In 2020, AFTCO will expand their pro team with the addition of six Bassmaster Elite Series anglers to represent its line of bass fishing apparel.
New to this year’s team roster are veterans Gerald Swindle, Chad Pipkens and Mark Menendez, along with Matt Arey and Shane Lehew, both of whom are coming off top-10 finishes in the 2019 Angler of the Year standings. Rounding off their new signings is 2020 Elite Series rookie Wes Logan, who qualified through the B.A.S.S. Central Opens.
“I’m looking forward to joining a family business with a 60-plus year history and some of the most innovative fishing clothes on the market," Swindle said. "It’s going to be a great year! I am excited to have all the gear I need for any condition from the start of the Elite Series in February to the end of the season in August.
AFTCO will serve as the title sponsor of the Elite Series season opener at the St. Johns River in Palatka, Fla.
"I couldn’t be happier to have these six new anglers representing our company at the event," said AFTCO president Casey Shedd. "The past few years have brought a lot of turmoil to the fishing industry with private equity companies taking over several respected brands. Amidst the chaos and disruption, we’re proud as ever to remain stable and family owned with a laser focus on bringing better clothing to anglers."
The new additions will join the 2019 Bassmaster Rookie of The Year Drew Cook and fellow Elite anglers Clifford Pirch, Micah Frazier, Greg Dipalma and Ray Hanselman as a part of 2020 AFTCO B.A.S.S. Elite Series pro team. Michigan’s Garrett Paquette will be running an AFTCO wrapped Bass Cat on the 2020 Elite Series, and AFTCO anglers Scott Martin, Bradley Hallman and Matt Pangrac will compete in the B.A.S.S. Opens field. In total, 17 percent of the Bassmaster Elite Series field will wearing AFTCO products in the 2020 tournament season.
In addition, AFTCO remains dedicated to growing its business in order to help improve our freshwater fisheries. In 2020, AFTCO will increase its conservation partnership with B.A.S.S. Nation and continue to support a range of freshwater conservation efforts through its 10 percent Pledge to Protect and Conserve. That mission aligns well with values of AFTCO’s new anglers, including Menendez.
“Sun protection and the battle against Asian carp are two very important topics to me,” Menendez said. “I couldn’t be more excited to partner with AFTCO on them in 2020. I will be leading AFTCO’s efforts to help the battle on Asian carp with awareness and funds to make a direct impact in Kentucky. From fishing shirts to sun protection gloves they have me covered on the sun protection front."