Whether you want to celebrate catching a trophy fish or you want a personalized way to decorate your man cave, mounting a fish is a great option. Understanding the fish taxidermy cost is important so that you can determine if the investment is worth it.
As you fish around the world, you may have the desire to showcase some of your bigger catches. Of course, you may also want to memorialize your child’s first goldfish rather than giving it the gratuitous flush that most households would give it.
Regardless, there are a few costs and considerations to be mindful of.
The Species of the Fish
There’s no telling what you’ve caught – and some fish are just bigger than others. There’s a process to preserve a fish before it can be mounted. This includes gutting the entire fish so that you don’t have to worry about decomposition or odors.
As the species of the fish gets bigger, you’re going to spend more per inch. Some of the more expensive species to work with include tarpon, snook, and billfish.
Most taxidermists are going to charge by the inch. The longer the fish, the more there is to mount – and that can add up when you have a fish that measures 20 inches or longer.
The Method Used
There are two different methods that are commonly used – and the cost is going to vary dramatically in terms of what you want.
The skin taxidermy method involves removing the skin, head, and tail of the fish. It is wrapped around a foam mold so that it’s similar in size and shape. It offers part of the actual fish that you caught.
The replica creation method is a copy of the fish you caught, but it’s actually 100% artificial. You don’t need to provide the actual carcass to the taxidermist – just photos and measurement details.
Fish taxidermy is considerably different than how many other animals are stuffed and preserved. The entirety of the fish is not being used in the final product – mainly because of the intricacies that are involved.
The drying process takes out many of the natural colors found in the scales of the fish. As such, spray paint will be used to add color back in – which means that there’s going to be some artificial elements no matter what you choose. Additionally, it’s important to know that with skin taxidermy, there’s a significant amount of work that needs to be done so that it is properly preserved. If you don’t preserve the fish correctly (or quickly), it can lead to more work that needs to be done.
For the most part, the skin taxidermy method will be more expensive because of the time and skill involved to remove the skin and other elements of the fish.
The mount itself is going to vary based on how you want to show off the fish. Do you want it to hang on the wall or be placed on a shelf or desk?
The most common mount for a fish is for it to be on a wooden board so that it can be hung on the wall. You’ll have the ability to choose the type of wood as well as whether you want any personalized components.
Fish can also be mounted so that their weight is supported by wire. It allows you to add various habitat components to the shelf mount, such as rocks, pebbles, and wood.
One of the best things to do is look through the many options. Find one that you like – and that is appropriate for the size of fish you want to have mounted. By providing examples to the taxidermist, you can get a more accurate cost estimate.
The cost to mount a fish can vary from $150 to $750 or more. As such, it’s a good idea to call a few taxidermists to find out what methods they use, what mounting options they offer, and what kind of price they can quote you.
In many instances, you can expect to pay between $15 and $24 per inch. There is often a minimum charge of between $250 and $500.
There are also added charges, such as if you want a rush on the mounting. Most taxidermists will take between three and six months to complete the job – though you can pay 50% or more in order to get a rush if you need a quick turnaround.
When you call, be sure that you identify the type of fish that you want to be mounted, how many inches it will be, and whether you will be providing the carcass for skin taxidermy or if you want a replica.
Once you have a few cost estimates, it can make it easier for you to understand the fish taxidermy cost and make the appropriate decisions.
Focus on Working with a Quality Taxidermist
It’s important to hand over your fish to only the best taxidermists. It will ensure that the fish is handled with the utmost respect and that you get a beautiful mount returned to you.
Not all taxidermists have the skillset to work with fish. Some will only work with dogs, cats, or even large game. Fish have unique requirements due to the gills and the scales. Ask a few questions to ensure you work with a professional organization. It can offer you the peace of mind knowing that the fish will be taken care of – and you’ll have an incredible trophy to display.
The prices can vary between taxidermists, so know what you’re going to get for your money. You’ll pay a bit more for a professional, but the finished product will be far better as well.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions, explore their competence, and look at photos of fish that they have taxidermized in the past. It can make it easier for you to choose the right taxidermist to handle whatever fish you want to have stuffed and mounted.