Mullet tossers converge on Matlacha Sunday
Some will use the under-hand lob while others will opt for the windup-and-pitch technique as mullet tossers pit their fish flinging skills against one another during the 18th Annual Mullet Toss Championship. Mullet tossers will gather at the Olde Fish House Marina on Pine Island Road in Matlacha on Sunday, May 17, beginning at 10:30 a.m.
Sponsored by the Matlacha Mariners, this event will feature events for both children and adults, who will vie for a cash prize in several categories. The Mullet Toss had been scheduled during April but was cancelled and re-scheduled because of an unexpected rain storm.
The children will kick off the event with three age categories — Fry Mullet Division for boys and girls ages 1 to 5, Fingerling Mullet with boys and girls ages 6 to 10 and Juvenile Mullet for boys and girls ages 11 to 15. The child with the longest toss in each division will be awarded a special commemorative plaque and bragging rights.
As for adults, two categories have been established by the Mariners, including Adult Mullet for men and women ages 16 to 60 and the Grey Mullet Division for senior men and women 61 and over. The top finishers in the men’s and women’s adult contest also will receive a plaque and $150 in cash. Pre-registration for all divisions will begin at the Olde Fish House at 10 a.m. The registration fee for adults is $5 per toss and for children 15 and under the cost to participate will be $2 per toss. Participants can opt to toss as many mullet during the event as they choose, time permitting, as long as the entry fee is paid for each individual toss. The kids will make their way to the tossing line at 10:30 a.m. and will be followed by the adults at approximately at 12:01 p.m. continuing until 4 p.m.
The rules for the Mullet Toss are very simple and are as follows:
* Your mullet must be thrown from anywhere behind and up to the foul line, down a designated path.
* No stepping over the foul line during the throw or the toss may be disqualified.
* Throwing your mullet out of bounds may also result in a disqualification.
* All measurement results are final and under the discretion of the Matlacha Mariners’ operating officials.
* The use of gloves is prohibited.
Ample free parking in downtown Matlacha will be provided for those who arrive as spectators or participants of the toss. The Mariners will be directing some local parking and will monitor traffic for ease and safety of pedestrians when crossing Pine Island Road on foot.
The fish used are real fish, however they are not alive and have been donated for use in the event by local fishermen. After the event, the fish will be “recycled” into the crab traps of local crabbers.
Food and beverage vendors will be on hand to sell hamburgers, hot dogs, soft drinks and adult beverages to be enjoyed in comfort under a large tent. Organizers encourage attendees to bring a folding chair, however, no coolers or outside beverages will be permitted on the premises during the event.
All proceeds from this toss will benefit island charities supported by the Matlacha Mariners. Past recipients of the proceeds from Mariner events include the Pine Island Elementary School music program, the Beacon of HOPE and FISH. The group also provides aid to other service organizations and individuals on Pine Island.
For more information about the Matlacha Mariners, visit matlachamariners.org