Cheap Taxidermy: How to Mount a Fish Tail

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

fish tail mount

Dan Saelinger

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.

tail steps

Dan Marsiglio