Be Prepared - To Catch a Fish to Remember 

After many uneventful fishing trips, you suddenly find yourself with a fight at the end of your line. You know that if you can just keep it on the hook and get it into the net, you’ve got a trophy!  But then what do you do? 

Before you get “caught” unprepared, here are some things to consider:

Field Guide

Will you keep the fish, or were you planning to release it?

    • If keeping the fish for a skin mount, do you have the ability to preserve it and get it to a taxidermist? You will need a large enough cooler with ice and a towel or cloth to wrap the fish. 
    • If you plan to release the fish, are you ready to document it (cloth tape measure, scale, camera)?  A little information now will help us turn your fishing trip into a memory that will last a lifetime.

First you should know that some species of fish can be difficult or nearly impossible to mount, making a replica the best option.  Fish without scales (shark, catfish, sturgeon, etc.) and oily fish (billfish, large salmon and trout, many ocean fish and large fish in general) are a few examples of fish that are better replicated.  If you’re not sure, check with us and we can help you decide what the best option is.

The Skin Mount Challenge

Before there were replicas, all fish taxidermy was done using the skin of the actual fish you caught.
Here is what you need to know if you decide to go with this legacy method.

Keeping the fish for mounting:

DO NOT GUT OR CUT THE FISH.  Carefully wrap the fish in a wet towel or cloth, laying the fins down and taking care not to bend the tail fin (caudal fin).  Place the wrapped fish in a cooler or other container with ice.  The wet cloth will prevent the ice from damaging the scales of the fish. This should keep the fish cold until you are able to bring it in, within a day or two.  If you are not able to come in right away, or to ship the fish to us, after wrapping in the wet cloth, place it in a plastic bag (like a large trash bag) and  freeze the fish as straight as possible. After it’s frozen, you can bring it here at your convenience, or to ship it to us.

The Replica - Our most popular option

The trend towards replicas (reproductions) in the Fish Taxidermy industry has been gaining popularity among sportsman for many years. Today, it is estimated that 80% of fish mounts are in fact replicas. This trend is due to several factors including the rise of the preservationist movement which advocates “catch and release”. Other fishermen prefer this option because they like to eat what they catch. Finally, with advanced techniques that have made replicas virtually indistinguishable from skin mounts and the near impossibility of successfully mounting many species of trophy fish, replicas have taken off in a big way.

 

"To get the most accurate replica mount, the more information you have, the better. You’ll need a cloth tape measure, a scale to weigh the fish, and a camera."

Fish Measuring Guidelines:

   The most important measurement is the length of the fish.  This is taken with the fresh fish lying flat, measured from the tip of the nose (with the mouth closed) to the tip of the tail, which is spread in a natural position.  This is the same way most state wildlife departments and DNR measure fish.  A girth measurement can be taken with a cloth tape measure, wrapped around the fish at the widest point. The weight can be taken with a small tackle box scale, or larger scale, if necessary.

How to Measure a Fish for the purpose of making a replica 

Photo Tips:

From the standpoint of creating an accurate fish replica, capturing the unique markings and coloration of your fish is the single most important reason to get a good photograph. Make sure that your camera is ready to go (fresh batteries, space on the memory card, clean lense and proper settings) Handle your fish with care. Keep your fingers, fish lines and any obstructions out of the shot. Fill the frame, in other words get in close, but get the entire fish from head to tail. Determine where the sun/light source is. You want the strongest light source on the fish, so the sun should be behind the photographer. Avoid shadows and use a neutral background behind your fish. 
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