In the US, fishing with handicap fishing equipment is a popular recreational activity as well as a significant economic driver. Approximately 50-60 million Americans fish in public and private waters each year. When you factor in the costs of fishing licenses, bait, tackle, travel, watercraft, and other related expenses, recreational fishing alone contributes more than $100 billion to the US economy.
Fishing Abilities, Inc
Fishing Abilities, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in South Bend, Indiana, with the purpose of “helping physically challenged individuals who enjoy the great sport of fishing.”
Recognizing that leisure activities such as fishing can assist people with disabilities to improve their general health, quality of life, and confidence, the organization’s product catalog aims to provide a therapeutic outlet.
This method allows those with limited arm and hand mobility (including paraplegics and quadriplegics) to enjoy fishing.
An aiding angler will first cast to the targeted position before placing the rod and reel in a holder. The impaired angler will be able to control the retrieve with their head once connected to the device.
The BadurMATE Fishing System from Fishing Abilities, Inc. is demonstrated in the video below.
Access To Recreation
Access to Recreation was founded in 1987 by Don Krebs in Newberry Park, California.
Krebs, a former competitive water skier, began the sport at the age of four and competed throughout his adolescence, eventually reaching the adult level at eighteen. Krebs’ career was abruptly cut short when he shattered his neck in a vehicle accident in 1978.
Krebs took advantage of the opportunity to return to school at California Lutheran University, earning a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Business Administration. Krebs wrote a business plan for Access to Recreation after seeing how many people were in similar situations and could benefit from a resource that connected them with adaptive athletic equipment.
By 2007, Access to Recreation has published 200,000 full-color catalogs containing products that might help people with physical limitations, twenty years after it first opened its doors.
Rexfly is a Utah-based company whose name-brand product, the Rexfly Casting System, allows anglers to cast farther, lighter, and more fluidly. The system consists of securing a harness to your chest and pairing it with any single-handed fly reel and rod.
The video above shows that the company has updated this device to help anglers with mobility and dexterity limitations have a better fishing experience.
The Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod and the Rexfly Chest Harness are used in the Adaptive/One-Arm Fishing adaptation. This method allows anglers who only have one arm to cast and retrieve. It also has the advantage of being ambidextrous.
Be Adaptive Equipment
Brian Kyler founded Be Adaptive Equipment, which is based in Columbia City, Indiana. Brian was inspired as a fourth-generation welder and fabricator after meeting someone in 2001 who desired a better, more adaptable hunting gadget.
Be Adaptive Equipment today offers over a dozen devices that improve the whole experience for impaired hunters and anglers, based on the premise that “if you can envision it, we can build it.”
One could claim that the handicap fishing equipment industry has never been hotter, with numerous tournaments at the local, regional, and national level, an unending assortment of large retail and specialty stores carrying fishing equipment, and hundreds of people making a decent living through monetized web platforms.