Guide Buster Loving trained for a career in education — intending to even coach wrestling and football –but the lure of the Ozarks outdoors re-routed him.
Growing up in rural Clinton, OK, where he could fish often, his family also vacationed yearly at a relative’s Delmar Resort on Taneycomo.
“Eventually they would all go to the shows and I would go trout fishing,” Loving said.
Now he’s on the water about 300 days a year, unfazed by half-day trips on different lakes with different clients and professionally guiding since 1991. From his home at Rockaway Beach, Loving especially targets Bull Shoals Lake in the winter more than most.
“My hope for this year is that Bull Shoals will be lower. The levels there are more of a challenge than the other lakes, especially in the winter.”
Loving is known for customizing his baits, always looking for improvements to catch largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, rainbow and brown trout, crappie, and seasonal walleye.
Although he has experienced many lifetime memory trips for his clients, Loving’s personal favorite memory was recorded by K.C. Star outdoor writer Brent Frazee in his “Ultimate Guide to Missouri Fishing” book. “We ran into 20-plus keeper walleye, weighing seven to eight pounds up at the pothole,” he remembers — all recorded on video as well. Loving’s son, Buster Loving IV, hopes to continue in the business and acquire his U.S. Coast Guard license. He is vice president of the Bass Fishing Club started last year at Branson High School, but plans to first train as a welder after his May graduation. Loving also has a 12-year-old daughter, Rose, attending Branson. His oldest daughter, Sydney, serves as a U.S. Army medic in Korea since graduating from college.Although Loving used to fish as many as 30 tournaments a year, he has cut that to seven or eight buddy tournaments now. He and partner Greg Dishman of Springfield set a lake record for the Seign the Rock for a Central Pro Am Derby in 2012, with a winning limit of five bass weighing 28.6 pounds.”Of course that record was already broken last year,” Loving jokes.
Although Loving did not mind substitute teaching at Forsyth and Branson in the past and helping his parents, Buster Loving, Jr. and Janice in their former Branson businesses, too, guiding will continue to be his mainstay.
“I especially enjoy meeting all the different people — and being my own boss, ” Loving said. “And getting to spend all my time outside rather than in an office. I will just probably do this until I am done.”
Loving is thankful for his sponsors: Bass Pro Shops, Branson First Stop, Chompers Bait Company, Leland’s Lures, Jewel Bait Company, Pro Guide Batteries and Tim Hughes Custom Baits.