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Let Me Tell You How A Snakehead Kicked My Ass

Discussion in 'Wildlife Artwork and Crafts' started by Vulpes Vulpes, Jul 2, 2020.

  1. My brother caught a couple snakehead and asked me to preserve the skins so he can decorate his bow limbs with the skins. Sure! What could be so hard?

    These fish don't die like other gill-only fish. They can survive out of water for a long time. I put them in a tank with a few inches of water after my brother dropped them off. (I know the rules, spare me the lecture. I would never release an invasive fish.)

    I tried to grab one but it wrestled out of hands over and over again. It's one big muscle covered in the thickest slime. My wife later said it sounded like I was wrestling with a gator.
    Once I had a firm grip, I brought the fish into the kitchen and jabbed a knife in it's head. It was too slimy to cut the gills. The fish bled profusely so it had to be dead...

    A minute later the thing bates like crazy, spattering blood all over the kitchen. I jab it in the head again, deeper this time. More blood--I'm sure its dead this time.

    I begin scraping the slime off and washing it with Dawn to break it down. It just makes more and more slime. It was impossible to hold. Salt, soap, paper towels, nothing worked.

    It bated again spraying more blood on my face. This time I finally cut the gills. No blood came out so the heart was no longer beating.

    Maybe there's more snake in a snakehead than we know. The nerves keep functioning long after this sucker was clinically dead. I continued skinning the fish (really poorly) as it's head and fins twitched like crazy. I tried cutting through the spine, but it was too tough for my kitchen shears.

    The kitchen was a disaster when I finished. I was cleaning blood off the walls, cabinets and floor.

    I fleshed the skins with a spoon and am salting them now. I'm not sure what other steps are necessary before gluing them to the bow. Should I tan them? Do they require some rehydration before glue-up? How do you skin slimy fish?
     

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    Wildthings and socalmountainman like this.
  2. Aluminum sulfate will kill the slime.