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Competition Fish Reproductions

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by dondi10, Oct 17, 2006.

  1. I have a Question for those that Judge or have competed in various State competitions where there is a category for Reproduction fish. First off, I would like to say there have been many very nice replicas posted on this forum as of late !

    Ques. #1 Do most state competitions allow the use of Commercially bought blanks ?

    Ques. #2 As a judge, how much difference in scoring is there between a Repro. mount molded, cast & painted by the contestant vs. one that is bought and painted only, by the contestant ?

    Thanks for all replies ! ;)
  2. Taxi-lover

    Taxi-lover Active Member

    I think it's always better if you have done everything by yourself or at least most part. You get more points if you have molded fish by yourself instead of using commercial blanks. Results of course are the main point,but if two fish get even points and other is completely done by taxidermist him/herself it might be the winner. Don't know, but I think it's this way. I wait answers with you from the pro's!

  3. Rick Krane

    Rick Krane Fish Taxidermist/ Judge/ Sculptor/ Instructor

    I'll take a quick run at this great question Don...

    As a Judge when I look at repros I look at several things along the lines of what makes a fish look like a fish. I want to see good finish work and convincing seems. Just like a mounted fish you don't want to see any thing that draws attention to the fish that would be depicted as unnatural or the "dead fish look". With repro's watch out for glass fibers or fuzzy edges where the material may not be finshed corrected. As far as doing your own or a commercial fish I think at most state shows you Can compete with commercial fish however if some one had done all the work fro the molding and casting I would look at this as more effort as long as it was a good fish over all.

    Sorry I don't have lots of time to answer this in more detail but I think it may open up a discsion from others.

    My Best
    Rick Krane

    GBRUCH "I am nothing without christ".....John 15:5

    My answers

    1. Many allow it up to the master level.

    2. I personally have a tough time giving a blue ribbon(except in the amatuer division) to a fish that wasn't completely done by the competitor. I generally am a little more critical on the finish/paint work on these entries since that is all the competitor has done.

    Don You mold and cast your own fish and should certainly bring your own blanks. You will learn more because the judge will point out good and not so good areas in your molding and casting as well as your finish work.
    While you may initially score better with a commercial (maybe) I would think in the long run you will be farther ahead by entering your own replicas.

    Just my opinion
  5. AnglingArtisan

    AnglingArtisan Active Member

    Do you have to declare at registration whether the fish is commercial or custom molded?
    Are there judges that know what every blank from every supplier looks like?
    Just wondering ;)
  6. kbauman

    kbauman Active Member

    In my experience as a competitor and a judge, I can say, you are ahead of the game if you mold and cast your own blank. There is a difficulty factor that is points ahead when it comes to a judge's opinion. Like Gary, it would be tough for me to give a blue ribbon to a commercial blank. The finishing techniques and painting would have to be flawless. I have docked competitors points for thick fins, poor gills, poor mouth inserts, flat spots, poor scale detail, and molding inaccuracies on their blanks. The reply I always get is "well the blank was that way", my reply back is "nature is not that way'. It is still our job as competitors to fix the flaws in the blank. There is not a spot on a score sheet to blame the supply company for their imperfections and misinterpretations. As a judge, I am more forgiving to a competitor who does his/her own molding. Most competitions inform judges of the blank's status of original or commercial. Start with something fresh and small and mold your own. Good Luck.
  7. hford

    hford New Member

    I totally agree with these other judges , once you know what judges are looking for you start with a good speciman and always pay attention to detail mechancics, additude,pose,and always use good reference.Seam work is a killer so pay a great amount of detail to this.when painting pay attention to blending,overspray,spitting,and don't rush yourself .
  8. Thank you to all who responded !
    Rick, Gary, Ken and Hford I value your input and will try to put into practice areas that were mentioned. I am kind of surprised that it isn't mandatory to create your own mold and casted fish blank. ??? Either way, I create my own, and as Gary mentioned that is what I would use. Good info on paying close attention to seams, flat spots, overall anatomy and finishing the fish with a "clean" paint job. Thank you for your time !
  9. 99%

    99% Guest

    I thought the fish that won National champion this year in cold water reproductions was a commercial blank. the little golden trout.
  10. Old Fart

