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Northern Scales Falling Off

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by drwalleye, Mar 3, 2020.

  1. drwalleye

    drwalleye Active Member

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    I need some advice on what to do next. I got a big pike in Saturday afternoon. I put it in a big tub with cold water and gills were still moving. Sunday afternoon I skinned it out. I was being very careful I didn't want to loose any scales so I moved it as little as possible. kind of like doing a crappie. I finished and lifted it to rinse it of and it was awful it looked white in spots from missing scales.maybe 50% loss of scales. I tanned it and froze it now. just wondering what I can do next with it and if anyone knows why this may have happened. I've been mounting fish for 12 years and probably have done 50 northern so I feel as if im not a rookie. I've lost some scales here and there but nothing like this. Thanks
     
  2. Clew

    Clew Help a child, Build our future

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    What do you mean by tanned?
     

  3. Clew

    Clew Help a child, Build our future

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    Drop allot of borax on skin and let it set for 30 min
    Sound like you got some spoilage developing
     
  4. drwalleye

    drwalleye Active Member

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    Soaked in fish preservitive.thats not the problem,it happened before that.while I was skinning
     
  5. drwalleye

    drwalleye Active Member

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    I put borax on it while skinning. Could it spoil in water in 12 hours? It was alive yet at 5 in the evening and I skinned it at noon the next day
     
  6. msestak

    msestak Well-Known Member

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    i am not an expert by any means but could it have been spoiling while you were waiting for it to slowly die ? why not just clip the gills and bleed it out and start the skinning, fleshing preserving process, why wait ?

    trout and salmon start to spoil after spawning when they start to die, right ?
     
  7. Fermis

    Fermis Well-Known Member

    Trout spawn year after year...salmon, on the other hand...begin dying before they spawn. I've caught some pretty nasty lookin' salmon...pretty much mushy zombies, that were still full of eggs. Not even fit for the smoker, let alone anything else.
     
    msestak likes this.
  8. Brad Hendrickson

    Brad Hendrickson Active Member

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    I know.. Some of the KINGS I catch are so nasty - I have picture of one I landed you could literally see BONES
     
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  9. Chad Houston

    Chad Houston New Member

    I recommend a mixture of borax and elders glue it will smooth it out real niiiiice ;)
     
  10. Fallenscale

    Fallenscale Well-Known Member

    569
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    What was the tub used for before you put the northern in. There may of been bacteria growing. Of course how warm was the water when you took the northern out. Does sound like spoilage problem.
    The Elmer glue may of help save the northern if applied before skinning.
     
    msestak likes this.
  11. drwalleye

    drwalleye Active Member

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    It was later in the ay and I didn
    I had cloths in it before and the water was cold and in a cold room
     
  12. drwalleye

    drwalleye Active Member

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    never heard of that. so you make it just so you can paint it on with a brush?
     
  13. Clew

    Clew Help a child, Build our future

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    The decomp can start during the last stages of life
    What kind of water was it in? Contaminated?
    Bacteria is your worst enemy and grows under many conditions
    As soon as my fish come in I put in freezer
    As thawing out I coat with borax on questionable fish
    No problems with crappie, carp or any others
     
    msestak likes this.
  14. Clew

    Clew Help a child, Build our future

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    What are you using?
     
    msestak likes this.
  15. drwalleye

    drwalleye Active Member

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    It was late in the day and didn't have time to skin it out but I didn't want to freeze it because I wanted to skin it the next day without having to thaw it again
     
    msestak likes this.
  16. drwalleye

    drwalleye Active Member

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    Does anyone have any ideas what I can do now that I am to this point. one mentioned glue and borax mixture spread on. would that be better than filling in the areas with apoxi sculpt and making scale pattern in that? Thanks
     
    msestak likes this.
  17. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    Rebuild the scales and paint to match. I'm betting it was starting to rot by the time you skinned it and then you probably fleshed it roughly and possibly the wrong direction,pushing scales out of the pockets instead of in them.
     
    msestak likes this.
  18. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Just a thought as it could be the water you put the fish in. It sounds like it was still living and put in a tub of water that surely has chemicals in it to aid in making it pure for human consumption. Those chemicals like chlorine could have caused the scale loss or some other issues.
    I personally don’t worry about scale loss in the long run as I’ll paint them back in using metallic powders. By the time I’m done glossing you’ll never know.
     
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  19. whitetails and fish only

    whitetails and fish only Well-Known Member

    Salmon will loose a lot of scales at certain times of the year. Some taxidermists will actually remove all the scales and then mount. When rubbed from head to tail the skin looks fairly good. May work with a northern, I don't know, they do have larger scales but may be tried as a last resort. With a heavy gloss on finished mount it may not be that noticeable.
     
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  20. msestak

    msestak Well-Known Member

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    if i am not mistaken the glue and borax mixture is to help keep the remaining scales in place, until the mounting process is complete. then it comes off before the mount is painted and finished.
     
    drwalleye likes this.