Well thought I had seen it all, but... Customer comes in with what was left of about a 6Lb largemouth. What was left was the head after snapping turtles made a feast of the body while it was on his stringer. Question is has anyone ever mounted real head to a reproduction body? This is what he wants done. Obvious problem is getting correct size body (girth) so real head will fit. He had photos of fish before he put it on stringer and also weighed the fish but did not measure length or girth. Can you order just a body, or will I have to order complete fish and cut off the head? Customer has brought me a lot of business so I want to try to please him.
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You will only be able to purchase the whole repo and there is no guarantee of a match with the real head if you cut part of the repo off to match the real head. Do you really think a supplier would pour you the body minus the head and charge you less? I seriously doubt it.
I gave up on weird requests a long time ago even with repeat customers. Oddball crap like this just slowed me down. If you do good work he will be back regardless of whether you do this one or not.
I could see myself pulling this off if I just wanted to do it as a challenge, but taxidermy pays my bills and my time is money.
That's my two cents.
I would get a similar size bass and skin mount the skin and add the head. This would be no problem at all. Not much harder than doing it normal. The only seam will be on the top of the head and can easly be blended in. You could also just mount one whole and not tell him its not his head, but apparently this thing means a lot to him so I couldn't do it. If you put the word out you can probably find a similar sized bass for next to nothing.
I have had several people with long pike or muskie, big heads, and anorexic bodies. Mounted on a nice replica, which Starfish was kind enough to do for me minus the head...it worked great. I am not sure I paid less for it, but that is what the customer agreed to, and all were happy, and of course I passed along the cost differential. Do it!
I would have. I just wouldn't be able to help myself.
If it was me I would take Cecils advice and get a reproduction in similar size to what he is saying his fish was. If he says no, then tell him good luck in getting it done. Of corse if you charged him enough then I guess it would be possibble but even then I would make him pay 100% up front. I can't believe you are serious.
what happens if you "put the word out" and he finds out you are deceiving him? Maybe I'm wrong but when you start doing something like you suggest, you could get yourself into some hot water. Not only that but you could be headed down the slippery road of finding yourself tempted to do things even more deceptive.
Again just my two cents.
Guess I was wrong about a replica maker coming up with just the body. Go figure.
MOST replica makers WILL honor such a request if made. MANY of us LIKE to attach the heads ourselves so any alignment issues are our own fault. BUT, as stated you're probably going to pay for the whole replica regardless.
What I would do is first try to talk him into going all replica. Explaining that it will cost MORE to do what he wants you to do. MOST customer's don't have a clue of the quality of blanks nowadays and a simple education process usually does the trick. BUT, if he is set on his method and is willing to pay for it, then it shouldn't be that tough with a little effort (but AGIAN, make sure he pays for the extra time).
I would call McKinzie and order one of their Select Series blanks that already come with the head unnattached. Plus, the gills are cast directly in. Explain to your customer that you will be able to look right into the mouth and out the gills - just like a real fish! Show him the blank. IF he still is adamant about doing it his way, pocket the head and do it. You can use the replica head for a "head" mount or ave it for a rainy day.
When ordering ASK to speak to somebody in production. The problem with Mckinzie is you are going to speak to somebody that takes orders, not somebody that specifically knows replicas. Gather the typical dimensions for ordering an artifical head based on what you have and ask the production folks to recommend a blank that matches up those dimensions. Specifically, the top to bottom and side to side being the most important. With the top to bottom being the VERY most important dimension. They've got a ton of LM blanks and should be able to find something close enough. A little smaller is better than too big, You can always tuck the throat latch up underneathe with some latitude there.
I usually have 3 or 4 LM bass replicas in my shop at any given time. That would be the ideal solution IF you had a few on hand to test fit. So, having the production people take a few measurements would be your best bet. If they won't do it, call somebody else - Wynia would probably work with you as will some other distributors. I've yet to rey a Wynia blank but as far as quality goes (from what I'm hearing and through experience), the Wynia blanks are nice along with Realfish/McKinzie and Fisherman's Tale. Any other distributors (in my opinion) and you're on your own...
IF you order through Mckinzie I've found you're better off OVER-COMMUNICATING to alleviate any issues. Until they have some experience under their belts ALWAYS tell them SPECIFICALLY what you want. Make sure you TELL THEM to leave the head unnattached. I've yet to order a Select Series LM since McKinzie took over so I'm not sure what their protocol is. But when Dave/Ron owned the business the Select Series always came unnattached...
Anyway, I agree with you. like I said, I wouldn't do it. But I would just put that head on another skin mount and be done with it. Plus I think Large Mouth bass replicas suck, but that is just my opinion. Doesn't automaticly make it wrong though!
honesty is the best policy and when you start replacing this and that it can come back and bite you in the butt. I think world of mouth that so and so didn't give me back my deer or my fish is even worse than poor quality. Sometimes we get accused of that when it was not the case. Why feed the fire?
I wish I could go out and catch 6 pounders whenever I liked, but I can't. I can buy replicas and attach a head. If you have been turned off by replicas in the past, you need to see Lou Wynia's. Even the teeth on these are so real you would swear he pulled them out of a bass. Grinding fiberglass and redoing seams is a pain in the butt. Get them ready to paint, keep your work rolling, and get on to the next fish instead of picking glass fibers out of your body. New Wave puts together some really nice ready to paint bass as well. If you don't mind doing a little seam work, Bev's Fish Creations come in some nice poses with detail down to scale rings. She will also install some interesting gill representations.Some folks do insist on have even a part of the real fish ...if the head is all he has, use it. It is not difficult in the least.