How AFTCO’s new sponsorship will help get more young anglers on the water
One of the best known and most successful anglers on the US bass fishing circuit has joined award-winning apparel brand, AFTCO in a partnership committed to encouraging participation in the sport.
Mike Iaconelli, the 2003 Bassmaster Classic Champion and 2006 B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year, has joined the company’s pro-team. He said: “I am absolutely honoured to join an industry-leading brand like AFTCO. Aspects like family-owned and operated, a commitment to conservation, plus multiple ICAST awards in technical fishing clothing, are all big reasons why I am proud to represent it in 2021 and beyond.”
AFTCO Marketing Director, Mark Florentino, said: “With a personality like Ike’s, it is hard not to get excited. The entire AFTCO family is thrilled to bring his talents both on and off the water to the team.” As part of the new partnership, the company will also sponsor the Ike Foundation® in developing a new programme aimed at creating fishing opportunities for minority youth anglers.
While the COVID-19 pandemic limited much of the MLF professional bass season, Iaconelli and his foundation focused on promoting the sport by hosting a virtual fishing tournament, raising almost $10,000 to feed families displaced by the closure of schools and jobs. The Ike Foundation also hosted socially distanced bass boat and kayak fishing tournaments, raising more than $30,000 towards the mission of getting more kids fishing and outdoors.
He is also motivated to grow the sport of fishing through his own entertainment, educational, and charitable organisations: The Bass University, ‘Ike Live’ podcast and ‘Going Ike’ YouTube series. Additionally, he hosts television shows ‘City Limits’ and ‘Fish My City with Mike Iaconelli’ on NatGeo Wild.
AFTCO itself is committed to the environment and through its Pledge to Protect and Conserve initiative, donates 10% of its profits to support conservation and angler rights.