|Please check out some photo's to the left of fish mounts I have done and products used with the mounts. Thanks, Troy Pike |
I specialize in fish taxidermy. Alot of taxidermists won't do fish because they are the hardest in taxidermy to do. Fur and feathers cover up alot of mistakes that just can't be done wtih fish. With mammals and birds there is very little airbrush painting, but fish have color's flowing into each other and dark patterns (called vermiculations)that are totally recreated with an airbrush. You have to "read the fish" to bring those colors and vermiculations back to look like the fish that you caught. You need to be somewhat of an artist to succeed at fish taxidermy. If you are planning to mount a fish, make sure you take alot of photo's. Some close up's of the fish so I can recreate it more accuratley. I went to school for fish taxidermy at the number one school in the nation for taxidermy. The American Institute of Taxidermy (AIT) with master instructor Dennis Rinehart.
As a professional fish taxidermist I get these calls alot. "Im out fishing and I just caught a huge fish that I want to mount, what do I do with it?" Here are some tips for fisherman from a professional fish taxidermist.
In your boat and vehicle put a full sized beach towel in each. Then you will always have one with you even if you don't take the boat. If you catch a large species like a northern or musky the towel has two uses. With northern and musky you don't want to let them lay on the ground or floor of the boat flopping around, as tough as these fish are their skin is very delicate and scars very easy. A taxidermist can hide the scars to a point but cannot fix them. Wet the towel and wrap the fish up in it with the fins against the body. Then put weights (coolers, tackle box's, or standing)on both ends of the towel but not on the fish. This will take the fight out of the fish faster and it will limit the amount of scaring damage on the fish.
Once home wet the towel again, make sure the fins are against the body and put it in the freezer. What you are trying to do is protect the skin and fins from being damaged. When the towel freeze's it creates a barrier of protection around the fish from pizza's and meat going in and out of the freezer. Then call me at 507-398-3001 and I will come and get the fish or you can bring it to my shop and see my work first hand.
Freeze drying a fish???? The first fish I had mounted before I became a professional fish taxidermist were two red lake crappies around 14 inches each. I didn't know anything about it so I just took them to a taxidermist and expected a quality mount in a few months. Instead 15 months later I got back two crappies that I thought were painted poorly, and were half the thickness that I had caught. Within 2 years my wife said that they smelled and she was right. I wasn't told but the fish were freeze-dryed. This is the reason I went to fish taxidermy school. I paid $250.00 for a mount that just rotted slowly on my wall. Freeze drying takes the moisture out of a fish's meat so it looks skinny when its done. Another problem in my opinion is the humid minnesota summers we have, The humidity rehydrates the meat over time and the fish starts to rot on your wall. Thats what happened with one of my crappies. It now is kept in a freezer because it was infested with bugs.
I use the actual skin and fins to recreate your fish. I only do skin mounts and replica's. In my opinion if someone tells you to freeze-dry a fish, run don't walk away......just my opinion.....