Revitalizing a Classic

A Texas fish artist brings a tired mount back to life in Panama.


On a recent trip to Tropic Star Lodge in Piñas Bay, Panama, I met Bob Harris, owner of Saltwater Taxidermy in Houston, Texas ( Harris had come to fish, but also with another mission in mind; the TSL brass had asked him to repaint a beautiful shoulder mount of a black marlin that had hung on the lodge's porch for decades.
Years of exposure had faded the paint, and Harris was there to touch it up. But after seeing it, he decided to start over from scratch, and had the TSL staff sand the mount down to bare fiberglass. He tried to order metallic automotive paint (the type he prefers for his mounts) from Panama City, but the Panamanian airlines refused to fly it in, calling the paint hazardous materials.

So Harris sorted through the dozens of cans of boat paint stored in the TSL work area, mixing various colors together for just the right hue. He spent seven hours working on the marlin, assisted by many curious TSL workers, and in the end, we all came away astonished at what he had accomplished.

Workers placed the once-tired old mount back on its hangers, and it shone like new. The colors were spot on, a remarkable feat given the lack of the right paint. It just goes to show you that where there's a will, there's always a way.