Trophy Hunters: Tom Fucini

Photo: Tom Fucini
Kayak angler Tom Fucini poses with a large fish in the dark.

Trophy: Striped bass.

Hunting grounds: New England.

Trophy room: Three-time On the Water magazine Kayak Angler of the Year, Connecticut Catch and Release Trophy Fish Record, tournament champ.

What’s a trophy catch?

Any striped bass over 48 inches is a trophy in my book. I don’t go by weight because I release all of my fish. A striped bass is smart and very stubborn. It will try to run me back into the structure.

Toughest accomplishment?

I’ve caught six striped bass over 50 inches. My biggest measured 51 inches. I release all my fish.

Favourite fish story?

I was having a slow night. Then I noticed strange marks on the fishfinder. I felt a short tug on my live eel. When I checked the bait, there was a live squid attached to it. I turned on my light, the boat was surrounded with squid. I quickly switched out the eel for the squid and dropped the bait. It didn’t even get to the bottom before I was hooked up. A short fight and I had a 51-inch bass on my lap. I tried to catch another squid, but the school, and the fish, were gone. It pays to be resourceful and take advantage of opportunities.

What motivates you?

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Targeting large striped bass turns fishing into hunting. Instead of dropping a bait and hoping for the best, I strategize the best time and place to find true trophies and use tackle designed for the biggest fish.

Advice to future trophy hunters?

Keep a log of conditions for each fishing trip, even if you don’t catch. The information will help with planning future trips. Obsess over the smallest details, after all the time and effort, make the most of each opportunity.

How do you celebrate?

I go out and try to catch a bigger trophy.

How do you find time?

Most of my trophy striper fishing is at night, so I don’t miss work, but I do miss a lot of sleep.

This article was first published in the Fall 2016 issue of Kayak Angler. Subscribe to Kayak Angler Magazine’s print and digital editions, or browse the archives.

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