JULY 25, 2005 - Posted at 12:35 p.m. CDT
HEBER SPRINGS, AR - Fog rolls in, kissing the chilly waters of the Little Red. I f you listen closely, you can hear the sound of a fly fisherman casting a line. It’s an unmistakable sound, but a skill that takes years of practice and patience. A fly fisherman, rain or shine, lives for that sound – its slow hypnotism, its soothing hum.
The river backs up to Denise Barton’s back yard, and the sound of a fly fisher casting his line is to what she wakes up. It’s also how Barton makes a living. People pay her hundreds of dollars to guide them along rivers in the Heber Springs area.
“As a guide client, you’re looking for a person or a personality that clicks, but, you also want a real knowledge based guide. Somebody who understands the waters that you’re your fishing,” says Barton.
She knows the right spots, and she has the access and the experience.
“There were a lot of women getting into guiding out West and being very successful at it. There were a lot of female anglers, who desired a female guide as well as men. The majority of my clients are men, but some ladies really like taking instruction from a woman. So, that’s been really good for my business,” says Barton.
Denise also fishes for pleasure. She says fishing is a great escape and “very relaxing. It’s very rhythmic – the art of casting.” Barton cast away all her second thoughts about making a career out of fly fishing. N ow, every decision she makes is smooth and calculated, the same way she casts a line.
Many of Barton’s clients are interested in buying property along the river. So, Denise became a real estate agent. Above all, she’s a business woman, but that doesn’t define who she is.
“At this stage in my life with raising kids and stuff, I can’t imagine getting in two hundred days on the water.”
Denise does guide more than a hundred days a year.
“In the name of fishing, you can experience a lot of things all over the country and all over the world,” says Barton.