The fish that saved Christmas


Fishermen in the tiny village of Sneads Ferry, N.C., will never forget the Christmas of 1959. There's a certain rock that reminds them of it every December.

“Used to, when we were done shrimping we’d all go black (sea bass) fishing,” 85-year-old Tom Millis said. It was an important fishery, Millis told Raising the Story writer Barbara Garrity-Blake in 2017.  Sea bass helped fishermen earn Christmas money and make it through the harsh months until spring. 

The fish were caught in crab pots, and on Christmas Eve in 1959, Millis himself was hauling in pots of black sea bass about 10 miles offshore in his vessel The Pal. His friend, E.N. Lockamy, was fishing nearby in his vessel Layne L. They worked along a ledge that came to be known, from that day forward, as Christmas Rock.

“We done pretty good I reckon,” Millis said. “People still call it Christmas Rock.”

Read more about the Millis family's four-generation seafood business and the story of Christmas Rock at the Raising the Story blog .

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