Angling for for people with disabilities, particularly those with mobility difficulties, seems to be out of the question simply because most locations are inaccessible or impassable. Whether someone has had a disability from birth or acquired a disability later in life the disability does not need to be a barrier to taking up angling. More and more locations are becoming available as fishery owners and angling clubs make their facilities accessible by installing made pathways, platforms and providing specially adapted boats. There is no doubt that angling provides positive mental and physical health benefits whether it be from the physical exercise or just the comradeship of the angling fraternity and the fresh air. Many anglers say they feel better after a good day out fishing irrespective of whether they catch a fish or not.
Possibly the most accessible fishing is either fishing for trout or coarse fish although there are some beaches and piers that might be suitable. Modern fisheries are certainly the best option with convenient parking, cafes, toilet facilities, well made banks and specially adapted platforms, some even have specially adapted boats. For those with a competitive side these adapted venues level the playing field considerably because fishing isn’t about agility it’s about knowledge, skill and a little shovel full of luck.
The Scottish Disabled Fly Fishing Association runs a national competition from which the top 7 rods are selected to fish in the UK Disabled Anglers Championship, and have demonstrated such skills that they have won the championship 6 years running. (Call John Brice on 01475 568607 for more information).
The British Disabled Anglers Association does stalwart work taking angling into schools and day centres introducing folk to the sport of angling bringing angling into the lives of many people with wide ranging disabilities. Go www.bdaa.co.uk
The Wheely Boat Trust works with many organisation, groups and business to help raise awareness and funds to provide specially designed boats. These boats are design as “roll on roll off” making it possible for wheelchair users to go fishing without having to get out of their wheelchair. Go to www.wheelyboats.org.
Spinfish is collating a directory of places that are accessible to people with disabilities. Go to Fisheries with good access for disabled persons
We will continue to research for our directory and adddisabled accessable locations to it the Directory for all home nations and Southern Ireland.