    Old Fart New Member

    When competitions first started on a major scale, about 20-25 years ago, the repo category was kind of a "catch all" of home made and commercial repos. Those who did their own casting complained that they shouldn't have to compete against a "store bought" repo. They were absolutely right and most competitions were limited to repos that had been totally done by the person entering. Now with commercial reproductions becoming such a big part of the industry and fish taxidermy, some of the competitions are relaxing the rules. In Minnesota the use of commercial repos is allowed and only the finish and painting is what is judged, not the repo itself, at least in the Professional division.
  11. Rick Krane

    Rick Krane Fish Taxidermist/ Judge/ Sculptor/ Instructor

    Some great answers and direction to the whole competition question for repros. I do however (me being controversial LOL) don’t think it necessarily a good thing to say to a competitor that if they use a commercial cast they would be out of the blue ribbon running. After all it is about learning and having fun but if we all of a sudden have become so above it all that we can as Judges discount some ones efforts then we take away there chance to learn some thing new especial if it influences their decision in coming to a show. I can see for sure in the Masters Division you would want to show your stuff by molding and casting your own fish. Even the Pro division however is still a very much so learning division and in my opinion we should afford some one the opportunity to learn and to try to win that blue ribbon. After all unless it is stated in the bi-laws to have a mind set as a judge that you can’t see your self giving some one a blue ribbon because of the use of a commercial blank then your already stetting your own rules which they as competitors wouldn’t be aware of and they would not have a fair chance. Look non of us I don’t think do perfect fish I know I sure don’t and most likely never will so with that said I learn every day and because I know my work is not perfect then it is my obligation to me and to other I influences as a teacher and as a judge to provide a open mind to help some one learn more and get better at what we do!

    On the other hand the comical vendors who sell and the manufactures and artist who make repro would also be at a disadvantage because their product is being viewed in a different light at a show based on this mindset. As a Judge I have seen lots of good work and work from folks who trying to make there skills better but if they weren’t there because they wouldn’t have a chance to win (lets face it we all want to win don’t we) then they wouldn’t be because they wouldn’t have a fair chance. If the rules state it then you know what the deal is going in however if it a judge having a bias because they want every one to raise to a level of expectation based on there own personal criteria then we have stopped judging the fish and the taxidermist's skills in order to help them. Let them get there feet wet with out the stigma of being discounted unless as I stated if it is in the rules. After all some judges I imagine make repros to sell and what would you tell some one who bought one and competed they could win because they didn’t make it? I know some times folks write in away that come off different then what they mean or how they are but please don’t say that because of this or that we as judges may or may not give a ribbon for someone trying to get better however they get to the show.

    I may be wrong but I believe I know for a fact that Jeff M won the nationals a few years back with a Small mouth bass that was molded by some other competitor and judge. But doesn’t that go to show you that good work is good work! As it should be. Not to say that this is the case for nay one out here but I hate to see (it could and does happen) any one become so big that they forgot what it was like to be in others shoes. As judges we all vary in thoughts knowledge and opinion to say the least but I would hate to think we could start making up our own rules and forget we came from too. I know that this is not the case but I thought I would point out the obvious.

    Again great answers to a great question!!!

    Carry on!

    God Bless
    Rick Krane
    Anglers Artistry
  12. Wouldn't want to be the guy who took second place to Jeff M's smallmouth bass and be hearing of this! LOL
  13. kbauman

    kbauman Active Member

    There are obviously many points I agree with Rick, but there is still a standard that needs to be met for a blue ribbon. I do not have a major problem with letting a commercial blank compete against an original blank. I do know which one takes the most effort and time. Let's say, I wanted to compete using a commercial blank. I know that I would have to find the very best possible blank available. This is very similar to Jeff at Nationals. The blank he used was unbelievable, and he knew he had to have a outstanding blank to win. My point earlier was, the blank is still a factor, even though the competitor purchased it. You will have to admit the range of quality in blanks varies greatly on the market. A poor blank can only hurt a piece. Obviously, with an amateur competitor this may be over looked by qualified judges. A professional competitor should realize blank quality will affect his/her score. A master is expected to use only the best quality material and must live up to the highest standards in competition. Jeff Mourning met that standard for the Open Division at Nationals and he was rewarded accordingly. The national rules allowed him to enter a commercial blank. Let's say, Jeff had chosen a blank with flat spots, poor scale details, thick solid colored fins, and anatomical inaccuracies. Do you think Dennis Arp would have awarded him a blue ribbon and a National Championship because of his painting efforts alone? If I couldn't pull off my own original blank, I would search out the best possible blank on the market to compete with. I would have contacted the exact same person and begged for his best effort. Hopefully, this is taken as an another opinion and not something negative. In the world of fish taxidermy, I have the utmost respect for Rick and his work is impeccable.
  14. dcheadle

