Today’s Friday Finale historical photo features several pros; Paul Elias, Hank Parker and Stanley Mitchell. All were Berkley pros at the time, and featured in a 1982 article on ‘Speedcasting.’ According to the article, “The three professionals, all of whom have been national bass fishing champions, were in northwest Iowa to help promote speedcasting. The casting event is the latest angling development to come from Berkley and Co., headquarters in Spirit Lake, Iowa. The makers of Trilene fishing line believe speedcasting will bring a fast-paced, sporty dimension to the world of rods and reels.”
At the time, Paul Johnson was the head of the Trilene research team, and he equated speedcasting competition to be similar to the national Punt, Pass & Kick competitions, an NFL endeavor that was a popular halftime competition – except that speedcasting will be open to adults as well as youngsters.
As the article described speedcasting, “Shutters clicked. Television cameras hummed. And the fishing pros’ hands were a constant flurry of action. Cast-splash-reel, cast-splash-reel. When the horn blared at the end of 60 seconds, Mitchell had dropped six casts inside his 2-foot ring. He pocketed the $50 bill. Parker was second with five hits. Elias took third with three.”
Some more specifics from the article on how a full blown competition would be held; “Actual competition will involve longer casts than were possible in the pool. Three contestants will be tossing 5/8-ounce plugs at floating rings 50 and 75 feet away. Each contestant will have a ring in front of him at each distance. The rings at 50 feet will be 2 feet in diameter; those at 75 feet will be 3 feet in diameter. The longer, more difficult casts will score more points.”
While I’m not 100 percent certain, this early effort was likely what morphed into the later B.A.S.S. Casting Kids competition, which was ‘Flip, Pitch and Cast.’