Title:
Fishing pole casting air golf game
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus and method wherein differently configured targets and corresponding flags, preferably with numbers corresponding to the hole numbers of a conventional golf course, are arranged relative to a target area representative of a golf course like setting, either indoors or outside, and players use fishing poles with selected weighted castable plugs and attempt to aim and successively cast the weighted plug into each of the openings of the targets.



Inventors:
Hinz, Robert E. (Macomb, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/592917
Publication Date:
05/10/2007
Filing Date:
11/03/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
273/317.2, 273/140
International Classes:
A63F9/02; A63B71/00; A63F7/20
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KLAYMAN, AMIR ARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
The Weintraub Group, P.L.C. (Southfield, MI, US)
Claims:
What I claim is:

1. An apparatus for improving the casting ability of a fisherman in a target area, in the context of a golf-like game setting, comprises a set of casting targets, each said target being substantially flat and having a central opening, the central openings in the casting targets being of a different size from one another and the targets being placeable in spaced apart relation from one another and about the target area, and a fishing rod, said fishing rod including a fishing line having a first end attached to the fishing rod and a second end distal to said first end, and a bait replica attached to the second end of said fly line, wherein the fisherman aims and casts the fishing rod towards a selected one of the casting targets and the central opening thereof, in succession, and causes the second end portion of the fishing line and bait replica thereon to be propelled towards the target opening and in a manner that the bait replica thereon will be received in the central opening of the casting target aimed at.

2. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the target area is generally flat and the casting targets are flat, annular, and include a central opening that is circular.

3. The apparatus according to claim 2, wherein the casting targets are of a lightweight plastic material, and differently colored, and the central openings in the targets vary in size from 24 inches diameter to 40 inches in diameter.

4. The apparatus according to claim 3, wherein the smallest central opening is less than 24 inches diameter.

5. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the casting targets are disposed at predetermined locations of the target area consistent with prevailing environmental features and to optimize the casting skills required to locate the bait replica inside the central openings of the targets.

6. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the target area is located outside, such as a yard or park, and the casting targets are placed at predetermined locations in proximity to trees, ponds, and in association with prevailing surface contours.

7. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the target area is located inside to enable casting practice during inclement weather, such as being in a gymnasium, warehouse or like structure.

8. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the bait replica may be formed into the shape of a fishing lure, or a shaped weight, each being elongated and having an end portion attached to the second end of the fishing line.

9. The apparatus according to claim 8, wherein the shaped weight is in the range of about ⅜ ounce (10.36 gram) to about 1 ounce (28.349 gram).

10. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the fishing pole and line thereof may be that of a fishing rod, for fly casting, or a fishing rod, for spin casting.

11. The apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising an instruction book setting out a set of predefined rules for casting, including how the targets are placed relative to a target area and representative of golf holes, defining what constitutes par for a given target and the points assigned to a player when completing a hole, scoring, and defining how a player wins the game according to the rules of the game.

12. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the apparatus includes four fishing poles, one for each of four respective players, nine annular casting targets, such as to represent the nine holes of a golf course, each of a different color, and the castable plug is in the shape of a fishing lure.

13. The apparatus according to claim 12 wherein the casting targets are of a bright and highly visible color.

14. The apparatus according to claim 12, wherein the apparatus includes a set of plastic flags, one for each respective casting target and each preferably provided with a respective number to correspond to a respective of the holes found on a golf course, and a scorecard for each respective player.

15. A game apparatus, in the form of a kit for use in improving the casting ability of a user when casting a fishing pole, the kit comprising: at least one castable plug, a set of castable targets and corresponding golf hole flags therefor, the number of targets and flags depending on the golf course and number of holes thereon being simulated, scorecards, an official set marker, to keep score, and an instruction book setting out the rules of the game and including helpful information, such as knot tying, casting techniques, and line replacement information.

16. The kit according to claim 15, wherein the flags with numbers on the flag thereon are representative of a hole of the golf course.

17. The kit according to claim 16, wherein certain of the flags are provided with the numbers one through nine.

18. A method for improving the fly casting technique of a fly fisherman, comprising the steps of: (1) obtaining a fly rod with a fly line attached thereto; (2) attaching a fly replica to an end of the fly line, the fly replica being of a predetermined weight and shape; (3) arranging a plurality of annular casting targets about a target area, the casting target having a generally planar lower surface placed upon the ground of the target area and each having a central opening which defines a target area that is intended to receive the fly replica cast thereto by the fisherman; and (4) casting the fly replica at the target so as to permit the fly replica to fall within the center opening of the target.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This is a Completion Application of co-pending U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/733,582, filed Nov. 4, 2005, the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention pertains to apparatus for improving fishing casting techniques in the context of a game and thereby both challenge and potentially improve both fishing success and enjoyment. More particularly, the present invention is related to apparatus and method wherein differently configured targets are arranged in a golf course like setting and players use fishing poles and attempt to aim and cast a weighted plug into the openings of the targets.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Fly fishing has become a very popular sport. It provides a great deal of enjoyment and challenge to anglers everywhere. However, perhaps the most important aspect of fly fishing is the difficult techniques of casting the “fly.” More specifically, it is important for a fisherman to be able to consistently cast a fly replica into a desired location, or “target area.” This location is typically and hopefully near a fish.

