A Whopper of a Fish Tale
Posted on Thu, Feb. 03, 2005
BY SUSAN COCKING
For more than a week, the South Florida recreational fishing community has been abuzz with the mystical (and perhaps, mythical) story of the sailfish and the ring. This remarkable story weaves together the universal themes of lost love, found fish and seemingly impossible luck. The tale is so fantastic that Ripley’s has expressed an interest. The principal characters all have volunteered to take polygraphs.
On December 28, 2002, three close friends, Jamie Artzt, Eric Bartos, and Blake Liebeskind, went sailfishing on Liebeskind’s boat, Running Barely, off Fort Lauderdale. Bartos was a bit preoccupied because his marriage was breaking up. The three decided that if they caught a sailfish, they would hold an informal ceremony: They would put Bartos’ gold wedding band around the fish’s bill before letting it go.
”To mark an end and beginning to chapters in his life,” said Artzt.
It happened a few hours later. A sailfish ate one of Running Barely’s kite baits, and Bartos fought the fish to the boat. Quickly, the men slipped the ring over the bill and let it go.
”I put the ring on the bill. It went on a little crooked. Jamie got a bunch of pictures,” Bartos recalled. ‘I do remember thinking to myself, `The fish was bleeding a little.’ I hoped someone would catch it [again]. I kind of blew it off and never expected to hear about it again.”