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I need some ideas...

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by Cecil, Mar 17, 2018.

  1. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    As some of you know I raise fish for sale to taxidermists and replica makers. I have had complaints from a few fish guys that the foodsaver material leaves imprints on the trout especially the tops of the heads. Obviously not a good thing if you are casting. I've also had complaints that the wet paper towel I apply to the fins causes marks on the fins. I apply the wet paper towel to prevent the frozen fins from breaking -- both when the food saver material bears down on the fish, and in shipping. As we all know a frozen fin is almost as fragile as a potato chip.

    I completely understand this complaints and want to do what is necessary to alleviate any issues. However I will not give up the food saver material as it keeps the fish from drying out and allows the customer to see what he's getting.

    I'm thinking I can slide a clear plastic sleeve over the fish before shrink wrapping? Or Saran Wrap? Haven't tried it yet but plan to very soon. Only concern is the food saver material may have issues grabbing onto the plastic? I'll find out soon.

    Any ideas for protecting the fins? Perhaps if I can figure out how to keep them close to the body (sometimes the pelvic fins like to push out when the fish expires) leaving just the dorsal and caudal fin that need to be protected.I use a fish anesthetic to knock the fish out and then freeze solid on a freezer shelf lined with plastic to keep the fish from sticking to the shelf. Next comes wet paper towels and the the food saver material.

    Thought and ideas are welcome!

    Last edited: Mar 17, 2018
  2. How about if you took the dead fish and wrapped it in many layers of Saran wrap and then froze.
    woakley144 likes this.

  3. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    Thanks! That might work. You don't think it will cause lines or wrinkles on the fish? I'll give it a shot. I have time to experiment on extra fish.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2018
  4. AnglingArtisan

    AnglingArtisan Well-Known Member

    Some of the nicer specimens I've received over the years for molding were wrapped in old t-shirts. The wet cotton seemed to prevent extreme wrinkles, etc.
    jigginjim and Cecil like this.
  5. jigginjim

    jigginjim Active Member

    Angling Artisan said just what I was thing, I save my old t-shirts for my own fish, as well asw wrap them in saran wrap after the wet t-shirt. Seems to work good on my smaller fish, I have done this for fish I planned on cleaning to eat later, no freezer burn.
    Cecil likes this.
  6. What about a sheet of freezer paper on each side of the fish.
    Cecil likes this.
  7. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    I'm leaning toward experimenting with a flat tube of clear poly plastic that the frozen fish can slide into and then into the vacuum seal. I see below I can order rolls of all kinds of widths and mil thicknesses. Would only need two widths as the vacuum seal material only comes in two widths. May be possible if the plastic is thick enough it may not only prevent the imprinting but protect the fins.

    Could probably get them to sell me short lengths to experiment on.


    Occams razor - sometimes the simplest solution is the best!
    rwenglish1 and jigginjim like this.
  8. Rausch

    Rausch Well-Known Member

    You could put them in a ziploc bag first and then into the food saver bag. I do this sometimes to prevent things that are have too much moisture in them from leaking into my foodsaver machine.
    Cecil likes this.
  9. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    Could although it may be more difficult to find the right size ziplock bags? Fortunately freezing the fish first helps with any possibility of moisture coming out.
  10. Rausch

    Rausch Well-Known Member

    Yeah I should have been more specific. The meat I freeze that way doesn’t have the cross hatch lines on it like the ones I freeze without a ziploc. The make rolls of bags that are smooth like a ziploc too. You could use those bags cut at any length to act as a buffer between there and the foodsaver bags.
    Cecil likes this.
  11. jigginjim

    jigginjim Active Member

    The big sealing tube bags work good..
    Cecil likes this.
  12. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Anything you wrap it in will leave marks cause the vacuum will simply squeeze all the air out and leave any mark on them. The fish has to be placed in a separate container that won’t collapse on any part of the fish to leave those nasty diamonds on it.
    I would rather see it covered in borax, wrapped in bag , freeze it, then you can vacuum it for it’s frozen and won’t engulf the fish with markings.
    Personally for me I tell my clients garbage bag, fill a half box of borax, shake and bake it, wrap it up tight, wrap a damp towel around that, then another garbage bag over that. Freeze it and use a box with peanuts, foam, newspaper and ship second day if winter or overnight it. Never had an issue yet.JMO
  13. fishmaster

    fishmaster Well-Known Member

    Cecil, if you wrap it in wet paper towel or tee shirt material so the fish is saturated you can then set it on waxed paper flat in the freezer. Allow to freeze overnight and then vacuum seal. The vacuum sealer works way better with a frozen item than it does with something soft.. I don't see any way that something could print onto the head that way.
    Boraxing the fish first would be the chilly deal because the colors would be better preserved. As long as you get the borax under the skin.
    AnglingArtisan and Cecil like this.
  14. Sotired

    Sotired Active Member

    You can get rolls of paper like is used in mens rooms for hand drying. It has no pattern impressed in it, and is designed to absorb water, so when frozen it should protect the fins well.

  15. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    An old piece of a wet bed sheet with a tight thread pattern would probably work best to protect the head. Saran wrap is great too, but probably not with the food saver as used. Can't you just adjust the amount of air it sucks out? And simply back off on that a bit so it doesn't lock down on the fish as much? Or, you can just do multiple layers of saran wrap on the head. Then, the Food Saver can't leave marks if there's enough layers. Which, might be the answer if your Food Saver does not allow you to adjust the pressure.
  16. JL

    JL Taxidermist for 64 years

    I like Frank' method and would try that.
    Lance.G and Frank E. Kotula like this.
  17. Clew

    Clew Help a child, Build our future

    York, SC
    Love your fish
    I had a few problems with indentations on the head but learned a soak to use to fix
    would a wet sock over the head work? with cloth over the fins?
    The fins on your brookies are awesome
    Cecil likes this.
  18. Brian W

    Brian W Well-Known Member

    Cecil, next time you go to the drive thru at the bank, test it out with one of their deposit tubes.....lol.
    Cecil likes this.
  19. rwenglish1

    rwenglish1 'IN GOD WE TRUST'

    would painters tape work for supporting the fins, not sure what color would work best, but I think not green.
    when do you sell the brookies?
    Cecil likes this.
  20. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    You know I did drive off with one of those once! :p Not on purpose!