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Me And My Big Mouth

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by Clovis Point, Aug 29, 2020.

  1. Clovis Point

    Clovis Point Active Member

    To date I have only ever done gameheads.... been doing it semi part time ish (i also farm 500+ acres with 150+ head of cattle with my dad).... 2019 deer season I took in 19 deer and have mounted all but 3 (those three are friends and family that im taking my time on and doing interesting stuff on, like modding forms to hang in a corder etc)...... I have been wainting to break into the fish game for quite some time. So when my phone rang the other day and a guy said "My name is Greg, I gotta 20" hybrid striper I would like to have mounted" my brain said sweet finally my chance to break into the fish game "Ill do it for $120! My shops at 324 Copelin Road Bonnieville, raining like it is I should be here all day" next thing I know here he is with a fish. he gets here and we throw the fish in the freezer and he decides he wants it on one of my bourbon barrel head panels at an additional $40 and he wants a head up open mouth...

    he also shows me a picture of a 11 in crappie he caught in a farm pond that the owner made him throw back he wouldnt mind a reproduction of .... I actually really enjoy airbrush art, and do some non taxidermy airbrush art on the said so I am actually pretty comfertable painting the repro but like i have absolutely no flipping clue what the hell I am doing with this bass. This guy is a local who is well imbedded in the local scene and I can tell is the type who will refer me some customers... I want to tap into this market, my mentor who taught me gameheads CAN mount fish, but has told me he really doesnt like fooling with them and doesnt really have any desire to teach me...

    I told him I would have it done before deer season. I am currently going through the old matuska videos trying to learn what I can but I am now coming to you guys asking like, what the hell should I do with this fish? Whats the easiest path of least resistance to get this guy a respectable mount ? I messaged a few of my friends offering to buy bass and pay $2 an inch to get some practice fodder ... My entire taxidermy career (and life for that matter) has been based on the "fake it til you make it" concept... So, again thats what I have done, made an obligation I wasnt sure how to keep at the moment with the intent of figureing it the f out .... over promise and find a way to deliver. \

    so know that I have jumped, Taxi.net fam, I need yall to help me deliver.

    thanks in advance
    Megan :) and msestak like this.
  2. drob

    drob Active Member

    Sorry I can't give you any ideas.Years ago I did the same thing,Itook in a couple of fish with no idea what to do with them.After a long time the customer called looking for them and after some uncomfortable conversation I sent them back to him.When I sent them back I packed them in dry ice and sent them second day-air.Well when they arrived he thought they were something else he had ordered and let them sit!What a mess/never again!
    msestak likes this.

  3. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    I’d find some one to sub it out to for now , even pay outa pocket for quick turn if I thought he would bring others eventually to build my clientele. Then go and find a good fish school to go to .
    Westcoast, George and msestak like this.
  4. Clew

    Clew Help a child, Build our future

    York, SC

    $120 for a striper?
    Sounds like you jumped into the Pitts of hell with no shoes
    I would have never attempted something that I’ve never done for a customer.
    1 guy badmouthing you is worst than 10 great customers
    And you pick a striper on top of it to start with?
    I won’t touch a striper under $300
    Wish you the best
  5. rogerswildlife

    rogerswildlife Rogers Wildlife Taxidermy Tommy Rogers

    Exactly what Carl said ! You'd be better off calling that guy back and tell him the truth. 120 dollars is way low you will be hard pressed to find someone to sub it out to at that price. I have a minimum on fish one that size would have been close to 500 in my shop . Got a couple of guys in my area that take things in they cant do and call me hoping ill beal them out .
    George, msestak and Lance.G like this.
  6. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    If you have never skinned a fish, start with LM bass, they are very forgiving. I'd recommend mounting a fish or two before tackling the striper. Stripers aren't terribly difficult to paint, once you get them mounted. At this point, videos, utube, or whatever to give you some basic knowledge. At $120, you are going to lose money regardless...you farm for a living, so losing money is nothing new...I know, I've been there!
  7. Wally Gator

    Wally Gator Well-Known Member

    I’d suggest looking up Jiffy Quick Skinning on YouTube. Don’t even think of doing it as fast as Bubba, but he explains the skinning technique thoroughly. Then get a few fish to practice on, preferably LMB like Joey suggested. Don’t forget to take measurements before skinning.
    If you weren’t so far away I’d be glad to help...
    Clovis Point likes this.
  8. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    This is such a major problem with wannabes! I’ll do it cheap and either can’t do it or do it and mess things up.
    First off is look at yourself in the mirror and ask . Who do I think I am? Why have I chosen to lie to a person thinking I can do this and yet with very little knowledge.
    In today’s world of videos on YouTube folks have to really look hard to find a good video on how to do any type of taxidermy for there is so much misleading folks out there I feel for beginners trying to learn this art especially on their own.
    Look I’m one of you as it’s how I started. Most of what I did was self taught so I don’t need to hear you have no idea lol
    I was smart cause I got at that time Breakthrough magazine and joined my state association before I did anyone’s work. It was mine or family and one or two friends. It was there that I learned and excelled in this art. So I see what’s out there and I’m saying your on the road to failure unless you step back and begin to be honest with yourself first.
    Now before you get in more trouble be a strong person, be honest and tell your client that your incapable of doing this job and I shouldn’t have taken it in. At least get some respect.
    To have another taxidermist do this for you may give him the wrong thought and then say wether the job was good or bad may either give you a bad name or have you iodated with so much work you’ll be in the hole even more. Now there’s nothing wrong to have or sub out your work but your client should know.
    Best of luck as in reality there’s not much help we can give here.
    rogerswildlife, George, Clew and 3 others like this.
  9. Clovis Point

