SANTA ANA, Calif. — In 2020, AFTCO will expand their pro team with the addition of six new Bassmaster Elite anglers to represent AFTCO’s line of bass fishing apparel. New to this year’s team roster are veterans Gerald Swindle, Chad Pipkens and Mark Menendez, along with 2019 top 10 AOY finishers Matt Arey and Shane LeHew. Rounding out their new signings is 2020 Elite Series Rookie Wes Logan who qualified through the Bassmaster 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. 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,” says Swindle.
According to AFTCO President Casey Shedd, “We’re kicking off 2020 as the title sponsor for the Bassmaster Elite Series at St. Johns River in Palatka, Fla., and I couldn’t be happier to have these six new anglers representing our company at the event. 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. This focus led to the development of our Yurei UPF 40 Air-O-Mesh fabric, an integrated waterproof pocket in our new Overboard shorts and two more Best of Category awards at the most recent ICAST show. We believe it is a combination of these core values and quality products that attracted these anglers to the AFTCO Team.”
They will join the 2019 Bassmaster Rookie of the Year Drew Cook and fellow Elite anglers Clfford Pirch, Micah Frazier, Greg DiPalma and Ray Hanselman as a part of 2020 AFTCO Bassmaster 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 Bassmaster Opens field. In total, 17% of the Bassmaster Elite Series field will be wearing AFTCO products in the 2020 tournament season.
AFTCO remains dedicated to growing its business in order to help improve our freshwater fisheries. In 2020, AFTCO will increase their conservation partnership with the B.A.S.S. Na on and continue to support a range of freshwater conservation efforts through their 10% Pledge to Protect and Conserve. That mission aligns well with values of AFTCO’s new anglers, including Elite pro Mark Menendez.
“Sun protection and the battle against Asian Carp are two very important topics to me,” says Menendez. “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.”