Surfcasting world mourns the passing of a legendary MA surfcaster, Stan Kuzia

Editors note

Surfcasting community lost a legend this week. Stan Kuzia is a name that you might have not heard mentioned much unless you live at the Cape Cod Canal. But as you will find out from below article published in SJ few years ago by late Frank Pintauro, Stan Kuzia should be mentioned in the same breath as all the other surfcasting legends.

I think its fitting to re run this interview on the blog in his memory

Rest in Peace Mr Kuzia, may every one of your cast land in front of a nose of a 50 pounder.

 

STAN KUZIA AND THE CAPE COD CANAL

By Frank Pintauro

FRANK PINTAURO:               When Peter O’Neill called me and said he could get an interview with 84-year old Stan Kuzia, my response was “Stan who”? In convincing fashion, Peter said how could we not spend time with a guy who has fished the Canal for over fifty years and rubbed elbows with legendary striper high liners like Stan Gibbs, Bob Pond, Floyd Roman, Frank Woolner, Arnold Laine and Jimmy Andrews, just to name a few. We learned quite a few interesting things about “the Big Ditch” and we discovered that Stan made quite the impressive needlefish – so sit back and enjoy!

PETER O’NEILL:            It’s been almost a year since I talked with Stan at his home and in between that time I ran into him with a few of my friends when we were scouting out a beach in Sandwich, Massachusetts. My friend Frank was looking down from the famous wooded steps that lead down to many of the beaches on Cape Cod and said, ‘That looks like Stan K, watch how he had that pendulum cast!’ So we grabbed our rods and had a great time catching stripers with the man himself, Stan Kuzia.

PO:      Hello, Stan. Thanks for having me in your home.

STAN KUZIA:            No problem at all. Come in and have a seat.

PO:      How old are you, Stan?

SK:      84-years old. I was born in 1923 in Everett, Massachusetts. I will turn 85 in August. My real name is John Stanley Kuzia but I go by Stan because there are too many Johns in the family.

PO:      What did you do for work?

SK:      I worked for the government in the shipyards as a machinist. I moved to the Cape in 1973 after I retired 35 years ago.

10 - stan in his workshop

PO:      Have you always fished the Cape? And when did you first start?

SK:      We started fishing the Cape in the late 40’s around 1948/49. We started with the beaches first then the Canal. Back then we fished P-town, Race-Point and all around that area. Nauset Beach and the Chatham Bar came later but everyone fished up in P-town.

PO:      What did you use for lures back then?

SK:      Atom plugs, that’s really all we had.6 - beat up warriors

PO:      I ask everyone this question, I just can’t help myself…..Did you ever catch a 50-pounder?

SK:      No, the best fish I ever caught was in the Canal and it weighed in at 49 ½ lbs. It may have been a 50-pounder. I did not weigh it until the morning after. I did get a lot of fish in the 40’s though.

PO:      You sound just like Jack Woolner, who I just interviewed.

SK:      I knew Frank better than Jack, we all knew Frank! I knew all the guys from the Worcester area including Floyd Roman and a bunch of other guys.

PO:      You knew Floyd Roman?

2 - experimental collaboration

SK:      Oh yes, I fished with him for years. Floyd was the one who pushed the eel-skin rigs. I am not sure when they first started but Floyd was the first to manufacture them, plus he also made plugs! Floyd had a place down by the Red-Top – two or three of the guys rented a room so that they had a place to stay and rest instead of sleeping in their buggies. In those days there were a lot of rooms to rent. You don’t have that now. We all walked the Canal back then.

PO;      When did you start making you own eel-skin rigs?

SK:      When I started to lose a lot of them. (LOL) I started to copy Floyd’s and make my own after I lost all mine.

8 - eel rigs

PO:      We all know it’s easy to lose jigs in the Canal!

SK:            Nowadays is worse. There are too many loose lobster pots in the Canal, you can cast in the middle and still lose a jig on a lobster pot. Also with the new braided line that breaks off, you have an all new problem.

PO:      Do you still fish the Canal?

SK:      Sure do. I just can’t get up and down the rocks like I used to. I have to snake up and down. There were lots more places to fish on the Canal back then.

PO:      What end of the Canal do you like the best?5 -View of the Cape Cod Canal

SK:      There is no such thing, you have to fish the whole 14 miles: seven miles on one side, seven on the other.

