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Advanced Taxidermy - Good Experience or Bad?

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Just wondering if anyone has had any experience with Advanced Taxidermy in Ontario. I have a neighbor who has had 4 fish done by them and is quite happy, so I decided to bite the bullet and get one for myself. A few years back, I caught a nice sized cutt on the North Ram that I wanted re-created. Talked to them a couple times on the phone, sent 2 detailed pictures and the size of the fish. What I got back (over a year later) was nothing like I was expecting. The cutt looks absolutely nothing like the one I caught. I can't even hang the picture next to it because it doesn't match. For a company that prides themselves in re-creating trophy fish, matching the dimensions and spot patterns, they totally crapped the bed on mine. This cutthroat also came with a perfectly square tail which no cutthroat that swims anywhere has. And they get damn right defensive when you call them on their errors. Buyer beware, nothing I can do about it, but I'll be steering clear from these guys if I ever want a re-creation done again. 

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Had a friend who has had a dozen done by them, all well done, and via recommendation I've had a couple done by them and was reasonably satisfied, but I sent in a lot of photos of the fish. Fine line to walk on a c&r/replica mount to get as much empirical data (photos, measurements) as possible with the fish's welfare being priority. You can't expect perfect semblance on a replica mount. I've had a better experience and product working with a local taxidermist where I can give him all the details and fine-points on the mount, one-on-one. The fish forms are not that easy to alter, however. Something like a square tail on a cutthroat, advanced should have perhaps used a brookie form.

I don't believe replica mounts will ever look as good (realistic) as skin mounts done by a good taxidermist skilled with an air brush, but those days are more or less gone of killing a fish to have it mounted.

Much like big game and bird mounts, I'm very critical and selective of who does mine. It is one of those things that you get what you pay for, and unbelievably quick turnaround times normally mean unbelievably poor mounts. Just my 2 cents, perhaps talk to some local taxidermists on your next fish mount. I can point you in the right direction.

Seems like advanced has grown too large, turning into high volume, too many taxidermists working on projects, and thus the quality is inconsistent. Not sure I will use them again either since you're not the first one I've heard this from lately. Sorry to hear you had a poor delivery. Unfortunately these things aren't really refundable beyond them altering the mount. Expressing your displeasure to them via email/letter/phone will help you feel better but won't yield any tangible results. Best you can do is warn others! So thank you for that.

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Thanks for your reply. If you could perhaps point me to a local taxidermist who might be able to reshape the tail, I could probably live with it. Just a shame though, you pay $700+ for a mount and don't get what you want.  Kind of got that impression when talked to them on the phone - they were going to take it and do their own thing with it.

Don't even mention the delivery, I'm lucky I even received it. They used UPS and I cringed when I heard that. I've had issues with these morons in the past and they didn't disappoint this time. Sure they got the first 4 numbers right but dropped the package at the wrong avenue. The box sat on the porch of these people's house all afternoon, they were honest and called to tell me it was there.

All in all one crappy experience.

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Should have added while I was at it, I considered going the wood carving route. The guy I talked to out of California would have done the carving plus a watercolor painting for $1100. The price was a bit much but it would have been done right....Next time.

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