Tuesday, July 2, 2024

๐—™๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—บ ๐—ข๐—ป๐—ฒ ๐—ฆ๐—บ๐—ฎ๐—น๐—น ๐—ฆ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—š๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐——๐—ฒ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป


Elmo Hurst was one of the first guides and outfitters in the Upper White River region in Arkansas. Elmo possessed a profound expertise with the White River, having navigated its waters extensively. Hurst established the benchmark for guides and outfitters in the region, predating the construction of dams and the development of the fishing tourism industry. 
Elmo was born near Lone Rock, Arkansas, but when he was just 9 months old, his family relocated to the Cotter area. After graduating from Cotter High School in 1929, Elmo attended Jonesboro State A&M, today ASU in Jonesboro. Elmo graduated with a degree in Animal Husbandry and Agriculture.
After returning home, Elmo began working with his father as a farmer and ferrying people across the White River on the Denton Ferry. It was a 24/7 job until Cotter’s Ruthven Bridge was completed & the toll on its passage was lifted. Denton Ferry was no longer in demand, and Elmo decided it was time to take people fishing.
Elmo married Lucille Marsden on July 28, 1933, and they started the Hurst Fishing Service in the same year. Perched atop the White River's embankment, on the Baxter County side, Elmo and Lucille lived in a house with sweeping views over the White River. Their house was accessible by a set of long, meandering concrete stairs leading down to a launch area. Today, these steps bear the marks of long and frequent use.
Despite its elevated location, their home experienced multiple floods. At times, before the construction of the Bull Shoals Dam, the Hurst family had to use a garden hose to rinse out the house of mud and snakes. 
Initially hesitant about Bull Shoals Dam's construction, the Hurst family soon recognized its positive impact. Elmo adapted from warm water fishing of catfish, along with large & small-mouth bass, to the chilly waters hosting German brown and Rainbow trout, then called Jack Salmon. 
At one point in his career, Elmo owned 35 boats, each accompanied by a corresponding guide in his business. Hurst Fishing Service boats ran on the White River, Buffalo River, and Crooked Creek. Hurst also provided freshly cooked meals featuring a variety of options, including steaks, chicken, fish, and pork chops, accompanied by vegetables.
Before a group's arrival for a fishing experience on the river, a dedicated cook and commissary boat would go before them to set up the lunch site. By the time the party reached the location, lunch would be ready. Afterward, the cook and commissary boat would continue to the designated overnight spot, where they would arrange tents and prepare dinner. 
For a three-day camping trip, ample ice would be brought along, but for a four-day expedition, additional ice would be delivered by an outfitter representative. The outfitter supplied all essential items such as sleeping bags, tents, and cots. While most participants brought their own fishing gear, those who didn't could arrange to rent equipment through the Hurst.
According to Forrest Wood, Elmo set high standards for, “…the integrity and well-run business which he ran from 1933 through 1965.” 
Elmo and Lucille were owners and operators of Hurst Fishing Service until they sold it in 1965.

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