John "Bam Bam" Hando with his handmade fishing rod that was stolen on Wednesday. contributed

Heartless thief steals 'priceless' rod from disabled tourist

DISABLED and almost legally blind, fishing is one of the only remaining joys in John Hando's life but in the early hours of Wednesday morning a heartless thief stole the "priceless” rod he made and has been using for the past 42 years.

"I made the rod years ago ... it's just a one-off,” said Mr Hando, who is holidaying at Munna Point this week from Brisbane.

The 78-year-old described his 12 foot two-piece brown surf rod as "priceless and distinctive”.

"They probably stole it because they would have seen me fishing with it,” he said.

"It was hidden on the deck (of the riverfront unit) behind a big tree. They obviously targeted it.

"It has a yellow 500 Alvey reel on it that's only worth about $70, but I don't care about that. I just want the rod back. It's priceless.”

He said the rod was a fibreglass hollow seven wrap blank with old white porcelain runners - two need repair and one has been replaced with a Japanese black runner.

"All the measurements of the fish are on it. I've handwritten the measurements in black pen up the rod from the reel.”

His daughter Susan said they had never had anything stolen before and hoped an honest person would return the rod that has immense sentimental value.

"It has broken his heart that someone would do this,” she said.

"Despite the difficulty he has in being able to walk, see or even tie his hooks to his own line, we have been delighted to see him so happy in being able to go fishing again - until this morning when we discovered that his rod had been stolen.

"If you have any information call the police on 131 444 and quote incident number QP1800150371.”

While Mr Hando is adamant there is "a flathead out there with my name on it”, for the moment he'll have to sit on the shore as it swims past.

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