Top Five Tips for a Perfect Catch and Release Mount

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[dropcap]S[/dropcap]o you’ve done the unthinkable and not only hooked the monster fish you’ve always dreamed of, but managed to get it to the boat. It’s beautiful, the most incredible fish you’ve ever landed and you know that you’ll regret if for the rest of your fishing days if you simply let it swim away. A mount that captures this exact fish is what you need. The following tips will help you to get just that:

5. Take accurate measurements. You’ll want to measure from the bottom jaw of the fish to the tip of the tail, as well as a girth measurement at the fattest point of the fish. If you’re able to get a eight, this is also helpful in ensuring an exact match to your catch. No tape measure? Photograph the fish alongside a reference item that can be measured later to approximate the dimensions.

4. Photograph the fish alive. Not only will this allow you to release this beauty to preserve the species, but also by taking pictures while the fish is still alive captures the true colors of the fish. The better the pictures you are able to take, the more detailed and realistic your mount will be.

3. Take pictures of each part of the fish. Photograph the head, body, fins and tail close up. Notice special markings and scale patterns. Each fish is unique and has specific scale patterns and markings. The best way for these to be reflected in your trophy is to provide your taxidermist with photos of these individual features of your fish.

2. Take note of the time of year and location where the fish was caught. During the different seasons of the year, certain fish may change their colors during their spawning seasons, and some may change color based on the season itself. The same species of fish have different colorations depending on whether caught offshore or inshore. Also, the same species of fish may differ depending on where geographically it was caught. These details can make a big difference in the look of your mount.

And the most important tip to ensure that your fish will live up to the memory of that once-in-a-lifetime catch…

1. Don’t settle for just any taxidermist. Consider those that are “fish only” studios, as well as those owned and operated by avid fishermen—they understand the dedication, skill, money and countless hours that go into catching that fish of a lifetime, and will ensure that your trophy will be one that you will be proud to display, and one that will last a lifetime.