Most disabilities do not prevent people from fishing. There are aids and equipment that enable even the most severely disabled person to participate very successfully
Of course, barriers do exist and these chiefly arise from the difficulties of physically accessing the water, such as loch, lake or river. However, a wide variety of accessible game and coarse fishing is available and the situation continually improves as more and more fishery managers and riparian owners accommodate the needs of disabled anglers.
Piers and jetties can provide accessible shore (sea) fishing while some charter boats have wheelchair access.
There are a number of organisations that promote angling for disabled people and encourage fisheries to provide suitable access and facilities.
Disabled anglers with mobility limitations will experience the greatest difficulties with access. The nature of the environment means that many rivers, lakes and lochs are out of bounds. However, the disabled angler can do a lot to improve his ability to reach the water. Off-road and all-terrain wheelchairs and scooters are becoming increasingly popular and provide their users with a remarkable degree of performance over rough ground.
Fisheries also need to consider providing access to the water for disabled anglers, especially as the Disability Discrimination Act is now fully in force. 'Service providers' (which include commercial fisheries and clubs open to all) are now compelled to 'alter, adapt or remove' physical barriers to access. They have two options - improve bank access, for example by installing level paths and fishing platforms, or provide an accessible boat, such as the Wheelyboat. The advantage of the Wheelyboat is that it provides access to the entire water with only one access point needed on the bank.
However, anglers' needs vary and it is a good idea to contact the fishery first. Making your own enquiries can often produce positive results. Some fisheries may not have specific facilities but nonetheless will be able to cater for your particular needs.
There are useful pages on this website for novice anglers and the information they contain applies equally to novice disabled anglers. The best advice is to always seek professional instruction if you are a newcomer and all good fisheries will be able to recommend the services of a qualified instructor.
If you believe you need specialised equipment, contact the organisations below. Otherwise locate an accessible fishery in your chosen discipline, book a lesson and enjoy the start of an absorbing, challenging, fascinating and exciting pastime!