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Fish Taxidermy At Home!!

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by josephmonson, Sep 11, 2019.

  1. josephmonson

    josephmonson New Member

    Does anyone have any tips on how to get started into preserving your catches with taxidermy? I just got interested in it and just skinned, salted, and stuffed a bass and a crappie I caught out of curiousity and they look pretty good and lifelike (no eyes and losing color though).

    I hear that after you do that part folks like to paint their fish to restore the colors (fiberglass the fins) and then coat them in a clear gloss coat. Anybody got any tips towards a website or books to learn how to do this (I've already put about 4-5 hours into searching the basics)? Also anybody got any recommendations for the most basic supplies needed to do an ok job? I don't wanna sink a ton of money into this yet and just want to practice on a few bluegill or bream first to see how it goes.https://solitaire.onl/ 9apps.ooo/ https://bluestacks.vip/
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
  2. Clew

    Clew Help a child, Build our future

    York, SC
    But a book on taxidermy or a CD look in supplier section
    Is salt what you used to preserve?
    20 mule team borax at a minimum
    You will have to paint
    For fins use Elmer’s glue, fin coating Ect
    Attach a pic
    msestak likes this.

  3. jimss

    jimss Active Member

    I do my own fish taxidermy at home. Make sure you have a good ventilated spot to paint! Some of the paint (especially oils) can be pretty bad!

    I would highly advise Rick Kranes videos. Skin mounts are a chunk cheaper but if you can afford it repros from blanks are a lot easier and will likely last a lot longer. The nice thing about using blanks is you can take measurements of your fish and release them. You can also wipe paint off and re-do blanks as many times as you want. It's possible to mold your own fish but materials are fairly expensive and it is another process.

    If doing skins I would highly recommend using repro head/fins with skin bodies. There are oils that may come through and the original head and fins may shrivel up with time.
    antlermike and msestak like this.
  4. Show & Tell

    Show & Tell Member

    I have been doing taxidermy 2 years. I am going to school to learn how to do fish. I have learned to soak fish in denatured alcohol. This helps the smell and the preserving process. Rinse well before mounting. Before painting, once on the fish form. (Card The fins) carding with something thats non-stick so fins can dry. Put Papper clip on it to hold till dry. When dry and remove cards & paper clips. Take a paint brush and mod poge and coat all fins(rep 3x). This allows some mobility just so if bumped it will not break as easy. The fish is gonna change colors no matter what. You can get a airbrush to paint and appropriate paint. Or do it with pearl-ex powder paint. The powder you must spray clear coat when moving on to a new color. There are many ways people like to do this. But this is one. You can buy Dvd's and books. Hope this helps.. anyone else please add tips.
    msestak likes this.
  5. Show & Tell

    Show & Tell Member

    msestak likes this.
  6. joeym

    joeym Jeannette & Joey @ Dunn's Falls

    Your first fish are garbage if you used salt in them. There is a ton of meat left in them that needed removing. Without any instruction, you may have learned something about the very basics of fish taxidermy. Follow everyone's lead in learning from DVD's, and attend the closest state show to see real 'hands on' fish taxidermy. Congratulations on making it through your first couple of fish...you've gone farther already than most!
  7. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Professionally done skin mounts will last as long as plastic ones so that’s a fallacy cause cheap reproduction will fall apart if you try to strip them.
    Repros are great if your client believes in catch and release or likes to eat fish.
    Learn to clean your fish well. If your using the real fins your going to have some type of leaching in the future, but a lot can be stopped by : cutting your fins off and cleaning the roots good ( plus by doing this and using a fine mesh you can get your fins in nice pleasing curves than those straight as a board ones) or as I choose cause I hate shrinkage is to cast your own and replace it with them.
    Learn how to carve bodies for on most fish you may not find one that fits properly and trying to alter these fish forms are a pain and may cause more havoc for yourself. Learning to carve a fish gives you the freedom to anything that a fish can do ( don’t do things just because you can!!) plus let’s say you get a state record fish in and there’s no forms of it. What do you do? Carve it. Once you learn this , you’ll never ya a foam body again JMO
    ausfish, silverwings, hambone and 2 others like this.
  8. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Frank I agree with everything you've stated except I don't think most original fins will leach oils if done properly. It just depends on how well the roots are cleaned and of course the specie and size of the fish might warrant using artificial fins. I think the main reason some replace the original fins with artificial is mostly due to the shrinkage. And then of course what they read online or are taught by whomever they learn from. On bigger fish especially and cold water species the shrinkage is quite noticeable. To us that is. Most customers will not notice any difference unless pointed out to them. And even then many will not notice - ha! JMO...
  9. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Agreed as I stated above to remove them and clean them!
    Lol my clientele and new clients understand the use of my repro fins for they’ve seen my work and totally understand the difference .
    It’s up to use the taxidermist to educate those clients who don’t know and if your not educating your clients oh well
    FishArt likes this.
  10. But the other part is to learn to make realistic fins,I've seen alot of artificial fins that look that way.
  11. jimss

    jimss Active Member

    It's pretty amazing how life-like artificial fins can be if given time, effort, and knowledge. That's what's really nice about doing your own fish taxidermy! I don't have to worry about how much time I devote to a fish because it's just a hobby! It took several months to finish a monster rainbow I caught several few years ago and it was well worth every hour!
    Show & Tell likes this.