A long time ago, I posted a blog about a brief phase I went through where I decided to take up home taxidermy. Let’s just say I thought that phase was long over…until I visited the taxidermy studio of Michael Dinkel in Soldotna, Alaska, last summer. In the back room, Dinkel had about a dozen giant halibut tails drying out, all neatly displayed on pedestal bases. After he explained that no one ever wants a 300-pound halibut mounted in its entirety, the tails made sense. My wheels began to turn, and I vowed on the spot that I was going to try this with the next big striper I caught. Well, here it is.
Replica mounts aren’t exactly cheap. Nor are skin mounts, which also require you to kill a fish that you won’t even get to taste. If you think about it, you can gauge the size of a fish pretty well just by seeing the tail. I imagine this would work well with salmon, pike, maybe even really large trout if you wanted a trophy and still wanted to eat your catch.
This whole process took about a month. I scooped the meat out of the base of the tail, and rubbed the inside of the hollowed base with Borax laundry powder to preserve it. Then I filled the cavity with Great Stuff plumber’s foam, pressed the tail between two pieces of cardboard and let it dry for three weeks. I know my paint job could be better, but hey, at least you know it’s supposed to be a striper. The whole thing cost me about $10.
What do you think? Good way to have your cake (fish) and eat it too?