What is the most interesting thing you have caught while fishing? For anglers Jim Nelligan and Joe Penar, it was a wedding band. While fishing a tournament on Lake Michigan just this past June, they reeled in a steelhead that had what appeared to be a wedding ring zip-tied to its tail. They were curious to know what this story would unfold and it wasn’t long before they got the details.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, this band was indeed a wedding band. It belonged to another angler, Captain Jason Rose. Rose attached the band to a steelhead that he caught and released back at the beginning of May near the port of Whitehall, Michigan. Per Rose, the ring was cursed and it was time he let it go. This was only 7 weeks before Joe Penar, another angler on Nelliagn’s boat, found it on his catch. The men were fishing for trout in the “Pass the Passion” tournament by Salmon Unlimited of Illinois. Nelligan reported that he initially thought it was a tagged fish from the Department of Natural Resources but after a closer look, he immediately knew it was a wedding band. It had a single diamond on it and was inscribed “SDH Steel.” The four anglers aboard were all surprised it had been caught at all.
Rose was divorced 4 years earlier after 10 years of marriage and he couldn’t find the right way to release the band. Per Rose, “I am a fishing guide; she was always against me following my dreams and hated how much I fished. Four years went by since our divorce. I felt I needed to get rid of that ring but didn’t want to just toss it to the bottom, pawn it or any kind of thing like that. So I released it the best way I know how…my life has been nothing less than great since I released it.”
Nelliagn claimed he was not surprised to hear the story of a divorced fisherman that emerged from the ring. He did, however, report that the so-called curse per Rose must be true. “The 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 door to get at the engines broke and the hose at my dock burst. Sheesh! I think we will mail it back to him, no return address!”
The story behind the ring is not necessarily the shocking part. Many people choose to release significant heirlooms or artifacts into the water or wherever they feel the most connected. The punch to this story is that this exact fish was caught again. Maybe this can give us all a little hope that we can still possibly catch “the one that got away.”