Anton Stetzko Jr.
The Pro: Tony Stetzko Jr
Credentials: Maker of the Mr. Wiggly plug; former IGFA all-tackle striped bass world-record holder
Home Waters: Nauset Beach, Cape Cod
Largest Surf-Caught Bass: 73 pounds
Line of Choice: These days I strictly use 20- to 40-pound braided line. It really helps take away a lot of fear when you're fighting a big bass. You can get far more on the spool and having no line stretch is a big plus.
Rod and Reel: Without a Van Staal 150, I don't know if I could fish anymore. I'm hard on reels and they can take a beating. I like an eight- or nine-foot St. Croix Avid. The lighter rods let you keep better contact with your lure and won't hurt your wrist.
Time of Year: For truly large bass, October through mid-November is the best. Schools won't be huge, but the bass will be big-50 pounds.
Favorite Location: I've fished for striped bass all over, but my favorite area is right here at home between Nauset and the cut in Chatham on Cape Cod.
Ideal Conditions: During the darkness of the new moon, you don't have to worry about the fish becoming skittish. At Nauset Beach I'll take a southwest wind 24 -7, all year long. That direction will flatten the surf and make for easy casting. It also puts the bait right up on the beach.
Rookie Mistake: You can't wade right on top of big bass while trying to land it. The best thing you can do when it's close is back up a good 15 feet and use the waves to surf the fish onto the beach. If it runs again, just let it go and take your time.
Must-Have Lure: I grew up fishing with eels and my father developed the Mr. Wiggly back in 1977. It's a wooden plug that mimics an eel, and I never hit the beach without one. It's really versatile and unique. Biggest Goof: I was nearing the end of a fight with a big bass and I was doing everything right-that is until I caught sight of the fish. I'm sure it hit the 100-pound mark and seeing it broke my concentration. as I gawked, my line ran over a mussel bed and was cut instantly.
Massachusetts Record. 73 pounds
Anton Stetsko Jr.1981
Shared record with Charles Church 1913 and Charles Cinto 1967