In one of the more bizarre fishing stories to surface, a fisherman reeled in a steelhead with a wedding ring attached to its tail, leaving a group of anglers fishing in a tournament on Lake Michigan on Friday scratching their heads.
“It was crazy,” Jim Nelligan told USA Today/For The Win Outdoors. “We started wondering who did this, and why?”
The answer didn’t take long to emerge.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported Monday that Capt. Jason Rose used a zip tie to attach his wedding band to a steelhead he caught and released on May 4 across the lake near the port of Whitehall, Mich. Rose had been married for nearly a decade when he and his spouse decided to go their separate ways.
“I am a fishing guide; she was always against me following my dreams and hated how much I fished,” Rose told the Sun-Times.
“Four years went by since our divorce. I felt I needed to get rid of that ring, but I didn’t want to just toss it to the bottom, pawn it or any of that kind of thing. So I released it the best way I know how. I am convinced that ring is cursed. My life has been nothing less than great since I released it.”
The steelhead and ring reemerged more than seven weeks later when Joe Penar caught the fish on Nelligan’s boat “Grey Lion II” while they and two others fished the Pass the Passion tournament by Salmon Unlimited of Illinois. They were fishing for lake trout by the R4, a famous buoy east of Chicago’s north suburbs, the Sun-Times reported.
“The fish made several jumps out of the water when we caught it, so it seemed normal for a steelhead,” Nelligan told For The Win Outdoors. “When we first saw it we wondered if it was some kind of DNR [Department of Natural Resources] tag initially, but then we saw it was a wedding ring.”
The wedding band is silver with one diamond in it and the inscription, “SDH Steel.”
“I didn’t know steelhead get married,” crew member John Massard quipped upon seeing the wedding ring.
Rose was surprised upon hearing the news about his fish and ring. He told the Sun-Times “none of us can believe someone caught it.”
It was hardly a surprise to Nelligan, however, when he learned the story behind the ring.
“That was my first guess, a divorce, but funny that the guy says the ring is cursed,” Nelligan told For The Win. Because, “That ring is cursed. Ever since it came on my boat, I’ve had problems with my Glendinning engine controls, the switch to raise the helm floor to get at the engines broke and the hose at my dock burst. Sheesh!
“I think we’ll mail it back to him, no return address!”