- 1). Clean your fish to remove the slime layer. Rinse the fish under a heavy stream of cold water. A kitchen faucet works great for this. Gently work in a slime-removing product to all areas of the fish. This can be purchased from any taxidermy supply company. Be sure to cover all areas including inside the mouth and between each gill.
- 2). Dry the fish thoroughly by patting down the entire surface area with clean dry towels. Avoid wiping the fish, as this can result in scales clinging to the towel.
- 3). Hang the fish upright using a stringer so that you have access to its entire body.
- 4). Using a paintbrush, apply a thin layer of white school glue to the entire outside of the fish. It is best to brush from the head to the tail in order to prevent the scales from lifting up. This glue will help hold the scales in place during the rest of the mounting process, minimizing any scale loss.
- 5). Dry the glue until it turns transparent by placing a fan on low next to the fish for about 30 minutes.
- 6). Once the glue is dry, apply a second coat. Do not cover the fins with this coat, as it makes the glue much harder to remove at the end.
- 7). Prepare the fish for skinning. Place the fish on a clean dry towel to absorb any moisture that may leak out. Make a lateral incision from just behind the gills down to the tail fins across the side of the fish that will be facing the wall, being careful not to let any liquid from inside the fish to come in contact with the dried glue. Slowly cut the skin away from the flesh until the entire body can be removed.
- 8). Continue to skin and scrape the skin until the fish is completely clean. Be sure to remove as much meat as possible. Remove the brain and the eyes from the body.
- 9). Rub a liberal amount of taxidermy-grade preservative over the entire inside of the skin. Be sure to get inside the head cavity as comprehensively as possible.
Gentle shake out any excess preservative from the fish and insert your foam fish blank. Secure the fish blank to the skin using a taxidermy bonding agent and sew the incision closed.
Wet down the surface of the fish by using a spray bottle filled with cold water. Once the glue becomes milky white, it will be ready to peel off. Start from the head of the fish and gently peel down all the way to the tail. Apply extra water to any stubborn areas until all of the glue is removed.
Finish your mount by spreading the fins, applying a glass eye and airbrushing the skin to look as lifelike as possible.
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