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Question on Crappies

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by deeter73, Jul 30, 2014.

  1. Hi all, just a quick question. I'm currently working on 2 skin mount crappies. I skinned them both out last night and all went well, not much scale loss at all. Question is, when I got to cleaning out the head, I got most of the meat out but do you all try to get the cheek meat out as well? There's so little meat in there that I'm worried that I might end up tearing the face apart trying to get that little bit out. Can I just borax the cheek area and leave it or should I take the time to get it all out, same question for the lower jaw meat. I've only ever done one crappie before it was likely 5-6 years ago and I don't recall if I took the cheek meat out but it still looks fine today. Thanks in advance.
  2. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Always take the cheek meat on every fish. I use a 4" Rapala fillet knife initially with the point dulled to make a circular cut along the cheek plate. And then the arcing cut along the skin. The trick is to take your time and use a sharp knife. I then use a cheeker tool to remove the meat. Just the way I do it. IF you cut through it's most likely going to be at the very edge. Not a big deal when filling with mache' - just rub the excess off. Lots of ways to get the meat out some use a grapefruit tool I think of some sorts. Same concept though - it's a small tool that you can get in through the eyes and scrape the meat out...

  3. Thanks FishArt, I kinda knew that was the answer I was going to get. I do always take the cheek meat out of every fish. I just thought that with "maybe" with such a small amount of meat in there that it might not have that to necessary.
  4. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    Yes remove the cheek meat. If you don't it will stink and need to be rebuilt. Any repairs needed after removing are minimal and at least won't stink.
  5. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Also to add to what I forgot to say - lol! Don't worry about making mistakes. Everybody make mistakes. Most everything can be repaired - it just takes more time when that happens. I blast through a cheek once in awhile still after doing this for 15+ years now. As 3Bears said - it's minimal work to fix (In fact, blasting through the edge is really no extra work - easy fix!)
  6. Thanks guys, looks like i'll take the meat out then. I recall someone on here posting a while back that they use the paint can openers that Lowes or Home Depot gives you when you buy paint. I've never used them for this task before but I have a few at home and I think it might work. Its small enough and has a hook on the end, might be a handy tool for this.
  7. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    A lip tucking tool works good for taking out the cheek meat in panfish.
  8. I use heavy copper wire and flatten the ends with a hammer. I have straight ones and ones that I bend down with a pliers. It works great. After you get the biggest portion out, work some borax into the cheek and you can clean it up very good. The wire is just shy of an 1/8 in., maybe 10ga.(?).
  9. coonhollow

    coonhollow Active Member

    Also a wire I haven't used copper but it would be more easily adaptable. Pound out a flat spoon shape. And grind the edges. You can roll the edges for scraping with a bench grinder. You can make anything from the tiniest tool to largest just depends on wire size and your needs and time
  10. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    Why make the tool when that deer form lip tucker is in the drawer? : - )
  11. coonhollow

    coonhollow Active Member

    I guess it depends how small the specimen is and how far or tight of a area you want to get to :)
  12. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    Yes, you must take the cheek meat out. Don't worry about damaging the skin...it usually happens on just one side, which always happens to be the "show side"!
  13. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    That's why you start on the wall side and it will give you a feel for how easy you need to go. If you tear a little on the wall side no big deal. Actually it's all repairable right? ;D
  14. Here is one of the finished crappies, I hope the pic comes out ok, I'm still having trouble re-sizing pics. Critiques or opinions?

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