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Skinning out fish that have been dried out in the freezer

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by Cecil, Dec 7, 2007.

  1. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    For those of you that say it can't be done it can be done! I've done it on numerous occasions and as a fish specialist still get fish in once a while that are so dried up they could be used for balsa wood! And I've done crappies like this with great success that we all know can be diffcult to skin out even in pristine condition.

    Here's how I do it.

    1.) Soak the fish in ice water. It won't want to stay submerged so you will have to set something on top of it to get it to stay under the water.

    2.) When you can make your incision and peel back the skin with your skinning knife if possible. If not it needs to soak more.

    3.) Keep soaking and pulling it out of the water periodically and skin as much as you can each time. As you open the fish and expose it to the water it will slowly rehydrate. Keep the water cold to keep down bacteria growth.

    4.) Keep on it but don't allow it to soak any longer than need be.

    5.) Don't worry if you leave lots of flesh on the skin when removing the carcass as it will rehydrate when you soak it again for scraping the next time you remove it from the water. Also use a fresh scalpel blade to scrape if necessary.

    And I would strongly suggest usiing the half cast method for the crappies so no testing fitting or fiddling around with the skin is necessary.

    It can be done!
  2. Jason O

    Jason O Active Member

    nice tip,
    i also have skinned some pretty dried out fish,supposed to weigh 5 lbs and feels more like 1/2 lb
    no reason to throw any fish out.

  3. Xiahou

    Xiahou Rocky 6/1/05 - 6/5/08

    Thanks I was just asked to do a walleye that was to this point. Might give it a whirl now.
  4. jkidd

    jkidd New Member

    Cecil, I do it the same way you do. It's amazing how much these dried fish will rehydrate. I put the fish in a container and put a grate on top of the fish with just enough weight on it to keep the fish submerged. Then I put the container in the refrigerator I keep in my shop. Freezer burn has not been a problem for me. It works very well. Thanks for sharing the tip, Cecil. BTW, I have soaked them longer than should be and it seemed like the scales got very loose and wanted to pop out easily, especially on Crappie.
  5. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    Yes you definitely don't want to soak them too long in the skinning process. You want to stay on top of it.