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ELITE PRO PROFILE: CASEY HUGHES

By Sage Fly Fishing

Casey grew up in the Red River bottoms of East Texas, close to the Arkansas border. As a kid, he learned to fly fish on the tailwaters and smallmouth streams of the Ouachita Mountains in Western Arkansas. While attending the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, Casey frequented the tailwaters of the White River system in Northwest Arkansas. After college, he packed his bags and moved to Montana to pursue a career in guiding. After several seasons of guiding on the revered waters of the Missouri and Blackfoot rivers, Casey heard home calling. He moved back to Arkansas and put his knowledge of boat handling to good use. For the past 9 years, Casey has been fishing and guiding on the Little Red, Norfork and White rivers of Arkansas. Casey guides year-round out of the famed Ozark Angler in Heber Springs, Arkansas.

HOMETOWN

Wamba, Texas

HOME WATERS

Little Red River, Norfork River, and White River

CURRENT TOWN

Heber Springs, Arkansas

LOCAL FLY SHOP

The Ozark Angler – Heber Springs, Ark., and Little Rock, Ark.

TARGET SPECIES

All trout species, carp, largemouth and smallmouth bass

PERFECT SETUPS

The Sage Pulse 490 with a Sage Click reel. A RIO Grand line really works well for the small nymph fishing we do. The Sage Igniter 691 paired with a Spectrum LT and RIO Big Nasty line are great for throwing large hopper patters when the summer bite heats up. The Salt HD 890 paired with the Spectrum LT, along with RIO InTouch Big Nasty Sink Tip, is perfect for big-streamer action on our local rivers.

Career Highlights

Being able to teach people about fly fishing and all things around the sport. It is really rewarding when you introduce someone to Fly Fishing, and they end up having the same passion about the sport as you.

Conservation Work

Casey works closely with the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation in their efforts to ensure the future of high-quality hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities in Arkansas. He does this by helping out with numerous conservation-education programs, providing creative opportunities to develop youth interests in fishing and educating the public on issues important to the future of hunting, fishing and wildlife conservation in Arkansas.

PHILOSOPHY ON FLY FISHING

It’s fun to venture to places outside my home state to fish, but spending time on our local waters is something very dear to me. The great thing about fly fishing is not just the fish you catch; it’s also the preparation of tying flies, prepping the gear, studying insects and the float down the river. The term “lifestyle” has been used a lot in recent years, but I do think it is very fitting in our sport of fly fishing.

One Tip To Improve One's Fishing

I will provide three tips: Practice your casting, practice your casting and practice your casting. I have been fishing for 30 years, and I still don’t practice as much as I should.

Perfect Day

A lot of people won’t say this, but putting a 24-plus-inch trophy brown trout in the boat is tough to beat. I think here in Arkansas, you have as good of a chance to catch one of these monsters than anywhere in the United States. Spending as much time on the water as I do, you realize it doesn’t happen as often as social media would have you believe.

Contact Info

Facebook: @theozarkangler

Instagram: @theozarkangler

Website: www.ozarkangler.com

Email: casey.hughes07@gmail.com

FEATURED PRODUCTS

  • IGNITER Freshwater

  • SPECTRUM LT Core