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Where do I start?

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by dmac1175, May 12, 2018.

  1. dmac1175

    dmac1175 Member

    I am already a taxidermist with a full time shop. However fish taxidermy is something I know nothing about. I feel I am a pretty decent bird taxidermist and deer taxidermist. I have recently been interested in fish taxidermy and don't know where to start. I think I am more interested in skin mounts than replicas. Is it possible to learn from DVD? If so which DVDs? I caught some bluegill this morning with my family. I saved 5 of them for mounting. Any help/suggestions would be appreciated.
  2. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

  3. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    You're welcome.
  4. Cory

    Cory Keep an eye on quality!

    You can learn from dvd instruction. But IMO dvd instruction needs to be coupled with competitions and critiques and talking to the guys as these state shows. You will always learn more by trying things yourself, then when you get the critique, it seems to mean more. Good luck.
    Kerby Ross likes this.
  5. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    I agree 100 percent Cory about the competitions etc. but his question was, "Where do I start?"
  6. Gary R

    Gary R Member

    If you can't find one on one, hand's on instruction, buy Rick's DVD's to get started!
  7. JL

    JL Taxidermist for 64 years

    You can't go wrong with the Breakthrough manuals and the DVDs from Rick Krane. Check out his website at Anglers Artistry. Good luck JL
    Cecil likes this.
  8. dmac1175

    dmac1175 Member

    Thank you for the replies. I think I will check into Rick Kranes videos.
  9. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Competitions are a great way to find qualified individuals to critique your work that otherwise you may not have on hand. But, there's plenty of individuals that are qualified to critique fish work that have never competed. However, separating out the truly qualified from those that think they're qualified might be a bit of a conundrum!

    I agree with Cecil here. Although it couldn't hurt going to competitions. But for starting out that is overkill. You can get plenty of quality critiques here on this website (if you ask and toss your ego aside and listen). Then, once you get past us you can graduate to the next level if you so choose. Youtube, DVD's, Breakthrough manuals all great for starting out. Then, 1 on 1 training if you can swing it will prove to be invaluable. 1 on 1 the best way, by far to learn and ramp up quickly.

    Depending on how far you wish to take things, we specialize in 1 on 1 fish training for most levels that will get your foot in the door for competitions if that's your thing. However, we're geared towards training those from beginners on up to the highest levels in commercial fish taxidermy and fish painting. Teaching methods and techniques applicable to your taxidermy business that provide your customers with a quality mount while making your business profitable as well. We also offer two locations. One in the Chicago area with Doug Petrousek. Or, for a unique training experience, 1 on 1 with myself as our guest at my Apple Canyon Lake location in beautiful NW Illinois! Check out our website if you'd like more info!
  10. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member


    My first competition was at IGT. :D Believe it or not I couldn't find any information on my state association back then. My customers raved about my fish work but alas I didn't even place at IGT my first competition. I was devastated and just showed up at my state show once I found the information I needed. But when I saw the mounts at the state show I decided to get back in the game and glad I did.

    It's amazing the things you see once you get a trained eye from competing. My first fish didn't deserve a ribbon.
    Mark V. and FishArt like this.
  11. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Cecil, I think most people need to have things pointed out to them - especially when beginning. But, I also believe that there are some with zero competition experience that see their (and others') imperfections (from a competition standpoint.) How they got there varies. But these taxidermists choose to set the bar for their commercial work where it's at simply because putting in that much level of detail is not cost effective (for most of us) for commercial work. Put a live fish next to one of my mounts and I can tell you most of what's wrong with my mounts. It's actually been that way for me from when I started. Maybe not as critical or obvious for some things as it is now. But, I just couldn't do any better back then without plenty of practice! Probably due to my background in Art my eye was already trained to look for the finer details before I got into this business. I also had the luxury of training under somebody (also w/o any competition experience) that pointed out some of the finer details to me when training. I think it's safe to say Doug has some of the crispest mounts anatomically speaking in the business! Most, do not have that luxury that I had. So competitions are a great way to train one's eye if they need it. And today they can point out the most minute issues as the competition bar has been raised considerably. I think Sexton said (~ten years ago) that his World Winning Bass would not cut it in today's competitions!!!
    Mark V. likes this.
  12. Fallenscale

    Fallenscale Member

    Where you start to me depends how well you know what a fish looks like youre mounting. If you know them well you won't like boughten mannequins you will want to carve your own. That's imo
    Mark V. and JL like this.