Fishing with a Prosthesis
by Amber Henson, on Mar 29, 2022
Ah, fishing. A chance to get back to nature and an opportunity to catch your own dinner. In this article, we’ll be discussing two different ways to fish – out of the water, such as from the side of the river, and in the water, when you’re in a boat or wearing waders. Either approach requires different thinking about which device will perform best and not be damaged. We’ll also discuss which devices are best for handling bait and give a tip for how to tie knots.
When fishing out of the water, your main concern is how you’re going to hold and control the fishing rod – there is little worry about getting your prosthesis wet. For our patient Sam Rosecrans, who has a shoulder level amputation, he can hold the rod with his multi-articulating bebionic hand and control the reel with his sound hand.
In the background of the above photo, you can see our patient, Tom Seibert. Here, Tom is holding his rod in his iLimb hand.We'll see Tom again in a moment, fishing in the water. Since neither Tom nor Sam plan on getting wet, their myoelectric hands work just fine for them. Most myoelectric devices should not get wet. Myoelectric hands may also not be ideal for casting, as the grip may not allow for you to cast as you’d like.
Our patient Alex Krueger (pictured below and at the top of the article) prefers to cast with his sound hand and reel with his activity-specific prosthesis (which he also uses for shooting). One of the benefits of an activity-specific device is the efficiency it brings to a task – another is that it can be waterproof so that you don’t have to worry about getting it wet.
When Tom fishes in the water, he favors his activity-specific device as well. He prefers to use the reel with his sound hand because his device is different from Alex’s. This prosthesis allows Tom to cast the way he wants and then hold the rod steady. Tom uses the same device for other activities, which you can see in his patient profile video.
Tom also has the option of holding the rod with his sound hand and using his body-powered hook for reeling:
Handling bait sometimes requires getting your prosthesis wet, but always requires a fine motor pinch to hold on to what you’re using. The TASKA is the only multi-articulating hand that can get wet while also providing the pinch action of a sound hand. An ETD is an excellent option as well since the tines can get wet, and it has a feature that allows for a very gentle grip, meaning you won’t squish your bait. A body-powered hook is another option, but it can be a little more difficult to control the pressure when closing the tines.
Lastly, when it comes to tying knots, your best bet might be a quick knot tool – just type ‘quick knot tool’ into your search engine and check out what comes up. It can make it much easier to tie knots with your sound hand and prosthesis.
There are many options available for people who want to go fishing, and it really comes down to preference. We recommend speaking with a prosthetist about your specific fishing habits and how your prosthesis can best support you when you’re in the water or right next to it.
Please feel free to contact us and ask about scheduling a complimentary in-person or video consultation with our clinical team to discuss your goals. If fishing is your hobby and you have some advice for your peers, please leave a comment below. Thanks for reading and happy fishing!
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