Fish taxidermy is something that has always interested me. Since I began fishing seriously as a very little kid over 30 years ago, I have always been attracted to mounts. I got my first fish mounted in 1996, and have done at least one most years since then. It’s something I really look forward to getting back. Much of the advice already given here is spot on. I will chime in with a few thoughts also.
There is no doubt, there is pros and cons to both types. Skin mounts are your fish, but they will shrink a little, usually. It can depend on how you measure though. If you measure fish on a flat board, they will usually be close. If you measure over the top with a soft tape, they will often be 1” or so short. There is a HUGE difference in the level of skin mounts. There is guys that are ok, and then there are guys that really do high quality work. And you need a good artist to paint it, regardless of type of mount.
Replica mounts can absolutely look great, but as said, it’s not your fish, and sometimes you will have to sacrifice some length/girth or both to get a reasonable look. You could always go bigger, but sometimes it just is too big with the available blanks.
Lastly, and not mentioned so far, is reproduction mounts, but of your actual kept fish, molded. I really like these, and the shrinkage is usually minimal, and it is a cast of your EXACT fish, only it’s a repro. These often come out great, and if the guy can paint, these, in my opinion, tend to be best. I’ve got several large local browns 28”-30” done this way, and they are all very good mounts. And every dimple in your fishes body is there!!
In closing, you can get a good one of any of the 3, if you find the right person. You will pay for quality, as would be expected. I have some really good, 100 percent skin mounts, and some really good cast repros of my fish. I have a few repros from other blanks, and I will say they are my least favorite, only because it’s hard to match a fishes body structure perfect. Especially trout.
If you have any other questions, feel free to pm me. I can point you in a good direction with taxidermists of both methods, or share pics with you of some of my 40 plus mounts lol. Good luck!!