Conservation First Tournament Initiatives
Photos: Burton Angelle
In 2019, over 25 bass fishing tournaments took part in AFTCO’s Conservation First Tournament Program.
By supporting grassroots organizations, AFTCO’s Conservation First Tournament Initiatives further enable the efforts of conservation-minded anglers. At the center of our Conservation First program is the Bass Bus Live Release Boat, built in 2019 in partnership with Yamaha Outboards. All events will utilize a combination of AFTCO’s Bass Care 101 Booklets, the AFTCO Mobile Livewell System and AFTCO Bank Bags. The bank bag program offers anglers an incentive to help clean up the waterways and participate in Keep America Fishing’s Pitch It campaign to remove soft plastics and more.
AFTCO has always taken a Conservation First approach to our entire business. It’s this ethic that has driven us to contribute more than 10% of company profits to fishing conservation through our 10% Pledge to Protect & Conserve. At AFTCO, we believe that the true conservationists in America are the outdoorsmen. The fishermen, the hunters, and individuals that are spending their own hours, sweat and supplies caring for the resource they love make the difference. Anglers contribute over a billion dollars every year to support fishing conservation through fishing license fees, excise taxes on fishing tackle, and other permits and fees. While environmentalists often claim to be the protectors of our wildlife, it is the anglers and hunters who contribute the money, manpower and leadership to do so. AFTCO’s Conservation First Tournament Initiatives offer anglers the opportunity to catch fish in a competitive environment while also embracing conservation ethics to look after the fish and ensure a healthy resource for generations to come.
As a part of our 10% Pledge and Conservation First approach to business, we are continuing to provide financial support through the AFTCO x B.A.S.S. Nation Conservation Grant Program. Upon receiving the grant, the original limited proposal was expanded into a region wide initiative. What started as a grant to Director Capt. Jake Davis and the Tennessee B.A.S.S. Nation to support local reservoir, Tims Ford Lake, quickly turned into a statewide test program.
Since its inception, the program has resulted in 3,000 habitat structures being built and deployed on Tims Ford Reservoir alone. With over 5,450 hours of labor, Tennessee B.A.S.S. Nation, TWRA and AFTCO have effectively changed the landscape throughout Tennessee. Habitat constructions have been placed on seven of the nineteen reservoirs in Tennessee, along with removing no less than 30,000 pounds of garbage from five reservoirs. Most significant was the lake cleanup on Normandy Lake, just outside Tullahoma, Tennessee. That cleanup project not only brought out anglers, but more importantly, individuals from across the entire region including County Commissioners and the local community that enjoy the outdoors.
It is by supporting programs like this that AFTCO hopes to do its small part to further enable bass fishing conservation efforts and broaden its industry-leading commitment to conservation throughout the country for generations to come.