Motorized reel designed to empower disabled anglers

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 24, 2014 - 8:59 PM

A dentist was inspired to make a reel to help his son.

The smallmouth bass hit Todd Kemery’s lure with a vengeance.

“It fought like a monster; I was afraid I was going to lose it because it kept going under the boat,” said Kemery, a quadriplegic Marine veteran who normally has difficulty holding a rod and reeling in a fish.

But not this day.

Kemery boated the big bass recently with the push of a button from a new motorized reel developed by a Brainerd man.

“It’s amazing. I was very impressed,” said Kemery, sports director for Minnesota Paralyzed Veterans of America.

Which pleases Dr. Roland “Doc” Kehr, the 70-year-old Brainerd dentist who developed and is selling the M-POW-R fishing reel as an aid to disabled anglers. His slogan: “Battery powered reels that empower the disabled.”

Kehr (pronounced “care”) has a son, Nathan, with cerebral palsy who is unable to use his left arm and hand.

“He can cast with his right arm and reel with his right hand, but he can’t do both simultaneously,” said Kehr. For years Nathan fished using a motorized reel built by a company that long ago went out of business. It worked, but it couldn’t bring in anything much heavier than the lure, Kehr said.

Kehr, who was part-owner of the Lindy-Little Joe Fishing Tackle Co. for 28 years and developed two lures for the company, figured that with the technological developments in batteries and motors, he could improve upon the design.

So 2½ years ago, Kehr began working on a motorized reel, tapping the knowledge and advice of local friends, anglers and entrepreneurs Al Lindner, Dan Sura, Dave Csanda and Jeff Zernov.

“One of the four motors we tested had enough power and torque for Nathan to pull in 19- and 23-inch walleyes,” Kehr said. “That changed my whole perspective of what we were going to do.”

Kehr’s M-POW-R device is a spinning reel-graphite rod combination that includes 10-amp motor, 4-amp rechargeable battery, charger and speed control. It also can be plugged into a boat’s power system. The package sells for $599.99.

He’s developing a harness kit that will allow anglers to mount the power reel on any fishing rod, including a fly rod or ice-fishing rod.

Kehr believes he’s built the better mousetrap.

“It’s light and it’s balanced. And it works,” he said.

The battery should last four to six hours of retrieving a crankbait or spinnerbait, less if the angler is reeling in lots of fish. The reel will haul in smaller fish with a push of the button; anglers can pump the rod and use the reel to take up the slack for larger fish.

Kehr believes a variety of people will find the device helpful.

“The potential is astounding,” he said. “There are 34 million people with hand-arm disabilities,” ranging from disabled veterans to those with arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome.

  • related content

  • Dr. Roland Kehr, a Brainerd dentist, developed his M-POW-R motorized reel for his son, Nathan, who has cerebral palsy and is unable to use his left arm and hand.

  • Kehr shows how his M-POW-R motorized reel works. A push button on the rod (near his right thumb) activates the motor, which is powered by a battery pack attached to Keh’r waist. A controller adjusts the speed of the retrieve. Kehr developed the device to help disabled anglers fish. “It works,’’ he said.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Philadelphia - R. Hernandez 6:05 PM
Washington - D. Fister
Seattle - R. Elias 6:05 PM
Baltimore - W. Chen
Texas - J. Williams 6:05 PM
Cleveland - D. Salazar
Colorado - F. Morales 6:08 PM
Detroit - J. Verlander
Cincinnati - M. Latos 6:10 PM
Miami - J. Cosart
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong 6:10 PM
NY Mets - J. Niese
LA Angels - M. Shoemaker 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Hellickson
NY Yankees - C. Capuano 6:10 PM
Boston - A. Ranaudo
Minnesota - L. Darnell 7:10 PM
Chicago WSox - C. Sale
Toronto - J. Happ 7:10 PM
Houston - C. McHugh
Milwaukee - W. Peralta 7:15 PM
St. Louis - A. Wainwright
Kansas City - J. Guthrie 8:35 PM
Oakland - S. Gray
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez 8:40 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Atlanta - M. Minor 9:10 PM
San Diego - E. Stults
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - D. Haren
NY Giants 8/3/14 7:00 PM
Buffalo
Philadelphia 7:00 PM
Sporting Kansas City
Winnipeg 27 FINAL
Hamilton 26
Toronto 6:00 PM
Montreal
Brt Columbia 9:00 PM
Calgary
Saskatchewan 8/2/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/7/14 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Edmonton 8/8/14 6:00 PM
Montreal
Hamilton 8/8/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/9/14 6:30 PM
Calgary
Connecticut 7:00 PM
San Antonio

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the Twins replace Ron Gardenhire?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close