I started fishing at about the age of 2 with my dad. He liked to fish for crappie with a cane pole and minnows. This was the way it was done in Arkansas in 1947. The greatest thrill I had as a young boy was for dad to ask me to go fishing with him. He included me in his trips as often as possible. As the years went by he introduced me to fly fishing for bream in the lakes and bayous in central and southeast Arkansas. I later changed to bass fishing but never forgot the lessons he taught me. Later, fishing was a great way to get away from the family restaurant business and enjoy time together. This carried over to my current belief that fishing is one of the best ways to spend time with a loved one, a friend or alone to enjoy nature and relax. I have probably seen my clients at their best when they leave their daily cares behind and truly enjoy the river.
A friend, who I later blamed for costing me more money than any one person, ( fly fishing equipment, a home on the river , a river boat and numerous trips to the river) asked me if I had ever fly fished for trout. I told him the only fly fishing I had done was the trips with my dad fishing for bream. He suggested to my wife that a gift certificate for a fly rod and reel would be a good birthday gift. Little did she know that would stir a passion in me that would make me want to retire from a restaurant business of 40 years and move to the Little Red River. I came home from a trip to the Little Red one day and told her I had found a river house I wanted to buy. After convincing her to drive up to the river and look at the house, she agreed and we purchased our weekend retreat on the river. This was in 2001 and in 2006 we remodeled the house, sold our home in North Little Rock , retired and moved to the Little Red. My wife is an artist and so we built a studio in our home on the river for her to paint and I guide on the Little Red. I couldn’t have wished for a better way to spend my time. To share a day with my clients enjoying the river and to wake each morning with the river at my backdoor is a joy which would have made my dad proud.
By the way, I later returned that favor of costing money to my friend by guiding his five year old grandson when he caught his first trout on a fly rod. After a great morning on the river as we were motoring back to my river house, the boy told his grandfather. "I know what I want to be when I grow up!! A fishing guide, just like Mr. Greg. Pappaw you will have to buy me a fly rod and a boat!!!" A small payback but well worth it.
He now has the fly rod !!!
I have fly fished the Little Red for about 25 years and have come to think of the river as my home water. Each year has brought a stronger feeling for this river. This caused me to be on the board of Trout Unlimited and serve as president of this chapter in 2009 and 2011. I truly enjoy introducing fishermen to this river and see them return with anticipation of catching more of the Little Red’s wonderful trout. This river gives an angler the chance to catch quality trout and a lot of ‘em. After guiding clients from California to Maine, I hear them say they are amazed at the number of trout they are able catch. My clients range in age from 5 years old (he landed 6 trout on a fly rod) to 85 years young (also caught fish). Men and women, boy and girls, friends, fathers and mothers with sons or daughters, husbands and wives, all have come to the river to enjoy the outdoors. I look forward to you being one of these clients. I hope ya’ll come see me and enjoy the river.