If you think the biggest animals are the hardest to mount, you have another think coming. The truth of the matter is, it is the smallest members of Kingdom Animalia that are the hardest to mount, posing the biggest challenge. You’ll definitely need much more patience, skill and expertise to handle taxidermy fish. Unlike the hides of mammals that pose relatively fewer problems to preserve, you are faced with a different structure and constitution in the skin of fish, birds and lizards, which need different preservation solutions for proper treatment.
For fish taxidermy, you start by catching that trophy fish, of course. An avid trophy fish hunter will have their favorite time to bag some trophy fish and this is often spread throughout the season. Giant fish are bagged in mid July, when you can catch anything from an 8-pounder to a gigantic 40-pounder. This can even extend to late July. The big fish gather together in preparation for spawning in early August, so that may prove to be productive for some anglers. For tons of information on which fish make the best trophies, you can visit this site, which also provides plenty of great fishing tips so every fishing trip is always worth taking.
Because fish skin easily fades in color once it loses a significant amount of moisture, you may have to employ a different method depending on the trophy fish you have to mount. You may have to recreate the entire fish skin using paint. A skin mount is ideal for bass and other warm water fish. Make sure to utilize an exceptionally sharp fillet knife or a scalpel designed for taxidermy.
Remove the eyes, leaving the skin, head and tail intact. Open the fish up and remove the meat, bones and organs as well. Treat the skin with Borax, a special kind of paste or solution to preserve it. Spread the Borax over the inside of the fish skin, making sure the skin is still wet. This will enable slow and natural drying of the fish while effectively keeping shrinkage at bay. Once the skin is amply treated, you can powder the inside with some more Borax. Some firmly packed sawdust can be used as filler material to stuff the skin. You can also stretch the skin over a mold for easy shaping into the pose you want. To guide you in the process, look up some references on how the fish looks like when it’s alive.
Once properly mounted, the fish should be allowed to air dry while guarding against the development of moldy spots. The treatment of the skin and the drying process may contribute to color fading but you’ll be able to fix that by applying lifelike color to the scales to make a stunning piece of decor.