    Clovis Point Active Member

    I never had any intentions of profiting off this job... I shot a cheap price from the hip to get the work so I could learn .... I definitely didnt make any money off the first 8-10 deer I did outside my mentors shop... I bet I had an average of 15 hours in on each of them. Most of them got mounted, unmounted, and remounted (one I mounted 3 times and did 4 set of ears on it). My first year open to the public I had only ever mounted 3 deer on my own when I started on that first customer deer but I had invested too much time and money at that point that I didnt have another year to dilly around with whatever me and my cousin could shoot, and I dang sure didnt have the funds to buy all the materials nor the time to try and run down donor capes and racks. What some call "on the job training", I figured it out as I went, I can honestly say I have never had a customer not happy with my work, and have kept longtime relationships with about all of them, especially the ones my first year.

    Of course I didnt make money the first year. Go find me a successfull business plan out there that does. I dont plan to charge every customer that price, Gregs just fortunate enough to get in on the ground floor.

    I may not be an expert artist who has attended all the major schools but I am in my state org (not very active at the moment thanks to the rona), take breakthrough and taxidermy today, and more importantly I am very critical of my own work, have a discerning eye, I'm not too proud to put my work out there for critique, and I am stubborn enough to keep trying until I get it right
  10. Clovis Point

    Clovis Point Active Member

    by the way frank something seems to be amiss with your domain or website, because when I try to navigate to it mysterious files get downloaded onto my computer
  11. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    It might be with you as I have no issues with it
  12. Bill Dishman

    Bill Dishman Well-Known Member

    "I never had any intentions of profiting off this job... I shot a cheap price from the hip to get the work so I could learn.."

    Why would it be OK to take in work from a paying customer when you have no idea how to go about it? You dont take in work so you can learn how to do it, the learning is supposed to come first. This is what gives taxidermists in general a bad name. Until you're qualified to do the work, dont hang out a sign advertising "tomahawk taxidermy"
  13. slabbandit

    slabbandit Active Member

    Hang in there Clovis! I like you do it mainly as a hobby but do it for customers that bring in an occasional fish. As far as learning, I was fortunate to learn from one of the best taxidermist in Arkansas, Darrell Rollins years ago. All I do is warm water fish so far. Mainly bass, bream, and lots of crappie. I live on one of Arkansas' premier crappie lakes, Lake Nimrod.
    I recently was asked by a local friend to mount a huge Redear bream. He has seen many of my bass and crappie mounts in the local bait shop and was really wanting me to be the one to do his mount. I was up front with him that although I have done many Bluegill I had never painted a Redear yet. He has enough confidence in me that he insisted I do it.
    I too like you looked here for some helpful tips on painting of a Redear. For the most part the comments were pretty helpful. Although I too was heavily criticized I did listen to what they were saying and started researching and saving all the good reference materials I could find. I feel like I did a real nice job mounting and repairing all the fins. Will be ordering the paints tomorrow.
    ARUsher and drob like this.
  14. Westcoast

    Westcoast Active Member

    Honesty is the best policy! Let the customer know that you have never done fish and that this would be your first or whatever your situation is. Let the customer decide on what he wants done with his fish. Your own trophies or gifted specimens or what you want to make mistakes on, not other people’s memories. Be honest and upfront, if he still wants you to do it then do it to the very best of your current ability. That and take the lesson that everyone reading this post either already knows or just learned. Good luck!
  15. JL

    JL Taxidermist for 64 years

    OK, if you have to do the fish I'll try to help you. Measure the fish's length and girth and the length/width/height of the head. Order the body, eyes and a repro head from the catalogs. You only need the skin and fins (maybe not even the fins). Any skinning video on YOUTUBE will show you where to cut the skin to separate the head from the body. Cut down the length of the fish on the "WALL SIDE" and remove the meat especially around the roots of the fins. If you use reproduction fins this is not a problem for you, but real skins will need to be very clean and trimmed in the root areas. Borax the inside of the skin and lay flat in a wet towel and put in the freezer FLAT until you get the foam body and repro head. When you get both of these fit the repro head to the foam body FIRST then glue the skin on the body and attach the head. Attach the fins and blend in the anatomy. Real fins will need to be carded and dried. When dry seal the skin with shellac using two or more coats on the real fins. Now paint the fish. I know this is a very basic outline but all the steps are there in hopes to get you out of the mess you created. Good luck, JL
    Megan :), joeym and Westcoast like this.
  16. Westcoast

    Westcoast Active Member

    Awesome response JL!
  17. Clovis Point

    Clovis Point Active Member

    thanks man ,its a start. I decided to order the Bill Atkins Bass Taxidermy Master Series DVD . I have skimmed through it for the basic idea and plan on thawing the fish for measurements and the like as soon as i finish the deer I currently have on my mounting stand
  18. Mudbat

    Mudbat Well-Known Member

    I must say I’ve never mounted a fish of my own. Ive only ever done customers stuff. Only video I ever watched was a rick Krane brookie video and I don’t do brookies like that anyway. Good Luck to you in the mount!
  19. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    There possibly might be an issue. On Firefox, it loads in a very strange way and there is a large space at the top as if something is missing. On Chrome, it does indeed try to load files onto my PC. The first is a music file named icecream.mid. I did not allow it and there might be others. I also get a message that the site is not secure. The new Brave Browser also tries to download the same file. I haven't taken the time yet to look at the source code of the page but, unless you tried to make it play music, something is up.
  20. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    I believe it’s the music that causes an issue lol
    Kerby Ross likes this.