The thrill of catching a fish is just one of the draws of fishing. Angling, as it’s often called, is a great way to relax, socialize, get some fresh air and enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors – even if the only thing you catch is some rays!
If you’re more of a land lover, head out to a public access dock or pier. This gives you the flexibility to fish for an hour or all day depending on the weather and how they’re biting! If you’re not sure if your community has a public access pier, check your state’s government website. Most sites will list piers as part of the outdoor resources available to residents. You may be able to find specifics about the length and width of the pier there. Look for a pier that is at least eight feet wide to allow you to maneuver your chair safely. You will also find information on fishing licenses. Most states require them and offer a special disabled fishing license.1,2
A life jacket or some sort of flotation device should always be part of your gear even if you’re fishing from a pier. That way you’re covered in the unlikely event you find yourself going for a swim because your brakes released unexpectedly while you were reeling in that big catch!1
Options abound if you’d rather get out onto the water. If you’re able to transfer from your chair to a boat you can usually sit in the seats onboard with or without a lap belt for support. If you’d feel more comfortable using your chair, look for opportunities to fish from a pontoon boat. They have a flat deck and in most cases you can roll right on from the pier. These boats are generally available at disabled fishing events or if you decide to go on a fishing adventure through a professional guide service they usually have pontoon boats available too.1,2
Ready to take the bait and get out there for a reel adventure? Here are some terrific resources to get you hooked:
Adaptive Fishing Resources
- Fishing Has No Boundaries is an organization that has 27 chapters in 13 states across America. Their mission is “To provide recreational fishing opportunities for all anglers with disabilities regardless of their age, race, gender, or disability.” You can find a chapter and events near you by going to their website www.fhnbinc.org/
- If you don’t fish on a regular basis or just want to try it out before you purchase equipment, you may be able to borrow equipment from a community resource. Try searching the Internet for tackle lending programs in your area offered by local Parks and Recreation departments, Rotary Clubs and fishing clubs.
- Find a Rotary Club near you by going to their site: www.rotary.org/en/search/club-finder
- Fly Fishing Discounters www.fly-fishing-discounters.com/adaptivefishingequipment.html
- Adaptive Outdoorsman www.adaptiveoutdoorsman.com/
- Achievable Concepts www.achievableconcepts.us/usa_fish.htm
- Be sure to check your state’s Game, Fish and Parks information online to find out if you need a license.
- Disabled Sports USA has a listing of disabled fishing license information for some states. www.disabledsportsusa.org/fishing/disabled-fishing-licenses/
- Armchair Anglers www.armchairanglers.org/