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1/1 Smallmouth bass and walleye Finished

11 replies
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  • Member since
    June 2017
Posted by UnwaryPaladin on Monday, July 1, 2019 9:37 PM

Nice fish! And very nice trophy room. 

The ticks are nasty. I'd always send my hides to a tanner. as soon as the customer brought me a hide, it would be tagged and thrown in the freezer to kill them. 


  • Member since
    January 2009
  • From: hamburg michigan
Posted by fermis on Friday, June 28, 2019 8:19 PM


 German mottled camo is easy after a smallmouth! 


I think it's the other way around!Propeller

The smally pattern was easy...because of all the practice I've had with German mottling!

Honestly, I don't see myself taking this (skin mounts) up as a hobby, let alone another source of income. It was more about the challenge, like almost everything I do. For the amount of money I spent on supplies, plus the repro smally...I couldn't have gotten half of that walleye done by a pro....which is around $20 per inch, these days. I'll take my time a bit more with the other walleye, and try some other things.

 There are quite a few fish I'd like to do repro's of though. At the time they were caught (even now), I just couldn't justify the cost....there's even a couple I still can't quite spend the money on just yet, like these....

I did make one attempt at a deer...years ago. While I was fleshing the cape out...ticks, by the dozens, started crawling off of it....NOPE....DONE!!!


Oh, and silk span is the preferred material for fin backing, but dryer softer sheets will work in a pinch!




Happened on this; very interesting and beautifully done. 


Smally has her place!

  • Member since
    July 2008
  • From: Co.Kerry, Ireland.
Posted by Est.1961 on Thursday, June 27, 2019 1:01 AM

Happened on this; very interesting and beautifully done. 

  • Member since
    June 2017
Posted by UnwaryPaladin on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 7:26 AM

Oh, and silk span is the preferred material for fin backing, but dryer softer sheets will work in a pinch!

  • Member since
    June 2017
Posted by UnwaryPaladin on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 7:24 AM

The smallmouth looks great! You really got the color, patterns, and finish right. Some of the new artificial fish out there are top notch, they look even better than most skin mounts. 

The walleye is a pretty good attempt for a first fish. I'm impressed with your self critique, your talent and ability to see your own work is going to produce some really nice mounts in the future!


About ten years ago I was planning on starting my own taxidermy studio after getting laid off from a corporate job. Took the courses, had the supplies, but major life changes altered those plans. 


For those of you unfamiliar with fish painting, it's very difficult. Fish scales are actually clear, the color is underneath on the skin. You are trying to replicate the look by painting on top of the scale. Add the very subtle undertones and camo patterns and it takes some skill. I can't say I ever mastered the technique, but Fermis really nailed it! German mottled camo is easy after a smallmouth! 

  • Member since
    January 2009
  • From: hamburg michigan
Posted by fermis on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 4:17 PM

Thanks guys!Toast

Got the walleye painted up and mounted on a cheap plaque from Michaels.


For my first attempt at this, I really can't be all that disappointed.

What I don't like...lessons learned...

Shape/pose. It's a bit too "torpedo-ish" time, more curve.

Head angle is off...that's due mainly to the carving of the body, I think...and being a bit hasty. proper colors!

Don't use tissue paper as fin backer.

I could have done much better with the resin.

Overall, I think it looks like one you might find at an estate sale, that was mounted back in 1958 (minus the dust!)



  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Monday, June 17, 2019 11:54 AM

Yeah, friggin' awesome Fermis! 

Never thought of using my modeling tools on a prize fish!! 

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen


  • Member since
    January 2015
Posted by PFJN on Sunday, June 16, 2019 5:22 PM

Wow, those both look great Stick out tongue

1st Group BuildSP

  • Member since
    January 2009
  • From: hamburg michigan
Posted by fermis on Sunday, June 16, 2019 2:07 PM

Now, for the walleye.

This is my first attempt at a traditional "skin mount" (it aint all that pretty!)

These are by no means "trophy fish", but good eater size and big enough to practice/learn from.

I wrapped one in a damp towel, bagged it, and stuck it in the freezer for later.

I skinned the other out, fileted the meat and had a nice meal! I soaked the skin and head in a mix of denatured alcohol/water for 3 days. 

In the mean time, I glued 3 pieces of dense foam insulation together, for the body form. I had traced out the fish, before skinning it.

Using a rasp and sandpaper, I carved the body form...

Like all modeling....test fit!

I carved out the back of the form to add a wood mounting block...

To mount the skin, I coated the foam with glue and just wrapped the skin around. I used some Magic-sculpt resin to fill in some areas around the tail, "shoulder" and to replace the cheek meat that had to be removed. I pinned the head in place with bits of coat hanger wire.

The fins are "carded", so that as it dries out, the fins will stay in place.

After 2 weeks left alone to dry out, I decarded the fins, coated them with Mod Podge and added tissue paper "fin backer", to fill in the gaps where the fins were split. Also a bit more resin where the tail end had shrunk in. Eyes were also set with resin. 

I am not overly pleased with the angle of the head, I added a fair amount of resin to the chin/belly area, to take away from the downward angle of the head.

Fin backer trimmed...

Aint that pretty?!!!

At this point, I'm calling the fish done. I'm not thrilled with it, but not all that disappointed for my first try.

I just have to find something to mount it to, then I'll take some pics and post em.


  • Member since
    May 2011
  • From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posted by Real G on Sunday, June 16, 2019 1:51 PM

I LOVE IT!!!  That is a beautiful finish you did!  Awesome, awesome, awesome!  Aaaaand it’s not another Bf-109!  Thanks for posting!

(But you didn’t use the Eduard PE fin set nor the Barracusdacast resin nose correction.)

I’ll show myself the door.

  • Member since
    January 2009
  • From: hamburg michigan
Posted by fermis on Sunday, June 16, 2019 1:45 PM


Started with a wash...

Then went with MM Metalizers...magniseum for the belly and gold for the sides...

For the rest, I used Polytransper (lacquer) paints. I used "dark bass green" for the mottle/band patterns, then misting coats to blend and green things up more. Thin layers of "superhide white" for the belly.

After that, I attached the other fins with resin, and finished up the paint job with black and chocolate brown...and a finish gloss lacquer.

I mounted the fish on a piece of driftwood I've had laying around for years...just waiting to be used for something! I cut it off, so that it could be set on a table/shelf...I also put a hanger on the back. I like options!

For my first go at painting a fish...I'm quite pleased with it.

Extra bonus, it coat less than 1/3rd of what it would cost if I took a fish to a pro taxidermist!

I definitely see myself doing more of these repro fish in the future!

  • Member since
    January 2009
  • From: hamburg michigan
1/1 Smallmouth bass and walleye Finished
Posted by fermis on Sunday, June 16, 2019 1:34 PM

I guess this fit in the "misc" catagory!

As an avid fisherman/hunter, and lover of taxidermy (although, my wallet does not love taxidermy). I decided to try a little bit.

I'll start with the smallmouth. I ordered a fiberglass reproduction that was cast from an actual fish, and is almost the same size (1" short) of my biggest smally. I figured I could work on this, while the walleye (traditional skin mount" was drying).

Out of the box...

Seperate side and pec fins and a silicone mouth insert...

The seams are cleaned up by the company, but it's up to me to put the scale detail back in...

I started carving the scales back in on the belly...

I drilled out the molded in eyes and replaced them with glass eye, set with 2 part resin. Also finished scaling...

I CAed the mouth insert in place, then used resin to fill in the gaps...

Ready to start painting...


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