By having a fiberglass fish mount made of your trophy catch, you can have the best of both worlds: a fish for the wall that you didn’t have to kill!
A mounted trophy from a past trip is an awesome addition to an office, sports room or den – and they’re not as expensive as you’d think.
Now before I go on here, guys, I know what you’re thinking – you’d love to have a fish mount in the house, but your wife would sooner let you buy another boat than have you hang a dead fish on the wall. And you know what, she’s right! I’m not too into the concept of having a dead critter hanging in the house, either. Just seems kinda weird…
The good news is you can have it both ways. The big trend in taxidermy these days is fiberglass or graphite replicas. In other words, you can have a model of your big catch made up and, if you get the length and girth measurements and some good close-up photos, a skilled taxidermist can make you an exact copy of your fish.
The replica thing is pretty cool – not only do you not have to kill the fish to get a mount of it, but they also look better than skin mounts and they last forever. Skin mounts start to look like bad science projects over time and they can also start to smell as oil leaches out of the skin.
There are zillions of outfits out there making fish replicas and you have to do a little homework before you commit to buying one. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay $12 to $15 an inch for a mount. Be ware of people who will mount a fish for a lot less than the going rate – there’s usually a good reason that they’re less expensive.
There are sometimes hidden costs that you need to be ware of as well. Be sure to ask what the shipping and handling rates are before you sign a contract…some companies will stick you with serious shipping fees that can almost double the price of your fish.
Also, ask about turn-around time. Most good taxidermists are booked out for months or even years, so be prepared to wait awhile before you get your trophy. It doesn’t hurt, either, to find out of the taxidermist guarantees his or her work and if they carry insurance. You can also check to see if the person you’re considering is licensed – in some states, taxidermists must be licensed through the state.
I know there are a lot of good taxidermists out there and I can’t list them all. However, I can vouch for a couple…in California, one of the all-around best is Ed Moore of Wildlife Workshop in Fort Bragg. I’ve seen his stuff at the sports shows and it’s awesome. He can be reached at: 707-964-6598 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve also seen the fine work done by the folks at Advanced Taxidermy & Wildlife Design out of Southern California, who did the peacock bass in the photo a few paragraphs up the page.
Another name I’d like to mention is Rich Benedict out of New York, who did my 20-pound steelhead in the photo above.
Have you had any great taxidermy experiences? Let me know in the comments section below.