In an act that probably got his buddies' secondhand embarrassment glands working over time, Bartos slid his soon-to-be meaningless wedding band onto the bill of the fish. Bartos would later claim it was meant to symbolize the start of his new life as a bachelor, which we believe translates to "I was drunk."
If we know anything about the kind of guys who stick rings on fish, there are about 70 empty cans of Keystone just out of frame.
Figuring the fish would get the symbolism and take it off once he and his fish friends were done laughing at the silly new "nose ring," Bartos and his friends returned the fish to the waves with its new bling still in place.
In 2005, the three friends found themselves together once again on a fishing vessel off the Florida coast, two-thirds of them presumably hoping Bartos wouldn't queer up the day with his sad panda antics. As the day wound down, there was finally a big hit on one of the lines, and Bartos grabbed the reel, saving the day via 10 minutes of working a beauty of a sailfish toward the boat. Once the fish was close enough, Liebeskind grabbed the line and noticed something shiny around its bill. It was the wedding ring that Bartos had wedged onto the bill of the sailfish in December of 2002, now back and staring him in the face with a fishy wriggling hatred. After an awkward stunned silence, the men came to their senses and immediately set about snapping photos of the ridiculous coincidence. The fish's bill had clearly grown in girth around the ring, securing it firmly in place.
Just like your mom's pantsuit.
When news of the bizarre coincidence reached the media, their bullshit-detecting equipment buried the needle. Bartos agreed to a lie detector test and passed with flying colors, the results of the test being described as "overwhelmingly truthful." While lie detector tests are notoriously fallible, there's also the question of why Bartos would make up a story in which he tortures a giant fish to get back at his wife.
When returned to the water she turns back into a woman, like a reverse Daryl Hannah in Splash.
Mistaking the intentions of the sword-faced fish clearly bent on revenge, Bartos took it as a "compliment that some people don't believe us. Iit just shows us how miraculous this story is." Dr. Eric Prince of the National Marine Fisheries Service said, "I have no reason to disbelieve these guys and the fact that there is a picture that shows that notch, that indentation, where that ring was on the bill even further convinces me this is the truth." He also noted that there have been other instances of fisherman tagging and releasing billfish only to capture the same one later, but emphasized that it's extremely rare, and the equivalent of winning the lottery. Except that instead of winning millions, Bartos lost money while giving his ex-wife another reason to think she was right about him and his idiot friends after all.
No matter what you think about fate, a stupid fish will never reconcile a marriage.
For more horror movie terrors, check out 7 Terrifying Prehistoric Creatures (That Are Still Around) and 13 Real Animals Lifted Directly Out of Your Nightmares.