Ringing in the Fish
This week we bring readers the tale of two fish, and two
Truth, Lies and Sailfish
On December 28, 2002, Eric Bartos was fishing with two friends off
the Florida coast near Ft. Lauderdale when he caught and landed a
sailfish. Bartos was in the middle of a bitter divorce at the
time–so his fishing buddies suggested he place his gold wedding
band over the bill of the fish before he released it, in an act of
strength and camaraderie.
One pal, Jamie Artzt, snapped a quick photo before they released
As fate would have it, the same three anglers were together two
years later, competing in a sailfish tournament, when Bartos landed
a sailfish with his gold band firmly attached to its bill–exactly
where he placed it 25 months previous.
This time, more photographs were taken, and Bartos removed the
ring, which left an indelible mark on his re-caught fish before it
was released–hopefully, to be caught another time.
As the story of Bartos’ ring fish began circulating among the big
game angling community of South Florida, many who heard about it
naturally doubted the odds of such an incredible coincidence. As a
result, a local radio station offered to pay for a
professionally-administered polygraph test, and Bartos willingly
The result? Bartos’ story is “overwhelmingly truthful,” according
to polygraph examiner Doug Reno, who announced the results live on
NBC’s Today Show.
Bartos, the director of preconstruction services for a Florida
condominium builder, is well known in the competitive big game
angling community. He said the ring is now displayed among his
other fishing trophies–though he’s considering donating it to the
International Game Fish Association museum in Dania Beach,
One person who never doubted Bartos’ story was his ex-wife,
“I believed it from the start,” she told reporters. ” Maybe this is
a sign of us…to make peace.”
Catfish Has a Ring to It
On a recent Sunday in May, Wayne Nickerson landed several catfish
from a small pond near Augusta, Kentucky and placed them in his
boat’s livewell. When he removed the fish later that day he
discovered a shiny ring from a Columbus, Ohio area high
school–located some 150 miles from the pond–with the inscribed
name: Lisa Marie Certain.
When Augusta Police Chief Greg Cummings was notified of Nickerson’s
peculiar catch, he visited the Franklin Heights High School 1984
alumni Web site, where Ms. Certain was listed as “missing in
action.” The chief’s first thought was that perhaps a crime might
have been committed involving the mystery woman.
A news story aired by TV stations in Cincinnati and Columbus
subsequently led to the ring owner, now Lisa Peterson, who resides
in Idaho Falls, Idaho. When contacted by Chief Cummings, Peterson
said the ring was stolen from her mother’s central Ohio home 15
Today, thanks to a sharp-eyed catfisherman and good police work,
she has been reunited with her missing bauble.