The presentation of the fly to a fish is critical to fly fishing success. Casting to the wrong spot may result in no response by the fish or in “spooking,” or frightening, the fish. Neither result is desired since the goal of fly fishing is to convince the fish that an imitation of a living creature attached to the end of a line is a real “fly.”

The most important and effective, yet most often ignored method of improving fly casting ability is practice. An angler can practice casting technique by merely “blind” casting out into a pond or a lawn. Although this form of practice will likely improve technique and help with the pure mechanics of casting in order to truly improve accuracy, an angler needs to focus his/her casting to specific targets. Such “blind” casting will likely do very little to improve casting accuracy.

Not only is such “blind” casting not very useful in improving casting accuracy, this form of practice is not very enjoyable to most anglers. If the angler enjoys the time spent practicing, the angler is more likely to practice and thereby increase his/her chances of fly fishing success.

Illustrative methods and apparatus that provide anglers with a challenging yet productive activity to improve the accuracy of their casting skill are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 2,021,792 (LaBaw); U.S. Pat. No. 4,358,116 (Florida); U.S. Pat. No. 4,976,439 (Kraemer); U.S. Pat. No. 5,110,136 (Land); U.S. Pat. No. 5,657,995 (Howard); U.S. Pat. No. 5,896,693 (Ray); U.S. Pat. No. 5,941,528 (Boivin, Jr.); and U.S. Pat. No. 6,726,207 (Jacobus).

Thus there is a need in the art for an effective, useful, and inexpensive apparatus and method that enables a user to practice casting and enjoy the time spent practicing. The apparatus and method described herein, in both the text and figures, seeks to remedy the problems in the art and provide a method and apparatus for improving the fly casting ability of fly fishermen.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention discloses an apparatus and method for improving the casting ability of a fisherman, in the context of a golf game like setting. Preferably, an apparatus according to an embodiment of this invention comprises

a set of casting targets, each said target being substantially flat and having a central opening, the central openings in the casting targets being of a different size from one another and the targets being placeable in spaced apart relation from one another and about a target area, and

a fishing rod, said fishing rod including a fishing line having a first end attached to the fishing rod and a second end distal to said first end, and a bait replica attached to the second end of said fly line,

wherein the fisherman aims and casts the fishing rod towards a selected one of the casting targets and the central opening thereof, in succession, and causes the second end portion of the fishing line and bait replica thereon to be propelled towards the target opening and in a manner that the bait replica thereon will be received in the central opening of the casting target aimed at.

According to one aspect of this embodiment, the casting targets are flat, annular, and include a central opening that is circular, and the target area is generally flat. Preferably, the casting targets are of a lightweight plastic material, differently colored, and the central openings vary in size from 24 inches diameter to 40 inches in diameter. For greater challenge, the smallest central opening may be less than 24 inches diameter.

According to another aspect of this embodiment, the casting targets are disposed at predetermined locations of the target area consistent with prevailing environmental features and to optimize the casting skills required to locate the bait replica inside the central openings of the targets.

In some applications, the target area is located outside, such as in a yard or park, and the casting targets are placed at predetermined locations in proximity to trees, ponds, and in association with prevailing surface contours. In other applications, the target area is located inside, such as in a gymnasium, warehouse or like arena, to enable casting practice and game playing during inclement weather.

According to yet another aspect of this embodiment, the bait replica may be formed into the shape of a fishing lure, or simply be a shaped weight. Illustrative of such, the fishing lure may be elongated and have one end portion attached to the second end of the fishing line and a second end portion.

In one application, the shaped weight is in the range of about ⅜ ounce (10.36 gram) to about 1 ounce (28.349 gram).

According to an important feature of this embodiment of the invention, the fishing pole and line thereof may be that of a fishing rod, for fly casting, or a fishing rod, for spin casting.

