Fishing has a way of clearing the cobwebs, of putting things in perspective, even on one of the coldest days of winter on Kentucky Lake.
Maybe that’s why all-pro NFL receiver Randy Moss chose to spend his weekend bass fishing with Elite Series pro Jeremy Starks just before announcing his return to the NFL.
After a year-long hiatus from professional football, Moss has now decided to “unretire,” as they say in professional sports. Moss, who turned 35 Monday, said in an online broadcast that he intends to return to the NFL. He was played in six Pro Bowl games in his 14-year career and is tied for second in career touchdown receptions with 153. He abruptly retired after the 2010 season.
Football was the furthest thing from his mind Friday and Saturday when Moss and Starks — who grew up in the same neighborhood and attended the same high school in Belle, W.Va. — shared a boat on Kentucky Lake. Staying warm and catching a few fish were top of mind.
“It was probably the coldest day Jeremy had ever fished,” Moss said in an interview Monday. “If we had been going fishing with each other for a long time, we probably wouldn’t have gone out in that weather. But I had heard a lot about Jeremy and I wanted to go. I said, ‘If this weather won’t kill us, let’s go!’”
Although the two didn’t know each other in DuPont High School — Starks is three years older — Moss had heard of Starks’ career in professional fishing and was eager to fish with him.
Despite the cold, the pair caught several fish. Their best five the first day weighed about 17 pounds, said Starks, who won a 2008 Elite Series event on Wheeler Lake, Ala. Most of the heavier fish came on The Alabama Rig.
“I finally got to use The A-Rig,” Moss said. “I got to where I could throw it without tangling up.”
The trip also introduced him to structure fishing. “I’ve always been a bank fisherman,” Moss said. “I usually fish under docks and close to the bank — not in open water. After catching them offshore on The A-Rig, I’ve got my own ‘rigs’ now.
“And I was unaware of the quality of fishing the state of Kentucky has to offer. It’s close enough that I’ll be coming back. They might get tired of seeing me here!”
Moss credited Minnesota guide John Laub Sr. with introducing him to bass fishing during the pro-bowler’s first stint with the Vikings. He knew of Starks’ career in the Bassmaster Elite Series and had tried for two years to set up a bass fishing trip with him.
Starks said the two hit it off immediately. “He didn’t want to talk football. He just wanted to talk fishing,” Starks said.
“He’s so different than what I expected,” Starks added. “Randy Moss has a reputation for being confrontational, but we had a blast. He’s totally different when he’s on the water.”
The two new friends are discussing competing in team tournaments together. If Moss’ return to pro football doesn’t pan out, maybe he’ll have a new sport to go pro in — bass fishing.