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.



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


10 comments on “Surfcasting world mourns the passing of a legendary MA surfcaster, Stan Kuzia

  1. Ron mcKee

    Another good fisherman. Was cool to talk about the fishing with him. still got a few of his tail weights he gave me to try in my plugs.

  2. Greg Reinert

    RIP Stan Kuzia. Being in NJ, I never had the pleasure of meeting Stan or some of the mentioned legends. Although, his story and the pics of his workshop were quite familiar as they reminded me of my grandfather who also had to make much of what he fished around south jersey beaches and bays over 100 yrs ago. As an engraver for Curtis Publishing in Philly, he was very creative and talented. As a wood working hobbyist he made beautiful furniture and lures that caught. Thanks for the piece on Stan and sharing a little history of our sport.

  3. Buddy

    Stan kuzia was a humble man, friend, a mentor, a “gentleman of the Canal “, and an Ambassador to our sport . He will be missed by many…

  4. Carl

    John Stanley Kuzia a friend and mentor to all who would listen. His passing will leave some large footprints to follow along the Cape Cod Canal. History will show that he was one of the first canal fishermen to design a jig , which was named in his honor every one calls the KU jig[ The canal special] Now only memories with the drifting currents of time. Above you can also see some of the one of a kind plugs he designed and never got to be sold in the open retail market. Stan was a believer in passing on the history to those who would became interesting in also passing on the traditions on to others as well. The interview by Peter ONeil was his last to my knowledge and as usual a great [piece of writing . Peter you performed a great service to the fishing community in doing the write-up for all times .


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