Are you looking for a rare opportunity in the fishing industry with a unique and conservation-minded company? A company that is already extremely well respected and established across the globe? A company that works directly with anglers to commemorate a memorable and special catch? A company that is both financially and emotionally rewarding? Look no further than King Sailfish Mounts.
The story of how King Sailfish Mounts grew from a 12-year-old boy from Michigan’s first saltwater catch to a world-class producer of fish mounts and a leader in Marine Conservation is both inspiring and motivational, and here is but one of those stories from the company’s founder, Raymond Douglas.
The day that I received a call from world-famous J.T. Reese Taxidermy closed the circle on a story that had begun back when I was just 12 years old.
I was on vacation in Florida with my family and my father decided to take me deep sea fishing for the first time. Shortly after arriving at the fishing grounds I boated my first saltwater fish—a beautiful kingfish—and the captain exclaimed that it was a rare, trophy catch that we had to get mounted. The mate assured us that we would never see one like that again and that we really should commemorate the exceptional catch. Not being prepared for this situation, we weren’t exactly sure what to do, but by the end of the trip we agreed to have the fish mounted. We signed the forms with J.T. Reese Taxidermy and gave the captain the cash deposit. We were very excited at the prospect of displaying the mount of my memorable catch back home in Michigan, but at the same time something just didn’t feel right.
Fast-forward several months, and it seemed like the process was taking forever; far longer than any of us had imagined. I convinced my parents to allow me to contact the company directly to find out how much longer it would take, and I spoke to a person in the office by the name of Mary Jane Sperry. Unfortunately, Mary Jane was not very helpful, so I vowed to never call the company myself again.
About a year later we returned to Florida for another vacation. This time my father contacted the factory himself, and we were very excited to hear that the mount was completed—finally—but we would not be able to pick it up in person. Instead, they insisted that the mount be shipped to our home back in Michigan. Upon returning from vacation, we found my 12-pound kingfish waiting for us in a box on our porch. I finally had the mount to commemorate my catch, but unfortunately it lost some of its luster and the experience had been tarnished.
In the years following this ordeal, I relayed my story to many of my fellow fishermen and learned that I was not alone in my experience. Many years later, I even found out that my father-in-law had a J.T. Reese mount on his wall, and he had a similar story to mine.
As it turned out, many of the charter captains in Ft. Lauderdale at the time of my memorable catch were also sales agents for taxidermy companies and they were paid hefty commissions for encouraging their clients to sign taxidermy contracts. I also learned that some taxidermy companies earned additional profits by charging extra fees for the process of crating and shipping the mount. This explained why the captain told us that my catch was so rare fish, and why we couldn’t pick up the mount at the factory once it was complete.
I felt that if someone were to start a taxidermy company that treated their customers better than I had been treated, the company would be a sure money maker. I also learned that well into the 1990s, even though most mounts were being produced with man-made materials, some members of the charter fleet were still earning commissions using the dead fish as a selling tool.
I felt that there simply had to be a better way.
Conservation is important to sportsmen, and I saw this as an opportunity to let anglers know that they didn’t need to kill their fish to commemorate the catch with a mount. This is where the idea behind King Sailfish Mounts came from and why I decided to introduce the “Release Mount” concept for Atlantic sailfish.
While the company was still in its infancy, a lady by the name of Shelly from Guy Harvey learned of what we were trying to do and invited us to exhibit at the 1994 Miami Boat Show. It turned out that we were not the only ones who thought the release mounts were a good idea as we sold over 100 mounts at that show alone. We immediately hired the plant manager and the mold maker from Pflueger Taxidermy, the world’s largest taxidermist at the time, and began producing fish mounts in a small warehouse bay in Fort Lauderdale.
Following the success of the Miami Boat show, both the IGFA and The Billfish Foundation threw their support behind King Sailfish Mounts. We continued to attend other trade shows around the country and quickly became a commercial success.
A few years later, I received a phone call from the owner of J.T. Reese Taxidermy, inviting me to their facility. Upon entering the showroom, I was greeted with a mural on the wall that included many beautifully painted species of gamefish. I was also greeted by a nice lady. She was very friendly, and we had a great conversation; she even offered to give me her recipe for Key Lime pie. I never let on when I learned that her name was Mary Jane Sperry, the same person that I had spoken to as a child! I worked out a mutually-beneficial deal and added many of the J.T. Reese employees to the King Sailfish Mounts team, completing the story that began all those years earlier with the kingfish I landed while fishing with my dad while on vacation in Florida.
Having spent nearly 30 years producing fish replicas, and following King Sailfish Mounts’ best year in terms of both sales and profitability, the time has come for someone new to take over the reins. Release mounts are the fastest growing segment of the taxidermy market and there is a lot of opportunity for the right individual to expand the business even further.
If you are looking for a business opportunity the likes of which do not come around every day, then visit the business listing for King Sailfish Mounts today and begin a story of your own.