|FYI — May 2005|
|By Brad Dunn|
Lore of the Ring
Eric Bartos claimed he not only caught the same sailfish he released two years earlier, but also that it was still wearing the gold band he had shoved around its bill.
The 38-year-old fisherman was going through a bitter divorce when he went fishing with two friends, Blake Liebeskind and Jamie Artzt, near Fort Lauderdale. Upon catching the 40-pound sailfish, he put the ring on its bill as a symbolic act of closure and set it free.
Fast forward to last January: The friends were competing in the Rod and Reel Club’s Interclub Sailfish Tournament and having a tough day of it. They were about to call it quits when they felt a bite on one of the reels. After pulling up the fish, Liebeskind exclaimed, “It’s the ring fish.” Bartos and his fellow fishermen removed the ring and took pictures to show where the bill had grown around the ring.
As the tale circulated, many doubted its authenticity. But Bartos was so determined to prove it, he took a lie-detector test with Doug Reno, a polygraph expert (and nephew of former U.S. Attorney Janet Reno), who says, “He was overwhelmingly truthful.” Bartos passed the test with flying colors.
Though many remain cynical about the tale, one veteran fisherman says it’s not that far-fetched. “I think it’s a very believable story. The sailfish has a very coarse bill, and if he shoved that ring on there tight enough, there’s no way the fish could have gotten it off,” says Cam Sigler, a billfish expert in Vashon Island, Washington. “If you fish long enough, you hear stories like that. I knew a father and son who tagged and released a blue marlin and four years later caught the same fish in the same spot.”
According to The Miami Herald, one person who never doubted the man’s story was, believe it or not, his ex-wife. “It’s great,” she was quoted by the paper as saying. “Maybe this is a sign for us to make peace.”
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This article originally appeared in the April 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.