Over the years since then I have had three bass mounted. I got a mount of my first 8 pounder, a fish I caught in a tournament and tried to let go. When it turned belly up I brought it home and sent it to the taxidermists. That was back in the late 1970s and live wells were not as good back then. It cost me about $85 which was a huge amount back then but I was willing to pay it to have my first eight pounder on the wall, especially since it came in a tournament.
In 1988 I caught two big bass in a two day tournament and they also died before I could let them go. I have the 8 pound 11 ounce bass I caught on Saturday and the 9 pound, 5 ounce bass I caught on Sunday mounted facing each other. They make pretty mounts but I wish they had lived. I am not sure why these fish died, I had a good live well and did what I could to protect them. It was March so the water was cool but I think they fish fought so hard and long they built up too much lactic acid in their bodies. I had a live well full of fish with the eight pounder - I had eight keepers that day that weighed 27 pounds, but the nine pounder the next day was the only one I caught so it was in the live well all by itself.
In the mid 1990s I landed a 9 pound 7 ounce bass, my biggest ever. It was in a club tournament and I was able to let this one go. It was also the only bass I caught in that early February tournament. I did not get a picture or measurement of it, just its weight, since I was trying to get her back into the water as quickly as possible.
I have often regretted not taking a picture of that fish so I could have a replica made. It is important to have a good color picture of any fish you want a replica of so the taxidermist can make it look the same as the fish you caught. When I check on replicas they were too expensive for my budget, so I never did anything about it.
When I noticed the ad here for "Great Fish Reproduction Studio-Fish Replicas" I called and they were very helpful. We came up with a length and girth for the fish based on my memories of it, and also the colors it should be. If you catch a fish you want to let go but also want something to remember it by, be sure to measure it both length and girth and get a picture. Take pictures from several angles and make sure the dolor is right. A digital camera helps a lot since you can check the picture after taking it. Take it on as high a resolution as you camera allows to get the best detail.
The replica I ordered cost me less than $300, not much more than a mount cost now. It looks good and I have it on the wall with my other three mounts. I think it is the way to go, especially with fish like bass. Consider it.