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Cheap Taxidermy: How to Mount a Fish Tail

Save money and meat by turning the tail of your fish into a trophy.

Ever notice that you can gauge the size of a fish just by looking at the tail? If you don’t want to pay for a replica mount or waste the meat having a skin mount made, fillet your next whopper, save the tail, and make your own trophy.

Step 1: Hollow Out the Pocket
Remove as much meat as possible from the base of the tail with a sharp knife or grapefruit spoon. With wire cutters, clip the spine as far back as possible. Don’t damage the skin or lose any scales. What’s left should be a hollow pocket.

Step 2: Squeeze the Tail
Spread the tail out and press it between two pieces of cardboard covered in wax paper. Use binder clips to keep pressure on the cardboard.

Step 3: Fill the Pocket
Rub the inside of the pocket with borax laundry powder, then fill the pocket with expanding plumbing foam. Place the tail in a cool, dry spot to set for three weeks.

Step 4: Add the Finishing Touch
Once dry, remove the cardboard and paint the tail to bring back the color. Spray paint and acrylic work well. Saw off any excess foam to create a level surface, and glue the tail to a plaque or wood base for display.

Photo by Dan Marsiglio

Comments (19)

Top Rated
All Comments
from bigjake wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

cant see me having any tail mounts anytime soon, but something I have been toying with is attempting a "European style" mount for fish(ie nothing but the bones). Saw an ad for a company who does this, but how would I go about doing this myself? use ant hill?, boiling water/perioxide/dishsoap like a skull mount??

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Winchester 92 wrote 4 years 19 weeks ago

i agree with bijake. its not very attractive, looks more like a souvenire youd buy at a local novelty store. creative idea though

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drew Steven Knoop wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I like the idea, but I don't know if anyone else would like to look at it. I think the european style mount would be cool. probably not much more difficult either.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Eric Greene wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Wait until someone asks you "where's the rest of the fish?"

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from cas0905 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

picture is a good enough trophy for me

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from DR angler wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

I recently caught a rainbow trout that was 22inches and I did this taxidermy thing to it and it work nicely

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from AbbyGill wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

I'm going to attempt this on a bluefin tuna. This could be an arts & crafts disaster.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Michael Staley wrote 4 years 4 weeks ago

I like it, I'm always up for something that can save some money, and this looks pretty good, so if I catch a nice bass, when I go on a fishing trip this weekend, I'll give it a try.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Nolan wrote 4 years 3 days ago

I like it, does anyone know any other DIY taxidermy projects like this one?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bassmasterking wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

great idea

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from zrock365@yahoo.com wrote 3 years 31 weeks ago

Creative but I've seen crappie weighing in at 2 and a half pounds with the smallest tail.Still I think I might try it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bass2Buck wrote 3 years 28 weeks ago

good idea but people would say wheres the rest of the fish

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from catfish12g wrote 3 years 13 weeks ago

Could you not use non iodized salt like when drying out a hide or coon and squirrel tail?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from smithscott wrote 2 years 49 weeks ago

I will follow your points to Mount a Fish Tail. Very nice explanation to mount it .

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Boonedog23 wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Nice idea, might be doin that soon.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from the Preacher wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

Would be secretive and not as gaudy as the whole thing. I like that. But it does pale in comparison to a great photo. But I am going to incorporate the grapefruit spoon in future filleting adventures.

Good idea, close, but not quite there.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from scottytheelkhunter wrote 2 years 1 week ago

nice idea but not for me

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Eric Greene wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Wait until someone asks you "where's the rest of the fish?"

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from bigjake wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

cant see me having any tail mounts anytime soon, but something I have been toying with is attempting a "European style" mount for fish(ie nothing but the bones). Saw an ad for a company who does this, but how would I go about doing this myself? use ant hill?, boiling water/perioxide/dishsoap like a skull mount??

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Nolan wrote 4 years 3 days ago

I like it, does anyone know any other DIY taxidermy projects like this one?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Winchester 92 wrote 4 years 19 weeks ago

i agree with bijake. its not very attractive, looks more like a souvenire youd buy at a local novelty store. creative idea though

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drew Steven Knoop wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I like the idea, but I don't know if anyone else would like to look at it. I think the european style mount would be cool. probably not much more difficult either.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from cas0905 wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

picture is a good enough trophy for me

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from DR angler wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

I recently caught a rainbow trout that was 22inches and I did this taxidermy thing to it and it work nicely

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from scottytheelkhunter wrote 2 years 1 week ago

nice idea but not for me

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from AbbyGill wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

I'm going to attempt this on a bluefin tuna. This could be an arts & crafts disaster.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Michael Staley wrote 4 years 4 weeks ago

I like it, I'm always up for something that can save some money, and this looks pretty good, so if I catch a nice bass, when I go on a fishing trip this weekend, I'll give it a try.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bassmasterking wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

great idea

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from zrock365@yahoo.com wrote 3 years 31 weeks ago

Creative but I've seen crappie weighing in at 2 and a half pounds with the smallest tail.Still I think I might try it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bass2Buck wrote 3 years 28 weeks ago

good idea but people would say wheres the rest of the fish

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from catfish12g wrote 3 years 13 weeks ago

Could you not use non iodized salt like when drying out a hide or coon and squirrel tail?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from smithscott wrote 2 years 49 weeks ago

I will follow your points to Mount a Fish Tail. Very nice explanation to mount it .

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Boonedog23 wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Nice idea, might be doin that soon.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from the Preacher wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago

Would be secretive and not as gaudy as the whole thing. I like that. But it does pale in comparison to a great photo. But I am going to incorporate the grapefruit spoon in future filleting adventures.

Good idea, close, but not quite there.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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