The day started early for the participants in the Second Annual Fabend Bass Fishing Spectacular on the St. Lawrence River. Rhonda, my nurse, arrived around 5 o’clock so I could be ready for the rendezvous at the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton New York at 7 AM. I’m not quite sure what time my son Mark got up for the hour and a half journey to our house from south of Syracuse. He did arrive at 6:30 and immediately went to work putting the adaptive equipment on my manual wheelchair. The third member of our little escapade, our friend and guide, Dean Meckes of Dean Meckes Charters was already at the Antique Boat Museum when we arrived. Several volunteers, members the Boat Museum staff also came in early to run the power lift that would remove me from my power wheelchair, swing me out over Dean’s boat and lower me into my manual chair. The Boat Museum does a lot of work with the Wounded Warriors from nearby Ft. Drum the home of the 10th Mount Division. These people are always happy to help and it’s a wonderful resource to have in our 1000 Islands community. Last year Dean was very cautious, in the beginning, about the speed of the boat not knowing how I would react to the bouncing around. This year, knowing I could handle the speed of the boat we headed for an underwater shelf about 2 miles upriver from Clayton.
We had a wonderful morning of fishing, conversation and camaraderie. My son and I rarely get a chance to spend time together and I cherish the special time with him. Except for the skills that involve a lot of manual dexterity such as putting the bait on, taking the fish off and displaying them I am pretty much on my own. I probably landed about 12 fish, however, the biggest one broke the line when he jumped out of the water and got away. The fish were not only biting but they were also fighting and I am happy to say I needed no assistance hooking them or reeling them in. If you’re interested in duplicating my equipment adaptations you can go to Handihelp and click on Fishing Set Up for a Manual Chair.