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Thread: Pike Mount Restoration

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Default Pike Mount Restoration

    Resuscitation efforts have failed. I'm not a fan of big dead fish either but we really don't need to go there. This mount was abandoned in a garage by a tenant in my rental house. The quality of the taxidermy was outstanding but she needs repaired for display in my man cave. It's sad it was mistreated again even after death. The paint work is vibrant when cleaned up.

    When I saw this fish I was very impressed with it's size. With a busted tail and mouth open it is now a 40" fish. I know it was a 42" fish alive and you don't find them in the lower 48 much anymore. You can fish for decades on CONUS water and not catch a "40". Only a few lakes with a real chance. I tracked down the angler's son. This fish is from just north of Rainy Lake, MN so it's a Canuck unfortunately

    Curious what the fish weighs. I know from experience the length to weight pike estimator formulas can be inaccurate in both directions. Girth on a 42" fish is typically in the 17-21" range IIRC. This one is just over 20" now and she isn't bellied out from a fresh meal. It takes a very good taxidermist to not lose size during the drying process. I bet is was 20 1/2 girth originally.

    Anyway it is ironic I would find my dream fish in a garage considering where I live. I think I will try to restore the tail. My wife is a very good painter and I think she could make it look right again. I night try again to get a better PIC that accurately displays it's size. This PIC looks like a 10# fish and I know this thing is a monster.




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  3. #2

    Default Re: Pike Mount Restoration

    well, if it was actually yours, then I'd suggest getting a fiberglass replica mount done of it again. I'm really glad I have had all my fish done that way. Let the fish go back into the lake, river, or ocean, and put the painted up mold onto my wall!

    I did catch a 25lb pike 25 years ago that I've considered doing a mount of for my cave. It was likely a once in a life time catch. I've caught dozens of other pike before and since, and none have been even close.




  4. #3

    Default Re: Pike Mount Restoration

    I took a 45 year old walleye mount to a local taxidermist for restoration of the chipped and broken fins. Looks great now and it cost around $90.00 - 3 hours of work at $30/hour.

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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Pike Mount Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by lake flyer View Post
    I took a 45 year old walleye mount to a local taxidermist for restoration of the chipped and broken fins. Looks great now and it cost around $90.00 - 3 hours of work at $30/hour.
    If I had it repaired professionally, which isn't likely because I didn't catch the fish, I would shop carefully. I have only hired one taxidermist. The product was mediocre and the price was high.

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  8. #5

    Default Re: Pike Mount Restoration

    Give it a gentle cleaning (you'd be surprised how even mild cleaners can dissolve some old paint), and leave it alone. It doesn't look that bad, simply view it as the patina of a historical mount.

    B.E.F.

    -To conserve and protect our sporting outdoor heritage
    ----through responsible wildlife and natural resource
    ---------stewardship, and educated ethical use.

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  10. #6
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    Default Re: Pike Mount Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by GrtLksMarlin View Post
    Give it a gentle cleaning (you'd be surprised how even mild cleaners can dissolve some old paint), and leave it alone. It doesn't look that bad, simply view it as the patina of a historical mount.

    B.E.F.
    I'd be OK with it if it was just patina, but it's abuse. You are right it cleans up nice. It's not that old. The color is so vibrant. It's a work of art and the best northern pike mount I have ever seen. I'm a car guy as you know. I think I will make a tail out of fiberglass. The cracked fins would be easy to repair. My wife could paint it up nice if I promise not to hang it in the living room. It would take her a few hours to match paint colors but she could do it proud. The angler who caught this has passed recently. I'll make a name plate to credit him. I'd like to slap his son for abusing it. It was laying on the garage floor in a pile of trash. I have no doubt it was a $500+ mount.

  11. #7

    Default Re: Pike Mount Restoration

    There's a bit more to repairing that tail to where it looks good and realistic than you might think. The rays have structure as well as color, and if you don't add the structure to your fiberglass tail, no amount of good painting will make it look like anything but a poorly done repair job, in my opinion.

    I did a repair job on a smallmouth bass I had mounted myself, when the original tail fin got broken. Keep in mind that I'm an artist, not a taxidermist, and I do a lot of fish paintings, so I understand the structure of fins. I first cut off the entire tail. Then I cut out the shape of the tail out of archival illustration board, which is about 1/16th inch thick. The other fins of my fish were not backed by anything, and I'd painted them so that the membranes between the rays were still translucent, as they are on live fish, so I needed to make the tail the same. So I cut out slits in the illustration board tail to match where the membranes of the fins were, leaving the illustration board for the ray structures. Then I cut smaller grooves in the outer edges of each ray to match the real ray structure (a typical fin ray starts out as one "trunk" coming out of the body, then splits into two branches, each of which splits again at least once and often more than once before reaching the outer end of the ray). Then I laid the fin on the bottom of a non-stick fry pan, and poured artist acrylic gel medium over it until the medium puddled slightly in the grooves I'd cut. The medium goes on milky but dries clear and flexible. I peeled the dried fin off the non-stick surface and then I trimmed the base of the tail to match the place where it would attach to the body, and glued it on using an epoxy putty that I could shape and sand to make the base of the tail merge seamlessly into the body. I even used a Dremel tool to carve out the last few scales up against the tail in the epoxy. And finally painted it to match.

    Which is probably a lot more trouble than you or your wife want to tackle

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  13. #8
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    Default Re: Pike Mount Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by al_a View Post
    There's a bit more to repairing that tail to where it looks good and realistic than you might think. The rays have structure as well as color, and if you don't add the structure to your fiberglass tail, no amount of good painting will make it look like anything but a poorly done repair job, in my opinion.

    I did a repair job on a smallmouth bass I had mounted myself, when the original tail fin got broken. Keep in mind that I'm an artist, not a taxidermist, and I do a lot of fish paintings, so I understand the structure of fins. I first cut off the entire tail. Then I cut out the shape of the tail out of archival illustration board, which is about 1/16th inch thick. The other fins of my fish were not backed by anything, and I'd painted them so that the membranes between the rays were still translucent, as they are on live fish, so I needed to make the tail the same. So I cut out slits in the illustration board tail to match where the membranes of the fins were, leaving the illustration board for the ray structures. Then I cut smaller grooves in the outer edges of each ray to match the real ray structure (a typical fin ray starts out as one "trunk" coming out of the body, then splits into two branches, each of which splits again at least once and often more than once before reaching the outer end of the ray). Then I laid the fin on the bottom of a non-stick fry pan, and poured artist acrylic gel medium over it until the medium puddled slightly in the grooves I'd cut. The medium goes on milky but dries clear and flexible. I peeled the dried fin off the non-stick surface and then I trimmed the base of the tail to match the place where it would attach to the body, and glued it on using an epoxy putty that I could shape and sand to make the base of the tail merge seamlessly into the body. I even used a Dremel tool to carve out the last few scales up against the tail in the epoxy. And finally painted it to match.

    Which is probably a lot more trouble than you or your wife want to tackle
    Thanks, that was helpful. You are correct, the ribs in the tail would need to be restored. I am confident in my wife's ability to restore the paint. I will have the challenging part. It's just mancave art in the end, so pretty good will be acceptable.

  14. #9

    Default Re: Pike Mount Restoration

    post pics when she gets it finished.

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  16. #10
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    Default Re: Pike Mount Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by lake flyer View Post
    post pics when she gets it finished.
    I will. Just waiting for warmer temps so fiberglass resin will dry properly. It's a lot easier to deal with outdoors where I don't have to be so careful.

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