Record Mirror Carp

Weight 59 lbs. 26 kg

The Mirror Carp is a variety of the Common Carp with a lifespan to well over 25 years.  A good specimen would be into the 30 to 45 lbs mark. Some specimens can reach far more than this, and are highly sought after by anglers. The larger ones are often given names and anglers will travel from far away to try to catch (and release) a particular fish.

We were privileged to be approached about mounting a Mirror Carp of truly enormous record proportions. This was a magnificent female Mirror Carp. She had died of natural causes at the fishery, in the south of England, where she had lived for many years.


Mirror Carp taxidermy

The client expressed a very firm conviction that he wanted her to be presented in a respectful way, to show her true size, shape and markings and have her set in natural position, as if ‘hoovering’ up fresh water mussels from the bed of a lake. This meant presenting her so that she can be looked at from any angle (360°).  The client also requested that we mount her actual skin (rather than a cast) and specifically did not want the fish to be presented like a “trophy fish” (traditionally, a one sided mount in a bow fronted case, mounted on the wall in the style of Cooper, Homer, Roland Wards et al).  It was clear that this was a very special and much loved Carp.

Skin mounting a carp of such massive proportions, as a double sided (360°) mount, able to be viewed from any angle, presents considerable artistic and technical challenges to achieve, quite apart from the taxidermy itself.  I had done several mounts of this description before, but never one of this size.  She was 37 inches long, ten inches thick and over 22 inches in height and weighing in at almost 60lbs….it took some effort just to lift her huge bulk.

Fish taxidermy can present many challenges to the taxidermist and Carp, in particular, present some unique challenges, due to the nature of their skin, and their portly proportions. I was confident that the job could be done, but it was going to require some thorough planning on how to put together the various techniques and material challenges that doing her would undoubtedly present. Traditional basic methods of mounting a fish would be completely useless for this project.

The specification for this unique piece is as follows:

  • To skin mount the carp 360°, as if swimming freely.
  • Create a natural lake bed habitat with fresh water mussels.
  • Cover the finished mount with a bespoke all glass display case.

How long did it take?

Once I started work on it, this piece took something over eight months to complete overall, workshop time came to 300 hours to complete her.  This includes building the case and creation of the base.

The following sets of images show just some of the work that was done to complete her.