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Skinning Crappie Tips

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

  1. JL

    JL Taxidermist for 64 years

    Get off the Yankee shit. You were all Yankees at one time and now you still wish you were.
    Cecil likes this.
  2. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    JL, you got me confused with someone else. I you weren't so much older than me, I'd probably be waving stars and bars at you. :)
    JL likes this.

  3. Clew

    Clew Help a child, Build our future

    York, SC
    20 mile team borax
  4. slabbandit

    slabbandit Active Member

    Thanks Clew! I have 20 Mule Team Borax that I use in my fish tan. I just bought 10 lbs of the powdered borax. I was planning on using it to absorb fluids when skinning.
  5. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    I can skin out a crappie without losing a single scale. How do I do it?

    1. I cast an impression of the fish in plaster on a plastic bag.

    2. Next I make my wallside incision from tail to to just behind the gills.

    3. Separate the skin from the flesh on the wall side with a fish skinning knife down to the fin junctions and snip the bone connections of the fins to the body with curved scissors like you normally do. However the next step may be different.

    4. Make a cut through the carcass perpendicular to the length of the body being careful not to cut the show side skin, just behind the head, the center of the body, and the tail junction.

    5. Using the curved scissors cut and remove the three sections of carcass. Yes there will be plenty of meant left on the skin but that's what you want.

    6. Scrape the flesh off the skin with a junior fish flesher* perpendicular of the length of the fish where possible. It's easier on skin to scrape the excess flesh off than it is to try and remove the carcass in one piece with a skinning knife.
    7. When scraping DO NOT allow the skin to bend in any way! If you run into stubborn areas use a fresh scalpel blade to carefully scrape.

    So two things work in your favor doing the above:

    1. No test fitting the skin stressing scales anchor points carving a body or using a manikin.


    2. By removing the carcass in smaller pieces vs. one, you are putting less stress on the fish skin.

    *The junior fish flesher from Dan Chase's is little different from most fleshers as it is smaller so can fit it into tight spaces and it has a sharp edge to it. I use it on even my biggest fish.


    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
    George likes this.
  6. slabbandit

    slabbandit Active Member

    Very nice Cecil! I'm really happy with my half cast fish. Just got to be a little cleaner with the throat and gill areas. My first one was open gills and it turned out well but have been doing closed gills since, next few will be slightly open gill.
    Cecil likes this.
  7. nemo

    nemo Active Member

    I don't do many fish. But, whether it's crappie or bass, I soak in denatured alcohol for 20 minutes prior to skinning. I keep a spray bottle of denatured alcohol to keep sprayed every minute or so while skinning. It will help keep the scales locked in. Just remember to stay gloved. Denatured alcohol is a poison. Btw, be careful not to leave in denatured alcohol longer than 30 minutes. I keep a spray bottle of denatured alcohol marked XXX on my skinning table. It'll kill any bacteria on iffy deer capes also. It also kills ticks! Remember denatured alcohol is a poison. It'll preserve crawfish, velvet antlers, etc. Gotta be careful with it though. You don't need to breathe it, or get it on your skin. It is an option for not losing scales on crappie
    JL and Cecil like this.
  8. Clew

    Clew Help a child, Build our future

    York, SC
    Slab B
    Just a word
    Borax is not a tan
    It’s a preservative
    Many of us have been chasing down a true fish tan
    Why , who the heck knows it’s not needed
    But we are still trying
    George and Cecil like this.
  9. slabbandit

    slabbandit Active Member

    I started out just buying the WASCO fish tan but a while back I tried the Gary Bruch formula for fish tan. I really like using it. It consists of .........
    For every 1 gallon of water

    2 tablespoons-Zinc Sulfate
    1/2 cup-20 Mule Team Borax
    1 capful-Listerine Cool Mint Mouthwash
    A squirt of Dawn
    2 capfuls of Epo Grip Blood Out Degreaser

    I usually make up a 4 gallon mix
    I bought my powdered Borax for absorbing fluids while skinning fish. I hope that's what I needed.
    Cecil likes this.
  10. JL

    JL Taxidermist for 64 years

    Change your alcohol to Iso-propyl as it's non poisonous . It's used in all skin rub formulas and EPA approved for skin application and treatments. It will do the same as denatured alcohol without the health dangers. Good luck, JL
    Cecil, George and nemo like this.