Rod holder gives Robert the freedom to fish
IT MIGHT just look like a rod holder to most but for local fisherman Robert Agius, his Reel Keen concept offers freedom and independence.
From a young lad, the 45-year-old Hervey Bay resident would take every opportunity to fulfil his passion for fishing until 1987, when a serious motor vehicle accident left him a quadriplegic.
Mr Agius wasn't going to let his disability stop him pursuing his passion for fishing.
Eight years later, and a lot of tinkering to get it just right, his Reel Keen Rod Holder was born - a sturdy stainless steel rod holder that turns his power chair into a game chair in minutes.
"Through different ideas, and fishing on the (Urangan) Pier and trying to maintain a level of independence led me to the rod holder I use today," Mr Agius said.
"It's made fishing so much easier... you're not restricted.
"I probably fish now more then I did then."
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A regular on the fishing charter boat Daytripper, Mr Agius said he could now "get amongst the action".
"I like to get out there with the fellas and try and catch bigger fish and having to hold on to fish like that is really hard, where here, it's all held securely by the wheelchair and I just have to wind it in.
"There's nothing like the excitement that comes with fighting a big fish and if I get a bit stuck, there are always people to help me out."
He said the small online business provided an opportunity to keep him busy while also taking great pleasure in seeing other people with disabilities enjoy the same level of freedom.
"It's great, it really is - to have put the concept together, it's sort of like one of your goals achieved.
"It provides me with an interest and a global avenue for other people to see what's available.
"The whole concept just makes things easier."
He still needs the help of his wife and carers at the Cerebral Palsy League to travel to his desired fishing spots, but once he's there, it's on.
"When I can twist my wife's arm, she'll come and join me on the pier.
"With the level of my disability I always need someone to come along and help me out, but I'm able to fish by myself."
His heaviest fish caught so far using the Reel Keen Rod Holder was an 8.5kg golden trevally.
- Visit http://www.reelkeen.com or visit Reel Keen Powerchair Fishing Facebook page.