To win is an achievement. To win it from the back of the boat is even more impressive.
Last week in the final FLW Tour event of the season on Lake Chickamauga in Tenn., Richard Peek of Centre took home the trophy in the co-angler division. He fished all six events on the Tour from the back seat. This was the third year Peek has competed on the FLW Tour as a co-angler. He has been close to the award in previous years. He finished fifth his first year and was fourth last year.
This season, it came down to the final event on the last day for co-anglers to fish. Peek had a 25-point lead over the second-place angler. In competitive bass fishing, however, nothing is a sure thing.
“I was in the top 20 after the first day,” Peek said. “On day two I only caught two fish and was in 31st place.”
Peek did not make the cut for the third day and had to sit out while the second-place angler in the points, Anthony Goggins, was fishing. There was a remote chance the Angler of the Year title could slip away from Peek. In the end Peek claimed the award by 21 points.
“It feels great to finally win,” Peak said. “I have worked hard all year and finally get that stress off me and get the win feels great.”
Peek and Goggins were roommates at Auburn. They both were co-founders in helping to establish the Auburn Bass Fishing Team in the spring of 2006. They each fished for Auburn for four years and after graduation moved to the FLW Everstart Series, then on to the Tour.
Peek said fishing from the back of the boat is different with each pro angler. You don’t have control of the boat, location or fishing style. He said each tournament is different and his style of fishing didn’t always line up with his pro partner.
This was a remarkable season for Peek. In the six events he never finished lower than 31st and made the top 20 cut four times. With the AOY win, Peek will fish the FLW Cup in August on the Red River in Shreveport, La. as a co-angler.
“I have had a good run the past three years and I feel like I am ready to move up,” Peek said, referring to going over to the pro angler side.
The lure that helped Peek achieves his title was a Tightlines UV hog fished on a Carolina Rig and also a drop-shot rig. He said he mainly just drug around those lures behind his pro partner.
“You have to be strong in all six tournaments and the Tighlines baits helped me get there,” Peek said.
It is a good bet that we will see more from this young angler in the future. Oh, by the way, Peek’s favorite lake; Guntersville.
Charles Johnson is the Star’s outdoor editor. You can reach Charles at ChrJohn7@aol.com