Posted by jd on October 29, 2003 at 09:38:53:
In Reply to: Smallmouth Taxidermist posted by Mike4AU on October 27, 2003 at 19:13:13:
Mike4AU - I don't know if you will/ have been to school at AU? I caught a 7 and 9-1/2 LM at Chambers county lake. It was a tough lake, and getting skunked is not uncommon. I caught the 7 in undergraduate school around November 1990 and the 9-1/2 when returning for grad. school in February 1997. Lee County lake had some record catches on certain years when the lake reopened in February each year after a two month fishing break.
Rocky Drake mounted both of these fish for me. They both look excellent, but they are completely different colors. Everyone asks me if the brown one is old and faded... it just came from the factory that way. I had the tourney package with the gold scale highlights added to the second one (not available in 1991), and it was probably worth the money... for sure would be with a smallmouth. I believe this whole deal was $160 for 9-1/2 lb LM in 1997.
The top fins on both fish have problems, the first one was much worse and had a piece of fin glued on to the back. The spines of the fin are of different length and have suffered damage. My guess is that they got freezer burned from the 1-1/2 years of storage in his freezer... I took both of them within a week of catching and freezing at home. I had them wrapped in a towel and plastic garbage bag to preserve moisture.... I think I even wrapped the first one in newspaper first... obviously not good enough. I would use a really good, thick towel. Maybe even wrap that with plastic wrap. They will tell you a towel is good enough, but I would not take chances. A vacuum seal bag would probably be the ticket, but not many people own them. Maybe a meat shop would do it for you?
I am purely catch and release now, but would not hesitate recommend Rocky Drake. He is on Hwy. 431 just over the mountain at the bottom on the left when leaving Huntsville. I think that the paint and final finish make up for potential problems with fins. Maybe I just had two unlucky mishaps and a bird came by and pecked my fins while they were drying. Once painted and cured, I think the final product will last longer than most other mounts I have ever seen.
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