If you’re planning a fishing trip specifically for catching a trophy fish, then you want to be prepared with the right items to preserve your catch. You should also contact your local taxidermist ahead of time. The basic things you’ll need are a big enough cooler, plenty of ice and a wet towel, or a bucket of water for live storage—bring everything, just in case. And since you never know when you might reel in an impressive fish, you might consider packing these things regardless of whether you’re going trophy fishing or not.
Here are six tips for storing your prized fish for taxidermy in Cody, WY:
- Prepare the holding tank: If you know the size of the fish you’re gunning for, make sure to bring an appropriate size cooler. Or bring a larger cooler if your plan is to fish until you catch one that suits your fancy. Before catching the fish, check that your cooler is full of ice—this is your holding tank—and have a cold towel ready.
- Handle the fish with care: Don’t go crazy and start tugging at the fishing pole or jerking the line wildly. It’s important that you reel in the fish with care and avoid banging it on the boat, dock or shore, because you want to preserve the condition of the skin, scales and fins. Carefully place the fish in a bucket of water or directly onto a soft towel and remove the hook from its mouth.
- Take photos: You may want to take pictures for your own records, but they can also help the taxidermist recreate the exact colors of the fish, should it lose too much of its coloration in storage.
- Wrap it well: Now’s the time to wrap the fish in the cold, wet towel. Set the fish in the center of the towel, watching that the fins are flat against the body. As gentle as you can, wrap the towel around it. For more protection—or if you cannot get the fish to the taxidermist immediately—place the towel-wrapped fish in a plastic bag, then put it on ice.
- Store it properly: Double check that your fish bundle is secured, and if you used a plastic bag, push all the air out. Place the bundle in the ice-filled cooler, make sure it’s safe from sliding around and secure the lid. A word of caution: never gut, clean or scale a fish you want mounted.
- Don’t wait to deliver it: The key to a fresh and vibrant-looking fish trophy is to refresh the ice as needed and get it to the taxidermist as soon as possible. It’s best to contact a company prior to your fishing trip so they know when you’ll be coming in.
To tell the tale of a grand fishing day with a fish mount at your side is further prove that the adventures you had are true. For more fish field prep information, or to submit an order form for taxidermy in Cody, WY, don’t hesitate to contact our expert team at Nature’s Design Taxidermy.