In another preferred embodiment according to this invention, there is provided a game apparatus for improving the casting ability of a fisherman, the game being playable by more than one player and simulating that of a golf course, the game apparatus comprising:

(a) a fishing pole for each player, each having a fishing line and a castable plug attached to the fishing line,

(b) a set of casting targets, each target being generally flat and annular and providing a planar lower surface for placement on the ground of the target area and a central opening for receiving the castable plug, the diameters of the central openings being different from one another, and

(c) an instruction book setting out the rules of the game, including how the targets are placed relative to a target area and representative of golf holes, defining what constitutes par for a given target and the points assigned to a player when completing a hole, scoring, and defining how a player wins the game according to the rules of the game.

Preferably, according to an aspect of this latter embodiment, the game apparatus includes four fishing poles, one for each of four respective players, nine annular casting targets, such as to represent the nine holes of a golf course, each of a bright but different color, and the castable plug is fanciful and in the shape of a fishing lure. The plug is as described hereinabove for the shaped weight.

Further, the game apparatus preferably includes a set of plastic flags, one for each respective casting target and each preferably provided with a respective number one through nine to correspond to respective of the holes found on a golf course, and a scorecard for each respective player.

In yet another preferred embodiment according to this invention there is provided a game apparatus, in the form of a kit. The kit is preferably supplied without the fishing poles and includes the herein above described castable plugs, the castable targets (nine or eighteen, depending on the golf course being simulated), the golf hole flags (nine or eighteen, depending on the golf course being simulated), with numbers thereon representative of a hole of the golf course (one through nine one through eighteen), and the scorecards. Further, the kit comprises an official set marker, to keep score, and an instruction book setting out the rules of the game. The instruction book also includes helpful information, such as knot tying, casting techniques, and line replacement information.

The present invention can also be viewed as providing a method for improving the fly casting technique of a fly fisherman. In this regard, the method can be broadly summarized by the following steps:

(1) obtaining a fly rod with a fly line attached thereto;

(2) attaching a fly replica to an end of the fly line, the fly replica being of a predetermined weight and shape;

(3) arranging a plurality of annular casting targets about a target area, the casting target having a generally planar lower surface placed upon the ground of the target area and each having a central opening which defines a target area that is intended to receive the fly replica cast thereto by the fisherman; and

(4) casting the fly replica at the target so as to permit the fly replica to fall within the center opening of the target.

Other systems, methods, features, and advantages of the present invention will be or become apparent to one with skill in the art upon examination of the following drawings and detailed description. It is intended that all such additional systems, methods, features, and advantages be included within this description, be within the scope of the present invention, and be protected by the accompanying claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the casting improvement aid and game system of a preferred embodiment to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a plan view of a target area for use in the casting improvement system depicted in FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERED EMBODIMENT

Turning now to the drawings, FIGS. 1-4 illustrate a game, generally indicated by the number 10, intended to be played outdoors by one to four players in completing a course similar to a golf course wherein the players arrange a set of annular targets 12, each having a central opening 14, about a target area 16, and utilize fishing poles 18 to cast bait replica or weighted plugs 20, in succession, towards and into each of the respective central openings 14. The game 10 can be enjoyed by children as well as adults. The game is not only in the form of entertainment but also educational, challenging, and useful as an aid in improving the casting skill of a golfer.

Although the game 10 is intended to be played outdoors, it is to be understood that in inclement weather the game may be played indoors. The “golf course” is defined by the players and the casting targets 12 are disposed at predetermined locations of the target area consistent with prevailing environmental features and to optimize the casting skills required to locate the bait replica 20 inside the central openings 14 of the casting targets 12.

When the game 10 is played outdoors and the target area 16 is in a typical yard or park, the casting targets are placed at predetermined locations in proximity to trees “T”, ponds or water bodies “W”, and in association with prevailing surface contours “C”.

In other applications, the game may be played indoors, such as in a gymnasium, warehouse or like high ceiling structure, to enable casting practice during inclement weather and year round game playing capability.

The casting targets 12 come in a set of nine or eighteen annular discs, the number of targets of each set being representative of a nine hole or eighteen hole golf course. Preferably, each target 12 is annular, has planar (flat) upper and lower surfaces 12a and 12b, and a central opening 14. The target 12 is adapted to have one surface 12a and 12b placed flat atop the target area and is of sufficient weight to remain in place.

In the embodiment shown, the annular casting targets 12 are of a polymeric material, of a color intended to be highly visible in grass but different in color from other targets, and have a central opening 14 in the form of a circle. Important to this invention is that the diameters of the central openings 14 of the casting targets 14 of each set of casting targets (i.e., whether nine or eighteen in number) are different from one another. In one application, the diameters ranged from 24 inches diameter to about 40 inches.

