Posted by: socalsalty | February 11, 2011

Touring the Accurate Factory: Part I

There have been several surprises as I’ve started to learn about the fishing scene here in SoCal.  One surprise was that sportfishing as we know it today, getting on a chartered boat specifically for recreational fishing, actually started here in the early 20th century with boats headed out to Catalina Island.  Another is that San Diego is home to the largest sportfishing fleet in the world!  As I started to learn these things, it became less a surprise that SoCal happens to be home to many of the famous brands of fishing equipment.  Accurate Fishing Products is one of these companies.

Matt with Mr. DeMarco's record Roosterfish

I contacted Accurate because I really like their reels, and because their story intrigued me.  How did a company involved in making airplane parts become one of the most coveted brands of fishing gear? I contacted them cold, and Matt Harper kindly got back to me.  We arranged a time and I met Matt to take a tour of Accurate Fishing’s facility in Corona, CA.

Robotic arm for a CNC milling machine

Accurate Grinding and Manufacturing was founded in 1950 in Boyle Heights, by Michael DeMarco.  The company produced parts for the burgeoning aerospace industry.  Mr. DeMarco was also an avid fisherman.  He caught a record 57lb roosterfish (caught on only 17lb tackle!) and achieved a lifetime billfish super slam in 1985 (catching 1 each of 5 species: Blue/Black/Striped marlin, Sailfish, Swordfish).  In 1970, Michael’s son Joe and son-in-law, Jack Nilsen assumed control of the company as it continued to produce precision machined parts for the aerospace and defense industries.  Under Joe and Jack,  Accurate entered into the CNC (computer numeric controlled) machining age.  This company is truly a space age manufacturer!  Matt gave me a great stat.  He said, “A 1000th is splitting a human hair 10x.  Accurate’s tolerances for their parts is 3000ths.”  Wow!

Penn 500 Accurate conversion (courtesy of Stripers Online)

In 1990, as the airplane business was slowing down (Salty grew up in Seattle with Boeing, so I’m attuned to this industry), Accurate started developing gaff hooks for the long range tuna boats.  One of these boats was the Qualifier 105 who they continue to have a relationship with today…running Accurate led trips (Qualifier 105 schedule).  The gaffs became popular amongst the pro fishing community…establishing the brand name in fishing.  It wasn’t until 1993 though when Jack’s twin boys, Dave and Doug Nilsen  led Accurate into the consumer fishing market.  This was the year they designed and brought to market conversion kits for popular Penn reels, starting with the classic Jigmaster 500.  The kits were a hit and continue to be a hot item on eBay (they were discontinued in the early 2000’s).  Accurate made their big statement in the fishing market when they introduced their first reel, the ATD 30 in 1997.  Twins Dave and Doug designed the now signature Twin Drag feature of Accurate reels and were awarded a US patent on their invention.

Tune in next time for a  peek inside the manufacturing process at Accurate.  If you leave a comment and ask nice, I’ll let you in on a secret about the now discontinued Accurate/Penn kits 😉



  1. […] Touring the Accurate Factory: Par&#1… […]

  2. please bring the accuplate back for the jigmaster!!!! thank you!!!

    • James, email and he may be able to hook you up. They have some NOS kits still sitting on the shelf that they want to sell.

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