New books are Arkansas jewels

Arkansas writers have been prolific lately publishing excellent books about hunting and fishing.

Two excellent examples are The Way I Remember It … by Jim Spencer and Larry Dablemont, and The Riverman’s Guide To The Kings River, by Doug “Riverman” Allen.

The Way I Remember It … is a collection of short stories from two immensely talented veteran writers. Spencer was a longtime staff writer for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and assistant editor of Arkansas Wildlife. An ardent and accomplished turkey hunter, his works are fixtures in National Wild Turkey Federation literature. His books, Bad Birds and Bad Birds 2 memorialize some of his most exciting turkey hunting adventures.

Dablemont, a Missouri resident, was an outdoor writer for the Arkansas Democrat in the early 1980s.

The stories are arranged thematically and alternate between Dablemont and Spencer. Stylistically, Dablemont is especially versatile, with a cutting wit and insightfulness that makes me put down the book after each of his stories and think hard about what I just read.

Spencer’s style is more conversational, with a wry familiarity that makes you feel as if you’re sitting beside him in front of a campfire.

Typographical errors and grammatical errors wrong the excellence of the content. This is, regrettably, a characteristic of many self-published books, but the sloppiness did not offend other friends that have read it. They all gave it very warm reviews.

For information, email Spencer at [email protected]

Kings River book

The Riverman’s Guide To The Kings River is a complete, self-published guide to fishing one of Arkansas’s finest smallmouth streams.

Overlooked and largely unappreciated beyond Northwest Arkansas, the Kings River’s appeal is limited by its remoteness and relative inaccessibility. Not much is known about it, so this book fills a significant void.

Technically, it is very well done and highly resembles the fantastic Arkansas trail guides written and published by Tim Ernst. It is well edited, and its abundance of color photographs provide valuable context.

The thematic arrangement begins with historic, geological and topographic overviews of the Kings River. From there it proceeds to more technical information that visitors need to know, including flow levels, access points and mileages between access points. Of particular value is the list of outfitters that rent canoes and offer shuttle services and lodging along the river. Contact information and websites are included.

We really appreciate the detailed descriptions of the established floating sections. They describe exactly what a paddler and angler can expect to encounter. It also lists the exact distances of each float, gradient and expected float time in optimum floating conditions. Many of these sections are 10 miles or longer.

From here, the book continues to shine. Instead of offering specific tips on lures and tackle, it describes the invertebrates and crustaceans that inhabit the Kings River. This enables readers to familiarize with the river’s forage bass and empowers them to make their own decisions about lure selection.

There are also generalized recommendations for choosing artificial lures. “Riverman’s Tips” offer more precise recommendations, such as Duane Hada’s Creek Crawler for fly fishing.

The expansive Section V lists Kings River wildlife, starting with fish. These include smallmouth bass, spotted bass, largemouth bass, Ozark bass, walleyes, longear sunfish and gar.

It proceeds to birds, mammals, and, of course, snakes. Of particular interest is the description of the Midland Water Snake. I’ve seen hundreds of them and always mistook them for copperheads. Thanks to “Riverman” Allen, I learned something.

Ultimately, The Riverman’s Guide To The Kings River is a naturalist’s handbook that should be in the dry bag of anybody that floats this beautiful river.

“Riverman” Allen is a dedicated conservationist whose love for the Kings River shines in this book. Autographed copies are available at

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: