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Caught my first musky

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by jessicaj, Sep 6, 2006.

  1. jessicaj

    jessicaj New Member

    Caught my first musky on sunday and have it in the freezer so I can mount it but have some questions first. do you have to use slime off to get all the slime off or is there something else that works better? Should I use the fish tan that's on the market or just use borax and water or denatured alchohol and water? Is it better to use a fake head? If I use the real head how difficult will it be? I've heard they are greasy and oily. How do I make it not greasy and oily? I'd read the archives but they are still being uploaded to the new server and not working at the moment. Any help with musky in general would be great! Thanks
  2. Jayson

    Jayson Guest

    Re: head

    The head is not grease just clean out good and remove the the meat in side the mouth along the teeth line . and let it dry and it will be perfect same with the skin .I just use paper towel to wipe off the slime no need to waste money on other products.

  3. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    I degrease in mineral spirts before a borax soak. If you use the real head be prepared to work your butt off cleaning out the head. Even with a large pair of heavy duty snips it's a real chore. I do use the real head though.

    You will also need to squeegy out the excess water either before you put the skin on the mannkin or after -- which I what I do. Otherwise the surface of your fish will dry uneven.
  4. jessicaj

    jessicaj New Member

    Guess I should of just asked you first Cecil, you seem to be the fish guy! I was going to put it one the s-curve from John Rhineharts, should I order an inch smaller than the fish was or just go with the actual measurement? Any tips for cleaning the head out?
  5. crankin

    crankin New Member

    i order actual size on muskies, and the only advise i can think of for cleaning out the head is make sure you have some good tin snips and make sure you do a good job cleaning it out, also a cecil mentioned what i do after i mount the muskie or northern for that matter i take paper towel and wipe it down from head to tail to help get the water thats under the scales out or else it seams like they like to pop up as it dries
  6. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    Not sure if I'm the "fish guy" but all I do is fish.

    I'd order the closest mannkin to your measurements. If you have to make a choice I'd go with a mannkin that is a little larger than the actual fish measurements in girth. Pike and Musky skins have quite a bit of stretch. However, if there is a significant difference between the fish mannkin and measurements as in a skinny fish II would go with their "econoline" forms. You will have to alter the peduncle area on the econolines as they are a little off anatomically.

    No tips on cleaning the head out. Just get out as much as possible and "get 'er down." My least favorite part of doing big pike and musky. Sometimes if the cutter doesn't want to severe sections of the backbone if you twist as you cut it will happen.

    As far as removing the water under the scales, I use the dull side of a rapala filleting knife and run it over the skin from head to tail after I have the skin on the mannikin. On a skin in good condtion it won't hurt it. Be prepared to be sprayed though, but it's worth it in the improved quality of the fish. If you aren't pushing water out you aren't doing it right.
  7. den007

    den007 Active Member

    Everything that has been said, and then.....for slime, all that deslime stuff is most likely salt and alum. Plain old salt works well to deslime....alum tightens the scales and works even better. Just miakes those slimy things easier to work with. You can get alum in canning sections of any store, and also pharmacies if you do not with to buy it more in bulk from a taxidermy supply company. "Tanning" concoctions not necessary......borax and water or borax with a 50/50 water, denatured alcohol works fine.

    NINETOE New Member

    I like to use a wall paper roller to get the water out of the skin after its been put on the manikin. Just roll with pressure from head to tail and watch the water fly. ;D
  9. Mark V.

    Mark V. Chinook Salmon replica

    Just a note, Especially on Muskellunge and Pike. Do not soak in salt water for long periods of time as the longer it soaks the more water it will take on. You will have a tough time getting all the water out and end up with a bumpy fish. As far as the mannikin goes Musky tend to have less stretch to the skin so I would go with a body 1/2 an inch smaller in the girth than the measurements you take. on a fish the size of a musky you would have a hard time altering with a store bought mannikin. A spatula works well for getting the excess water out of the skin after its on the body. Just my opinion but I would not use Alum to soak it in as it will shrink and you will get less stretch. Borax will work much better. good luck,Mark V.
  10. Cecil

    Cecil Well-Known Member

    Little stretch? ??? I do about 20 a year up to 55 inches, and for me both pike and musky stretch quite a bit. I've had up to 3 inch gaps on the back side, and still have been able to line up the fins. Maybe your fish or different than mine? Different water chemistry or something? ???

    Not saying you're wrong just haven't found a lack of stretch with the musky here.

    As far as salt I don't use any -- just borax and lysol.

    Here's a 55 inch Detroit River Musky I did recently. I stretched the skin about 2 inches on this fish. Used a Rinehart commerical mannikin and added a 5 inch shim to the center as they only go up to 50 inches. I do carve bodies, but can't see the cost effectiveness of buying carving foam and spending the time carving fish this big.

  11. den007

    den007 Active Member

    Didn't say soak it in alum, just remove the slime.
  12. Wild Bill

    Wild Bill If my hats missing im fishing

    I order my manikins bigger on the girth for Muskies, otherwise the skin will over lap on the back side for sure. Especialy on the tail.
  13. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    As you can see there are a lot of different ways to do things that'll get the job done.

    Personally, I don't "de-slime" any of my fish. I usually just rinse them off as best I can and sometimes I'll soak them in Dawn and wipe down too. Usually though, it's just a quick rinse and I get going. If the fish is too slimey to hold I use powdered borax sprinkled all over the fish so I can hold onto it better. In fact, I've been using a lot of powdered borax lately.

    I "squeegee" my pike and musky with the edge of a tongue depressor prior to mounting up. The reason(s) I prefer doing this at this stage of the ballgame vs. after it is mounted is my styrafoam is pretty soft and would probably dent IF I did it after mounting. Plus the curves of the body have to be somewhat difficult to get the water out going around those radiuses. I purchased a roller for this task but quite frankly, you have to push pretty hard and the roller inevitably just slides (instead of rolling) across the surface. It works, but it's performing the same function the tongue depressor does and tongue depressors are much cheaper - lol! You actually have to push fairly hard as you slide it across to get the water out. Careful on some of those really small pike though as I've had a couple that were much more sensitive to scale loss (when squeegee-ing) vs. their big brothers. I also use my fingers around the fin areas and "tough to get to" areas to push the water out. You should hear the "pops" and water should fly all over the place if you're doing it correctly!

    I use the real head - no worries, just get everything out. And I also just started removing the jawmeat as well. I don't believe there's any grease issues whatsoever by leaving it in. But there certainly is meat/stink issues and it's easy to take out. So I took the advice of some of the experts on here and started doing it. It only takes five minutes and there's always the excitement of mangling your fingers with those teeth - lol!

    Other than this stuff, I too use Mineral Spirits to remove the grease on all my fish. Soak overnight to 24 hours - no longer. Then it goes in cold water with Dawn and rinsed and back and forth until I no longer feel the M.S. residue. Either the Borax solution or the D.A. solution will work just fine on all fish. Don't waste your money on those "Fish Tans" though. I have never used the stuff (If it ain't broke, don't fix it), but I haven't heard too many good things about the stuff...