Fourteen years ago, a car crash left Chris paralyzed from the chest down—but he didn’t let that keep him from fishing.
The article for this video is from Field & Stream magazine. It is more about Pay Lakes than the awesome assistive technology that helps Chris fish again. For more information about Elec-Tra-Mate Fishing Reels visit elec-tra-mate.com
We get it: Many of you don’t like pay lakes. We share some of the same concerns. No sportsman wants to see trophy catfish removed from wild waters and dumped into a pay lake. Like many of you, we would rather fish for wild cats in lakes or rivers. But for some anglers, pay lakes are the best, if not the only, option they have.
We set out to tell the stories of this unique culture of catfishermen in a few of our #CatfishWeek videos. Those who rushed to assume, or accuse, that we’re promoting pay lakes either didn’t watch the videos or missed the point. Nowhere have we offered any endorsement of pay lakes. What we have done is capture some nice moments from some genuine fishermen.
Like the excited boy who landed a good eating-size catfish, and promptly got a high-five from another angler.
Or like the man who said on the days when he catches a lot of fish, he keeps some for his family to eat, and then donates the rest to his church.
Or like the man in this new video above. His name is “Catfish” Chris Lanham. Fourteen years ago, he was in a car crash that left him paralyzed from the chest down. As he says in the video, “Fishing’s has always been my go-to, something I live for.” For a long while after the accident, Chris couldn’t fish—not until he and his grandpa built an ingenious rig that allows him to cast and reel. In the video, he happens to be fishing a pay lake—maybe because it gives him better access in his wheelchair or because he simply likes fishing there. Whatever the reason, are you going to think less of him for fishing at a pay lake? Are you going to bash the lake owner who gives a guy like Chris the opportunity to fish?
Before you answer, please watch the video. Pay attention to the joy on Chris’s face when he catches a fish. Pay attention to how a fellow angler gladly helps him unhook that fish. If that scene seems familiar, it’s because anyone who’s fished long enough can appreciate moments like that—whether they happen on a city pay lake or a wilderness stream.
“Ain’t nothing better than telling a story and catching a fish,” the fellow angler in the video says.
Are you going to argue with that?
Love them or hate them, pay lakes exist. They have their problems, but they also attract a unique culture of passionate fishermen—fisherman with good stories that we believe are worth sharing.
Michael R. Shea
Field & Stream