I must be getting older, because, I am, by nature, a fair-weather fisherman. When I was younger, I fished hard, regardless of the weather or household responsibilities. When I wasn’t working. I fished, I bird hunted or piddled around with my Lab. I was outside all the time.
I probably was a better, more skilled outdoorsman back then. The tradeoff now is I have a more balanced life. But as I sit and ponder the possibilities of 2018, I’m slowly running out of excuses not to improve on my fishing. Maybe you don’t have enough time to fish, but you can improve as a fisherman.
The avenue to my angling progress sits just a few feet away from me next to my fireplace, almost within arm’s reach of my computer.
Say hello to the TFO’s Accelerator, a fly-casting aid that looks like a miniature fly rod in a slender plastic tube. I’ve tinkered with a handful of indoor yarn rods, but the Accelerator intrigued me even more.
I’ve always struggled with too long of a casting stroke. Some people use too short of a stroke. I cast with too long of a stroke.
I admire how Lefty Kreh can lengthen his stroke and maintain tracking with clean, crisp stops. I, unfortunately, am still trying to find that harmony.
The Accelerator has helped me take the next step, but more on that later. First, let me explain how the thing works.
It’s really pretty self-explanatory. Grab the cork handle and mimic a casting motion. As you do that, you’ll hear a ball bearing roll back and forth in the top section of the tubing. Two clicks from the ball bearing on each part of the cast — the back cast and forward cast — means your timing is spot on. Hear only one click? Your timing or stroke length is off.
As you get more comfortable, extend the handle to imitate longer casts and tug on the rubber band attached to the top of the cork handle to simulate the double haul.
The Accelerator, invented by IFFF instructor Floyd Dean, is largely an auditory device. Yarn rods are visual. Loop formation — or the lack of it — provides feedback. The Accelerator’s feedback is more definitive, particularly for the beginner.
With my long stroke, the clicks initially lacked fluidity. I then shortened my movements, and the bearing flowed in perfect harmony. Incrementally, I lengthened my stroke and the bearing obliged.
The moral of the story: It’s better to start short. I, of course, was seduced by the insatiable desire to see how far I could cast. Longer, of course, is not always better.
Now, after a few sessions with the Accelerator, I can consistently cast farther — 80 or 90 feet — with less effort. Giddy with excitement, I called Dean at his Sausalito, Calif. home. We chatted for about 30 minutes.
A couple nuggets of info emerged from our gabfest. Dean invented the Accelerator about 10 years ago. He’s only had one complaint — that it’s too noisy — but 99 percent of the feedback has been positive. Casting guru Peter Hayes likes it. I like it, too.
Watch Floyd Dead demonstrate the Accelerator here and be sure to let us know what you think about it as a casting tool.