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Mounting Catfish

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by Lonewolf_8126, Jun 18, 2018.

  1. Hello everyone,

    I have recently had a request to mount two catfish for a customer, my question is which is the best method for mounting them...can they be skin mounted or should I mold and cast them? If casting is the best method, what materials provide the best cast fish? Any insight will be greatly appreciated.

  2. Richs Taxidermy

    Richs Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    There are a few that skin mount catfish,you will need an artificial head for sure and probably fins also,there's a video in the tutorials that shows how to make a replica ,lake country sells catfish heads.

  3. JL

    JL Taxidermist for 64 years

    I would cast them. Although you can skin mount them they are difficult to mount up as smooth as you'd like to see them and they are greasy. You will want to cast the head anyhow. As for casting material, if it's going to be a one-off mold I would do it with Bondo as it performs quicker than plaster. (If you intend to cast more than one time refer to the products mentioned in the archives.) Bed the fish and thin the bondo with fiberglass resin as you would with plaster to capture the fine details, and follow it up with a thicker layer of bondo and fiberglass cuttings. Do both sides and cast the fins the same way. You can follow these directions using casting plaster as well. I use thick (30 pound test) monofillament for the feelers and build up the bases with epoxy sculpt. For nice looking feelers I stick a length of mono on a piece of duct tape and hand-sand it down to a fine end making it look like the real feelers. Good luck, JL
    Cecil likes this.
  4. Thanks for the insight...I am also considering just ordering a blank through a supply company. But thought I would get some other ideas. I have little to no experience casting, its basically foreign to me
  5. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Your name is going on it and to protect that, I'd strongly suggest a reproduction or doing as JL suggests. It's nearly impossible to get all the bumps from under that skin when you apply a skin to a manikin. Even a little dust particle shows up like a boulder under it.
    joeym likes this.
  6. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Lol I guess I’m one of the few folks who will do a skin mount catfish.
    1:their skin will stretch a mile when you mount it , but will shrink the same. So make the carving as close as possible
    Just like any other cold water fish , cast head and fins. Wiskers are made from epoxy, weed wacker line.
    Body needs to be smooth or like George said it’s going to show big time.
    Epoxy work is a pain for you have to be perfect or it’ll show every flaw.
    Enjoy and go for it but do only one and if you can’t do it , then get reproductions.
    Here’s a skin mount cat

    Attached Files:

    Mudbat, George, JL and 4 others like this.
  7. Thanks for all the insight! It’s been very helpful
  8. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    I've done skin mounts to 26 lbs. with no issues. Skin reminded me of brook trout are a similar char species.

    Fun to paint, and I don't mean that sarcastically, they are very easy to paint.
  9. fishmaster

    fishmaster Well-Known Member

    Like Frank, I have mounted them also as well as a paddlefish however I would not consider doing one without a cast head and cast fins. As Frank said you have to make sure the body is spot on because it's like hanging wet saggy wallpaper. Also you need to brush on 2-3 coats of latex house paint on the form and sand between coats to get a nice hard smooth surface.
    If you really want to mount one, purchase a cheap A.P. replica of the same size, skin the fish, and mount the skin on the replica and wolla! You will save yourself hours and hours of molding and casting.
    I can say that I've done it but when someone asks about having one done I say no.
  10. JL

    JL Taxidermist for 64 years

    Just a tip on using a cast head on a smooth-skinned catfish mount. When skinning the fish, include the skin from the top of the catfish's head and apply it to the cast head when mounting the fish. Hiding the seam in that location is not as noticeable.
    hambone and George like this.