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Sport And Vacations

Creator: n/a
Date: 1963
Publication: Toomey J Gazette
Source: Gazette International Networking Institute
Figures From This Artifact: Figure 1  Figure 2

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I. Fishing With Rod and Wheel


by Don W. Smith, Route 2, Guthrie, Minnesota


Since early childhood, I have enjoyed fishing more than any other sport. However, in 1952, at the age of 13, polio struck and, apparently, put an end to my fishing. It left me totally paralyzed from the waist down, with about fifty-five percent of normal muscle function above, and a weak left arm and hand. When I returned home from the hospital in the summer of 1954, my father took me fishing with him. I became very discouraged because I found it too difficult to keep my balance while sitting in the conventional boat seats.


After unsuccessfully trying various types of boat seats, I struck upon the idea of putting my wheelchair directly in the boat, placed crosswise between the seats. It fits well in nest of the modern round bottom boats; but I prefer the new fiberglass boats as they are generally wider arid more stable. Of course, I always take along a life jacket.


Thus, having defeated the problem of a seat, I set about finding a rod and reel I could handle. I found that a spinning outfit consisting of a 7' hollow fiberglass rod and an open-faced spinning reel, with right hand retrieve, suited me best. With this equipment, I can cast, troll, or still fish. I have been able to handle all but one fish I have hooked. This was a huge muskie in the 35 to 40 lb. class. I battled it for ten minutes or more and became tired. My father willingly took the rod and continued the battle for nearly an hour; however, this fish proved to be too much for my light tackle, and we parted company. I can say now that just seeing this fish was the greatest thrill of my life.


In recent years, I have discovered I can even enjoy stream fishing for trout. Frequently, where a stream crosses a road, there will be a pool in the downstream side washed out by high water in the spring. These pools are often easily accessible, and, while sitting in my wheelchair on the banks of such pools, I have caught some really fine trout. I am especially proud of two -- one a 13 1/2" Brookie (see photo), and the other, a l4 1/2" Brown.


The winters are very long in the northern part of Minnesota. This meant that from the first of November, until the last of April, fishing was pretty much at a standstill for me; so, this year, I had a fish house built. It is equipped with a small oil stove so I am assured of reasonable comfort on the coldest days and very pleasant fishing.


It's No Fish Story


by Roy Abell, respo


Lots of people went fishing at Fort Myers, Florida, in June, and Robert was among them. Fishing is his favorite sport, and one night he caught 20 fish. That may sound like ordinary fishing, but there is nothing ordinary about the way Robert fishes. In 1952, when he was 12, he was the victim of polio and has been paralyzed from the neck down ever since. Robert's father, Judge Kemper, came up with a unique invention that made it possible for him to fish once more. He lies flat on an ambulance-type stretcher in the stern cockpit of a boat (or on a pier) and a board is secured to the frame across his legs. The fishing rod butt fits into a socket at his chest. Then the apparatus is hooked up to his dad's invention. A spinning reel is mounted on the board across his legs beside a windshield wiper motor. The motor is connected to a 12-volt battery placed at the end of the stretcher. A starting switch is based on the butt of the rod.


His father casts, then Robert takes over, keeping a keen eye on the line, with a string in his teeth, the string being attached to the starting switch. When a fish takes the bait, Robert starts the switch with a jerk of his head and the motor reels the fish in.


One of his specialities is mullet fishing, using red wigglers, in the St. Johns in his native Georgia. On this trip to Fort Myers, he landed fish every night, including several two and three pound trout.


One day the Kempers went out on a 29 ft. boat, and here we'll quote Robert: "It was kinda rough, about like a rocking bed. A big wave hit the boat and turned the stretcher over on its side. My head and shoulders were on the floor, but it didn't hurt me any. We had an umbrella to keep the sun off me, but the wind tore it to pieces. I nearly got blistered, but I didn't."


And concerning his necessary breathing equipment, "halfway to Florida we discovered we had forgotten my chestshell, so I used the vacuum in the daytime and slept in the iron lung at night." He no longer uses the shell, just the lung at night.


One of these fishing trips, Robert hopes to land a tarpon. It wouldn't surprise his friends one bit to see a mounted "silver king" in the Kemper house in Jonesboro.


-- Excerpted from THE ROCK AND ROLL, publication of the Southeastern Respiratory Center


II. Swimming


That's Revolutionary


by Susan Armbrecht, "Head" Swimming Coach, respo, age 24


Swimming to increase strength and mobility in the partially paralyzed is customary. But "swimming" by the totally and permanently paralyzed for pure pleasure -- that's revolutionary.

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