2011 was a breakout season for young Alabama angler Richard Peek. He had success in his career fishing National Guard FLW College Fishing events for Auburn and also on the Bassmaster Weekend Series (where he won Co-Angler of the Year), but 2011 was his first full season on the top level of FLW Outdoors. With two wins back to back this summer, one on the EverStart stop on Pickwick followed by a FLW Tour Major win on Kentucky Lake, he had a season Co-Anglers dream of. He also finished 2nd on the EverStart Eufala event and the recent EverStart Championship on Kentucky Lake. With these accomplishments, he has proven he has what it takes to not only compete, but to dominate the back of the boat.
I had the chance to talk with Richard and find out what his secret was. The first thing he said with a laugh was that he was "really lucky". We all know that was not the case. He went on to divulge a little more and feels like the reason to his success was more of sticking to his game plan. Before he entered this season, everyone told him he needed to get good with a spinning rod and just try to catch a limit. He didn't like the idea and even admitted to me that he didn't own a spinning rod before this season. He went out and bought a few after listening to the advice from friends, but he explained that he "just hates doing it, it's not how I like to fish". Instead he stuck to his strengths all year and fished to win. This is an interesting concept for fishing from the back of the boat. Often we see this from the pro side, the guys who either win the event or do poorly. The guys who flip all day might win a few, but when they don't win they are near the bottom. He took this approach and it paid off. With 16 events this season, he finished in the Top 20 in half of them. The way he looks at it, just fishing for a check is not good enough. A small check often doesn't cover all of the expenses for a tournament, so he changed his mindset. This obviously worked for him in 2011.
So what was his approach? He explained that he basically power fished each event. He stuck with lures like a swimbait and big jig and really fished for bigger fish. He went on to explain that catching two or three bigger fish will basically equal someone's shaky head or finesse limit. Round out that limit with a few small keepers to go with the big fish and often he was near the top of the leader board.
Much like Clayton Coppin in Part 1, he is a believer in pre-fish. He credits the time spent on the water with FLW Pro Justin Lucas before each event as a big part of his success. The days before the event were spent in various areas of the lake and allowed him to have a feel of basically any type of water he might see with his Pro partner. It also allowed him to get a good feel of what the fish were doing. He would spend the practice trying baits and techniques that could get him a bigger fish and also to look for ways to just get a bite when things get tough. Peek believes that out of all the advice he can give, it is most important to stick with the game plan no matter what. He explains that you have to fish your strengths no matter who you are fishing with. Richard recalled some events with big name pros, where they planned to do one thing and he stuck to his strengths, only to see the pro switch to his techniques after he started catching them.
So what's next for Richard? He plans to fish the EverStart Series as a Pro and get his feet wet from the front of the boat, but plans to stick with being a Co-Angler for the ten 2012 FLW Tour and Open events. Watch out for this guy, he has a big future.
Richard Peek is sponsored by Ouzo Baits, Bo's Jigs and Powell Rods.