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Lewes, Delaware
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October 9, 1998     Cape Gazette
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October 9, 1998
 

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Harry Aiken casts long shadow By Michael Short Harry Aiken casts a long shad- ow. Aiken is a fixture at local fish- ing tournaments. He routinely out- casts men half his age and consis- tently places near the top in local surf fishing tournaments. That means he is good. Look at his scrapbooks and that's a wee bit of an understatement. Aiken, 63, was the world champion surf cast- er in 1971, 1972 and 1973. The Sussex County resident was the best in the world at a combina- tion of accuracy and distance - a combination that resulted in a world record perfect score in 1969 which can never be surpassed. Aiken said that at his peak, when he packed 190 pounds on o a 6' 2" physique, he routinely cast over 450 feet and could drop a cast within five feet of a bullseye. The acceleration, of his cast could snap a rod and sometimes did. In  1969, his perfect score came when he hit the bullseye-dead on five straight times, nailing it at distances of 120, 140 160, 180 and 200 yards. It had never been done and the record still stands. Because it's a perfect score, it can never be defeated - only equalled. Aiken, who lived in George- town until becoming a "permanent camper," had just quit smoking three weeks before setting his record. Not only that, but he rushed from Ocean City, Md., where he had just competed, caught the ferry to Cape May and then calmly achieved perfection. "I think the casting took my mind off smokirig," he laughed. Aiken also has the distinction, in 1968, of doing something that Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle could never do. He was responsi- ble for sending a baseball out of Yankee Stadium In a bizarre sport called "Cast- A-Ball," Aiken was actually able to surf cast a baseball completely out of Yankee Stadium. The ball OUTDOORS Michael Short traveled approximately 575 feet, meaning he basically "threw" a homerun. Aiken still loves fishing, al- though shoulder injuries and de- tached retinas have ended his days of competitive casting. But he can still cast 150 yards without break- mg a sweat. "I made a bet with one guy that I could east100 yards sit- ting in a chair. I made one cast and he just sort of put his money back in his pocket," he laughed. His wife, Dottie, used to practice with him after work every day, together with friend John Bister and his wife. His two sons and three grandchildren all fish and Dottie is a former state champion caster. "She and I have always been togeth- er," Aiken said. It's a good thing, be- cause he used to practice from 4 p.m. when he left work as a state highway inspector until it grew dark. While distance came naturally, it took hours of practice to hone the timing needed for pinpoint accuracy. "Every- body likes their bit of notoriety... The thing of being the best. I do not care what sport you are in, if you are not a little bit cocky, you aren't going to cut it," Aiken not- ed. Fishing has provided some memorable moments for the Sus- sex County resident, including some dicey moments on the often treacherous Indian River Inlet jet- ties. Aiken remembers fishing on the jetties with waves washing over the rocks and schools of stripers at the end of the rockpiles. He shakes his head now, but the fat stripers [rockfish] were too much to resist. Fishing on the jetties, he tried to work his way back to shore when a wave struck him in the chest. "I was in the inlet and my rod was Continue on page 90 Mlchaei Short photo Harry Aiken is a former three-time world surf-casting champion. Delaware Cape Region Fishing Re]tort Striper action hot By Michael Short Cape region fishermen are find- ing hot action for stripers at Indian River Inlet, solid bottom fishing, decent surf fishing and slow off- shore action as we move into a fall fishing pattern. Tuna action has become spotty at best, but the fall species of tau- tog and striped bass are getting ready to turn on. Stripers in Delaware Bay have been slow so far, although they should begin taking baits soon and tautog ac- tion is starting to pick up. Indian River Old Inlet Bait and Tackle re- ports a nine-pound flounder caught at the inlet by John Day. The inlet is giving up striped bass, tautog, trout and bluefish with at inlet: offshore some of the best bets being fresh mullet [common now in the surf], bucktails tipped with plastics and topwater plugs like surface pop- pers. Many of the stripers are keepers and the trout action is good in the morning and evenings. B & R Bait, Tackle and Hunting Supplies said the best striper action is in the evenings. Flounder, trout and croaker are taking baits just offshore of the in- let with top and bottom rigs baited with minnow and squid working, just as they have all summer long. Surf Bluefish, trout and small rock- fish are taking fresh mullet or bloodworms. Don't forget the up- action 1)ag coming Bethany-Fenwick Cham- ber of Commerce tourney. Delaware Bay R & R Sports Center reports that the bottom action is still good in the Delaware Bay. Limits have been caught on flounder at D-B Buoy with mixed bags of sea bass, trout and croaker. It is also report- ed that flounder have been caught at McCrie Shoal and along the ship channel coming out of the bay. R & R reports that trout ac- tion has been hot around the Outer Wall and also at Brown Shoal. Capt. Kelly Racz and the Oster- holms had a successful catch of large croakers in Delaware Bay while Shawn Barber and friends Continued on page 90 SALE $120/Pair regular price $82.50 each J  Prk:es Valid 10/9/98 - 10/31/98; Coupon Required! CG r ..... 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