The Grand Finale

The Grand Finale

Guess Who Won The Biggest Prize In The History Of Fly-Fishing?

  • By: Fly Rod and Reel

"I've been having trouble sleeping," confessed Charles F. "Chuck" Duncan, of Vienna, West Virginia, when we spoke to him by telephone for the first time. Chuck's sudden insomnia was entirely understandable, given that fact that he had recently learned that his name had been drawn as the grand-prize winner in our FR&R Angling Expedition Sweepstakes.

The big prize itself, if you haven't been reading us recently, was The Ultimate Fly-Fishing Vehicle, Outfitted by Cabela's-a brand-new, 2003 Ford Expedition customized into a fly-fishing dream machine.The basic Expedition originally donated by Ford was pretty sweet to begin with: Control Trac 4X4 System; 5.4-liter overhead cam engine; four-speed automatic overdrive transmission; four-wheel disc brakes with ABS; air-conditioning with front and rear temperature control; leather captain's seats in front with a third-row bench seat that folds flat into the floor; a SecuriLock anti-theft system; a door-mounted keyless entry pad; and much more. But then Cabela's (www.cabelas.com) pitched in with an array of exciting additions, including a tough but gorgeous grill guard; a Garmin V Deluxe GPS system; a full set of Husky custom-molded floor liners; neoprene seat covers; a molded wood dashboard kit; Husky mud guards; a Cabela's hood shield; an igloo Kool-Mate cooler-and a Cooler/Warmer that plugs into any 12-volt D.C. accessory outlet. And that's not all. Our equipment sponsors, Cortland (www.cortlandline.com),

Diamondback (www.diamondbackflyrods.com) and Hardy (www.hardyusa.com) came through with $3,000 worth of premium fly-fishing gear, including three Diamondback VSR rods in line weights 5, 7 and 9; Hardy Gem Mid Arbor reels rated to carry lines in weights 5/6, 7/8 and 9/10; three Cortland Lines: a WF5F Green Ghost Tip, a 7-weight 555 Rocket Quick Descent Line and a WF9F Tropic Plus Flats Line. In addition, Cortland is outfitting Mr. Duncan with three of the company's Deluxe Vests, and the company's Climax affiliate will round out Chuck's treasure trove with $300 worth of trout, salmon/steelhead and saltwater flies, along with $150 in assorted leaders. Chuck will get to carry those Diamondback rods fully strung up and ready for action in his new Expedition, thanks to the RodMounts company (www.rodmounts.com), which is giving him its new, deluxe Rod Loft Pro flyrod rack. So who is this lucky-though sleepless-guy, Chuck, anyway? He's a 46-year-old pharmaceutical salesman who had been fly-fishing for about 15 years, has been an FR&R subscriber for nearly that long, and is, almost needless to say, absolutely crazy about our sport. Not only does Chuck frequently fish his local West Virginia waters, but he also spends 10 days each year fly-fishing in the Rockies. "Once you get out West, it's like heroin-you have to get your fix every year," he told us. "My favorite river in Montana is the Madison, and my second favorite is the upper Boulder." He is also the treasurer of his Blenner-Hassett TU Chapter, and his very proud of the stream-restoration work his group has done. Our winner tells us he beat the over 20,000 other contestants in our Sweepstakes by entering just a single time-via our Web site (www.flyrodreel.com). "It's funny," he said, "But I had a bunch of Sweepstakes cards that I had torn out of the magazine and I was planning to send them in. But then I just forgot." Chuck is married-his wife's name is Carolyn-and he's got two kids named Jennifer and Chris. Chris is our winner's 17-year-old best fly-fishing buddy. "Chris landed a 20-inch brown at Three Dollar Bridge on the Madison last season. That really was special, Chuck told us. Along with the Expedition and all the gear, Chuck also won his pick of three incredible fly-fishing trips. He has already decided to go Atlantic salmon fishing in July with the folks at Gaspe Salmon Destinations (418-392-6768 www.gaspesalmon.com) in Quebec.

Here at FR&R headquarters, we know first-hand that his choice is a terrific one: in 2000, this magazine's editor landed a 46-pound Atlantic on the Grand Cascapedia river with Gaspe Salmon Destinations' David Bishop and his highly professional crew. Chuck told us that his companion on this summer's adventure will be his son, Chris. "The timing of this just couldn't be better," he said. "Chris will be graduating from high school this year, and this may be one of our last chances to take a fishing trip together." You'll have the opportunity to read all about Chuck and Chris's great adventure in a future issue of FR&R. We couldn't think of a better winner, or a finer end to our Angling Expedition Sweepstakes… Of course, while Chuck Duncan was the grand-prize winner, he wasn't the only winner.

Thanks to Cabela's, we also had second, third and fourth prizes. Second prize was a Creek Company ODC 1220 two-person pontoon boat-available only through Cabela's-and our second-prize winner was Jacob Blanchard, of Colorado Springs, Colorado. The 25-year-old electrical engineering student was surprised and pleased to hear that he had placed in the Sweepstakes. "It's kind of exciting that I won it," he said. With so much good water only a short drive away, the tough question to answer is where to take the pontoon for its maiden voyage? "There's a couple good rivers that I'm going to try and get to this summer, like the Gunnison River, " Jacob said. "My wife and I actually also talked about going up to a couple of small lakes like Turquoise Lake, Spinney, and places like that." Sounds pretty good. The Colorado native has been fly-fishing for about four years and usually hits up the South Platte, the Arkansas River and 11-Mile Canyon. But a pontoon boat adds a whole new dimension. "I've never even done any float-tubing," he said, "so this is goinh to be kind of a new thing for me." Third prize was a 7-piece Cabela's Drake Stowaway rod-and-reel combo in the line-weight of the winner's choice. Our third-prize winner was Alex Call, of Nashville, Tennessee.

Finally, 40 other lucky contestants each won a 14-piece fly assortment from Cabela's.