When the practice of catch and release was introduced, a lot of anglers were upset. How can you preserve your memorable trophy catches if you aren’t allowed to bring it home? Today, the trend has shifted – a lot of sport fishers love catch and release since it has boosted fish populations and allowed more anglers to catch larger specimens. Also, the conundrum about how to mount a released fish has been solved, thanks to modern fish taxidermy.
Today, there is no need to bring your fish to the taxidermist to have it mounted. Instead, you contact one of the many fish taxidermists that specializes in fish replicas and provide them with as much details as possible about your catch, e.g. species, sex, length and weight. If you have a photograph of the fish, this will also be helpful.
The fish taxidermist will take that information and use it to create a lifelike fish replica, typically from fiber glass. The replica will then be painstakingly painted to look as much as your catch as possible. If you hire a highly skilled fish taxidermist, a replica like this can actually be even more lifelike than the stuffed skin of a dead fish can ever hope to achieve.
To get a fish preserved has always been expensive. With the advent of modern fish replicas, a new option has become available for anglers on a budget. Instead of having a replica crafted and painted to look exactly like your catch, you can send in details about size and species and get a high-quality ready-made fish replica as a tribute to your trophy catch. This is much less expensive, and if you order from a top-notch producer you will get a replica that really looks like a living specimen of that particular species.
Fish taxidermy has also become greener during recent years when it comes to the actual preservation process. The greenest alternative is of course to go for a fish replica since that requires not preservation at all, but if you really want to have an actual fish stuffed and mounted it is today possible to find fish taxidermists that will carry out the process using a minimum of toxins. Earlier, being a taxidermist was quite a dangerous occupation since a lot of toxic compounds were used to ward off decay, such as the infamous arsenic soap. Arsenic is highly toxic and can be fatal, even in small amounts. Doses too small to cause acute symptoms can still lead to long-term problems such as cancer. The tannins used to preserve the color of the skins were also frequently dangerous, for the tanner as well as for the environment. Even though the taxidermy field has a long way to go yet, significant improvements have been achieved during the last few decades, especially in countries were more stringent occupational and environmental laws have been enacted.