You’ve got that big catch? Great! How about catching and releasing the fish and yet making a nice trophy of it? Yes, that’s possible, thanks to replica fish mounts. But, what are replica fish made of?

As a whole, most of the replica fish mounts are made of fiberglass material and with a foam base to provide structural support. However, real taxidermy mounts are made from fish skin and other body parts like fish teeth, and fins.

Nowadays, it is a common practice among anglers to catch the fish, and let it go (after taking photographs and measurements of the fish). So most of the time, the fish mounts are made from fiberglass material.

Of course, if you prefer, you can make fish mounts out of real fish skin. But whether you choose fiberglass or real skin, it’s essential to be aware of both types of fish mounts.

Keep reading as we take a closer look at this topic. Plus, we’ll also highlight one of the best alternatives to traditional fiberglass fish replicas.

What Are Replica Fish Made Of? Common Materials Used

Replica Fish Materials:Details:
1. FiberglassActs as the main structural support for the fish replica mount
2. FoamThe internal padding of the mount is made out of the foam
3. Gel-coat resinUsed in the internal surface of the mold
4. Resin PuttyAs an adhesive while making the fish replicas
5. PaintThe final touch-ups are made using paints to match the color with the originally caught fish

How Are Fish Replicas Made?

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Fish replica mounts mainly consist of fiberglass materials.

Let me explain how it’s made:

So first things first. Professional artists make the mold of the fish. Only for this initial mold preparation, do they need a real fish. In all other steps, no real fish is needed.

In a mixture of soil, they lay the fish and prepare half of the mold. After subsequent cleaning, they prepare the next half of the mold, step-by-step.

Professional craftsmen use plaster in this process to prepare the mold. In this mold preparation stage, they use gel coat resin as a material to pick up the detailing and fine markings of the fish.

As the gel coat curing is completed, they add fiberglass material as the core material that strengthens the mold. 

After the mold is fully prepared, the professionals remove the real fish and thoroughly clean the remaining cavity of the mold.

Moreover, to ensure a smooth replica-making experience, the wax coating is applied to the molds.

Then, they further apply coating inside the cavity and then fill the whole cavity with pieces of fiberglass material. Putty is applied on the edges. After that, once all the resin material is set, the mold is opened and the fiberglass replica is taken out of it.

Furthermore, the hollow cavity of the fiberglass replica is filled with foam material.

After all these, final touch-ups are added and any excess part is removed to prepare the fish replica. Then other detailing like adding the eyes, and teeth are done which follows the complete painting of the replica. After hours of working by professional craftsmen and taxidermists, the fish replica mount is prepared.

And don’t worry, most of these molds are prepared in huge numbers by the manufacturers. So the real fish is needed only for the initial preparation of the mold by the manufacturers.

Therefore, if you choose replica fish mounts made from fiberglass material, you don’t even need to have the fish you caught.

To learn more, please read this guide about making a fish replica just from a picture.

Fiberglass Replicas vs. Real Fish Skin Mounts

Fiberglass ReplicasFish Skin Mounts
The fiberglass replicas are made from a mold, the initial mold is often prepared from the real fish. The casting is prepared from the gel coat and fiberglass material.The real fish skin mounts are made from the actual caught fish which involves processes like cleaning, drying, treating of the fish skin, stuffing, and mounting.
You don’t need to harm any additional fish and you can create it just from a picture.Fish are harmed in the process.
Relatively long-lasting, and durable.Longevity is shorter and proper maintenance is required.
You can make customized replicas for any size and fish species of your choice.Size is restricted and also the process is not suitable for all types of fish.
It doesn’t have the same emotional value for an angler since the mount is made of artificial material.It has an emotional attachment for anglers because the real fish is used to craft the trophy.
The realistic nature of the mount highly depends on the skill of the professionals who make the replica.The real fish skin mounts look quite realistic compared to the replica fish mounts.

Speaking of fish skin mounts, just in case you’re wondering about their longevity, we highly recommend checking out our guide on how long fish skin mounts last.

Which Fish Mount Should You Choose?

Replica fiberglass fish mounts are best for:

  • Anglers who need highly durable fish mounts.
  • In catch-and-release type fishing situations.
  • Displaying a replica of a specific fish that is not necessarily caught.

On the other hand, real fish skin mounts are best for:

  • Conditions in which you want to make the fish trophy from the actual fish for emotional attachment.
  • If you prefer real fish skin mounts and consider them more realistic than fiberglass mounts.

By the way, if you’re in search of cheap fish replicas, please don’t forget to check out our detailed guide about the most budget-friendly fish replicas.

Metal Fish Replicas: Best Low-Cost Alternative

So far you’ve learned about fish skin mounts and fiberglass replica mounts. But did you know that metal fish replicas also exist?

We at Reelistic Replicas, make the most realistic-looking fish replicas, using advanced metalworking and design techniques. These fish mounts come at an affordable cost and are designed to last much longer compared to traditional mounts.

Check out our Etsy store to see all the metal fish replicas. They are a perfect choice for any home, office, or shop setting as a piece of art.


In short, fish replicas are made from many different materials including fiberglass, foam, resins, putty, rubber, and glass. Fiberglass is the main core material of the fish replicas prepared from the respective fish molds.

Traditional taxidermy fish skin mounts are made from the real skin of the fish. Nowadays, there isn’t much cost difference between the real fish mount and the fiberglass replica mount. Also, the fiberglass replica mount looks quite realistic.

But ultimately it depends on your needs and preferences to choose the best type of fish replica mount.

Next? We highly recommend you check our complete guide on preserving the fish for mounting.

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