Fishing Set Up for Manual Chair:
This spring we hired a new fellow to mow our lawn. One morning while he was mowing I was leaving to go turkey hunting. Dean was amused by my looks, all dressed in camouflage with a gun strapped on the front of my wheelchair; I looked like a Somali warlord. Later he remarked to my wife, Marge, that I must really love the out-of-doors, to which she said yes. The following week he told her he was also a fishing guide and owned Dean Meckes Charters and would really enjoy taking me fishing. Imagine my excitement! I had been working on a fishing set up and now was my big chance. However, as Dean and I talked, I realized I would need to come up with a totally different pole set up.
Dean's boat was a Z20 Ranger Bass Boat, so for safety sake I would have to be in the cockpit in my manual chair. He explained to me we would not be casting but rather trolling. The spinning rod, which I would have to use, would have to be kept parallel to the water. After our talk he left me a spinning rod to adapt. Although I came home from the rehabilitation hospital with a manual chair, I rarely use it because I don’t have the strength to propel it. Now it had to be used and a new fishing set up created for it.
After thinking things over I decided to cut a channel into a piece of one and one half inch PVC pipe, just as I had done in my original Fishing Pole Holder. This time it would be attached on the top of the left arm of the chair, so I could crank with my right hand. To help prevent slipping, before securing the pipe I placed a piece of non-skid mesh between the arm and the PVC. The pipe was placed so that the channel extended beyond the front end of the arm’s cushion. Initially, we attached the pipe to the arm with two cable ties and then Gorilla tape. If this was something which would be used more than once I would have secured the PVC pipe to the arm with two large hose clamps. I don’t think I would tape it to start with in order to see if the clamps were enough, but for a one time deal I didn’t want to take any chances.
The fishing pole presented an entirely different challenge. It was not my pole, so whatever adaptations were made, would have to be reversible. My wife purchased a foot long piece of 3/4" PVC which was cut to create a 4" piece. The piece was then slid over the reel's handle with the help of liquid soap. When all the modifications were finished, the rod handle slid into the PVC pipe with the reel brace sliding into the channel.
However, we did a dry run and realized the set up would not work. When the reel was on the inside of the chair arm, it was impeded by my abdomen and because my wrists cant inward I would not be able to grip the crank of the reel in that position. The best solution was to move the entire set up to the right arm of the chair, so the crank was on the outside of the chair and lined up much better with my right hand. All the adaptations worked far beyond my wildest dreams. I was able to hold the handle and crank without any problem.