Release Mounts. Actual fish parts are no longer used in the marine taxidermy process. WORLDWIDE, from the smallest studios to the world's largest taxidermy producers, nearly 100% of all saltwater fish mounts are produced using composite materials. These days sportsmen choose to mount fish that they have released rather than fish that they have killed. The term "Release Mount" is now commonly used in the taxidermy industry.
How are they made? Release Mounts are produced from molds. Each mold is originally cast directly from a fresh fish and can be used over and over again. The resulting composite cast is anatomically perfect, right down to the shape of each fish-scale. After the glass eyes and acrylic teeth have been installed (cast separately) the mount is then hand painted. Often times the angler will provide the approximate length and a photo of the released fish. Molds are available in a wide variety of sizes.
Why don't taxidermists use the actual fish? In the past, taxidermists often found it difficult to completely remove the grease from the fish skin. The remaining grease would later ooze out and discolor the mount. The chemicals used were extremely hazardous, and the cost of handling and storage was expensive. This, combined with the sportfishing community's increasing demand for composite mounts due to concerns over marine conservation, led to the change from skin to composite mounts.
How can I obtain a mount that best represents my actual fish? In the past, your captain or mate would skin, salt and transport the fish parts to a taxidermist. These days you can release your fish alive and order your mount directly from the factory. Simply provide the approximate length and/or weight of your fish. While measuring, be careful not to hurt the fish, or put yourself at risk of injury--especially in the case of a large fish. It is OK to simply estimate the size. Photos are optional and can help the artist during the final painting. Photos determine coloration and special markings.
How do I select the best fish mount provider? Often times your captain or mate can suggest a good company to use. An online search is the best place to begin. Things to consider include the quality of the molds, the craftsmanship that goes into the composite cast, and the final painting.
King Sailfish Mounts, Inc.