Every angler knows when they’ve reeled in a trophy-quality fish. As soon as they land it, they know it’s one for the wall. It’s something they’re going to want to show off to all their friends for years and years to come.
If it is truly worthy of mounting, you’re going to need to act fast. More importantly, you’re going to have to act smart. It’s so easy to ruin fish mounts in Wyoming if you’re not careful! Make sure you’re following all of the steps below when it comes to field prepping your fish, to ensure your trophy mount comes out looking its best.
- First and foremost, photograph your fish. Fish can begin to lose color in as little as 90 seconds after they’re removed from the water. A good photograph will help a taxidermist recreate its color exactly.
- Next, select a “show side.” This is the side of the fish that will be displayed on your mount. It’s important to keep this side up when storing the fish, to avoid accidently losing scales or deformation.
- Now it’s time to wrap and/or store your fish. Never use newspaper to wrap! It’ll ruin your fish for sure. Instead, use a wet towel and wrap gently. If possible, don’t wrap your fish, and instead, place it in its own cooler for freezing.
- Freezing your fish will preserve it until you can get it to a taxidermist. Make sure you’re freezing the fish on a flat surface, with the “show side” face up. Once flat, freeze it solid for two days to ensure it’s completely frozen all the way through.
- Once the fish is frozen, you can gently mist it with a spray bottle and re-freeze it for several hours to develop a slick coating of ice. This allows you to put the fish in a plastic bag for transport to a taxidermist without skimming off scales.
Follow these directions and you’ll have yourself a beautiful fish mount in Wyoming in no time at all!
Just remember, there are many ways to go wrong when field prepping a fish. Here are a few simple things to avoid doing when preserving your fish:
- Don’t wrap your fish in anything abrasive. Doing so will rub off scales and blemish the fish.
- Don’t put your fish in a bag when freezing it initially. This will cause the fish to stick to the bag, resulting in deformation. After the fish is frozen by itself it can be placed in a plastic bag, but not before.
- Don’t gut your fish! Your catch should be unharmed when brought to a taxidermist. In fact, if you can’t safely remove the hook, leave it in!
- Try not to handle your fish. The more you handle it, the more chance there is of rubbing off scales or damaging the integrity of your catch.
If you have questions about field prepping your catch, ask them! At Nature’s Design Taxidermy, we’re ready to answer any questions you might have, to ensure your fish is in pristine condition when it comes time for mounting.