Improve Your Catching!

January 13th, 2003

The 7th ACA Indoor National Casting Tournament
Conducted By Jim C. Chapralis

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 accuracy events.

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 better view.

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 was completed.

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 tension-filled competition.

The shoot-off.

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 standing ovation.

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

About Jim:

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 www.AnglingMatters.com

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