Most estimates put a 30-pound freshwater striped bass at around 15 years of age. That represents a 15-year investment by a fishery for each fish that goes to the taxidermist.
For the sake of conservation, anglers can release trophy fish and still have a mount through the use of fiberglass reproductions. Reproductions also provide a bonus by giving the angler a better quality display than a skin-mounted fish.
The key to a quality fiberglass reproduction begins with the fiberglass blank. A taxidermist who uses only one or two different suppliers for striped bass blanks tends to produce the same body style of fish. Make sure the taxidermist you choose can insure you a wide variety of available blanks.
In order for a taxidermist or reproduction studio to produce a life-like mount, the angler needs to provide the length and girth measurements and some quality photographs of the fish. It’s a good idea to measure both to the tail base and the total tail length. The girth measurement should be made at the widest point of the fish.
Another trick is to photograph items with the fish. Calibrations to determine the dimensions of the trophy can be made based on the relative size of these items, which can be anything that is both common and has a standard size: a dollar bill, for example.
Lighting in photography can cause different shading effects, so taking multiple photos from different angles will help capture the true color of the fish. Painting is the most important aspect of taxidermy, and studios now can choose between shades of iridescent paints, powders and rubs to get the most realistic effects.