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Man in wheelchair fishing

You can still enjoy fishing with a disability—how the Motability Scheme can help

Fishing is a very popular hobby—and with good reason! Many people find it relaxing, therapeutic and rewarding. There are 45,000 disabled anglers buying coarse fishing licences each year and a further 190,000 people aged 65 and over, many with mobility impairments, who enjoy fishing. Add this to a large number of disabled people who go sea fishing, and it means that there are an awful lot of people who could use a Motability Scheme vehicle to access fishing!

Motability Scheme customer Anthony has always enjoyed fishing, but as his mobility became more limited, he needed a car to continue enjoying his hobby.

“I passed my driving test and went straight onto the Motability Scheme. I really love fishing. If I didn’t have a Scheme car I wouldn’t be able to do it because where I go fishing is at the top of a hill and I wouldn’t be able to get up there. The car gives me the ability to do what I want when I want.”

Here is some useful information on how fishing can be accessible for people with limited disabilities and how the Motability Scheme can help you enjoy this fantastic hobby.

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Terry Moseley, president of the British Disabled Angling Association, loves getting peace and quiet while fishing

How do I get started?

Luckily for keen fishers like Anthony, there is an organisation especially for disabled anglers and lots of support available. Joining the British Disabled Angling Association (BDAA) is a great place to start and find fellow fishing enthusiasts. Terry Moseley is the president of the BDAA and he agrees with Anthony: “Fishing to me is the ultimate pastime. Peace and quiet and tranquility—you couldn’t get a better prescription from the doctor.

“My Scheme vehicle gives me independence and that has led to me being able to help others. I now design wheelchair access for fisheries which allows other disabled people to get out and about. Without my Scheme car, I wouldn’t be able to do any of the things that I’ve achieved.”

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Your Scheme car can be adapted to your needs, for example, this wheelchair accessible vehicle has a wheelchair ramp

What do I need?

In England (except the River Tweed), Wales and the Border Esk region of Scotland, you will need a rod fishing licence to fish for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt or eel with a rod and line. You can get this licence from the Environment Agency and their website is full of useful information. FishPal suggests searching for equipment that matches your needs, such as longer rods for anglers who might have to fish from a high bank with a mobility aid or lighter rods for people with arthritis.

Where can I fish?

The BDAA has a Where To Fish directory for disabled people and lists all commercial Pay As You Go fisheries. WetWheels is a group that provides the opportunity to access the sea in a fun and safe way, using modified accessible powerboats.

Many rivers, lakes and lochs may seem out of bounds, however, Scheme scooters and powered wheelchairs make rough terrain more accessible. Also, fisheries are taking steps to make the facilities more accessible, installing level paths and fishing platforms, or providing accessible boats 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.

Who can I fish with?

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Fishing is an activity that can be enjoyed solo or as part of a group

Joining a club can also help you find the best local spots to fish and can be a way to make new friends who you can carshare with using your Scheme car. A club may also give you the chance to experience fishing and find out if it is for you before you buy lots of equipment. The organisation Ableize has a nationwide list of angling clubs for disabled people.

Of course, if you’d prefer, you can always go out solo with your Scheme car—like Anthony!

How can the Motability Scheme help?

The Motability Scheme enables you to exchange all or part of your mobility allowance for leasing a car, scooter or powered wheelchair. You can use our eligibility checker to find out if you can join the Scheme and request a free information pack to find out more.

Find your nearest dealer to get started with the simple process of leasing your vehicle. The Scheme takes care of breakdown membership, insurance, maintenance and annual car tax, so all you have to do is fill it up with petrol and off you can go fishing!


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