Team Dick Cepek angler Justin Lucas landed the 2018 Angler of the Year (AOY) title at Lake Chatuge, Georgia, over the weekend.

The 32-year-old angler came into the weekend with a respectable eight-point lead in the AOY standings over his good friend Josh Bertrand of Arizona. After impressive catches on Thursday and Friday, Lucas’ lead had climbed to an almost-insurmountable 47 points. Solidifying his championship even further, his closest competitor, Bertrand, decided not to fish Sunday in order to return home for the birth of his second child.

Lucas caught five bass that weighed only 11 pounds, 14 ounces Sunday, but his three-day weight of 39 pounds was enough to earn him the AOY title, and the $100,000 prize.

Team Dick Cepek anglers have earned the AOY title two years in a row, with Lucas’ fellow Team Dick Cepek angler Brandon Palaniuk winning in 2017

“Congratulations to Justin on an outstanding Bassmaster Elite season and taking the Angler of the Year title,” said Ken Warner, Vice President of Marketing for Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels. “Justin continued to impress us tournament after tournament this season, and his dedication and consistency is what made him a champion. Dick Cepek is pleased to sponsor athletes like Justin, who find success through hard work, drive and persistence. We are proud to have back-to-back Angler of the Year winners on Team Dick Cepek.

Lucas had a reliable season, finishing in the top 10 in four of the 2018 Bassmaster Elite tournaments. Lucas is the 23rd angler to hold the Angler of the Year title in Bassmaster’s 50-year history, joining a coveted club with bass fishing legends such as Kevin Van Dam, Roland Martin and Gerald Swindle.

In addition to the AOY title, Lucas qualified for the Bassmaster Classic, bass fishing’s biggest event of the year. The top 35 anglers in AOY standings after last weekend’s tournament qualify for the Classic, and the next 16 in the standings have a chance to compete for three additional Classic berths at the Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster Classic Bracket on Carters Lake in Ellijay, Georgia, Oct. 23-26. Team Dick Cepek anglers Palaniuk, who finished in eighth place overall, and Clifford Pirch, who finished in 28th place overall, are both automatically berthed in to the Classic. Teammate Greg Hackney is currently in the running in 39th place and hopes to solidify his spot in the Classic after the Classic Bracket tournament.

The 2019 GEICO Bassmaster Classic Presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods is March 16-18, 2019, at Lake Hartwell in Greenville, South Carolina.

For more information about the Bassmaster Elite series, go to

September 26, 2018