Greg Seaton’s love affair with fly fishing seemingly knows no bounds. The call of the stream is so strong, it pulled him out of a 40-year career in the restaurant business to open Little Red Fly Fishing Guide Service in Cleburne County and to serve on the board of his local Trout Unlimited chapter, twice as its president. And he’s never looked back.
By: Lacey Thacker Photography: Deede Phelps
So how did this fishing obsession come about?
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. As the years went by, he introduced me to fly fishing for bream in the lakes and bayous in central and southeast Arkansas.
When did trout enter the picture?
A friend, who I blame for costing me more money than any one person, 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 the restaurant business of 40 years and move to the Little Red River.
That’s quite a gesture of devotion.
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.
What do you like best about your life as a guide?
Having fly fished the Little Red for about 25 years, I’ve come to think of the river as my home water. I truly enjoy introducing fishermen to this river and seeing 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.
What’s the range of your clients?
I’ve guided clients from California to Maine and Brazil to Estonia, ranging in age from 5 years old to 85 years young. Men and women, boys and girls, friends, fathers and mothers with sons or daughters, husbands and wives, all have come to the river to enjoy the outdoors.
What do you do for a hobby when fishing is your job?
I have found fly fishing to be my most rewarding and relaxing sport from a lifetime of hunting, fishing and tennis. I have now traded my shotgun and racquet for another fly rod or two and enjoy fly fishing year around.