Award-winning clothing and rod components manufacturer, AFTCO, has expanded its pro team with the addition of former Bassmaster Classic Champion and B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year, Mike Iaconelli.
Iaconelli is one of the highest profile names in bass fishing and bolsters an already impressive line-up at AFTCO for the 2021 season that includes Gerald Swindle, Scott Martin, Jason Christie, Matt Arey, Todd Faircloth, Jeff Kreit and Jared Lintner.
As part of the new partnership, AFTCO will sponsor The Ike Foundation in developing a new programme aimed at creating fishing opportunities for minority youth anglers. “With a personality like Ike’s, it’s hard not to get excited,” said AFTCO Marketing Director, Matt Florentino. “AFTCO is thrilled to bring Mike’s tremendous talents both on and off the water to the team.”
The COVID-19 pandemic limited much of the MLF bass season, but Iaconelli promoted fishing by staging 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 tournaments, raising over $30,000 towards getting more kids fishing and outdoors.
Iaconelli said he was initially attracted to AFTCO by the Californian company’s commitment to conservation. “Other aspects like family ownership and operation, plus multiple ICAST awards in technical fishing clothing, are also big reasons why I am so proud to represent AFTCO in 2021 and beyond,” he added.
He is also working to grow fishing through his own entertainment, educational and charitable organisations. These include The Bass University, the ‘Ike Live’ podcast and the ‘Going Ike’ YouTube series. In addition, he has hosted television shows ‘City Limits’ and ‘Fish My City with Mike Iaconelli’ on NatGeo Wild.