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kjgmh

Taxidermy Preperation on the Ice

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I am hoping that someday I will catch a fish big enough to put on the wall. Just wondering on what to do with the fish once I get it out of the hole.

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About 15 years ago a friend of mine that happens to be a world champion taxidermist developed a product to do just exactly what you are asking. I don't think it ever really caught on but here's a very simple version of what it was and what to do.

Things you need to buy and keep in your boat in the event you catch a trophy that you want to mount;

A large plastic bag, preferably dark colored.
A box of Borax, you'll find it in the laundry detergent area of the grocery store.

When you catch the trophy, dispatch it immediately so it doesn't flop around and damage any fins. Then completely coat the fish with the Borax and store in a cooler or freezer until you can get it to the taxidermist.

Here's the reason for the Borax, it does something to the fish that maintains the color after it dies, this way the tax. can replicate the exact colors of the fish when you caught it. It also does something to help preserve the fish.

Hope that helps answer your question.

Ole

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Also, take a good picture of your fish so that the colors can be replicated for your mount. They tend to fade somewhat after being out of the water for a while. It also helps to push the fins down to the body if you can, less damage that way.

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Dont use a towel the cotton balls tend to stick to your fish. Best thing is a clean white bedsheet. Lay your trophy flat and wet your sheet down. Lay all fins down so they dont get damaged and wrap your fish in it tightly but not too tight. In winter let freeze and it acts as a cast. In summer lay in cooler or if none make sure fish has been expired and lay in coolest place possible. Livewell?
Make sre you get exact measurements of length and gerth and take plenty of good color pictures of any identifying characteristics. Example 1 eye missing or a tag or huge hook jaw. Different waters of course give fish a different colorashon.
Make sure your taxidermist has done plenty of fish from the waters you caught your fish out of. This way they know the colors the fish should have. I caught a 31" walleye last summer with only 1 eye. She is now known to me as lefty. grin.gif May get a replica made for just that reason.
Anybody else have any good advise on this topic?

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Thanks for the replies, now that I know what to do all I have to do is catch a trophy. Is there anything special to do to trout? They seem to discolor easlily.

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don't listen to people that tell you to use newspaper instead of a wet towel and make sure you pick out a good taxidermist. Does anyone know what the average time it takes to get your fish mounted and returned to you? My fish is going to take a year, but the work he does is well worth the wait.

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A year wait is common for a quality taxidermist. Unless you have "connections" and can get a rush on your trophy... smile.gif

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The bedsheet is a good idea, don't use newspaper! A year sounds sorta long.

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A year is not too long to wait. I waited a year for mine and I've known others to wait that long for their mounts also. The most important element is using a taxidermist that does quality work so ask around and see some work that each has done. Hope ya get that trophy.

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I got my walleye mount back in mid-January that I dropped off at the end of August. Not bad, just over 5 months. Other places were more like 9-10 months and much more expensive, so call around.
As for prepping the fish--I wrapped it in a wet beach towel, froze it, then for the 3+ hour ride home I had it in a storage bin filled with ice. Seemed to work just fine.

FTP

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Most taxidermists that do more than just fish will take a little longer just like jlm says. They will do all their birds at once, all their deer at once, etc. so if you drop your fish off at the right time, you might have it back in a few months. Otherwise you might wait a year or more.

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It takes far less time than a year to complete a fish. The problem is that most guys are very busy and if they are anything like me, I like to skin, stuff and card, paint, etc. when I can do several at one time. That way I can keep a little order to the madness. Soooooo, if you brought in a fish six months ago, I might be just starting the fish along with the others. Drying time is the longest wait for fish. Beleive it or not, fish are VERY cheap to do as far as all the "stuff" we put into them. Most of it is profit for the taxidermist. I have done fish for guys in a months time when they REALLY want it fast or I am not busy with other things. It can be done faster than that to if you want to push it with the drying time. Some taxidermist will actually send the fish away to be mounted by another studio and then charge you over what they paid to get it done. They act as more of a fish broker! Anyway, a year is not tooooo long to wait. Good luck all!

PS: I am by no means an expert taxidermist. this is just the way I do things, others may/probably differ!

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basically just keep the fins protected and get the fish froze as soon as possible. to protect the fish in your freezer and also the usually packed full taxidermist's freezer, take the fish and slide it head first into a thick plastic bag, lay it on a piece of pannel board( pannel board is easy to cut to the size of the fish with a leather man) and then duct tape the fish around the head, midsection, base of the tail, or where ever it needs support. this way the fish is frozen flat to the wood, and the fins are protected by the edges of the wood, and can not be snapped off in the freezer or during transport. if you wanted before an anticipated "big fish trip" or just to have it on hand, pre cut some pannel board and slide it into a garbage bag. tuck it back in the truck somewhere, toss some duct tape in the truck and your set if you happen to catch that trophy fish. it would take little space, and it would be easy to do on the ice.

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