Jim Chapralis Dies

November 14, 2007 By: Marshall Cutchin

Jim Chapralis, who helped pioneer destination angling and was a key figure in tournament casting as well as the author of several books, died Saturday night after a long battle with cancer.
Chapralis’s passion for distance casting came early in life, as evidenced by his knowledge of the sport and his involvement at a very early age: “Marvin Hedge first demonstrated the double-haul in 1934 at a tournament. The shooting heads evolved from tournament casters. Jimmy Green and Phil Miravalle introduced the monofilament running line. Green also invented the tip-over-butt ferrule system used on almost all fly rods today. Tournament caster Myron Gregory introduced the current fly-line calibration system. Other casters helped to develop rod and fly line tapers, introduced different rod blank materials, and in general contributed heavily to today’s fly-casting tackle and technique. Tournament casting flourished decade by decade, so that by 1950 many cities had elaborate casting clubs. In Chicago, for example, there were eight casting clubs. I know this is true because as a youngster, I would take a streetcar to the different park casting clubs every Sunday to compete.” (In an article on FlyAnglersOnline.) And Chapralis competed throughout his life, winning five Gold Medals at national casting tournaments and even winning first place in the one-hand distance fly casting senior division with a cast of 172 feet at the 2006 Nationals.
As the founder of PanAngling, the first travel agency devoted to finding fishing destinations for world-traveling anglers, Chapralis took the experience of fishing in exotic locations and turned it into a real business. In the process he rubbed elbows with many of fishing’s icons, including Charles Ritz, Lee Wulff, and A. J. McClane, and by all accounts he made friends wherever he traveled.
You can read a sample of Chapralis’s no-holds-barred account of Stu Apte on MidCurrent.
A memorial service for Mr. Chapralis will be held this Friday (11/16) at the Smith-Corcoran Funeral Home, 6150 N. Cicero Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.