PO:     I understand that you and Stan Gibbs were very close friends? I brought a few lures with me that you and he made together. How did all that start?4 - skipperflipper

SK:      We were always doing something together. I made the “cone leaded end weights” for him, he made the “hippo” popper/swimmer plug and also one that looked like a flounder, I made all the rest. We made these for windy days…years ago you did not need to cast more than 30 feet, you have a 8-foot tide and a 12-foot tide because the Canal is not perfectly level from east to west, it curves. After a tide change the fish would start to go way out – that’s why we made these.

7 - No caption. (Stan with lure)

PO:      So you and Stan were real close?

SK:      We used to go over his house and have a sing-a-long, I would bring my wife and daughter and they had an organ and we all would sing.

PO:      Did you know Bob Pond and help him with his lures?

SK:      Yes, we were all friends with Bob, we would go over to his shop and pick up his plugs but I never helped him make any.

PO:      Who else did you fish with besides Floyd Roman and Stan Gibbs? How about Jerry Sylvester or Arnie Lane?

SK:            Everyone fished with Floyd. Yes, I remember Jerry and Arnie. Jimmy Andrews was a close friend of Arnie – you know that’s what Arnie did for a living, he fished for a living at the time.

PO:      Do you have a fishing story for us?

SK:      Well, there is one lesson we all learned years ago while we were fishing Highland Light Beach using Atom plugs. There were hundreds of big fish busting water and in three days we never caught one. We were throwing 8-inch plugs at 3-inch bait and that’s when we first learned that you have to match the hatch.

PO:      Stan, are you still making plugs and jigs?

SK:      Sure, but just for myself. You want to see my workshop?

PO:      Yup, let’s go down!

SK:      Here is my rod building and fly tying bench. Over here is my oven and most of my molds.

9 - oven

PO:      Wow, this place is incredible. Look at all the different molds you have! Is it ok to take some pictures of them?

11 - cone mold

SK:      Go right ahead.

PO:      Did you make all of these?

SK:      Here is how we did it. Years ago we would go to a foundry and they would make them out of plaster of paris, then machined or casted. After that we would make them ourselves. All of these are hand engraved and made out of aluminum.

PO:      Can I see some of your old eel-skin rigs? Do you have any Floyd Roman jigs?

SK:      This one with the “bubble” eyes are Floyd’s. I first started making mine round or pipe looking.   I made all sizes from very small to large, see the brass rings? They were made from a brass pipe on a lathe. Boy, it’s been years since I have looked at this stuff! Peter, come over here and take a look at the other stuff I make besides eel-skin rigs.

PO:      What are those lead weights?

SK:      Yup, that’s my own design. They are made to stick in the sand better so the current will not take them up top.

PO:      They look like you just made them. So are you still making them?

SK:      Oh, yes, I still make all this stuff; I even still make my own lures. Look over here, I am currently working on this ballerina 4-inch type lure – with the right shape and position of the weight this lure will jump, skip and hop on the surface.

Over here are a few lures I have made over the years – they are all made out of sugar pine.

8 - sampling of Kuzia made lures

PO:      Very nice, Stan. So all the lures I have of yours they also were made out of sugar pine?

SK:      Yes, same as Stan Gibbs. I also have used maple.

PO:      Stan also shared some of his experimental stuff with me but I had to swear to secrecy not to print anything! J3 - Stan KuziaJohn Gibbs production

PO:      Stan and I went to a local restaurant and talked about the Canal: the where, when and how.   We also stopped over his local hang out where you will find him most days at the Canal Bait and Tackle and talked with the owner Bruce. If you need any bait or info about fishing the Canal, just ask Bruce.

Before I dropped him back at his house we did a quick tour of the Canal – it was a day I will not forget.   Thanks for the memories, Stan.

