Preserving Fish




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Squirrel Study Skin
Preserving Fish
Sketching Aquarium
Preserving Insects
Marine Animals

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By Dan Beard

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The boys at school used to say, "You cannot eat your apple and keep it."  Being not only fond of fishing and fish, but also taking an interest in the study of ichthyology, the question with me has been, How can I eat my fish and still preserve it for future reference?  A few experiments and several failures suggested a plan which has proved partially successful.

Having caught a very large bass or trout that you would like to preserve as a trophy, or some odd-looking fish that you want to keep as a specimen, the following is the plan to adopt:

Place your fish upon a piece of paper of any kind you may have, or a piece of birch bark; spread out the fins and trace a careful and accurate outline; then with your pocket-knife remove the tail at a point just beyond its junction with the body of the fish; in the same manner cut off the fins, being careful not to injure them; a small portion of flesh will be attached to each; this must be removed with your knife.

Put the fins in a safe place, and again taking your knife, insert the blade, under the gill and cut up to the center of the top of the head; split the head down to a line exactly on the top to the upper jaw; carefully cut through this and the lower jaw to where the gill commences underneath; this will sever the whole side of the head.  Cut away all the flesh from the inside and remove all the bony structures possible without injuring the outside.

The eyes can be removed so as to leave the outside skin or covering unbroken.  Wash the half of the head clean and put that with the fins in your notebook, taking care to leave a leaf of paper between each, to prevent their adhering together.

When you reach home you can have the fish cooked, and while it is cooking trace the outline of the fish upon a clean sheet of white paper; take the fins, head, and tail from your notebook, dampen them with a sponge or wet cloth, and with glue fasten them in their proper place, upon the outline drawing, distended by means of pins; the latter may be removed after the glue is dry; write in one corner the weight of the fish, the date upon which it was caught, and the name of the place where it was captured.

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You can then frame it or number the sheet and place it in a portfolio (Fig. 153). In the course of a season's fishing quite an interesting and valuable portfolio of fishes can be made.  The writer has often caught fish whose names were unknown to him , and in this manner preserved them, or enough of them to identify the fish at some future period when he had time to look it up.

American Boy's Handy Book






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Last modified: October 15, 2016.