The White River in Arkansas is a great place for fishing. David Capps knows. With 40 years of experience as a guide, this native Arkansan has seen a lot of people catch their first fish—and the fly fishing bug.
David and his wife Ginny have owned and operated Capps Guide Service since 1993. When Rivers of Recovery approached them about helping with our first Arkansas fly fishing trip, they were all in.
“It’s a worthy cause,” David said. “Those guys put their lives on the line, and I respect what they do.”
Southern Hospitality on the White River
David wanted our veterans’ experience to be second to none. He suggested scheduling the trips in April—at the peak of the caddisfly hatch. It’s an exceptional time for newbies to come and learn how to fly fish, he explained. “It’s game on.”
David and Ginny specialize in fly fishing with southern hospitality. They provide the guides for RoR trips as well as the food and the housing in their resort and event center, the Fisherman’s Lodge.
David is with our vets from the very beginning, helping them learn how to cast and to tie flies. He understands the intricacies of fly fishing—and why it’s such a powerful way for veterans to heal from trauma.
“Everything is laid back,” he said. “They’re learning a fun new skill. When they get on the river, they start to feel that sense of camaraderie. They can detach from the negative things and live in the moment again.”
Expanding River of Recovery in Arkansas
Our own Levi Crawford, also an Arkansas native, went on his first RoR trip with David. Now Levi is working with David to expand the Rivers of Recovery program in the area.
These RoR trips can be emotional for veterans—and David as well. His mother was an Army nurse in World War II, taking care of wounded soldiers throughout Europe, including England, Belgium, France and Germany.
“I grew up listening to her stories,” he said. “I’ve got a picture of her in Hilter’s bombed out bunker. They got on the hospital trains to go up to the front line and bring the wounded back to the field hospital. For me, it feels like payback. I respect what they’ve done and what they’ve been through.”