Whatever Floats Your Boat

There are many things I enjoy doing in my free time, but my favorite way to pass the time in spring and summer is fishing.  To begin with fishing helps me relax.  Sometimes after a stressful day, I grab my fishing pole and paddle my canoe up Moro Bay to places that motor boats seldom venture.  I like to go just before sunset when the water is still and the cypress trees take on a ghostly appearance. I don’t always go to catch fish; sometimes I like the solitude that nature offers.  It is a spiritual feeling that calms the soul.

It's always relaxing moving through the quiet backwaters at Moro Bay.

It's always relaxing moving through the quiet backwaters at Moro Bay.

Still, I enjoy fishing with other people as well.  In my youth, the hot summer days I spent fishing with my best friend Robert cannot easily be counted.  On several occasions Robert would wade out chest deep and grab a catfish with his bare hands while I reeled it in.   I still enjoy fishing with my father.  There are days when we do not catch a fish but that never keeps us from trying again.  Fishing for me has become more about the experience than catching my limit.  While fishing I have established two lifelong relationships.   One is with my best friend Robert.  He is like a brother to me

Nothing goes together like kids and fishing.

Nothing goes together like kids and fishing.

because our friendship cannot be broken.  The other is with my father.  I know that when he dies I will remember all the good times we had fishing and store those warm memories in my heart.  In the future I will reflect on the good advice he gave me on the long rides to the lake and pass it on to my children.

A reason to smile.

A reason to smile.

As a Park interpreter and now a Park Superintendent I have been able to share the experiences of fishing with a number of visitors.  Sometimes the experiences are with children who attend a day camp. I enjoying fishing with the kids who know how to fish and helping them become better at it.  However, I like to work with the kids who have never caught a fish before even more.  The look on child’s face when they reel in a slimy fish for the first time is priceless.  Many times they forget to reel and instead run backwards up the bank until the fish is dragged in.  In my time here at Moro Bay State Park I have seen some awesome fishing experiences.  Often times my role in them has been small.  In these photos all I did was say congratulations and took a picture.

Quality family time and a big 'ol fish!

Quality family time and a big 'ol fish!

I love to catch big fish.  However, these days I find myself more excited watching the next generation make memories like the ones I made when I was their age.  This is what our Perch Jerk Classic Fishing Tournament is about and this is one of the reasons many people visit Moro Bay State Park.

Another beautiful sunset at Moro Bay State Park.

Another beautiful sunset at Moro Bay State Park.

Paul Butler, Park Superintendent

Paul Butler, Park Superintendent

Paul Butler grew up in the Suburbs of Little Rock.  In 1999 he went to college at the University of Arkansas at Monticello to play baseball.  He worked for the fisheries department of The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission for three years in college performing fish sampling and other duties as assigned.  In May of 2005 he received a degree in Wildlife Management and began his Career with Arkansas State Parks that same month as a seasonal Interpreter at Cane Creek State Park.  In August of 2005 he was hired as the full time Interpreter for Moro Bay State Park.  In July of 2009 Paul became Superintendent of Moro Bay State Park.

7 Responses to Whatever Floats Your Boat

  1. Drew says:

    Great little site. I live in Texas and you guys are right around the corner was thinking about coming to visit I have always heard other talk about how great the lakes and rivers are. Currently I work out at waterpoint marina and lake conroe is a good lake but think I may need a change.

  2. Tela says:

    Paul-Great story! I’ve heard many positive comments about the cabins at Moro Bay and look forward to checking one out. Let us know when you guys will be doing kayak tours.

  3. Keith Covington says:

    Arkansas State Parks are a wonderful place to make memories. The state park staff look at their jobs as a privilege. We not only get to help others make memories, but we create a lot of memories of our own in the process. People have different abilities and interest which make state parks the perfect place to go. Fishing is one of many enjoyable activites available at Moro Bay State Park.

  4. Bobbie says:

    I enjoyed reading your story. It takes me back to summers I spent growing up in south Arkansas. My family did a lot of camping and fishing, some of it in Arkansas State Parks.

  5. Rachel Fox says:

    Paul, this blog is awesome. I love how you’re sharing your memories of fishing with Robert & Dad. I also have some fond memories of fishing with you & Dad @ The Little Red River. So cold, but so fun. And nothing is better than freshly caught rainbow trout on the grill. Keep up the blogging. Can’t wait to visit Moro Bay in July.

  6. Richard Forbess says:

    Thanks for this and all of the other AR State Park posts in the past. I look forward to reading all of them as they come in! They are so positive and so well written. Bless you all. You are all doing a great job.

  7. Rich Roy says:

    This is an excellent story! We are so fortunate to have such great staff working in our outstanding park’s system.

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