Gulletts for mullet, Cortez
Ben Gullett Mullet Invitational winners with Rick Gullett, Benís son, rear, and wife Holli, left. Islander Photos: Bonner Joy
The Gullett family weighed, cleaned, served, smoked, fried and thanked their friends for fishing and coming to an awards dinner - all, for them, to honor Ben Gullett.
The fishers, who signed up to cast two days for their prize fish, the six biggest mullet they could catch in their nets, awaited the Ben Gullett Mullet Invitational tournament results at the sponsoring Star Fish Company Market and Restaurant, where they enjoyed a meal of smoked or fried mullet - much of it from their catch.
After everyone was fed, Rick Gullett stepped out on the floating dock and thanked everyone for coming and contributing to the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage, the group that supports preservation in Cortez and the beneficiary of the tourney proceeds.
And he announced the winners:
Junior Division, first place, Kevin and Chris Bustle, and second place, Joey Gullett and Jared Corley.
The Bustles had 18.93 pounds of mullet and received $100 and a new Talon Net, custom made by David Durrance and donated to the event.
The adult cast-netters were headed by Dwight Andress and Rod Griffin, who received $1,200 for their net catch of six mullet weighing 27.08. They also won the Cast Iron Slam for their combo catch of mullet, sheepshead and sand perch.
Second place went to Johnny Guthrie and Frank Tucker for 25.9 pounds of mullet, and T.J. Stewart and Jason Ramsey took third place with 24.31 pounds of fish.
FISH was the real winner of the generosity of the many who came to enjoy the $5 dinner and the Gulletts, for the praise they earned from the fishers - who promised to come back next year.
Rick Gullett, Ben’s son, and wife Holli, put in many hours and worked tirelessly at the event and had the help of many family members. Star Fish was the main sponsor, providing a location for the captain’s meeting, weigh-in and the awards, and a program for the event.
The Islander was a co-sponsor and provided prize-winners with gift certificates for dining at Jolly Roger-Ooh La La! Bistro and “More than a Mullet Wrapper” Islander T-shirts.
See you next year, netters.