It's sort of amazing.
Prior to the 2000 season, the Chicago Angling and
Casting Club (formerly, the Lincoln Park Casting Club)
was inactive for many years. A few dedicated casters
got together and re-activated the club. It would be a
shame, they reasoned, for a club that traces its birth
to 1892 should cease to exist.
The CACC held a couple of state tournaments and then
hosted the 94th ACA National Casting Championships last
summer! (See the archives for details.) Six months
later it unveiled the 2003 ACA National Indoor Casting
Tournament. It was the first national indoor casting
championship in many, many years.
The 7th Indoor National Casting Tournament was held at
Chicago's McCormick Place, January 4 and 5, 2003, and
was sponsored by the Chicago Boat, RV & Outdoors Show
and the National Marine Manufacturers Association.
Despite the lack of sufficient notice (this brainchild
was hatched in the fall) competitors came from Washington,
California, Canada and many places in between.
The tournament was limited to three fly and three plug
Gold, Silver and Bronze medals-similar to those provided
at the summer Nationals-were awarded to the top ranking
casters in various the divisions. The Chicago Boat, RV
and Outdoors Show provided beautifully engraved lead-crystal
plates from Germany for the combined events.
Everything that Jennifer Falk, the efficient manager of
the Chicago Boat, RV and Outdoors Show, promised was
provided and accomplished. The 120-ft. pool was fantastic
and the audio system, ably handled by Phil Seroczynski,
informed the audience of impending events and what
tournament casting was all about. The bleachers on
each side of the pool were a very nice touch, providing
an excellent place for casters and the audience to rest
and observe, although most of the time, standing
spectators lined both sides of the pool for an even
Bill Burke and his helpers provided and posted almost
instant results of each event through the miracle of
the laptop computer.
John Seroczynski made sure that everything went smoothly,
and it did. But there was some concern. The last men's
event-the popular 5/8 oz. plug casting- was about to
begin, when the blinking lights announced the closing
of the show. Jennifer Falk, the show manager, quickly
gave the word, the lights remained on and the tournament
There were many fine moments in this two-day tournament,
but perhaps the most dramatic segment was in the Men's
Dry-Fly Accuracy event.
Steve Rajeff of Washington shot a perfect score. But so
did Henry Mittel of California.
Two perfect scores in the Dry-Fly Event. A shoot-off
would ultimately determine the winner. The pool was
lined with spectators: by some who knew the intricacies
of fly casting, by some who had only a casual knowledge
of casting and fishing. All, however, sensed the
Steve shot a 99.
So did Henry.
Another shoot-off was necessary.
One could almost hear the proverbial pin drop, as silence
prevailed...much like during a crucial putt at a major
golf event. Even flash cameras were put to rest.
Rajeff casts another perfect score. Henry eventually misses
and Steve is declared the winner. The spellbound audience
realizes that they have just witnessed a masterful event:
that they were privileged to observe a wonderful competition
by two superb casters.
Suddenly there is cheering. There is clapping. The people
sitting on the bleachers are giving the two casters a
Yes, the applause and cheers are for Rajeff, but they are
just as much for Henry, for we all witnessed the thrill
of victory, and there was no agony in defeat.
~ Jim C. Chapralis
Jim Chapralis is a world traveler, a pioneer in the international fishing
travel business, and author, most recently of Fishing Passion,
reviewed in our Book Review section. He is an avid angler - and caster.
You can reach Jim via his website