Mullet Widows: A Story About Bill McNeil and the Mullet Culture


A mist hangs over the pier where the men used to pray for one more day but does not mask the frenzy upon sight of their prey even today.
When I was a boy, mullet widows adorned the town…now the order is nearly abandoned…forgotten like the old men who stood elbow to elbow on condemned bridges and piers that should have been.
Well fed, but still afraid of the memory of doing without.
Widow’s cheese grits waiting at the house whether fish were caught or not.
A far cry from the barrels holding salt and fish in layers and the children’s tears as it emptied; still hoping the mullet would run before the mullet run out.
Times change but for some of us who haunt the piers, we can still hear their voices.
Get your net made up. Keep your eyes moving.
Hands cramping…put your net down so they will come.
Here they are, boys. THROW!
Red roe or re-run, they all smoke, fry, can and salt the same.
Get your net made up.
Old Bill can set you up…he’s two months behind but for a flounder or two, you can skip a man…maybe…depends on how many cats been leaving him presents.
After the run, nets are a dime a dozen if you have two hundred bucks…but don’t leave one in your truck…Even a preacher will steal a castnet.

~ by William Platt