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Skinning Crappie Tips

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by slabbandit, Aug 12, 2020.

  1. slabbandit

    slabbandit Active Member

    My favorite fish to fish for and mount is a big ole slab crappie. I still struggle with scale loss from stressing the skin during skinning and fleshing. I have gotten better at it since I started packing them in salt for 6 hours prior to skinning. Any longer and the meat gets gummy.
    Does anyone have a better method they like for minimizing scale loss?
  2. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    Rodney Harper from Arkansas did a fish seminar at out convention this year. He mounts a lot of crappie. He taught us to use a sharp surgical scalpel to separate the flesh from the skin. Crappie scales are held in place by very strong tendons. You need to sever these tendons rather than tug at them. I've skinned several since the convention, and haven't lost a scale on the "show" side. No need for painting with glue or freezer burning them to toughen the skin. Be gentle, don't flex the skin. I start at the tail, and remove the carcass in 1 inch increments. Try this, it works!

  3. slabbandit

    slabbandit Active Member

    Was watching a Matuska video the other day and he really liked using Elmer's glue and always skinning from back to front. Glue sounds messy but I might try it. Perca suggested a good sharp scalpel to clean the meat from the skin. Works well.
    George likes this.
  4. Richs Taxidermy

    Richs Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Also skin them when there still at least half frozen,I take the body out in 3or4 chunks
  5. slabbandit

    slabbandit Active Member

    Thanks for the tips, fixing to skin a couple soon. I'll give them a try.
  6. earlytimes

    earlytimes New Member

    Pat dry your fish with a towell then lay the show side down on a bed of borax and coat it good with borax. Let it lay in the borax through the whole process. From there as mentioned above remove the carcass in several increments then flesh from the tail towards the head. Works like a charm!
    George likes this.
  7. fishmaster

    fishmaster Well-Known Member

    Also, on the incision side, if you cut from where the gill flap attaches around to the top of the head it will allow the skin to lay flat when you are removing flesh and cleaning out the head area. Since you will be using epoxy sculpt on top of the head after the fish is dried this step causes no extra work. It is winner winner chicken dinner!
    George likes this.
  8. slabbandit

    slabbandit Active Member

    Thanks 1fish2fish for that interesting article. I printed it out. I've never dry preserved a fish though. I was thinking of cleaning off the glue before going into my tanning solution and I use the half cast fill method. I feel like I could be careful enough with the skin at that point not to lose too many scales. We'll see how it goes tomorrow. Got a 2 1/2 pound slab White Crappie to mount for a customer.
  9. Clew

    Clew Help a child, Build our future

    York, SC
    Never felt comfortable with the glue deal
    Borax the outside
    LOTS of borax, stops the bacteria
    Keep skin tight when skinning
    Many ways of doing a crappie. Not croppie
    Lance.G likes this.
  10. slabbandit

    slabbandit Active Member

    Are you talking about the 20 mule team borax or the more finely powdered stuff Clew? I figure you're talking about the finer stuff which I don't have right now but I should get some.
  11. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    You tell'em Clew. That croppy crap is like the rednecks saying peKAHN instead of pecan. I give my sister hell about that. She was raised in the same dirt farm house I was and now tries to talk funny.

    Who was the guy in West Columbia that won the World Show with a pair of crappie?
    JL likes this.
  12. slabbandit

    slabbandit Active Member

    As you can tell by my name I love crappie fishing, drawing crappie, and mounting crappie. I learned from a good friend of mine, Darrell Rollins of Little Rock. He said that he missed winning the World by 2 points one year with a crappie. He's as passionate about his crappie fishing as I am. I live on one of the premier crappie lakes in Arkansas.
  13. 15pt

    15pt Well-Known Member

    JL likes this.
  14. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    15pt, if he was from "Deleware" you'll have to forgive him. Dinky DelAware has 3 counties. The northern county (New Castle) is a Philadelphia suburb. The southern 2 (Kent and Sussex) have been infested by escapees from New York and New Jersey. In fact eastern Sussex Beach areas are called "New Castle South" by locals. You just found a Yankee claiming residency here.
  15. jake7719

    jake7719 Well-Known Member

    The glue method works very well, I use the 1/2 cast method and remove the glue after it is mounted and dry. I place a damp cloth on the fish to soften the glue and peel it off like the skin of a red headed kid on the 5th of July. I use Borax (lots) when skinning. Seal the fish with a sanding sealer for wood working will keep the scales from lifting when painting with water based paints.
  16. slabbandit

    slabbandit Active Member

    Jake, how do you preserve your skin before mounting?
  17. Clew

    Clew Help a child, Build our future

    York, SC
    Hey George
    I think your thinking of Keith crout
    George and Wally Gator like this.
  18. JL

    JL Taxidermist for 64 years

  19. slabbandit

    slabbandit Active Member

    I have quit packing my crappie in salt to tighten up the scales before skinning. It worked well but was very time sensitive as too long and the meat would become gummy. I have skinned several crappie with the Elmer's glue trick and I have to say I'm pretty impressed with my results. No scale loss at all on the show side that I could see.
    I do rehydrate and remove the glue while I let my skin soak in a sink with Dawn. I use Gary Bruch's recipe for my fish tan and am just very careful during mounting with the Half Cast method. I would be interested in hearing about any dry preserving methods you guys like as I would like to leave the glue on until it's completely mounted.