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Mothers Day fishing trip yields mess of sheepshead
Joyce King went fishing with her son Timmy on Mothers Day and caught a mess of sheepshead. - photo by Photo provided.

Hello, everyone out there on the beautiful Georgia coast. Tight Line Jr. here. I think summer is finally upon us and the fishing should pick up.
You may remember back to the first of March when I included in my column a letter written to my father by Mrs. Joyce King. It was about how she and her husband loved to go fishing down at Branch’s Marina back when my dad owned it. She talked about my brother, Bobby Branch, and how they went to school together.
Mr. Otis King, Joyce’s husband, retired as the chief federal game warden at Fort Stewart in 1997. Mr. King passed away April 16. He loved to hunt and fish, and Mrs. King said he always was asking her to try out the recipes that my father and I included in our columns. I was sorry to hear of her loss, but the story of her Mother’s Day fishing trip is a true fishing tale.
The day before Mother’s Day, Timmy, Joyce’s son who lives next door, stopped by to check on his mom. He invited her to go fishing on Mother’s Day and said, “I won’t take no for an answer.”  
At about 6:30 a.m. the next morning, they arrived at Halfmoon Marina, bought bait and launched their boat. At the end of the fishing trip, they had landed 22 whiting, three trout and 10 sheepshead. 
Mrs. King said her son caught the most fish but she caught the biggest. One of the sheepshead weighed in at 4 and a half pounds. Thanks for the story, Mrs. King, and God bless your family.
My friend Capt. Eric Moody down on Jekyll Island said they’re catching plenty of whiting, bull red fish and shark.
I have been looking forward to this weekend because the dock tour is in full swing. It started Friday afternoon with my good friend Walt Anderson and, of course Boo Hall, and me. I will let you know next week how it went.
Rayburn over at Yellow Bluff Marina said has live shrimp this weekend. The shrimp are from Florida, but they’re shrimp nonetheless. Rayburn also said they have live minnows and frozen bait.
 The recipe this week is clams casino, but you can substitute oysters. In upcoming articles, I will be reporting on where, how and when to dig for those delicious Georgia clams and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. I also will write a bit about harvesting the elusive Georgia conch and will include some very good recipes.    
Clams casino

2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 ounces of finely chopped bacon
1 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1⁄3 cup chopped shallots
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1⁄4 teaspoon of dried oregano
1⁄3 cup of dry white wine
4 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
20 two-and-a-half-inch clams or oysters  

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the bacon and cook it until crisp. Remove the bacon from the skillet. Add the bell pepper, shallots, garlic and oregano to the same skillet and sauté for about five minutes. Add the wine and simmer for about two minutes.
Remove skillet from the heat and cool completely. Stir in reserved bacon and two tablespoons of parmesan cheese into the vegetable mixture. Season the mixture to taste with sea salt and cracked pepper.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Line a heavy, large baking sheet with foil. Arrange clams/oysters in the reserved shells on the baking sheet and spoon the vegetable mixture atop the clams/oysters, dividing equally and mounding slightly.
Sprinkle with the remaining two tablespoons of parmesan. Bake until the clams/oysters are just cooked through and the topping is golden (about 10 minutes). Serve while hot.
Until next time, remember what Ol‘ Tight Line always said: Go fishing and if you do, remember to always keep a tight line. I say hit the docks, keep a sharp eye and watch that cork go down. Get out there and wet a hook — it is good for the soul.

Your friend,
 Tight Line Jr.  

P.S. Check out the Midway All Stars at The Sunbury Crab Company Sunday at 5 p.m. for the sunset party.

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