Dear Mr. Euteneier,
Thank you for taking the time to read this email. Please forgive me because I’m not sure what I want to say to you. First let me say that what I have read online about Blind Fishing Boat has touched my heart and inspired me to reach out to you.
I’ve enclosed a photo of someone very special to me. His name is Darwin. He is a 46 year old bass fisherman and belongs to Osprey Bass Anglers club of Ft. Worth, Texas. He is very competitive.
On December 5, 2013 he was diagnosed with glaucoma. Since then he has lost sight on a weekly basis. He has been declared legally blind and lost his job. He battles depression on a daily basis.
I encourage him continually to choose to live and keep fishing. He loves fishing. Fishing for pleasure. And fishing competitively.
This past weekend he did get to go on the club tournament. Another club member drove his boat for him and would tell him the distance from the bank or whatever. And Darwin took third place. I’m so proud of him. The picture enclosed is of that third place win this last April 13th.
Many of his club members are taking him out fishing on a weekly basis. Even with their encouragement he hates being dependant on others.
When I got online I had no idea what I wanted to find. Just information that I could read to him that would continue to give him hope. That’s when I found you and your site. I think it would be a wonderful thing for Osprey Bass Anglers to get involved in Blind Fishing Boat someway. Especially since one of their own members has become visually impaired in a short five months.
At any rate, I’m sure you are a very busy man. But I would greatly appreciate it if you could at least visit their website at ospreybassanglers.com. I wish I could ask you to send Darwin an email to encourage him to choose to live and keep fishing but he no longer can see well enough to read them.
Again, thank you so much for taking the time to read this email. And thank you for creating such a program.
Hi Monica, please excuse my delay for getting back to you. I’ve just returned from a three-week excursion with my family along the Florida GoM coastline. Yes, we did some fishing. In fact, I sight fished with a guide in the back waters for Permit and Bonefish with success.
I think its great Darwin has such a strong fishing club supporting him through these difficult days. I myself lost my eyesight very slowly over many years, and in a way, wished it had happened quickly so I could have implemented one set of corrective measures without having to constantly relearn how to live a regular life.
Darwin will need time to get his feet back under him. It can take at least a year to learn to live without looking.
Talking computers will open up an entirely new world to him, as will a guide dog at some point, but first he must learn to walk using a white cane, which can take some practice — it’s all about using the ears.
Fishing truly is a wonderful sport. Suggest to Darwin that he listen to where his boat partner is casting, and then do the same. Target fishing is going to be an issue, but he will do far better fishing outer weed lines. The name of the game is to feel the bite and to give up on his old line watching habits.
Suggest he use the tip of his tongue to guide the end of his line through the eyes of hooks. I’m sure he can already tie his favourite knots in the dark, so that shouldn’t be a problem. Oh yes, avoid bobber fishing at all costs (LOL).
There are lots of blind people who fish alongside sighted folks quite successfully. Boats are a great equalizer. A very small piece of real-estate that generally stays the same from one boat to another, and once you have pushed off from the dock, not a lot out there that gets in one’s way.
If Darwin ever wants to give me a call I’d be happy to speak with him. I can relate to living with sight, low vision and now no vision.
Please tell him to stay strong — life will return to a new normal, and it won’t be long before he will be getting through entire days without the notion of being blind crossing his mind. Trust me, even though I have six kids and two grandkids, a wife and a job, in addition to all my fishing, there aren’t too many days in a week when life serves up a reality check and I’m reminded that I can’t see.
Please feel free to write or call any time.