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OPINION|FLIP PUTTHOFF Wrap the gift of a guided fishing trip

by Flip Putthoff | November 23, 2022 at 5:00 a.m.
Flip Putthoff/NWA Democrat-Gazette Bruce Darr isn’t a fishing guide, but he caught this dandy striped bass on a fly rod in November of 2017 at Beaver Lake. A guided fishing trip makes a great gift for the angler on your list.

Deer hunting and gift hunting are both on the agenda the Friday after Thanksgiving. Each year, the search is on for the ideal gift for the outdoor enthusiasts on your list.

If they are anglers and hunters, there's one gift they likely wouldn't buy for themselves: That's a guided fishing or hunting trip.

In the world of guided fishing, striped bass rule the roost at Beaver Lake. The list of striper fishing guides is as long as a letter to Santa. A simple computer search will turn up several guides eager to get your loved one out on the water in quest of a trophy-sized striped bass.

Stripers can grow to 40 pounds or larger, so it's no wonder people travel long distances to Beaver Lake to catch them. Winter is prime striper fishing time at the big lake, but stripers bite any time of year.

Most guides provide everything, including bait and rods and reels, but the cost includes so much more. Fishing is done from a comfortable boat on one of the Ozarks' most beautiful lakes. Striper guides keep tabs on the fish year-round and know where these big fish prowl. They do their darndest to put their customers on fish so they'll book another trip.

Once your computer search turns up a list of guides, contact them to discuss the details of how to give the gift of a fishing trip. One option might be for the giver to pay the cost, then after Christmas the giftee can get with the guide and arrange a date for the trip.

It's easy to make a striper adventure one for the whole family to enjoy. There's the basic fee for one or two people, but more anglers can join the party for an additional fee per person.

We've recommended this gift idea before and have heard back from the givers. They report their loved ones had the time of their fishing lives during their day on Beaver Lake.

There are fishing guides for every other game fish that swims in Beaver Lake, including crappie and walleye. At the White River below Beaver Dam, guides can be hired for trout and walleye fishing trips.

Farther away, a guided trout trip on Lake Taneycomo near Branson, Mo., can be part of a family vacation to enjoy fishing plus the shows and activities in the country music town. Lots of anglers consider the White River below Bull Shoals Dam, near Mountain Home, to be Arkansas' top trout destination. There are more guides over there than you can shake a fly rod at.

If your loved one is a hunter, a guided duck hunting adventure over in eastern Arkansas, duck capital of the world, will stoke their hunting fever.

In states to the west and north, a guided pheasant hunting trip might be the ticket. This could be ideal for the hunters on your list who also enjoy hiking. That's because pheasant hunting generally requires a fair bit of walking, so there's healthy exercise along with an exciting hunt.

Another plus to booking a guide is there's no running all over town looking for the right gift. All arrangements can be made online or over the phone, and there's no box to wrap.

One idea is to make a special home-made card in an envelope announcing the gift of a trip. That might get your special someone jumping for joy in their pajamas on Christmas morning.

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Flip Putthoff can be reached at [email protected]

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