Source: Sherman Publications

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Student’s largemouth bass replica gains state recognition

April 02, 2014

By Megan Peters

Review Staff Writer

Lake Orion freshman Zachery Teague won first place in the novice division for his largemouth bass replica at the 2014 Michigan Taxidermy Association Competition and Convention.

The competition was held at the Devos Place in Grand Rapids, Michigan from March 19 to 23.

Multiple different levels of competition brought their artwork, including open level participants, intermediate, novice and junior, separated by age and accomplishment. 

Zachery, a freshman at Lake Orion High School, caught the fish he modeled his replica after when he was 11-years-old, took a picture, and ordered a mold according to the fish's length and girth. He painted each scale two to three times with an array of mediums, including airbrushing, micro-fused powders, graphite, pastels and even cosmetics. Two to three coatings are applied to achieve the desired markings, colorations and patterns of the actual fish.

Zachery assembled the head, the fins, hand-painted a set of eyes, and ensured the see-through mouth to fin detail—where the judge will look into the replica's mouth and see all the way to the fins—also resembled the looks of his largemouth bass.  

After Teague caught his fish from a lake he did not want to reveal, in an ice-hole at "Lake X."

Zachery's largemouth bass was 23 ½ inches long with a 17-inch-girth weighing in at seven pounds and 12 ounces. He didn't use any organic material from the real fish to assemble the replicas.

Judges based their awards on the following criteria: craftsmanship, accuracy, essence of the species and artistry.  Replicas are for catch and release enthusiasts, and in this style Zachary Teague takes after his father, an avid fisherman, allowing the impressive fish to continue reproducing.

Zachery Teague learned how to create fish replicas in his father Chris Teague's studio in Lake Orion, Waters Edge Fish Artistry,, where he spent much of his time after school working on his replica.

The competition was not only successful for Zachery but for the entire family.

His little sister Savannah Teague, 10, won first place in the junior division for her replica of a green sea turtle. On top of that, she won the Ken Kleinhart Award for most artistic under 18 youth mount, and her graphite drawing of a tiger took a first place as well. Her horse drawing took second place, and her okapi took third place.

The youngest daughter, Brooke Teague, also entered the competition with her little fish craft. She earned one of her daddy's blue ribbons.

Chris Teague took four awards away from the competition, five blue ribbons and a red ribbon for his six fish he entered. He won the Best in Category Judge's Choice, the People's Choice Award, the 'Star Fish' Award, and the Life-Tone Paints Award. Of the awards he received, three were for his double steel head replica, and the Life Tone Paint Award went to the trout.

Zachery's mother Shawn Teague, who helps manage the business along with her kids, said she was lucky if she could draw a stick figure.

"Because Zac wanted to paint a fish, he wanted to choose something that was special to him, a fish he caught.  We are very impressed that at such an early age Zac painted this on his own with only instruction from his dad," Shawn Teague said.