Rest in Peace Stan

 

Lemire’s Plugworks Calamari Popper giveaway

A special giveaway today and some changes to the way we are doing giveaways here.
You’ll notice a box below this text where you have to record your entry in a giveaway. Yeah, I know everyone hates changes but its a sign of progress. We’ll keep it simple for our first giveaway, all you have to do is enter your email address. I was told this little this will run the giveaway, pick a random winner and announce it.
Lets hope so

Today’s featured giveaway is this gorgeous Lemire’s Plugworks Calamari Popper. As you can see on this box bellow, there is a description, image, entry form and yeah, even the time when the giveaway ends.
So lets do it, we have a lot of stuff to give away
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lets not forget the winners of Savage Gear Long T’s
We got two winners, each will receive a shirt in size of his choice. The winners have 5 days to contact us with their chosen shirt size and mailing address at info@surfcastersjournal.com
the winners are :
Mike Cellan
James Donnelly20160123_150519

Costa Rica Dreamin- PENN Clash reel

I want to share few thoughts on the new PENN Clash reel. I wish that I could make my opinions transferable from a boat fishing to a surf fishing, but I can’t. We all know that surf fishing eats up reels and spits them out. So until we actually put some time on these reels in the surf, I can only speak of my experience while using them in the boat for a week. Here are some of my thoughts

The Bail

Three days of casting on a bow. Zillion casts and not a single bail closure, not a single lost lure.

Strong bail wire

Nuff said

IMG_2469Weight

If you were paying attention to PENN reels last few years, you would notice that their reels got progressively lighter.

PENN Clash is the lightest spinning reel they ever made until  now. The sizes for PENN Clash line up are 2000-8000 .Surfcasters would primarily be interested in the 4000 to 6000 models. I fished PENN SS 850 reels long, long time ago when I just started out, and now that I look back, I realize that is Godzilla of a reel for surfcasting. Lets be honest, rod companies are coming out with lighter and lighter rods seemingly every day, your reel should match the rod if you want to have a pleasurable experience using the combo. The 2000 to 5000 have a rigid resin rotors making them perfect for light tackle use while 6000 and 8000 have aluminum rotors.

Line lay

Line lay is nice and tight, and it comes off the reel in a beautiful spiral. They added a slow oscillation on the Clash line of reels and line lay is just about perfect.DSC_5604

Gears

This is probably the biggest news on this model and part of reason why PENN Clash won the ICAST 2016 Best New Reel category. Models 2000 to 5000 feature fully machined aluminum gears while models 6000 to 8000 featured the same technology but the gears are made out of brass. They call this CNC Gear Technology which provides for lower tolerance (which results in smoother operation) and more durability over the life off a reel. So machined gears instead of die cast gears

Drag

Here is the thing. There are haters on fishing forums that would lynch Mother Teresa if she ever comes back from heavens. They hate everything and everyone. And yet, even they have nothing to say about PENN drag. Why? Because its an awesome drag and its been awesome for a long time. Clash has sealed drag system with seals on top and bottom and HT 100 washers. I can sincerely say that I never used a reel made by PENN where I had drag issues. We all had stuff over the years that we didn’t like, but drag was not one of them.In addition they added some seals to the Clash to prevent saltwater intrusion and sealed ball bearings. Is it a “sealed” reel? Absolutely not, but its not meant to be.IMG_2555-001

Final thoughts

Having not used it in the surf I am having a hard time judging this reel on how it would perform in the surf. During my use for a week on the boat (I understand its a limited trial test) I would be willing to say its one of the better reels I used in this price range. But that means very little to the surf guy who wants to see how prolog use in the surf would affect it. I get and respect that so here are some thoughts in a video from SJ columnist John Skinner who got to fish with it last fall in the surf

and yes I did read Mr.Hawk review recently. I respect the dude immensely although I have to admit half of the time I have no idea what is he is saying (level of my reel fixing skill is fish, rinse once a year, fish some more). I thought review was quite good. Some people read it differently but I have no issues about buying it. That is why I ordered 4000 model for fluke fishing next year.

Savage Gear Striper Bass long sleeve shirt giveaway

We are interrupting your regular scheduled programing to bring you a …….Giveaway, what else?

I know you wont mind, we’ll get back to Costa Rica Diaries afterwards but today a giveaway from our friends from Savage Gear USA. I would like to thank them for not only providing this giveaway but for sponsoring the StriperDay 2016. Many of you have received their lures in your attendee  door package. We were trilled to be able to give you stuff that you can actually use in your pursuit of striper bass, instead of stuffing your bag with stuff some manufacturer was trying to get rid off from their inventory. Same goes to Super Strike Lures, Spro, Hogy and Tactical Anglers products. Thanks to all of them.

