Delmer Shoults loved catching big stripers on the Lower Illinois River. And he loved helping others catch big fish there, too.
Shoults, a legendary fishing guide on the Lower Illinois River below Lake Tenkiller, died Saturday at his home in Sallisaw. He was 69.
Shoults started guiding customers to big stripers on the Lower Illinois River in 1986.
“He stayed busy all the time,” said Shoults’ widow, Mary Ann. “We never took a vacation.”
Spending a day on the Lower Illinois River was a vacation for Shoults. He would fish from dawn to dusk whether the fish were biting or not.
“Delmer Shoults was the happiest person in the world when he would be on the river with a fishing pole in his hand,” Mary Ann Shoults said.
Many anglers have caught the biggest striped bass of their life while fishing with Shoults, who liked to bait his rods with rainbow trout to entice those monster stripers that would flee the Arkansas River in the hot summers for the cooler waters of the Lower Illinois.
Funeral services for Shoults will be Thursday at 11 a.m. in his hometown of Broken Bow at the Assembly of God church.
The Bunch-Singleton Funeral Home in Broken Bow is handling the funeral arrangements.