just watch on the first anything. I'm a quick study and wear this site out after that to improve.

    For instance I immediately went from DP to tanning, I use tohickon comp grade eyes and am having my mounts critiqued and going to conventions.
    I know starting out with bad habits learned wont help but I usually see what methods to modernize quick.

    With this fish stuff I'm at a loss.... Ill tell you what I know...
    I can paint, I have off and on my whole life and studied art in college. That part I think I'll enjoy. I know that I can recognize by sight and reference what's wrong and improve over time. That's what I can see...

    As far as mounting the fish I see lots of things wrong but I'm not sure what to do.
    I don't know a ton on fish anatomy and am studying those things. But I'm disappointed in information on things such as proper skinning, fleshing, where to make your cuts, repair work, etc.

    Where can I find more information on these things? The fish is mounted... Ill try and get a pic up, but no repair work has been done. Now I know it will be the quality my brother in law expects because he used this man but I expect much better for MY customers when and if I begin taking them in.

    This man does what he calls a one sided fish. The gap on the back is a inch and a half yet it does seem to line up the vent, and fins in place on the show side. The form is showing under the chin and the head seems shrunken in places. I'm sure that's the real head issues but I'm also sure it's his methods.

    Does everyone use sanding sealer? Also is all repair work done with apoxie sculpt? For now I'm going to get thru this one just like I did the bobcat and woody. I always start our with a tough one but I learn quick what I can handle that way.

    I do think I'd enjoy repos but no one around here wants one. No matter how much better they look. They want their fish.

    I'm still planning on getting a couple to do for myself and try it.

    Ill ask the other 50 questions when I'm ready to paint.

    For now ill show you where he got it to and where we go from here and you can give me advice on the right, wrong, awful etc ways we do it and how I can go on my own from here.

    Thanks so much guys and I look forward to branching into this part of taxidermy.
     
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  3. B Jones

    B Jones Memeber of - NTA,UTA,AIT.Proud Member of NZTA.

    The fish looks like a mounted drying fish, one thing I see is you did not make the mistake that is common to mosat beginner fish and that is head droop. I didnt know females had sperm sacks.
     
  4. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    As Brad noted, the mount looks good. The only "rule" I keep on stripers is "no skin mounts on fish over 24 inches". They're just a bitch to keep gerease free. FOR ME, all the fins would have to come off and the head casted or replaced with a repro. I DON'T care if "no one likes them". They don't like the grease bleed through and smell in 5 years either.
     
  5. Jon S

    Jon S Well-Known Member

    Nice overall shape. It looks like when you get an eye set and do some finishing work on the head it will look right nice.
     
  6. Lol yeah I told him his full of eggs female was actually a full of sperm male. Lol. Yuck...

    I guess what I was wondering is what my next steps would be? He mentioned the sanding sealer.... Is all finish work done with apoxie sculpt?

    Do you all back fins with flex fun or other things?

    Can you do the antiquing method on skin mounts? White out and then darken and buff? I'm sure he will leave the painting to me so I'd like to know if this is how I should start? I purchased silver powder for tipping and have several enhancing colors. I saw Ricks tutorial on the repo can I use it exactly the same on a skin mount?
     
  7. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Sanding sealer will work, though I like to stick with lacquer. I use lacquer paints so the lacquer fungicidal sealer is what I use. Actually, I usually just use clear lacquer to give me a base coat. The antiquing step can work on skin, but the scales have "pips" on them that can often detract from it. I'm sure Rick Krane has a video on it someplace and he's more into those blushes and mascara ;) than I am.

    Again, my concern is the possiblity of grease bleed. Epo-Grip sells "Liquid Fast Set" which is a 5 minute epoxy. On a fish that size (I'm presuming it's about 45 inches if it weighed 30 pounds), I'd cut it with a few drops of xylol and then paint the head and the fin butts before I started anything. That will hopefully sandwich the grease under the epoxy to keep it from bleeding into the paint.
     
  8. Whitetailfreak84

    Whitetailfreak84 New Member

    I would also card the fins on the non show side.
     
  9. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Ok as far as a sealer goes I don't do any of that, due to using powders and dry pigments. I do seal my powders as I go on and do my painting but the way I mount them is not like what you have done and what you have done is looking good. I use all artificial fins and heads for such fish but I cast my own so they get their parts put back on again so I don't get that grease bleed. I also carve my own bodies for the same reason I get a perfect every time.
    I would do what George is saying about the epoxy but that grease and oil will always be there and many years down the road cause havoc. I have fish that are 15 years old that I did and to this day no bleed out or problems due to grease for using artificial parts saved me from this.
    I taxidermy today Rick has a great paint schedule on a striper and I would advise you search them out and get a copy of it. He may paint his fish on a repro but you do the same for the skin mount per say.
    I wouldn't white him out for I use the marking that are their and enhance the fish from here by using powders..