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.