ZAPATA, Texas — When big names such as Alton Jones, Kelly Jordon and Takahiro Omori come across the stage at the 2013 Elite Series Rigid Industries Falcon Slam, the fans cheer loudly.
When Jones, Jordon and Omori come backstage, they cheer for Lake Fork Taxidermy.
Why, you ask? Well, the taxidermy service, which is located in Emory, Texas (about an eight-hour drive from Falcon Lake), is a big hit for those three anglers and many more from around the country. They only do replica mounts, which is key for B.A.S.S. fans and conservationists in general.
They don’t do skin mounts which for the guys who make their living on the Elite Series, that's a big deal.
Their work is beyond solid, too. Want a fish jumping? They have you covered. On wood, with a lure in its mouth or without? Yes, yes, and yes. You get the picture.
Just ask the Elites about the work that brothers Jason and Clayton Pierce have been doing for pros and recreational anglers alike for more than 20 years.
"Managing a good bass fishery is a lot like managing deer," Jones said. "The key is to let them get old because you want them to keep producing. Same as bass. When you catch that lunker of a lifetime fish, take a picture, be responsible. You won't be able to tell the difference from the real thing."
"I've known them since I began fishing Lake Fork....probably 20 years," Jordon said. "We're like brothers... And they are craftsmen."
When pros speak with such high praise, it’s worth considering. But consider this stat, which comes from Jason Pierce, co-owner of the taxidermy franchise: One third of Lake Fork Taxidermy’s work is from fish caught on Falcon Lake. That's a big number, and one that Pierce says is a result of the number of people fishing Falcon for lunkers.
"It doesn't hurt (that the fish from Falcon are coming his way)," he said. "I learned who was weighing the lunkers from Lake Fork to Falcon, and vice versa. You triple the number of boats (on a fishery,) and you triple the number of fish you work on."
Not that all the fish are hanging on walls in northeast Texas in or around Emory. No, no. Jones has a big keeper on his wall that the Pierces worked on and plans on sending another soon. In a local tackle shop, there's a mount of a giant Falcon bass that will take your breath away.
The paint work is so impressive, Omori said, he has them paint some of his crankbaits.
"He has a shop. It's so beautiful; you've got to see it," he said. "It's not just bass; he does all kinds of fish."
The reputation has preceded the Pierce Brothers, so to speak. There are walleyes and smallmouth bass on the docket, as well.
"Seventy five percent of the work we do is shipped out of the state of Texas," Jason Pierce said.
The way that the pros caught them on Falcon recently, Lake Fork Taxidermy is sure to see a surge in action soon.