I AM PLEASED TO HAVE BEEN GIVEN the opportunity to write a series of fish and related taxidermy articles for BREAKTHROUGH. As an instructor at the Rinehart School of Taxidermy, I have had the chance to develop and refine techniques and procedures that are equally accurate and efficient. The sequence in which techniques are performed is just as important as the actual techniques. With this in mind, I strive to develop techniques and procedures that create the minimal amount of wasted energy and effort and create the highest quality. This ideology comes from my background as a professional taxidermist, depending on taxidermy for my income. The primary inefficiencies in taxidermy stem from a lack of evaluating the procedures that have a true impact on the quality of the finished mount. If you do not understand the steps that are of primary importance, you will extend equal effort to all steps, thus wasting time and depriving the important steps of additional attention. When I first started skinning fish, I didn’t have a clue as to which steps were of primary importance. The result was that you could “eat lunch” on the fish I skinned. True, they were the cleanest fish I have ever skinned. Unfortunately, an 18-inch smallmouth bass took more than four hours to skin and scrape! Well, I knew that wasn’t going to provide the shop-rate that would satisfy me. I reevaluated each step and its corresponding impact on finished quality.