Many anglers rely on Facebook tell their friends about big fish they’ve landed, and it was on a recent FB scroll session that I discovered a craftsman who is making must-have metal fish trophies that have to be seen to be believed.
This story begins with an interview I conducted during October 2016 with diehard Wisconsin muskie guide Kyle Tokarski. (Click here to read about catching seven muskies in 1 day, including two 50 pounders!) As I worked with Kyle on his story, we became Facebook friends, and as a result I’ll have posts show up on my FB news feed if Kyle has commented on something, or if someone has written on his wall. Such was the case when I saw the photo of Kyle’s metal muskie shown below:
Of course, I had to learn more, so I researched the source of the FB post and found Casey Hollar of Fabworks & Services in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Even though I was excited to see Kyle’s 56-inch muskie skeleton lying flat on a table, I was even more impressed with the 46.5-inch free-standing muskie skeleton shown below.
Intrigued to learn the full story behind these amazing works of art, I tracked down Casey, and the meat of our conversation appears below.
DM: First things first . . . who came up with this idea of metal muskie skeletons? Are you an avid angler, too?
Casey: At Fabworks, Robert Foltz and I had just upgraded our software and cutting capabilities, and I decided to try and cut a musky skeleton for myself because I thought it would be cool. After the first Facebook post of that freestanding muskie skeleton, I realized the interest people were showing in it, so we created more and kept going with it. To be honest, pictures of these creations don’t do them justice.
Yes, musky fishing is my favorite. I don’t mess much with smaller fish as my time is limited with the crazy-busy schedule we have in the summer, so I get out and cast for muskies whenever I can sneak out of the shop.
DM: I understand you can make these muskie skeletons any length. Will Kyle’s 56-inch muskie skeleton stand, too?
Casey: If you want the skeleton to stand up, then simply bend the fish and fins a bit and it will stand. If you want to put it flat on the wall, then just hang it. We currently have three different types of muskies: skeleton, curved or flat (see photos below). The price for a skeleton muskie measuring 41 inches or less is $100; it’s $130 for a skeleton of 42-49 inches, and skeleton muskies measuring 50 inches or more are $150.
DM: Recent FB posts on your Fabworks & Services page showcase designs other than muskie skeletons. Have you experimented with other fish species? Anything for hunters?
Casey: We also have walleyes, trout, bluegills, perch, European-style whitetail deer, shoulder-mount whitetail, and an eagle with or without a fish in its claws. These various designs measure from 24-60 inches tall. We can do any size and about any idea someone has. We are working on a bass right now, and we’re going to get into saltwater fish soon, too.
DM: Do you have the ability to engrave a bit of info such as angler name, fish size, lake and date on the artwork?
Casey: Yes, we can customize any design with writing. We recently did a trophy style of the curved musky where we cut the name and dates into the fish for that particular trophy.
DM: You stated in an email that you’re going to set up a booth at the Wisconsin Musky Expo in Wausau, March 3-5, 2017. Will you have examples of everything you’ve created thus far on display?
Casey: Yes, we have been busy preparing for the show and we will have all the fish, deer and eagles available for viewing and sale.
DM: What are Fabworks capabilities besides cool fish and animal trophies?
Casey: Our in-house fab can cut steel 6’x12’ by 1” thick to any design, with CNC machining up to 40” wide. We design and engineer for our customers. We are central Wisconsin’s on-time, done-right, full-service custom fabrication shop from stainless steel to machining to welding copper.
DM: How should people contact you for more information or to order?
Casey: Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 715-340-4465.