Trophy Mounts on Film

A Good Picture Is Worth 1000 Words

Memorable fish catches don’t come along on every fishing trip, but when they do, you certainly want a permanent record of the occasion.
You could, of course, take your catch to the taxidermist and have a real fine wall mount made. I’ve gone that route, and it is satisfactory to a point.
The problem is this can become quite expensive. I’ve been sport fishing since 1965 and if I had a wall mount made of every big fish I’ve caught or especially admired, I would be trophy rich and money poor.
No, not every fish I’ve caught was a record at the time. Other points figure in, like the circumstances under which the fish was caught, the tackle or special lure used, etc., etc.
There is an inexpensive way you can make permanent those memorable catches. Photograph the catch. If it’s to be a record of the catch, you need to do some planning in taking the photo. Simply pointing the camera and taping the surface is not enough.
First off, consider the background. Don’t clutter it up with objects and whatnots totally unrelated to fishing.
Use a marine background. You can shoot from a low angle and have clouds in the background or shoot for a high angle and get the water in the background. Or you can take the photo in the boat with tackle, motor, and etc. in the background.
The main object in the picture is going to be the fish. Present its best side to the camera and wet the body before taking the photo. This will give it a more lifelike appearance. If the fish has been cleaned, don’t turn the cavity to the camera.
And forget all about holding the fish out in front of you so it will look better. A photo like that will stamp you as a real hayseed and make you the butt of a lot of jokes.
When there is a person in the photo, the first thing viewers look at is the eyes. The viewers will then normally look at what the eyes of the photographed person are viewing.
Thus hold the fish at shoulder level off to one side and look at the fish. Similar “blunder” photos crop up many times daily at the Grand Canyon. The photo is of someone looking right at the camera with the Grand Canyon in the background.
Make the photo a lasting one by having the person stand off to one side and then look toward or point at something in the Grand Canyon.
Let’s say you come in with a 9-pound speckled trout and you want a photo of it. Hold the fish with both hands, one supporting the head and the other grasping the tail to extend the fish to full length. Hold the catch to one side with the head of the fish at eye level, but a little to the front.
Then look at the fish’s head. The resulting photo will show you with your head partially turned toward the fish and with your eye on the fish. The fish is what you want people to see when viewing the photo. Use a boga grip to lip the fish and use other hand to hold the tail.
Have the photographer move in close to snap the picture. You want the full length of the fish to show, but there is no reason for you to appear full length in the photo. After all, the important subject is the fish, not you’re fishing pants and old shoes.
If there is any doubt at all about the light, use the flash.
The poorest light for a daytime photo is during the time period between 10a.m. and 2p.m.
Sure, the light may be strongest, but the sun will be overhead. A hat or cap will cast shadows on faces. Use a flash to eliminate those shadows. Avoid taking photos with the sun directly behind the photographer or behind the person in the photo.
In one case, you end up with the photographer’s shadow on the person in the photo. In the other case, the result is a bright background behind a darkened subject.
Record fish come along only a time or two in a lifetime. Trophy size fish may be caught only slightly more often.
With this in mind, never take just one photo.
Your cell phone is a great tool as well. If your catch is big enough for a trophy, it is worth using as many photo’s available in your phone or I-pod. You may never, ever catch a fish so large again.
And take the photos from various angles with various backgrounds. Very often what you feel is the best pose may turn out to be the fourth or fifth, etc.
If the fish is to be taken to the taxidermist for mounting, make sure to take a number of color photos of the catch. It will enable the technician to better match the colors on the fish when he has to touch up the final mount.
God bless your families and good fishing.
See y’all on Galveston Bay.
Capt Paul Marcaccio
U.S.C.G. & T.P.W. license

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