There are things I can do well and there are things I cant, using a throwline is most definitely one thing I can't! I think a big part of it is lack of patience, I miss a few times or the line gets stuck and I give up grab the ladders and just climb the tree. This has lead to me never developing my throwline skills at all.
So when presented with a job a few years back where ladders were going to be woefully inadequate and the throwline the only realistic option I had a choice to make: practice for hours and hours till I could hit any branch, or buy a big shot...
So this is the big shot, on its own it definitely increased my accuracy and success rate with the throwline, but still wasn't perfect. The trouble was that there is quite a bit of variation in where you hold the catapult, especially when putting it under a lot of tension, this leads to a lot of variation in where the thing ends up!
I spotted a thread on Arbtalk where someone had developed a system involving an archery trigger and a tie down strap to turn the big shot into something you could almost calibrate.
Here I've fixed the archery trigger to the business end of the tie down strap and covered it in heat shrink to tidy it up (my gear OCD again!)
The trigger clips into a 3mm piece of accessory cord tied onto the big shot pull down handle
The hook end of the tie down strap just sits in the end of the pole, I use one 6ft pole for most stuff or x2 4ft poles for really high shots.
And you end up with this:
Sorry bit of a rubbish picture
The tie down strap gives you a 2:1 mechanical advantage with the grab bit capturing progress, so you can set it to the desired tension take aim and fire when ready!
Here's a link to a video of someone else's system in operation
Then the whole lot packs into this old chalk bag for storage
Not something for every day use but it most definitely has its place and has saved me a lot of wasted hours.