Starks’ BASS Win Still Sinking In


"I look over there and see that trophy and I just can’t believe it’s real," said Charleston angler Jeremy Starks a day after capturing first place in the BassMaster Elite Series Southern Challenge.

Starks caught 78-pounds 10-ounces to secure his first ever victory in a major tour event.   Starks qualified for the narrowing of the field’s top 12 on the final day and became engaged in a shootout with legendary angler Kevin VanDam. 

Starks admits the pressure built on the final day as a flotilla of fans

Jeremy Starks boats another bass that added to his 78 lb. 10oz. creel to win the Southern Challenge — Photo: BASS Communications

surrounded the two anglers fishing within sight and earshot of one another.

"At times I had all the crowd with me and at times he had all the crowd with him," Starks tells MetroNews. "They were just going back and forth because it was just a really close shootout.  We both were really whacking on them.   We didn’t know what each other had, but we knew we were both catching them."

The scales at the final day’s weigh-in told the story with Starks’ total besting VanDam by eight ounces.  A five-pound bass late in the day was the difference for the Charleston native.

"The fish had really quit biting at that point late in the afternoon.  I kept thinking, ‘One more big bite.’ I told my camera man that and I no more than said that and I caught the fish that won the tournament for me,” said Starks.  "It was just keep your head in the game and keep grinding and it paid off."

Starks collects $100-thousand in winnings with the first place finish, but probably covets the title and trophy even more than the check. 

"It’s unbelievable.   You’ve got names like Gerald Swindle, Terry Scroggins, and even Rick Clunn who have never won an Elite Series event.   The

Starks signs autographs for young fishing fans. — Photo: BASS Communications

money’s nice, but that trophy and that title is yours forever,” said Starks.

Fans can see Starks victory replayed on ESPN 2 this Saturday at 9:00am.   You’ll notice one point of pride in the video, Starks wears a WVU ball cap during his entire time on the water.   It’s a point of pride he hopes will be referenced.

"When I caught one of my big fish, somebody in the flotilla screamed, ‘Go Mountaineers!’"  Said Starks.  "I thought that was pretty cool." 


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