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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. Vulpes Vulpes

    Vulpes Vulpes Active Member

    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?

    Attached Files:

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

  3. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    It is always the smarter route to research something BEFORE you begin.
  4. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    I want to see a shot of the kitchen disaster. And the better half's face when she saw it. :)

    Actually, it is supposed to be a very tasty fish as long as it is filleted and the fat removed. Only fish from clean water, never polluted as it can be saturated with mercury and pcbs.

    Not snakehead but I have seen a bow backed with sturgeon skin. Beyond beautiful.
  5. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    Just caught one , they are very good eating , white flacky meat .We have a lot here in md . They are very slimy to skin , but I just throw a towel on them to hold . Here in MD you have to kill immediately before they go in your cooler , we just take scissors with us and cut there gills ASAP . 0E983FC3-F79E-45BB-A214-D64F48CBB431.jpeg
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2020
  6. Clew

    Clew Help a child, Build our future

    York, SC
    13 point
    Ever Mount one?
    Never saw one of those in sc
    Robert Baker likes this.
  7. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    No sir I don’t do fish , I catch and eat them lol they are unbelievably tasty . I was trying to get a few to send to a few on here but they taste to good .
    Robert Baker likes this.
  8. I just picked up three frozen snakeheads. Most of us know how slimy pike and musky are. well as mentioned these are way more slimy.
    Like esox these keep making slime when they are dead. Someone please explain how a dead fish can make more slime but they do.

    So I got these three in the middle sink of the three place basin. Ran water and added the aluminum sulfate, at about 4 inches deep I shut off the water. Let the fish sit about 30 minutes went back to the sink and now there was 4 inches of thick slime, yea so thick it was slow to drain.

    Sprayed the sink down, rinsed ran another 4 inches of water and added the cup of AS. Darned things slimed it up again. Yea dead and deslimed they still made slime. Not quite as thick. Well the third sink of water still had some slime ...

    I have not had time to skin one for a mount but might in the next week.
  9. Clew

    Clew Help a child, Build our future

    York, SC
    If you guys ever get a spare one I would love to get it
    John do you think a zinc sulphate mix would slow down the process?