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The practicality of telling customers to put borax on their fish

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by Cecil, Jan 15, 2018.

  1. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    I'm NOT debating the merits of putting borax on freshly caught fish, but how practical is it to tell a customer to do it? Saw this pushed by a taxidermist that does mostly replicas on a fishing website.

    1. Are those pushing this expecting anglers to have borax on hand contingent on when or if they catch a trophy fish?

    2. Isn't it a little late once the customer has the fish in the freezer and calls you? 90 percent of the fish I get calls on have already been frozen.

    3. Can we expect them to purchase borax after the fish is caught?

    4. How available is borax from your local grocery store? Mine didn't carry it for quite a few years. They maintained they didn't sell much.

  2. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    What are the benefits, exactly.? I use borax in my soak for fish and on birds but that is the extent of my use.

  3. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    Supposed to keep the markings and colors intact or something like that. Makes some sense but it seems we have to paint them anyway.

    OTOH I could see it for cold water fish that get blotchy and fade out inconsistently, and it's advantageous to keep some markings intact to make painting easier. E.G. it's much easier to enhance the vermiculations on a brook trout's back than to start from scratch. That is if the borax really does that for you.
  4. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    It is damn hard to get the average customer to get a fish they want mounted on ice or frozen ASAP. It would be even harder to get em to rub borax on a fish.
    Cecil likes this.
  5. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    You got that right!
  6. Mudbat

    Mudbat Well-Known Member

    You trolling the fresh water fish taxidermy page Cecil?
  7. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    Nope but if you're referring to here, but it might take something like that to liven things up! ;D

    I came across this as advice from an angler on Ice Shanty.com, in the Maine section, as advice from a taxidermist he had used. Just wanted to know what others here thought about it as I'm skeptical of the practically of it for anglers. I can see it for taxidermists that plan on competing with a fish though.

    I had one customer that wanted me to basically dredge a large brook trout I sold him with borax. Gosh it looked awful with the borax stuck to it!
  8. Sotired

    Sotired Active Member

    Why would someone who does replicas even care if the colors fade or not??? (asking for a friend) ;)

  9. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    I could be all wrong about this and confusing the angler with someone else, but although he claims to have had a skin mount done, I believe he posted a picture and it appeared to be a replica to me. But like I said I could be wrong and it was someone else.
  10. Mudbat

    Mudbat Well-Known Member

    I know of a taxi that recommends borax in PA. He’s very good at what he does.
  11. Helps nothing. Borax is of no help putting it on a fish then freezing. Even less putting it on a frozen fish.
  12. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member


    And yes Frank's coldwater fish are some of the best out there.
  13. fishmaster

    fishmaster Well-Known Member

    Borax does a great job of holding markings on cold water fish but the reality of getting customers to follow instructions is next to impossible so i haven't suggested using borax for over 30yrs. The only way Borax is helpful is if it is put on immediately after the fish is caught and being especially careful to get it under the paired fins to eliminate the shadow that can appear there where the fish is touching the body. If you Wack a trout on the head with a club or smooth rock to instantly kill it then apply borax on the entire body and place it in a plastic bag on top of ice etc it will certainly help. It is certainly worth doing if you are saving the fish for a competition mount. However, borax dries out the skin and fins faster and they need to be skinned out sooner rather than later.
    For an average customer I just recommend they wrap it in a very wet t-shirt, in a plastic bag and get it frozen and forget any mention of borax. As long as the dip-chits don't put them in dry newspaper I'm happy.
    Cecil, for the fish you sell it would certainly be worth doing as the customer is going to get crisper marking definations and overall colors.
  14. Mudbat

    Mudbat Well-Known Member

    Yep but he was also giving the advice to another taxi looking to mount their own fish
  15. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your reply Don. May have to give that a shot. Will do some experimenting to see how that works.

  16. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your replies Mudbat and John C.
  17. hambone

    hambone Well-Known Member

    Someone on here once mentioned rubbing borax with a tooth brush under the paired fins on cold water fish to get rid of the shadow, I tried it and it did work so I believe borax has its uses.
  18. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    I can't get them to stop wrapping fish in newspaper, so coating with Borax is certainly out of the question!
  19. CCarlson

    CCarlson Active Member

    Now that's funny right there.
  20. I first heard about using Borax on trout in an old Jim Hall video where he was mounting brown trout. He said it helped retain some of the color and patterns and toughened the skin. When the son in law and I go trout fishing I have an old pillow case with Borax and put any mountable trout in it soon after being caught. It seems to help with the stocker rainbows here in Jersey. Haven't frozen any of them after the Borax application though.