Today giveaway is a Savage Gear USA long shirt with a Striped bass logo

Two winners picked at random, each will receive a long sleeve Striped Bass Shirt from Savage Gear

20160123_15051920160123_150511 20160123_150500

Costa Rica Diaries Part IV- the bait vs plugs

This is one of those a little “out there” kind of things that might only happen in my head and not in reality. I don’t talk about it because people generally do not agree with me, and are looking at me like I have two heads. But once in awhile you run into a guy who feels the same way you do, and you say to yourself, hey, maybe I am not as crazy as everyone thinks.

On more than one occasion I enjoyed a good pick of fish on lures when someone walked up to the beach and tossed a chunk or a live eel and start catching. And I stopped getting hits. I also had nights where I was getting solid fish en rigged eels until my partner tossed a live eel and I went fishless afterwards. Yeah, I accept that this is probably in my head, and this does not happen often enough to make any kind of pattern I could hang my hat on. I fact, a lot of times a guy with a plug will out fish a live eel guy, one of the reasons for that, he can cast further.DSC_5408

On this trip to Crocodile Bay Resort, live bait was employed almost all the time. You jig them up on saki rigs first thing in the morning, then you slow troll them behind the boat along the shore. I think regardless where you go in the tropics, this will be your best chance of success.

But forward moving boat, in and out of the gear, makes it challenging to make proper presentation with your lure. The first two days we spent inshore, it was fairly slow for few of us that tossed plugs in comparison to the back of the boat that trolled live bait. Not that they had an epic days, but they did better than us. Patrick Sebile felt that the live bait trolled behind the boat was killing his chance of getting fish to eat his plugs. So on the last day he refused to let the captain use bait and the whole crew just used plugs. Low and behold they had the best day out of three we spent fishing, with almost 25 roosters making an appearance behind the lures. Hooking those suckers a whole different story.

So that made me think that there might be something to my thesis that live bait can kill the bite forplug guys sometimes. I have no proof and I probably just imagining but I thought I’d throw it out there. I KNOW many of you guys have fished next to a chunk slinger who hammered the fish on bait and you did nothing on plugs. How do I know? I was with many of you. Perfect example, here is Bill Fischer hammering bass on just about every cast while there are dozens of guys around him casting fruitlessly. Yeah, we all say, “they want meat” that day.

But would they take plugs if there wasn’t any meat ?

That is a $64 000 question

Costa Rica Diaries Part III -Sebile 2nd Generation Lures with video

Ok, I got to be honest here. Dave Anderson and my canal friends are always raving about Sebile Lures. Its has somewhat of a cult following on the banks of Cape Cod Canal. On Long Island, you just don’t see as many people using them as up North.

Maybe when they see this pending 25lb+ NY State record bluefish, it will get them more intrigued. I will admit that I fall into the “intrigued” camp. I use it but nowhere as often as my other plugs. But I got to tell you, after fishing with nothing but a Sebile new prototype Stick Shads and Magic Swimmers all i can say is (cover your kids ears) holy f***!!!!!12195918_10153746033033421_3394113657949121165_n

(note the no-hook on the back of the plug-Patrick talks about this is video below)

The Magic Swimmer in particular is one of the SICKEST lures I have ever had the pleasure of using. Since we were here to test the new PENN Clash, Spiderwire Camo and new Sebile 2nd Generation lures, that’s all we had and so we beat the shit out of it. First of all, watching Patrick Sebile work his lures is like watching a magician with his wand. Also, the Magic Swimmer in particular has the sickest action in a lure I have ever seen! And here is the kicker: the faster you crank it, the better it looks. Captains did not believe that you can troll the darn thing since it had no lip until Patrick made them do it just to prove the point. What I am trying to convey is it’s not going to pop out and roll over on the surface. And when you casting to the rooster you need ALL the speed your reel can muster and then some!DSC_5429

I am sure catching rooster from the beach is awesome. But let me tell you, I never had my knee buckle before by watching the speed with which a fish moves through the water before. It is absolutely insane to watch it from the bow of the boat. So if you go to the tropics and you are fretting that your reel is too “fast”, trust me it’s not. I don’t think a humans made a reel fast enough which roosters cant chase down.

