Life is good for new dad Billy McCaghren of Mayflower.

Melissa Dixon of Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (BASS) tells the story.

Billy McCaghren didn’t make the Top 50 cut in the BASS Carolina Clash on May 13, but cut him some slack. He had something else to do that Friday: get back home to Mayflower, Ark., for the birth of his first child.

McCaghren was on the water, 800 miles away from home, when he got a call from his wife, Norma, at about 11 a.m. on May 13, three days before the baby’s due date. (McCaghren had been cleared by tournament officials to take a call from the water.) Here’s how the conversation went, according to McCaghren:

"Are you catching them?" Norma asked. "Do you have your limit yet?" 

"Yes," McCaghren said. "But Norma, you can’t be calling me just to ask if I’m catching them." 

"I’m not," she said, "but since you have your limit, you might want to come home. I’m in labor." 

He called tournament officials, who allowed him to come off the water early. He left his truck and boat in the hands of friends. Tilly Davis, wife of Elite Series pro Mark Davis, drove McCaghren to the Charlotte, N.C., airport. He caught a flight Friday night to Little Rock and arrived in time for the baby’s birth in the wee hours of Saturday morning.

McCaghren got credit for his Friday catch, thanks to his marshal, Brandon Bryant of South Carolina. Bryant held McCaghren’s Friday catch at the tanks until 2 p.m., when the scales officially opened for early weigh-ins.

Mother and baby boy, named Callen, are doing well, McCaghren reported. He is, too. 

"I didn’t catch enough to make the money cut, but May 13 is the best day of my Elite Series career," he said. "Now I just sit and look at him; I am so thankful to have a child."

Callen already owns a life jacket, fishing pole and a baby blanket with fish on it, handmade by the mother of Elite Series pro Jami Fralick.

New fishing and hunting lifetime licenses to benefit retired and disabled military personnel were approved Thursday by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

The licenses will go into effect on July 1.

Both of the licenses were topics of legislative bills passed in the 2011 General Assembly session. Under the state’s Amendment 35, increases in resident hunting and fishing licenses most have the legislature’s approval. New licenses aren’t specifically addressed in the amendment.

One license is a lifetime one for retired military people 60 or older who live in Arkansas. Other residents can obtain these licenses upon reaching their 65th birthdays.

Cost of the retired military lifetime licenses is the same as regular annual licenses, but the one-time payment covers the license for the rest of the person’s life. Combination license for hunting and fishing is $35.50. Fishing license is $10.50.Hunting license is $25. Waterfowl permit (duck stamp) is $7. Trout permit is $5.

The disabled military lifetime license is for Arkansans who are totally disabled due to a service-connected injury. The cost of these licenses will be the same as the retired military lifetime licenses.