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06 January 2007

Flying fish?

In a small north FL park, there are several placards offering short bios of the founding fathers and details of local historical events. One of these tells the tale of Roderick Donald McLeod.

McLeod was Judge in Crawfordville from 1901 to 1928. His greatest acclaim was for his decision regarding mullet fishing. In the early 1900’s a bill established January and February as the 'open' season for mullet. In Wakulla County, November and December were the best time for mullet fishermen. Some men were arrested for fishing out of season and brought before Judge McLeod. With his reputation for being a fair man, the fishermen were sure they would get a proper judgment. He sent them on their way, however, with no real solution to their problem. He was very concerned about the livelihood of these fishermen, but had to obey the law. It was pointed out to the judge’s wife that mullet had gizzards, a unique feature, as other fish do not have gizzards. Upon hearing this, the judge was then assured of the course to take. When presented with the offending fishermen, he declared the mullet not a fish, since it had a gizzard, and released the fishermen! The entire state rejoiced over the victory brought about by Judge McLeod. Newspapers throughout the state ran headlines proclaiming the mullet to be a bird!


Floridacracker said...

Mullet are a favorite of mine. They are so important to so many other animals as a source of food and I just love to see them jump.
More than once I've been beaned by a leaping mullet as I skimmed across the water in an open boat.

Hurricane Teen said...

This is such a great story! I have never heard that one before. Mullet are also a favorite of mine. I see them flying all the time when I am out in my kayak...not to mention how tastey they are fried up or smoked.

SophieMae said...

FC, after all these years, I still get tickled whenever I see those jumpers. Beaned, eh? Good job they weren't sturgeon! :O

HT, I've heard that story as far back as I can remember. Must be a Gulf coast thing. Hard to beat smoked mullet and yellow roe. :Þ