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Your Trophy - Catfish Taxidermy How To Do It

Aug 16, 2008
Many people wonder about catfish taxidermy, mainly what is it and how can they get involved with it.

Catfish taxidermy varies from taxidermy of other species of fish in several ways, but with a good guide to catfish taxidermy, you can get a trophy to last a lifetime and you will have one big cat always at hand to prove your story was true!

Unlike taxidermy of other species of fish, which have different techniques depending on several factors, catfish taxidermy presents a whole new set of differences when it comes to techniques, because the catfish has skin rather than scales of various other types of fish.

You see, fish normally found in warm waters like bass, bream, and crappie, usually have much more tough skins and much larger scales.

This makes a skin mounting technique good for this type of fish. What this means is that skinning takes place very carefully to preserve the skin itself, while the preserved skin is mounted over a mannequin, or the body itself is packed with a special filler that hardens as it dries.

The skulls are normally left attached to the skin and used in the taxidermy process, and the actual fins are used as well. Cold water fish like salmon and trout have a much more greasy skin with much finer scales.

The skin is also thinner and harder to handle. Sometimes the curing process causes the skin to shrink a bit making it much more difficult to use natural skulls in the taxidermy process as well.

It is also problematic that any medium used for mounting must be especially smooth, because any lumps show through the thinner skin.

In these cases, this preserved skin is simply mounted on a premade fiberglass fish blank which is made in bulk to fit the size and species types of fish that are to be replicated.

These fiberglass reproductions are getting more and more popular, particularly with fish like the catfish, though there are still schools of thought that believe the skin of a catfish is tough enough, though it is thin, to be handled easily in more traditional taxidermy applications.

Besides the difficulty of using traditional methods of taxidermy for these thinner skinned fish, fiberglass reproductions really have other benefits as well. Consider catch and release programs and conservation programs.

My using taxidermy based on fiberglass models, you are able to preserve the catch, which can be painted and constructed to match exactly, the fish you have caught, while respecting conservation and catch and release regulations and goals.

Besides this consideration, you can also expect a fiberglass reproduction to last even thousands of years. These models are practically indestructible and are definitely not subject to the same care requirements or preservation problems as more traditional taxidermy.

If, for whatever reason, the skin is not able to be well preserved, the fiberglass molds may be painted by a good taxidermy artist.

Should you decide to try some of these techniques yourself at home, just remember that fish mounting in a technically accurate presentation is the toughest part of taxidermy, and talented and experienced artists have a long practiced ability to draw, paint, mix color, and sculpt, so it might take a while to get things moving in the right direction.

Just don't give up. Even mottled catfish may be replicated well when techniques such as this are used:
About the Author
Dan Eggertsen is a fishing researcher and enthusiast who is committed to providing the best catfish fishing information possible. Get more information on catfish fishing taxidermy here: http://www.askcatfishfishing.com/
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