Published By OutdoorsFIRST Media Published January 17, 2018
AFTCO is making its first move into freshwater fishing on its 60th anniversary.
The Californian company, owned and operated by three generations of the Shedd family and a huge brand in saltwater, is initially launching a range of bass fishing clothing.
It has also announced the formation of the AFTCO Freshwater Pro Team that includes such tournament luminaries as Jason Christie, Todd Faircloth, Anthony Gagliardi, Jared Lintner and Scott Martin.
"A lot of things have all come together at once," AFTCO's VP of Sales and Marketing, Casey Shedd, told Fishing Tackle Retailer. "We have approached entering this new market very carefully.
"AFTCO has been an established name in saltwater for the last 60 years and we hope to become an established name in freshwater for the next 60."
AFTCO has recorded five consecutive years of 30%-plus growth in its clothing business, much of that attributed to the younger demographic in the market. Now it is hoping to replicate that among the growing youth movement in bass fishing.
Shedd said the early reception from retailers has been 'overwhelmingly positive' and that the company has started to supply retailers in Minnesota, Michigan, Arizona and other new markets.
Conservation has long been a driving principle behind AFTCO, with 10% of annual profits going to conservation initiatives each year. It plans similar efforts in freshwater fishing, including ten conservation-focused tournaments and the offer of conservation grants applied for online.
Other initiatives include the support of youth fishing through the recently launched Bass Boot Camp YouTube Series and hosting the AFTCO Collegiate Open with the Cabela's Collegiate Bass Fishing Tournament Series in the Fall of this year.