Musky America Magazine October 2023 Edition

artist must totally recreate the colors of the skin all over the animal. In bird taxidermy, the taxidermist must paint the legs, feet, and bill, but the feathers retain their natural colors. In mammal taxidermy, the taxidermist must paint the nose and eyes, but the fur requires no color correction. In fish taxidermy, however, the taxidermist has to paint every square inch of the specimen, and make it appear natural. Fish Mounting Methods There are a lot of different ways to produce a fish mount, and fish taxidermists usually are required to choose different mounting methods to match their particular subjects. Warm water fish with tough skins and large scales (such as bass, crappie, and bream) are good candidates for skin mounts. A skin mount means that the fish is skinned, the skin is preserved, and the skin is either mounted over a manikin, or the fish's body cavity is packed with a filler material which is shaped and then allowed to harden. These types of fish are not particularly greasy, so they are usually mounted with the natural skull still attached to the skin. The fins and tail are also the real thing, however, it must be noted that in the process of skinning a fish, the skin may be removed in sections and then applied to the body frame with resin. This can account for the relocation of dorsal and/or pectoral fins and the development of cracks in the surface of the mount over extended periods of time. The environmental conditions in which the fish is displayed will also cause variations in the mount over time. One can see from this brief overview that taxidermy is not an exact art. This is as true today as in past taxidermy practices. The fact is that before pre-made forms were used