Hard to believe another year has passed by. Many plans, much activity, and yet still so much more to do.
Technical break-Throughs on the Blind Fishing Boats I and II:
My love of fishing from boats continues to drive me forward with my research and sea trials. Support from interested blind folks and fellow technical innovators from around the world continues to pour in. The goal remains to encourage electronic manufacturers to incorporate accessibility into their mainstream offerings. Two examples of products trialed this year include:
The “Talking Depth Sounder” manufactured by Bead Electronics announces depth below keel on demand, or at specifically selected depth changes or time intervals.
The TacTic audible digital compass provides beep tones with high and low tones to indicate port or starboard drift, increasing in rate in accordance to the degree of deviation.
With respect to GPS, I’m looking forward to testing the new Minn Kota I-Pilot with the GPS track and anchor-point features.
Fishing Tournaments and Adaptive Fishing Adventures:
Five fishing Tournaments were competed in for species ranging from Northern Pike and Walleye, Small and Large Mouth Bass, Carp and various salt-water species. I continue to be blown away by the level of fishing ability fishers with vision loss exhibit at these events.
I organized and/or spoke at 15 adaptive fishing adventures involving a total of just over 600 fishers with vision loss and over 70 recently disabled military vets who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Venues ranged from the Ottawa River and Lake Joseph in Ontario, to Miami Florida and the Outer Banks in North Carolina.
Talking about my experiences on the water and why fishing is a perfect sport for the 14% of the population that live with significant life limitations has taken many different forms.
Maestro and I exhibited at five different sportsman, fishing and other shows in Canada and across the USA for a total of 182 hours.
I provided 14 presentations at 9 different venues where I spoke about the importance of ensuring the sport of fishing is open and inclusive to the 14% of people with significant limitations – including 11 million Americans and Canadians with vision loss.
In addition to regular reports being posted on WWW.BlindFishingBoat.Com and other websites, I had three of my articles published in different mainstream fishing magazines. The Blind Fishing Boat initiative was featured in four TV news items, five radio stations, and over 20 news papers across Canada and the U.S.A.
The following is a 4.5 minute TV news item on the Blind Fishing Boat https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rx2Tq0WDSNc
My largest fish is now a 300lb Bull Shark caught off the coast of Miami using a 20lb Bonita for bait and fought using a stand-up harness.
I’ve mastered fishing with baitcast reels
I’ve established two new personal bests with Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass – both in the 4.5lbs range (got to get me a talking scale).
Discovered miniature aluminium braille clothing colour identification tags that I now attach to my Crankbaits with snaps.
Eukanuba has become the title sponsor of the Blind Fishing Boat initiative under-scoring the important role guide dogs play in my life.
Blind Fishing Boat .Com gained a logo and tag line – “Feel the Bite”.
So many excellent people gave of their time in ways to numerous to mention, and none of the above would have been possible without their support or that of my sponsors. Plans for 2010 are in the works on numerous fronts (stay tuned for several very exciting announcements). Finally, so much depends on support from others, and volunteers and innovative solutions are always being sought.