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Strange but true: 'Big' Lou McEachern casts over the Astrodome roof

Angler versus Astrodome? How 'Big Lou' followed his dream of casting over the Astrodome in the 90s.

HOUSTON — He has nothing to do with NASA, but Lou McEachern is responsible for one of the greatest launches in the history of Space City.

“Very few people thought it ever happened," said McEachern. "They said, 'Ain't no way.'”

The date? Jan. 6, 1991. The site? The annual Houston International Boat, Sport and Travel Show, where it was Astrodome versus angler 'Big Lou', 37, who stands 6 feet 7 inches tall and weighs 320 pounds.

He was the national champion in long distance casting. One of Lou’s dreams?

“I want to cast over the Astrodome,” McEachern recently recalled.

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When the boat show found out, the challenge was on. At the time, McEachern’s longest cast was 817 feet, a national record.

The Astrodome is 710 feet in diameter and 193 feet high, according to media reports from 1991. McEachern would be casting from one of the dome’s 95-foot high towers.

He later found out, it’d be a one-shot deal. Officials were worried the five-ounce lead weight attached to the line might break one of the Astrodome’s skylights.

"I was being very careful to be sure and get enough height,” McEachern said.

Into a mild wind shortly after noon on a Sunday, 'Big Lou' let it rip.

The weight blasted through the air, hit the other side, and tumbled over the edge, a spotter confirmed.

Did he go over the entire stadium? No. But the cast cleared the roof. Lou had beaten the dome.

“I never had one inkling that I would not make it,” said McEachern.

These days, McEachern, who lives near Beaumont, isn't slinging it like he used to. But his incredible launch will always be a part of the Astrodome’s quirky history.

"There's a whole crowd of people out there that don't believe it (happened)," McEachern said. "A lot of them were not even alive when it happened. Well, best thing I can do is just pull up (the story on) the internet. I'm just happy to be part of it."

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