Back to Sebile:

Ok, so here it goes, while everyone trolled live bait and stayed in the shade I casted nothing but Magic Swimmers and Stick Shads for three straight days on the bow. I did not have any poppers other than one I threw in my luggage so it was stick shads all the time. I have a new perspective on these lures and newfound respect, not only for the lures but for its creator Patrick Sebile.

These are not “new” lures. They have been reinforced with better internal hardware, new paint patterns and new, yes, much lower price.

But don’t take my word for it, here is world renown angler and record holder, Sebile lures creator Patrick Sebile

Costa Rica Diaries Part II- Spiderwire Camo

As I was writing these blog entries, something popped into my head that you might  find strange…..until you think about it more closely. I am talking about relationship between live bait and lures. What do I mean by that? Have you ever had a good bite shut down on you when someone tossed an eel in the water? Have you ever had a rigged eel bite  die when someone tossed a live one? It happened to me on multiple occasions, and it happened to Patrick Sebile I guess one too many times. On the last day he refused to get into the boat unless the captain was not going to use bait of any kind. Guess what, they had the best day out of three days on Sebile lures…that is now spinning in my head, I will elaborate on it, but give me few days to put it in words.

Every single PENN Clash reel on this trip was spooled with new Spider Wire Camo braided line. You might say “yawn, another braid” which is what crossed my mind until they told me they can’t make it fast enough in a factory. When there is a product that a manufacturer can’t make fast enough, I get curious.SPIDERWIRE-WEB-IMAGES-BWCAMO

Lets look at some characteristics:

  • Varying blue/white/black color pattern designed to blend naturally with open blue water conditions
  • Color-Lock coating technology – casts farther, lasts longer
  • Dyneema® PE Microfiber construction is strong, smooth and round
  • Fluoropolymer treated microfibers – shoots through guides like a bullet!
  • Whisper quiet for “Stealth Attacks”
  • Resists “diggin in” on reels
  • SpiderWire Stealth® Blue Camo Braid is made from Dyneema®, The World’s Strongest Fiber! Blue Camo is uniquely colored for low-vis in proclaimed blue water lakes and saltwater conditions. New and Improved Stealth Braid is constructed to provide ultimate strength with the thinnest diameter for smooth and quiet performance. The no-stretch properties of Dyneema PE fibers provides incredible sensitivity to instantly detect bites and structure.

I think it’s selling like hotcakes because it’s probably the coolest looking line on the market and I was told os one of  the most affordable ones. Did not check on pricing so you’ll have to check this out for yourself.

How did I like it? I had a hard time telling between that line and the one I usually use. It felt a little coarse and not as smooth as some super slick lines but that is right up my alley. I don’t like super slick lines and I been the biggest Fireline fan for years although everyone and their mother has become a nuclear physicist last few years and declared Fireline to be too “flat”.IMG_2469

I wish I had a surf rod with me, but on a 7 foot PENN rod and Clash reel this line performed very well during the whole trip. Smooth flowing through the guides, no mysterious breakoffs like some other (ahem,) lines. One day I did get bunch of so called “wind” knots only to correct the problem by cutting back on the line. The reel was simply overfilled with line, problem solved. 

I think the “camo” property of the line wont matter as much to striper maniacs as it will to blue water anglers but if you are one of those guys who freaks out that bass will see your line, while you trying to feed it a 9 inch GIANT wood lure with steel hooks…we’ll I got nothing more on that.

I don’t remember the details about the second day but I do remember it was HOT and I got to fish with the legendary Patrick Sebile.

And I will forever remember this Cubera Snapper

DSC_5391

Warning !!!!

If you ever get to fish with the man DO NOT give him your DSLR. He will mess up every setting on your camera thinking he knows better than you, and proceed to shot about 500 overexposed useless white pictures..haha..true story

But boy can the man fish. I am not sure If I ever met anyone so wired to fish, sleep and fish. Not many people I have fished with are as intense at Patrick and none I know are more. Wouldn’t it be a real treat if we can get Patrick to attend a show and give a seminar here in Northeast? That would be freaking awesome.blinkof 2

Coming up ..the darn Sebile Magic swimmer. I have fallen in love all over again. And video interview with Mr. Patrick