In some games, one or more of the casting targets 12 may be identical to one another as to the diameter of the central opening 14. Further, in some games, for greater challenge, the size of the diameters may be less with the smallest central opening 14 having a diameter that is less than 24 inches.

According to an important feature of this invention, the fishing pole 18 and line 22 thereof may be that of a fishing rod, used for fly-casting, or a fishing rod, used for spin casting. In either situation, the fishing line 22 has a first end 22a attached to the fishing pole 18 and a free or second end 22b distal to the first end 22a, and the bait replica 20 attached to the second end 22b of the fishing line 22.

The bait replica 20 may be formed into the shape of a fishing lure, or simply be a shaped weight. As such, the fishing lure may be elongated and have one end portion attached to the free end 22b of the fishing line 22 and a second end portion.

In one application, the bait replica 20 is that of a shaped weight, which is in the range of about ⅜ ounce (10.36 gram) to about 1 ounce (28.349 gram).

The game apparatus 10 preferably includes a set of plastic flags 26, one for each respective casting target 12 and each flag preferably provided with a respective number one through nine, to correspond to respective of the holes found on a nine hole golf course, or nine to eighteen, to correspond to a respective of the holes found on an eighteen hole golf course.

Additionally, the game apparatus 10 includes a scorecard 30 for each respective player “P”, and an official set marker 32, to keep score, and a game instruction book 34. The instruction book 34 sets out the rules of the game, including defining (i) how the game is played, (ii) where the targets are placed relative to a target area and representative of golf holes, (iii) what constitutes par for a given target and the points assigned to a player when completing a hole, (iv) scoring, and (v) defining how a player wins the game according to the rules of the game. The instruction book 34 may also include helpful information, such as knot tying, casting techniques, and line replacement information. Other game rules or information may be included where helpful or to define other game arrangements.

In completion of a game, the targets 12 are placed about the target area. Play begins from the course starting point “SP”. Players in turn aim and cast their fishing rod 18 towards successive of the casting targets 12 and the central opening 14 thereof. The casting causes the second end portion 22b of the fishing line 22 and bait replica 20 thereon to be propelled (i.e., played out) towards the central opening of the selected target, hopefully in a manner that will cause the bait replica 20 thereon to be received in the central opening of the casting target aimed at. Any bait replica 20 landing in the central opening will finish the “hole” for that player.

In one set of game instructions, a score is recorded for the number of attempts taken to achieve the above result for each “hole”. Each “hole” result is given a “par” value from 3-5, based on the difficulty of the course set up. The distance of the hole (target 12) from the starting point (usually about 15 to about 40 feet), the hole diameter, and any obstacles (trees, boulders, shrubs, water, natural or manmade barriers, etc.) will allow players to vary difficulties of holes and create the “par” values.

The player will take one or more “casts” at each hole (target ring) up to the par number. If a cast is not successful in a number of attempts, less than or equal to the par, the player shall be accorded a score of one over par and the hole shall be complete for that player.

Each successive hole shall begin from the spot of each previous hole's target 12. At least one foot shall touch the previous target for attempts at the next successive hole. The player will continue the process for the full nine (eighteen) holes.

The player completing the nine hole course with the lowest score is the winner.

Preferably, the game is played by four players.

In another preferred embodiment according to this invention, there is provided a game apparatus 10 for improving the casting ability of a fisherman, the game being playable by more than one player and simulating that of a golf course. The game apparatus comprises (a) a fishing pole 18, one for each of four players, (b) a set of casting targets 12, as described hereinabove, and (c) a game instruction book outlining the rules of the game. Importantly, the diameters of the central openings of the different casting targets 12 are different from one another.

In yet another preferred embodiment according to this invention there is provided a game apparatus, in the form of a kit. The kit is preferably supplied without the fishing poles and includes the herein above described castable plugs 20, the castable targets 12 and golf hole flags 26 (nine or eighteen, depending on the golf course being simulated), the scorecards 30, the official set marker 32 to keep score, and the game instruction book 34.

The present invention can also be viewed as providing a method for improving the fly casting technique of a fly fisherman. In this regard, according to the elements described herein above, the method can be broadly summarized by the following steps: (1) providing a fishing rod 18 with a fly line 22 attached thereto; (2) attaching a fly or bait replica 20 of a predetermined weight and shape to an end of the fly line; (3) arranging a plurality of annular casting targets 12 about a target area 16 with a lower surface thereof placed upon the ground of the target area, each target having a central opening 14 that is intended to receive the bait replica 20 cast thereto by the fisherman; and (4) casting the fly 20 at the target 12 so as to place the fly replica within the center opening of the target.

Although a particular embodiment of the invention has been described in detail for purposes of illustration, various modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the invention is not to be limited, except by the appended claims.