How to Mount a Fish

Catching a trophy fish is an unforgettable experience, but preserving that memory requires more than just a photo. Mounting a fish allows you to keep a tangible reminder of your angling success. Whether you’re a seasoned fisherman or a novice, learning how to mount a fish can seem daunting at first.

I remember my first attempt at mounting a fish—it felt like a complex puzzle. However, with the right tools and a bit of patience, the process becomes manageable and even enjoyable. In this guide, I’ll walk you through the essential steps to ensure your prized catch looks stunning on display.

Understanding Fish Mounting

Mounting a fish preserves a memorable catch, creating a tangible display. Fish mounting offers various options based on preference and style.

Types of Fish Mounts

Different mount types suit various needs. Skin mounts use the actual skin of the fish, offering authenticity. Replica mounts use molds, providing longevity without compromising appearance. Panel mounts feature the fish on a wooden panel, ideal for wall displays. Pedestal mounts, with the fish mounted on a base, allow 360-degree viewing.

Benefits of Mounting Your Catch

Mounting a catch offers multiple benefits. It creates a lasting memory, converting the experience into a permanent display. It offers educational value, allowing others to learn about different fish species. Mounts also serve as conversation starters, adding aesthetic appeal to your space while highlighting your angling accomplishments.

Preparing Your Fish for Mounting

Getting the fish properly prepared for mounting guarantees a successful and impressive display. Follow these steps to prepare your fish.

Catching the Right Fish

Catch a fish that’s in prime condition. Avoid fish with visible injuries or damage if possible. Measure the fish immediately after catching it. Record its length, girth, and weight, noting any distinctive features or patterns. These details help accurately replicate the fish later.

Preserving the Fish Before Mounting

Handle the fish with care to maintain its condition. Rinse it gently with fresh water to remove slime, blood, and debris. Wrap the fish in a wet towel, keeping its fins flat and in position. Place it in a plastic bag, expelling as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Store the fish flat in the freezer until you’re ready to start the mounting process. Ensure consistent temperature to maintain the fish’s integrity.

Step-by-Step Guide to Mounting a Fish

Mounting a fish can be a rewarding way to remember a great catch. Follow these steps to ensure the process goes smoothly and the final display looks professional.

Choosing Mounting Materials

Selecting the right materials is crucial. For a skin mount, I use a high-quality fixative to preserve the fish’s skin. Additional materials include polyurethane foam, which supports the fish’s form, and glass eyes, providing a lifelike appearance. For replica mounts, I pick durable resins or fiberglass. These materials capture intricate details accurately.

Essential tools:

  • Sharp scalpel or knife
  • Tweezers
  • Fine-point drill
  • Airbrush kit for painting
  • Epoxy for assembly

Detailed Mounting Process

Begin by skinning the fish. I make an incision from the gill cover to the tail fin. Remove organs, ensuring not to damage the skin. Clean any remaining tissues. Once the skin is ready, apply a fixative to preserve it. For a replica, I measure every detail of the fish before ordering a custom mold matching those specifications.

Next, build the internal support. I use polyurethane foam to create a stable form. Shape it to fit the fish’s skin precisely. Attach glass eyes using epoxy, ensuring they align with natural eye sockets. For painting, an airbrush kit helps achieve a realistic look. Layer colors accurately based on the fish’s original patterns. Assemble all parts carefully using epoxy, ensuring a seamless fit.

Final touches enhance realism. I adjust fins to natural positions and set the mounted fish against a scenic backdrop. This step personalizes the mount, making it a true representation of the memorable catch.

Displaying Mounted Fish

After mounting your prized catch, choose the right location and ensure proper care to maintain its appearance.

Choosing the Right Location

Select the best spot for displaying your mounted fish. Avoid direct sunlight to prevent fading. Ensure the area has low humidity to reduce the risk of mold or deterioration. Optimal placements include:

  • Living rooms above fireplaces or mantels, provided they are not exposed to excessive heat.
  • Offices, especially in a place visible to clients, adding a personal touch.
  • Trophy rooms dedicated to showcasing fishing accomplishments.
  • Entryways or hallways where guests can appreciate the display.

Maintenance and Care of Mounted Fish

Regular care keeps the mount looking its best. Dust the mount gently with a soft, lint-free cloth. For tougher grime, use a slightly damp cloth but ensure it’s not soaked. Keep an eye on any loose parts or fading paint, and repair or touch up as needed. Periodically inspect for pests, especially in areas with high humidity.


Mounting a fish can be a rewarding way to commemorate a memorable catch. By understanding the different types of mounts and following a detailed step-by-step guide, you can create a stunning display that not only preserves the moment but also adds aesthetic value to your space. Remember to choose the right location for your mount and maintain it properly to ensure it remains in top condition for years to come. With the right approach, your mounted fish can serve as a lasting tribute to your angling achievements.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different types of fish mounts available?

The main types of fish mounts are skin mounts, replica mounts, panel mounts, and pedestal mounts. Each type offers unique benefits and display options, allowing you to choose the one that best suits your preferences and space.

What tools and materials do I need to mount a fish?

To mount a fish, you’ll need essential tools like knives, pliers, glass eyes, paint, and a mounting board. Materials might include foam for internal support and sealants to preserve the fish skin.

How do I start the fish mounting process?

Begin by skinning the fish and removing the internal organs. Build an internal support structure using materials like foam, attach the glass eyes, and proceed to paint and add final touches to make the mount realistic.

Why should I mount my catch?

Mounting your catch creates a lasting memory, offers educational value about fish species, serves as a conversation starter, and enhances the aesthetic appeal of your space. It also showcases your angling accomplishments.

Where should I display my mounted fish?

Choose a location away from direct sunlight and areas with high humidity to prevent damage. Ensure the spot enhances the room’s aesthetic and highlights the mount as a focal point.

How do I care for my fish mount?

Regularly dust the mount with a soft cloth, monitor for signs of damage or fading, and inspect for pests, especially in high humidity areas. Proper maintenance will keep your mount looking its best.

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