Mount Carroll native son Ted Peck will join an exclusive group of about 450 angling legends enshrined in the International Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame when he is inducted early next year.
In a congratulatory letter, Hall of Fame Executive Director Emmett Brown said, "This represents quite an accomplishment when one considers there have been tens of millions of sport anglers over the past few centuries."
Said Peck, 68, a 1969 Mount Carroll High School graduate, "The possibility that a kid who found his life's passion catching bullheads and carp in the Mighty Waukarusa would eventually be inducted into the hall of fame is both mind-boggling and truly humbling.”
Peck currently writes a weekly column in the Janesville, Wis., Gazette for which he was named Wisconsin Outdoor Writer of the Year in 1999. He blogs almost weekly on his website, www.tedpeckfishing.com.
Peck retired from the Beloit Fire Department in 2001 with the rank of lieutenant. While on the job he served as public information officer in addition to firefighting/ rescue/paramedic duties. He was graduated from Southern Illinois University in 1973 with a B.S. in journalism.
Peck has been married to wife, the former Candy Law, for 48 years and has two adult children, Jessica and Emily, who are both avid anglers and outdoorswomen. The Peck family lives in rural New Albin, Iowa.
The International Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame only inducts about 10 persons worldwide every year, with essentially one person going in for each of seven different categories.
Tim Lesmeister, chairman of the selection committee of 11 respected individuals in the sport fishing community, told Peck he had been nominated by several persons last spring. Lesmeister was enshrined in the hall of fame several years ago as a "legendary outdoor communicator."
"Tim told me not to get my hopes up," Peck said, adding, "He said it can take five-to-seven years after nomination before somebody is inducted, if they ever get in. He said just getting nominated is a great honor. Actually getting enshrined is way beyond a long shot."
Jesse Simpkins, also on the selection committee, told Peck he was unanimously confirmed in both the "legendary communicator" and "legendary guide" categories. A nominee can only be inducted under one category.
"Jesse told me it was nomination letters from my daughters, Jessica and Emily, that convinced the committee to induct me as a 'legendary guide',” Peck said.
"I never even considered the possibility of induction into the hall of fame,” Peck said. "Early last Spring Emily and her fiancé visited the hall of fame in Hayward, Wis., when they came home from San Diego. The kid loves to bust my chops. She said, ‘Your buddies Babe Winkelman and Spence Petros are in the hall of fame. Why aren't you in there too, Dad? I told her because the process is difficult, starting with nomination, and that nobody had ever nominated me. This prompted the kids into contacting Spence and others in the industry like Rat-L-Trap CEO Wes Higgins."
"Two things which mean the most to me are nominations from my kids and bringing recognition to Carroll County,” said Peck “The world is a big place. It is profoundly gratifying to show the planet a Carroll County boy can hold his own with anybody who ever picked up a fishin' pole."
Executive Director Brown said the official press release announcing inductees will go up on the Fishing Hall of Fame website in October. Peck's photo and biography will be posted about Jan 31 with his individual plaque gracing the hall of fame Hall of Recognition at the Museum in Hayward, Wis., in the Spring.