Saturday, December 10, 2011

Buck Tail Secrets from Stan Kuzia

My name is Jeff Miller; I am a very fortunate person because I have had the privilege of growing up and fishing with men and women that are now considered to be legends. These fishermen have taught me a lot of helpful tricks. But, the man that has helped me out the most is Stan Kuzia. Stan comes in the store every day and just schools me on how to fish.  He is 88 years old and still is down the Canal every day casting wooden plugs. He doesn’t jig anymore because his shoulders are too weak. But, let me tell you Kuzia has the best casting technique of all time, it is just so smooth and effortless. Conventional or spinning, it doesn’t matter his technique is pristine. Stan might look like much but he is no joke, whatever he has forgotten about fishing in his old age, is more then I will ever know. Kuzia was best friends with the late Stan Gibbs and use to help Gibbs test and design all the custom wooden plugs for the ever popular Gibbs Lures company. As Stan Gibbs was a master at top water fishing, Stan Kuzia is the all-time ranging champ of bottom fishing.

Stan Kuzia is known for creating the Ku-Jig Company. The Ku-jig is the most popular buck tail jig in the Canal area. Sure, Stan hasn’t poured a single jig to sell in 20 years, but every single lure company that makes Buck Tails has the Ku-jig mold. You see the names in most tackle stores; Cape Cod Canal Jig, Canal Special Jig, etc… This man created the fascination of the Buck Tail Jig. Everyone in the Canal area uses these lures, so this article is made to give some insight on all the lessons Kuzia has told me.

To begin fishing the Buck Tail Jig in the Cape Cod Canal. First you will need a strong fishing pole that can cast at least 5 ounces and a fishing reel with a fast retrieve. You have to use braided line, so will feel the bottom. You cannot use monofilament because it stretches too much. The best colors of the Buck Tail Jig are White and Black. You can use a Spro Buck Tail Jig if you wish to be fancy, but all you need is just a plain colored jig.

You have to bring different weight sizes; I usually carry a 2 oz., 3 oz., 4 oz., 5 oz., and a 6 oz. in White because I usually fish during the day. During night time I carry the same size selection but just in Black, dark colors work better at night. Remember You Need at least 3 of each jig, do not be cheap and fish with just 1 jig in each ounce size. The bottom is filled with sea weed, eel grass, and lobster pots. It is a guarantee you will lose jigs, so stock up at your local tackle store. (One little word of advice) If you don’t lose any Buck Tail Jigs, then you are not jigging the correct way. You need to pay homage to the Canal God’s to catch a river monster, it’s just that simple. Give to receive, fishing is all about karma.

Now for scents and trailers; all you need is Uncle Josh Pork rinds 5” trailers. You can use Split Tail or Sea Rind style, whatever you like. Size and Shape is just personal preference, everyone has a different opinion. But, for colors you will need a good selection. The Best colors in pork rind are White, Red, pink, and Green. The go to color is Red, always start with Red. For a scent use Bio Edge, but use the wand style, not the oil. Petroleum based scents never stay on a lure for a long duration, but the wand has a scented cream that stays on your lures forever.

When to fish a Buck Tail; you need to have the water current running at a fast speed. I usually use buck tails during mid-tide, which starts 2 hours after slack tide and ends 2 hours before slack tide that is when the current is the strongest. The jig needs to be rolling on the bottom, so experiment with the sizes (ounces), and remember your jig always needs to be hitting the bottom. Cast at your 12 o’clock and let the jig roll to your 10 or 2 o’clock, when the lure gets closer to the shore then reel as fast as you can. Do not be stupid and try to jig along the shoreline; you will always lose to the Canal Gods.

There are many styles of jigging some fisherman like to just let the jig roll on the bottom and not give any action. Then there are some guys that don’t stop jigging. This part you need to watch other fishermen, and study there movements, then experiment with every style you observe. Here are just a few nicknames of jigging styles; 3 Snap Drop, Jako Jerk, Gorilla jig, Ku-Jig Slide, and my favorite to watch the Sawyer Snap. The names are funny but all of them are effective. These fishermen have been skunked hundreds of times down the Canal. But, they did what every great fisherman does, they asked questions, learned from their mistakes, and used patience to evolve and adapt their fishing game. Fishing is an art form; everyone can learn it and perfect it, but to be perfect you first need to be patient. Kuzia was patient and know the guy is a legend.

Hopefully this gave some insight to you the reader. Fishing the Canal is intimating, but once you put on your big boy shoes and say “Screw it if I lose some gear, I want to learn all I can about fishing.” Then take some helpful tips from this article and try jigging.


  1. Wow fantastic article on jigging, this is Truly Great info and somewhat unexpected in the fishermans world of getting Quality advice.
    I am also a jig fisherman, and it is so true, If you"re not loseing some jigs, your Not fishing em right!!

  2. Good Advice, I would say. I have tried the canal a couple of times but gave up as all I got for my efforts were hang ups and lost tackle and lost fish. First I tried chunk bait, then eels at night. I did have one fight with a huge bass by the Maritime Academy when she took my pogie chunk. It lasted maybe a minute. I couldn't turn her at all. Finally my 20 lb. mono line went limp. The bottom 50 feet looked like someone took a grater to it, it was so shredded. I think that fish ran my line around every rock in the canal. I went back to fishing the outer Cape where I did much better. That was 20 years ago. Now the seals have absolutely ruined surf fishing in the outer Cape. I heard the Canal did very well last year. So I'm thinking about giving it another go. Your article sound like good advice for jigging bucktails. My 2 surf reels have 20lb mono on them still. But that is for fishing eels at night. The main complaint I have about braid on spinning reels is that when a tangle happens, it is much worst than mono to untangle, yet even worse at night. But I am considering a surf setup for braided line for the canal that can do the jigging that you recommend. What would you suggest? I just bought a Penn Battle II 6000 that I put on my Penn 12' surf stick.

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