Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Where To Go Fish When You're Bound By A Wheelchair


I originally wrote this article on July 2nd.  At the time, we had a very small readership.  The subject matter is in my opinion so important that I wanted to give our current readers the info this week as the weather is about to change begin to warm.  May there be many huge fish in your near future!

I fished for a large portion of my life standing in a bass boat or prowling a bank up-right and on two legs.  But for the past 10 years or so this became impossible, and I was limited to a scooter or wheelchair.  This reduced good fishing water for me drastically.  Getting a wheelchair through thick brush or soggy bogs wasn't an option.  I can still be placed in a boat seat, but it is still not what it once was.  As this transition took place I had to become ever creative in finding good areas to pursue my passion of fishing.  I hope my trial and error will help you out in giving you some prime destinations you can try too!

  State Parks can be a wonderful option.  State Parks are usually located on some of the best waters in the country and many times will have a wheelchair accessible fishing area.  Guides who are associated with these bodies of water are typically very accommodating in assisting people with special physical limitations to get out there and chase their passion.  I have also noticed that many of these parks' waterside areas are kept fairly clean in there grooming of lawns and such so that someone in a wheelchair can access the water.  An examples of this is Lake Fork in Texas which is world renowned for being a big bass lake. It has a park on it with an accessible fishing pier.   The lake also has a plethora of guides to contact and work out any details you may require to fish from a boat if that is still an option for you.

The next secret spot I am going to share is one you likely have not thought of, but I have found can be an excellent resource - Golf Courses!  This is not a place you just roll onto and go for it.  Talk with the pro who runs the course to get permission and be instructed on what you will and will not do.  Abide by golf course etiquette and ever watchful for the game that is going on around you.  Let me say this - DON'T EAT THE FISH! AHAHAH! You don't want to turn into the Incredible Hulk and the golf course doesn't want the lawsuit...just saying.  These things aside, a golf course can be one of the most enjoyable fishing destinations you will ever encounter.  As there is very low fishing pressure on these ponds, the fish are typically very aggressive and will hit just about everything in your tackle-box.  Because the courses are very well groomed, accessibility is usually much better around the edges of these small lakes and ponds.  Be alert for the word "Fore!!!"

The next spot is a real, true-blue secret destination but is usually one of the easiest to get permission to fish.  Check your local area for Christian or secular camp and retreat centers.  These places are amazing and hands down one of my favorites.  Lots of people have been to summer camp.  There is always a lake that everyone goes to and catches bream right?  Trust me, that ain't all that is lurking in those waters!  In the camp near my home-town, I have routinely caught bass ranging from four to eight pounds.  I always giggle when someone calls the place the Dead Sea because they have never caught anything but a bream or catfish there.  Believe me, large swimming beasts are located in those 3 acre lakes.  Like golf ponds these camp facilities are typically very well maintained making a great area for my electric wheel-chair to handle the fishing experience.  An added bonus for most of these places is that there is usually a handicapped accessible bathroom in one of there buildings which can be a very good thing.  I have developed a wonderful relationship with the couple who runs the place near my home-town and they have given me freedom to come fish anytime the gate is open...and I do!  I received that freedom by respecting the place.  Don't take big fish home with you - Catch and Release is a good policy for most of these type spots.  I have also helped them out by taking care of the pond over time by aiding in the eradication of certain types of animals they did not desire in their pond.  These little things are huge in building a great relationship with people.

As we wrap up this week's article, I wanted to touch on the obvious locations for fishing from a wheelchair - a farm pond is hard to beat!  If you know someone with a farm pond, there is a great chance they will let you fish it by asking first.  I simply cannot over-state this fact:  People are usually very generous and will accommodate others who are physically challenged with what God has blessed them with so long as those folks are polite, courteous and willing to follow the rules as laid out by the property owner or manager.

As always, I hope this will help you get out there and enjoy the creation a little more.

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