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Kevin Reels it in

When Kevin wanted to re-engage his love for deep sea fishing, he had some ideas of how his fishing rod could be connected to his wheelchair to make it possible.

An accident in his teens left Kevin with C6-7 tetraplegia with only a little hand movement. A tendon transfer operation in more recent times improved the motor skills of his left hand enough for Kevin, now in his fifties, to believe that he could again do a bit of ocean fishing. If he had the right gear of course.

A man of many talents, Kevin is a gemmologist and facets gemstones and has taught cabochon cutting at the local lapidary club. With determination, he set out on his mission to go fishing again.

First Kevin had a special lightweight rod built with a bent butt allowing it to sit parallel to the wheelchair while he fished. He then tracked down a battery powered electric reel to fi t the rod, perfect for his limited hand movement.

All that Kevin needed now was a bracket attached to his wheelchair to hold the rod in place. This is where TAD Volunteer Jim Barrett came to the fore.

Jim listened carefully to Kevin, examined the sketches that Kevin had made and came up with a bracket that is now attached permanently to Kevin’s wheelchair. The rod can swivel up and down and side to side.

Kevin says, “The rod fitted spot on!”

Kevin contacted Jim to make one modification, to add a nylon lining to protect the rod butt from wear. It’s just what Kevin wanted.

The rod holder performed well from the outset. Since its installation, Kevin has chartered a boat with friends from his church to take on “the morwong, snapper, leather jackets and many other fish species” that can be found in the ocean waters of Sydney.

The big test was in rough waters off the coast of Sydney. This led to further communication between Kevin and Jim and a bit of fi ne tuning such as a special locking screw so the rod would not slip out of the holder in rough seas or when he has a fish on.

Kevin didn’t catch a fish on his first outing but now has the tools for success, thanks to the collaboration between him and Jim. Now Kevin just needs the right seas and some hungry fish.

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TAD acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures and to elders past, present and emerging.