Fish On:  The Power of Reelin'! Guest Blogger, Cindi Petito

Fish On: The Power of Reelin'! Guest Blogger, Cindi Petito

Engaging in recreational and leisure activities is vital for living a healthy life. Long time friend of Sunrise Medical, occupational therapist, and avid outdoorswoman, Cindi Petito provides us with some fantastic insight on the world of adaptive fishing. We hope this article will encourage readers to live without limits!

In today's world, nearly every outdoor sport can be adapted for individuals with physical disabilities. Over the last 20 years, advancements in manual and power wheelchair technology have allowed engagement in the outdoors; from woods to water.

To take it one step further, not only can people engage in the outdoors, but participate in the outdoor sport itself.

Over the past year, I have been hunting with a good friend of mine who is a C3-4 quadriplegic. The amazing part is he operates his firearms with his mouth using a pneumatic switch. While this technology has been around for some time, it just keeps getting better! Innovation has allowed inventors and engineers to adapt and design other types of outdoor gear, such as fishing rods and reels.

There are a variety of adaptive rods and reels available on the market today to meet various levels of physical limitations, from weak hand strength, limited gross motor and fine motor hand/finger coordination, to absent hand, wrist and finger function.

Here are some of the different levels of adaptive devices available on the market today.


The RECEIVE-ALL is an adaptive device that allows those with gross motor hand function impairments to use a fishing rod with less pain and fatigue. The system consists of an Arm Brace and an Adapter.

The Strong Arm Versatile Rod Holder

The Strong Arm is an excellent product for anyone with limited or no grip. With this rod holder, even lower level quadriplegics can cast by themselves.

(The arm rod holders come in both left and right hand receivers.)

Ken's Power Caster

There are multiple power casters on the market, such as the Ken’s Power Caster. This device allows anyone to fish using hands-free casting and retrieval of a fishing line. This power caster can be controlled with a sip-&-puff, chin control, or mechanical switch operation.

So, what about the boat? The boating world has also stepped up to the plate to allow individuals to enjoy the water from leisure boating to sport fishing. Boat manufacturers are making adaptations available on deck boats, catamarans, and pontoon boats to allow wheelchair users to board a boat with a ramp system.

If you would like to create a custom boat, you may want to reach out to a company that specializes in boat modification. These companies may be able to apply their expertise to adapting a boat for an individual’s needs and safety.

Ship Shape” is a popular TV show based in South Florida. Each week, “Ship Shape TV” teaches viewers how to accessorize their boats, how to make improvements and how to make repairs to their boats. Ship Shape has an active online community where you may be able to find resources and ideas for adapting a boat.

I believe the boating and fishing world came to recognize the need of avid outdoorsman who are in wheelchairs after renowned outdoorsman and television personality from the NBC Sports Network, Tred Barta suffered a spinal stroke and became a paraplegic. Barta is an American hunter, fisherman, and outdoorsman who has amassed several world records. To watch him on TV still enjoying the sport of hunting and fishing is an amazing sight!

No matter the level of physical limitation or disability there are no boundaries in the boating and fishing world!
-Cindi Petito
Cindi Petito, OTR/L, ATP, CAPS

Cindi has practiced as a licensed occupational therapist since 1995 and specialized in the area of custom seating and wheeled mobility since 1999. She became Assistive Technology Professional certified in 2001 after developing a wheelchair clinic in a skilled nursing facility and a community based private practice. Her private practice specializes in the areas of wheeled mobility, complex seating, and environmental accessibility.

Visit Cindi on Facebook:

Thank you for reading our blog! We love hearing from you, so please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We encourage you to leave a comment or send us an email.

Always remember at the end of the day, your client is your number one priority!
- Angie

Disclaimer: The contents of this blog are intended to be utilized as a general resource for clinicians and suppliers to then use clinical reasoning skills to determine optimal seating and mobility solutions for individual clients. Steve and Angie are unable to answer questions from members of the general public including caregivers and end users. Members of the general public should direct specific questions to their own clinicians, medical, suppliers, or other health care professionals.

Posted by: Date: 2/11/2015 12:00:00 AM
Filed under: Guest, Resources
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