Disabled and tiger fishing
Like many of you there are a great many things that I miss from my able-bodied life. Outdoor activities are close to the top of my list and of these fishing has to be one of the things I miss most of all, especially when I look out of my window and a sunny day and see the wind blowing just right.
Unfortunately wheel chairs and fishing are usually not a great combination, changing water levels and rough terrain make access very difficult and often neigh impossible.
So when Philip van Wyk from Tiger Hunters in Jozini invited me to come Tiger fishing I was naturally sceptical, but as I have been aching to go for a long time I couldn’t pass on the opportunity.
Accommodation around Jozini is varied, everything from bare-bone camping to 5star B&B’s is available and Philip is happy to help arrange this according to the individual’s needs and budget.
I drove down with a friend and we opted to stay at a camp-site. At our camp the facilities were simple but very clean. Unfortunately the ablution block had a small step and I needed some help getting in and out but there was many willing helping hands around.
The ground around our camp was very firm and the going surprisingly good. I managed to get around with relative ease.
Philip started our fishing adventure with a little land based tuition and I was grateful to bask the wisdom gained from his 20 years’ experience with Tiger fishing.
With his guidance I was soon into a good sized fish and was surprised at the vigour and tenacity with which the Tiger fights.
Soon that smile that Philip promised me was on my face. The thrill, adrenalin is amazing!
Grinning like a maniac I was ready to go hunt for bigger fish from the boat. Phillips uses a floating jetty to compensate for the fluctuating water levels and to reduce their impact on the brilliantly clean and clear water. Unfortunately floating the jetty makes it a little unstable and in wet conditions slippery, so I was very grateful for a helping hand from Philip and my friend to get onto the boat. If you have reduced mobility and balance problems like I do a helping hand is going to be and absolute necessity here as you wouldn’t want to end up in the water with the hippos and crocks!
Once settled on the boat I was right as rain and very excited to get stuck in.
With the plenty of wild and bird life, sightseeing, while trolling is a great way fish! Having the sun on my face and the wind in my hair I was in heaven, and that was before the fish started biting!
Before long the excitement that Philip promised was realised and I was into another tiger fish well over 4kg!
While discussing the many and varied needs of the disabled community with Philip he mentioned that he was thinking of fitting the boat with a fighting chair (think marlin fishing!) to accommodate persons with back problems or upper body weakness as this would mean that they can be strapped in to enjoy the rush of fighting a tiger in open water in comfort and safety. I think this would be a great idea and I look forward to “testing” it soon!
Thank you Philip for an amazing trip. Enabling and accommodating the disabled community in this way is appreciated and I am sure Tiger Hunters will see me again and again.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE ESTABLISHMENT:
Place: Jozini Dam, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa
Company: Tiger Hunters
Date of visit: 1/9/2013 to 5/9/2013
Owner/Guide: Philip van Wyk
Phone: 072 976 6002
Facebook: Tiger Hunters Facebook pageTweet