The Recreational Fishing Alliance named Capt. T.J. Cheek of Brunswick, Ga., as Southeast regional director of the political action organization, which represents saltwater anglers and the industry.
Cheek grew up fishing the estuarine and coastal waters along the southern Georgia coast with his father, grandfather and uncles as a boy, eventually becoming one of the most well respected professional guides along the East Coast.
"T.J. does it all," RFA executive director Jim Donofio said in a statement. "His knowledge of the winding backwaters of Brunswick Country, where speckle trout and redfish are the primary target species, is unsurpassed, and his experience doesn't end at the shoreline. He is just as formidable offshore chasing dolphin, wahoo, tripletail, cobia and tarpon. He is extremely well known and universally liked, in addition to being personable and passionate about the sport, all traits that are sure to help him undertake his new role with the RFA.”
Cheek served as an operations specialist in the Navy near the mouth of the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Fla. While there, he laid out his plan to become a full-time guide after finishing his tour of duty.
He credits much of what he has learned to his father, Capt. Tim Cheek, who groomed him from an early age to be one of the top guides. In the coming months, Cheek will be working with groups of anglers in South Carolina, Georgia and northeast Florida who have expressed an interest in starting RFA state chapters.
"The RFA is not a social organization," Cheek said. "It's a successful political action organization on the mission to protect saltwater recreational fishing for today and future generations. That's what attracted me to it and the reason I am looking forward to helping promote the work it does for saltwater anglers everywhere."