striper_12

~Striped Bass…a 46″ long 27″ girth carving~

A little diversion from my series of cold water species…the Striped Bass…or “Striper” as they are know in the mid atlantic…”Stripahs” as my friends in New Jersey and Long Island call them…or just “Bass” by folks in Rhode Island and Massachusetts…

striper_25

~fin configurations on this fish are very different than salmon and trout~

these are ferocious migratory predators that travel up and down the east coast depending on the season…the one I depict in this carving is from one taken in Rhode Island a few years back…a real “grand daddy”…going almost 40 pounds and measuring 46″ long…probably a 15-20 year old fish…

 

striper_9

 

~hand carved and painted eye detail~

 

striper_3

~a “Striper” on my bench getting ready for the next stage~

~getting eye socket detail just right makes a really big difference on the finished product!~

getting the basic contours of the cheeks and eyes are integral to the final sculpture…the eyes probably more than any one detail can bring more life into something than anything else…

another part of the anatomy I spend a great deal of time on are all the fins…pectoral, pelvic,Dorsal,adipose and caudal…on this particular species the pelvic is actually right below the pectoral…also what would be the “adipose” on a trout or salmon is huge on stripers…big ocean dwellers that are aggressive predators…

striper_4

~lay out of the dorsal fin that has a lot of fine carving still to come~

striper_26

~I use small dowel pins to reinforce the dorsal fin spikes~

fins are generally  given very little attention by some carvers or taxidermists…but for me they are the essence of what makes all the species so different…some plastic job that’s glued on is not even a consideration for me…or ones where a wood burner is used to try and pretend some detail…

I have had my handsand fingers jabbed many times by the fins of this species…and have a very “real time” understanding of just how they look and feel.

because wood as a medium has some limitations as to how thin I can reproduce them, I try to blend them in to the sculptor to make them still appear as “lifelike”as possible.

striper_16

~the finished product, my impression of a striped bass dorsal fin ~

striper_11

Having worked on and operated fishing and dive boats in my lifetime I have handled many hundreds+ of these and other fish…you get an intimate knowledge of certain attributes of a fishes anatomy …in particular I know exactly how sharp the barbs are on a striped bass’s dorsal fin are…especially when I forgot to wear my gloves!

striper_14

~having been in  blue water 30 feet down motionless in a school of 30 of these freediving in times past was an experience I will never forget!~