Photo credit Kevin Blinkoff – On TheWater Magazine 

Here is a Fisherman Video from Day 2

Costa Rica Diaries Part I

I figured this would be fitting, as we wait for the first snow storm of the year

PART IFishing Grounds - Crocodile Bay Resort

I really did not know what I expected to find at Crocodile Bay Resort in Costa Rica on a trip last December. I should also mention (and I cannot emphasize this enough) that I am not a fan of airplanes of any kind. So, when you put me in a private charter plane with about 15 seats and small props, I am about as lively as a limp vegetable. But  this was a small price to pay to reach the Crocodile Bay Resort on Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica.DSC_5114

I’m far from a world-class traveler but I will tell you that the level of service was something that I’ve never experienced before. I have never seen a more friendly and attentive staff in any place I have ever visited. Ever. This was not limited to those behind the counter or serving food, but also everyone else; From makers of the facilities to gardeners to captains and the mates. Mr. Todd Stanley does a great job of coordinating all the trips and does a great job of trying to fulfill everyone’s desires and expectations. DSC_5485The whole place ran like clockwork from the moment we got up. From the hot breakfast buffet waiting for you, to making sure you are working with the captain who understands what you were trying to accomplish; Even the sandwiches and drinks are packed according to your wishes. Upon your return, you will find hors d’oeuvres served between four and six o’clock and then a full buffet dinner expertly prepared by local chefs, with always-fresh catch available on the grill.DSC_5480

In front of the resort you will find a 500 foot-long concrete pier and don’t be surprised if you see 50 pound roosters cruising under it. We saw not only the roosters, but a giant snook patrolling the shadows at night. Even big saltwater catfish can be had on jigs, lures or bait. Patrick Sebile and Scott from bloodydecks.com both wrestled large specimen from under the dock. I managed the get shot of Patrick’s fish on a video.

Fishing from the pier is not prohibited but if I knew what I know now I would have definitely brought my Boga or some other type of fish landing tool to assist in landing fish. I should also mention that at low tide most of the pier is very high off the water so if you hook into something you may have to walk all the way back to shore.
DSC_5265

How do you get there? I think the standard procedure is flying to San Jose, then spend the night in the hotel there and then in early morning jump on a small regional plane. It’s probably very much different than anything that you have done before, at least it was for me. 45 minutes later while enjoying some stunning scenery you will be landing in Puerto Jimenez, and Crocodile Bay Resort is located only five minutes away.DSC_5613

I wish there was more opportunity to explore the shoreline but the purpose of this trip was to put the new PENN Clash, Spiderwire new Camo line and Sebile 2nd generation lures in front of some very angry fish and our itinerary has been set long before we arrived there.DSC_5604 I’m not sure how many boats we had our crew on, but it had to be at least 10. These boats were no joke either, no small pangas but instead 24 to 33 foot fishing machines, each with a captain and a mate.DSC_5661

When we started fishing, the first thing I was reminded off was my trip to Mexico with my son. Regardless how much I try to get some information about usage of lures, all roads lead to live bait trolling. It was actually a very slow day for our boat in the morning but it did pick up in the afternoon. The guys in the back got a few roosters, while I managed to raise a few fish but I couldn’t really get them to commit.

About 20 minutes before we were scheduled to head back in, all hell broke loose with as many as five roosters following Seville Magic Swimmer back to the boat. Hooking one was a whole other story. I must admit I’ve never seen fish move that fast in my life. As fast as I cranked my reel, the rooster moved three times faster than my lure but generally turned away as soon as they would see the boat. My problem was that the longest rod we had was 7 feet so I really couldn’t cast a magic swimming that far. Yes, you get a rooster excited but then they would feel the boat and turn away. Very frustrating but once in a while you get one to commit suicide. I actually felt that fishing from the beach would be a lot easier because your cast and retrieve would be longer. Something I hope to explore on a return trip one day and consultation with Mr. Todd Stanley.

Here’s the video shot by Tim Smith from the Fisherman magazine on Thursday at Crocodile Bay

more stuff coming including my first Cubera Snapper and some african pompano

DSC_5401The winner of SJ Creeping Long Sleeve shirt and TheWave Shirt is leif.gobel@gmail.com

Congrats Leif , you have 5 days to contact us at info@surfcastersjournal.com

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limited number of hoodies are still available while the camo hats..well, i think Tommy threw them all into crowd at Striper day during raffle because I don’t have single one left in stockL66178