Hello, everyone. Tight Line Jr. here.
Well, Labor Day is right around the corner and it always brings to mind a lot of old memories of grand fishing days gone by. I thought I would share this letter with you. It was written to my father by Mrs. Joyce Rogers King. It means a lot to me, as it did to Mrs. King. The letter also brings back some Ol’ Tight Line memories.
Mr. Allen Branch
Hello Mr. Allen,
My name is Joyce King and I am now married to the former chief federal game warden of Fort Stewart. He retired 11 years ago and I retired in 2003 after working 30 years with the Natural Resources Division of Fort Stewart.
I wanted to write you and let you know about the fond memories that I have of you, Mrs. Kitty and Bobby at the fish camp years ago. As a child and growing up into my teenage years, I often went fishing with my dad, Pate Rogers. My maiden name was Joyce Rogers. Sometimes my mom, Eva, would go along also. Dad always believed in getting the truck and boat filled with gas, and everything loaded the night before and leaving the next morning around 4:30 or 5 a.m. He was always prepared and always an early riser.
A lot of times, he would be your first customer at the fish camp. Dad often kidded Bobby about having to get up early to put the boats in the water. He would say, ‘No sleeping in today, Bobby.’ He always treated us with courtesy and kindness. Bobby was one of my classmates and all of us shared a lot of good times with him.
We always had a great day and caught a mess of fish most every time we went. Every time I read your column with the saying, ‘Always keep a tight line,’ I think of my dad because on every fishing trip he would consistently tell us to keep a tight line.
I have always enjoyed fishing and did a lot of it until my husband started having a lot of health problems about 12 years ago. Both of my sons, Timmy and Jeff Blount, and also my brother, David Rogers, love to fish. It is in their blood.
One day last week, Timmy asked me if I wanted to go fishing with him. I asked my husband if he thought he would be alright at home by himself. He assured me he would and told me to go ahead and enjoy the day. I set the alarm the night before for 5 a.m. got up and met my son at Midway. We headed off for Yellow Bluff. It was good to see Rayburn again. There were a lot of changes, new homes and new ground work developing.
Rayburn put the boat in and we were off to a great day. We arrived at the first drop. My son threw out the front anchor and then ran to the back to throw out the back anchor.
I told him that I could throw out the front anchor. His reply was, ‘Mama, you’re too old to throw out that anchor.’ That was all I needed to hear because from then on, I threw that anchor out every time we got to the drop and pulled it in when leaving. My arms really got a good workout, but no complaining. I was having too much fun. It was such a beautiful day. I can always forget about any problems I may have while I’m on a fishing trip. No greater way to relax!
We caught 18 trout, three bass, five croaker and a six-pound sheephead. We got into a school of trout and I thought I was in heaven. Boy, was that fun. We released a total of 21 trout. Nine bass that were within an inch or a half inch of being legal. What a spectacular day!
Mr. Allen, while I was fishing last week, I couldn’t help but think about all of the good times that I had in my younger days as a young girl fishing on the Liberty County coast. As we were returning home from the fishing trip, my son leaned over to me and said, ‘Mama, not only can you still throw out an anchor, you still know how to catch those trout.’
I’m hoping for another invitation real soon. He may need someone to throw out that anchor.
May God bless you and Mrs. Kitty. We will always remember all of you.
With fond memories,
Joyce (Rogers) King
P.S. I always enjoy your recipes in your column also."
Enjoy your Labor Day weekend by wetting a hook. Remember what Ol’ Tight Line always said: Get out there and go fishing and, if you do, always remember to keep a tight line. I always say hit the dock, keep a sharp eye and watch that cork go down.
Tight Line Jr.