How To Mount a Fish

Measure and document your catch

If you ever consider having a release mount made of you trophy catch, you should be prepared to safely and quickly record the necessary information required to reproduce your treasure.   Knowing what to do in advance is always the best option, especially when your focus is on releasing the fish unharmed.   Excitement and clutter in the cockpit as well as consideration for the fish all come into play at the same moment so being ready to record the following info is definitely a good idea.

Taxidermy Measurements

For starters, you will need the length measurement. The measurement of the total (or overall) length is how we quantify the size of your fish. Total Length is measured from the most forward point of the head, with the mouth closed, to the farthest tip of the tail with the tail compressed or squeezed, while the fish is lying on its side. The length measurement can often be taken while the fish remains in the water and can be done in a variety of ways.   The method you select should be the most appropriate for the situation. In the event you are not carrying a measuring tape. You can use a piece of fishing line or rope and simply cut or knot the line equivalent to the length of the fish. If you’re on a large boat you might want to hold the fish along side while remaining in gear. Mark or note the location of the head (or the top of the bill) and the tail on the gunnel (gunwale). Later you can go back and take an exact measurement. Things can get a little tricky in the case of large billfish or shark and using your common sense for your own safety should come first. Sometimes, it might be best to simply estimate. Most experienced captains and mates can guess the size of the fish quite accurately. Many times the fork measurements (LFL - Lower jaw to fork of the tail) are taken to estimate the weight of the fish. This measurement along with the girth measurement can be used to calculate an approximate weight. (Weight=(LFL x Girth x Girth)/800)

The girth measurement is the next thing you will need. Again, the objective is to release the fish unharmed and taking the girth measurement may not always be in the fish's best interests since additional handling is required.   Regardless, you should make a mental note if your catch is particularly long or big gutted and report that information when ordering your mount.

Photographs are also used in quantifying approximate catch size. Take a photo with a ruler, tape or other known measurement (net, gaff, beer can, etc.). It's always best to take some photos before the fish has reached the point of exhaustion in order to capture the most vivid and striking colors. Even if the lighting is poor or the photos are not properly exposed, the individual fish’s markings can usually be identified and the photos will help with individual markings such as those on a Mahi Mahi (dolphin), redfish or barracuda.  In the event that photos are not an option, most marine artists refer to a collection of colorful references of similar fish landed in the same geographic area. The artist will then use these references for the final paint job while uniquely blending transparent colors, pearl and shimmers to produce dazzling results.