Monday, January 14, 2013

The Come Back Caster - Harold G. Lentz

Casting  Champion   Harold G.  Lentz giving pointers to C.A.  Davies
  Here is a great 1923 photo of World Champion surf caster Harold Lentz and  Mrs. C.A. Davies of Brooklyn, New York. Davies made a clean sweep in all women's events of the New  York Casting Clubs annual Spring tournament. In 1922 Lentz set a World's record in surf casting with a cast of 465 feet.
 Lentz of  Philadelphia, Pa. was a member of the Angler's Club of Ocean City as well as a member of the Dover Fishing Club. Lentz was quiet the celebrity in the 1920's. He was matched up in skills competition against the top athletes of the day. Harold went  up against Pro golfer and one of the worlds top players, Gene Sarazen. The contest setting  was an eighteen hole golf course. Lentz used his nine-foot surf rod and a four ounce sinker,  Sarazen used his golf sticks. Harold hit the final hole , while the pro-golfer  was still far behind. Lentz even took on The Sultan of Swat ,George Herman Ruth. In a pre game exhibition at the Polo Grounds ,New York City, Lentz & Ruth went head to head. Babe with his hickory baseball bat "Darlin" and Lentz with his Surf casting rod. Lentz amazed nearly 30,000 fans as well as Babe Ruth himself, by casting  his four ounce pear shaped lead weight nearly thirty feet farther than Ruth could hit the baseball.
 Lentz even pitted his angling skills against Olympic Gold Medal winner Ethelda Bleibtrey in a 1923 Mermaid angling contest. Bleibtrey was the first ever American to win a gold medal in swimming. In 1920 she won all three  women's gold medals available at the 1920 Antwerp Olympic Games. The mermaid angling contest was the idea of  James A. Cruiskshank, editor of the American Angler. The idea was to pit the strongest female swimmers of the day against Champion anglers. The Mermaid wearing a harness, would be attached to the end of the anglers line. In order to win the angler would need to reel in the Mermaid within the so called gaffing distance of five feet. Despite his casting  triumphs over pro golfer Sarazen and power hitter Ruth. Harold Lentz could not land the female Gold Medalist. Harold Lentz had wonderful and long casting career. Twenty years after his 465 foot World record cast, Lentz made a record setting comeback. On  August 14, 1943 acting as the anchor for the Dover Fishing Club ,Lentz became the first caster to average more than 500 feet per cast in the National Cup tournament  in Ocean City New Jersey. Harold made 5 casts totaling 2,583 feet and ten inches. One of Lentzs' five hundred plus foot casts was launched  in the direction of a passing overhead Navy dirigible that was patrolling the N.J. Coast for U-boats. The strength and direction of  Lentz's cast caused at least one on looker to  briefly wonder what would happen if  Harolds casting weight struck the passing Airship.
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