    dcheadle New Member

    Glad to see this topic posted. Been trying to figure out competitions for several years now. Couple years ago entered repro brook trout in a competition. Read the rules and complied. Got a 2nd place ribbon because I did not cast my own fish. Did not say in the rules I had to. Same judge told me what another judge did the year before with respect to my skin mount fish, If you would have used artificial fins you could have gotten a blue ribbon. I guess that is why it takes years to do well at competing. You have to learn the hard way because there are no criteria for the judges to go by. My first competition yielded no blue ribbons for fish in any division by anyone. There were a couple of 2nds and lots of 3rd places. I kept at it though and managed to pull out a blue ribbon and best of category on a rainbow. Judge commented that he really liked the transition from the artificial fins to the body. I did not have the heart to tell him that the fins were real. Well nough said. I probably will not compete again.
  15. Rick Krane

    Rick Krane Fish Taxidermist/ Judge/ Sculptor/ Instructor

    Well said Ken! I knew you and others would understand what I was saying with the subject matter. So true all the talent in the world such as in Jeff's case wouldn't have done very much good if the cast was inferior or if from a skills point of view more along the lines of the point it just wouldn't have served to a standard of a Blue ribbon. My point was and I didn't here you disagree for obvious reason was that it is so important that new members or new taxidermist join associations and go to shows and how unfair it would be for some one with out the immediate skills or knowledge not be afford the same opportunity to compet fault in the eyes of a judge.
    I can remember some 15 years ago I judged a very promising young man who went on to be one of the best if not the best fish guy in the business. he competed with a reproduction and the repro had flaws and was not the best he could have chosen however it was eye catching for the effort was made in the area of skills he possessed which was in finshing ,painting and composition. George Dante may not be a big time name as some who compete ongoing but never the less as I have said to so many he may be the best I have ever seen raw talent and other wise! I'm glad I was open minded and I'm glad George has gone on to do some of the finset taxidermy and museum work I have ever seen. The point is if he was not allowed to be judged fairly on his own merits for what he had done for work who knows if the experience would had dampened the enthusiasm? Who knows?
    All I do know is I know you to to be one of the best Ken and for sure a respected and gifted competitor and Judge! As long as we judge fairly with out bias all benefit. God knows I can be a bit long in the tooth for sure but I just didn't want o hear any judge especially good judges who have worked so hard to earn a reputation to give the impression that a person in the right division with in the guild lines of a show would be unfairly judged because they didn't do this or that. OK Off to Fishland! Long enough day Oh it is night no it is morning! LOL! Thanks Ken for your valued opinion!

    My Best!

    Rick Krane
  16. Always good to read posts from those that have actually judged fish reproductions in competition...Thank you ALL ! I value your knowledge and experience!
    After reading these threads, it seems that there are 2 schools of thought. One concept is that you are comparing apples to oranges in the effort category, when using your own made mold / casted blank vs. say Lou Wynia. In essence, Lou Wynia's blank / anatomy, fins, seams & eye set are being judged....not the competitor ???
    The other point being made is that ALL should be encouraged to compete, even if they do not mold there own fish, and the rules state and permit this. Valid point.
    Perhaps where the rubber really meets the road, is in your commercial day to day work. Those that mold their own spend say $10. cost and those that don't spend say $100.+ for an 18" trout blank, for example.
    Thanks for all posts,
    Don Patton
  17. Old Fart

    Old Fart New Member

    The question boils down to, "how much of the finished product must be your own work?" When we enter deer heads, the forms aren't usually our own work and the same applies to mammals and to a lesser extent to birds. I can see that the higher up in the competition level you go, the more of the mount should be the work of the entrant.

    At the state competion level I can see a legitimate use of commercial blanks in the competition. I didn't used to feel this way, but since the reproduction fish is becoming a real part of the business it does have a place. As long as the only part being judged is the part that the entrant did with the blank(ie. detail and paint) I have no problem with it. The whole purpose of the competition is to improve the level of work being delivered to the customer. When you sell a customer a repo fish, the reality is we(most of us) are selling the paint job.