The simple pleasure of casting a fishing line into an open body of water is laden with obstacles for anybody in a wheelchair.
But when the annual Fishing Forever event returns to Heritage Park this weekend, fishermen with a handicap are being invited to Peachland for another full day of outdoor fun.
“People that are disabled, a lot of them can’t even go fishing,” said organizer Al Springer. “There’s no way for them to go, so we’re just trying to make it easier for them.”
Fishing Forever, which is run by the BC Wildlife Federation, promotes the recreational activity of angling, while making fishing much easier to access for people with disabilities.
The event is also open to elderly fishermen.
“There’s a lot of people that maybe were fishing when they were younger and can’t go anymore,” Springer said. “And they’d just like to go fishing again.”
Fishing Forever supplies everything for the handicapped participants – fishing gear, tackle, temporary license, and an accessible location is crucial.
“Doesn’t cost them anything,” he said. “We just want to give them an outing, and we make a little bit of a game out of it by having a derby too.”
Fishing Forever is held in several locations each year across B.C. and Alberta. The Peachland event happens this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. near the shores of Heritage Park.
“Fishing’s special for people, because you never know what you’re going to catch. It’s a surprise when you catch something different. It’s a challenge and anything that’s a challenge is always good for people – these guys don’t always get those challenges sitting in their wheelchair.”
The event will be an even bigger success if organizers are able to recruit more volunteers. Anybody who’s able to donate a few hours on Saturday is being asked to contact Springer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-870-1976.
“We will need people to help with event/derby registration, derby prizes, catch recording, de-hooking, and teaching proper spin casting, baiting hooks in order to fish & doing repairs on fouled lines & reels in real-time,” said Simpson, vice president of the Peachland Sportsman’s Association.