For a passionate angler, a fish skin mount is more than a simple trophy, it’s a great memory in time. Or maybe you are a home decor enthusiast, and the aesthetic appeal of aquatic life has led you to consider the charm of a fish skin mount. But the question is how long do fish skin mounts last?

On average, fish skin mounts can last 20-30 years depending on how they are made, the type of fish, and the care taken. Fish mounts start deteriorating mainly because of the oil present in the skin of fish, but in general, if made the right way, they can easily last more than 20 years.

Read on till the end to find out a detailed guide on how long fish skin mounts last along with tips to extend its longevity.

How Long Do Fish Skin Mounts Last?

Usually, most anglers and fishing hobbyists have managed to keep their fish skin mounts in ‘as it is condition’ for at least more than a decade or two.

Although it may not last a lifetime, still, it should last for a couple of years to come. Some of the factors that affect the longevity of fish skin mount included:

1. TemperatureChanges in temperature levels can cause shifts in the fish skin elasticity
2. HumidityHigh temperatures can cause faster deterioration and damage
3. Sunlight ExposureProlonged exposure to sunlight can result in cracks in the fish skin
4. Fish Skin TypeThe fish skin can degrade faster if it is very oily
5. Physical ContactNatural oils and chemicals from human skin can interact with the fish skin and have an effect on it

What Are Fish Skin Mounts And How Are They Made?


Fish skin mount is a 3D demonstration of a fish that you have got. It is often prepared with the skin of the fish and other parts like fins, and teeth. Rest, most of the body parts are removed and a base material is used to mount the fish skin.

It all starts with the angler catching the fish. At first, the fish is photographed and often measured to make precise calculations for preparing the fish mount.

The fish is appropriately skinned without causing any damage to the skin itself.

Then, the flesh and other attached body parts are removed, followed by further cleaning and drying of the skin.

Taxidermists (individuals who will prepare the fish skin mount for you) use a base mold of foam or wood as backing supporting material. They use it as a main structure to support the whole mount.

Finally, after all the setup is complete, final touch-ups are added to make the mount look real and beautiful.

Now, how come the mount has a decade-long longevity? Well, Taxidermists use special chemicals and preservatives to make the fish skin mount look just like it was caught recently.

The process goes like this: after the skin is cleaned and separated from the fish body, it is soaked in the chemicals. For instance, one of the chemicals that Taxidermists often use is Borax solutions.

They leave the fish skin in the borax solution for quite a long time before actually preparing the mount from it.

Don’t just expect that you will get your fish skin mount, right after a day or week of your order.

It takes several months to up to a year to get your fish skin mount ready. (Replicas take a much shorter time)

Drying the fish skin is an important factor why it takes so long to get your fish skin mounted. It takes at least 1-1.5 months for just the fish skin drying process.

Speaking of fish mounts, it’s also important to consider that traditional skin mounts can become costly depending on the type of fish and Taxidermist you choose. What if you have a tight budget but don’t want to compromise on your trophy? Well, we have a solution for you. Check out our guide on the best cheap fish replicas to learn more.

How To Extend The Longevity Of Fish Skin Mounts?

  1. For extending the lifespan of fish skin mount, it is essential to keep it away from direct sunlight and heat. Direct sunlight can make the fish skin too dry which can potentially lead to cracks and deterioration down the line. So the best thing is to mount it in a shaded location that gets adequate ventilation. Remember, to avoid any high heat-prone areas like near fireplaces.
  2. The next thing to ensure – avoid too much dirt build-up on the fish skin mount. It can affect the shine and look of the mount. 
  3. Usually, wiping the mount using a soft cloth, every few weeks or so should be enough. However, you can also use a vacuum cleaner to lightly vacuum the dust from the mount’s surface

How Do Metal Fish Replicas Compare To Traditional Fish Replicas?

Now even if the fish skin mount is such a time-consuming process plus there is also the risk of damage, why do people often choose it over other options?

Well, it’s because they look real, and often anglers and hobbyists like the feel of having the real fish mount rather than fake replicas.

We totally understand that emotional feeling, but we would also like to highlight that the replica industry has moved a long way.

The real fish skin mounts are gradually becoming a thing of the past as nowadays replicas of the fish look almost indistinguishable from the real fish.

There are indeed some challenges with real skin mounts.

First of all, although they last pretty long, they don’t last a lifetime. In 15-30 years, the fish skin mount will start deteriorating because of environmental factors.

Moreover, you need to properly maintain it, at least every few months or a year to ensure it remains in its best quality.

Now if we talk about replica mounts, they can last pretty long – almost a lifetime since real fish skin is not used. Just the replica is made from metal or fiberglass material which has a higher longevity than the fish skin.

How Are Metal Fish Replicas Made?

Metal Replicas are made purely from metal materials and mounted on a supporting mold. If you are making custom metal replicas, you need to first provide photographs of the fish you caught along with its accurate measurements.

Then, based on the requirements the replica of that fish is prepared from the laser-cut metals. No actual fish skin or any body parts are used in the process. However, the best thing is the final outcome looks almost like the real fish!

How Long Do Metal Fish Replicas Last?

Metal fish replicas are highly durable and are designed to last for almost a lifetime. Unlike traditional fish skin mounts, metal fish replicas can easily withstand harsh conditions such as temperature change and fluctuations in the humidity level.

There’s no worry regarding the fading, cracking, or peeling of metal replicas. Also, they are easy to maintain because you can clean them with simple soap and water solutions, every once in a while.

What Are The Advantages Of The Metal Fish Replicas?

Fish Skin MountMetal Fish Replica Mount
Low durability because the skin can deteriorateHighly durable because metal is used to prepare the mount
Can be costlyRelatively less expensive
Animals are harmedNo animals are harmed (photograph is enough)
Moderate Maintenance neededMaintenance is easy


In short, fish skin mounts can last anywhere from 20-30 years depending on how they are made and the care taken. There are several factors that can affect its longevity including temperature, humidity, sunlight, and more. 

Fish skin mounts are made by carefully separating the skin from the fish body, cleaning and drying it, and finally mounting it on a base material.

Even though real fish skin mounts last quite a long, they have their own set of challenges. So as an alternative solution, metal fish replicas are a great durable option to have as a trophy. They are highly durable and last a lifetime.

Interested in checking out metal fish replicas? Check out realistic-looking metal fish replicas on our Etsy Store.

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