California-based apparel manufacturer AFTCO announced that it's added nine anglers to its freshwater pro staff.
Josh Bertrand, Jeff Kriet and Wesley Strader will compete on the newly formed MLF Bass Pro Tour, while Clifford Pirch, Garrett Paquette, Drew Cook, Micah Frazier and Greg Dipalma will represent the company on the Bassmaster Elite Series tour. Veteran Walleye pro Dean Arnoldussen will also join the AFTCO freshwater pro team.
“Last year, for the first time in 60 years, AFTCO entered the freshwater market," said VP of sales and marketing Casey Shedd. "From testing and tweaking our outerwear to add bass-specific features to building the AFTCO Bass Bus live-release boat, we made some real progress toward our goal of improving our freshwater fisheries.
"As we head into our second year in the freshwater market, AFTCO is thrilled to be adding nine new anglers who represent the ethos of our company. It’s not just about explaining the technical aspects of how a SpeedVent hood works, or why UPF is important. More importantly, each pro also acts and advocates for the message we are hoping to spread to the broader fishing community: ‘If you like to fish, fishing conservation is not an option, it’s critical to the longevity of our passion’ The AFTCO team gets that and really has been excited about helping us champion that cause.”
The new members join a staff that includes Jason Christie, Dustin Connell, Todd Faircloth, Shin Fukae, Anthony Gagliardi, Russ Lane, Jared Lintner, Scott Martin and Michael Neal.
Anthony Gagliardi didn’t anticipate the cane pile bite being as dominant as it was. He’s put plenty of them in the lake in the past, but didn’t fish them as much as he should’ve in hindsight.
“It all started on Hartwell,” he said when asked to recount the origin of the vertical pieces of bamboo chutes that area stuffed into buckets before being sank on or next to points.
“We started seeing similarities in how suspended fish were being caught here so I put some in pockets in 2006 (before the FLW Tour event), but I didn’t know what I was doing. I was just trying to catch jerkbait fish then.”
He put more of them in the lake before the 2014 Cup, but never caught anything on those spots. This year, he believes the cooler water is what triggered the fish to congregate around them more.
“The fish then didn’t know how to use it,” he said. “It’s like when grass shows up in a lake and they don’t know how to use that cover. Maybe it takes a couple generations, but that’s where it came from – the herring lakes up state – and the more this lake has started to fish that way it became a factor.” Read more
Like the last time the Cup was held on Murray, Anthony Gagliardi put into play a Yamamoto D-Shad. He mostly threw it on a single rig, but fished a double rig on the final afternoon. His only other bait was a chrome pencil popper.
> Day 3: 5, 15-02 (15, 51-03) Nobody in the field had more options of where and what to fish at Murray than Gagliardi, but he was kicking himself for sticking with one spot too long this morning and not devoting more time to cane piles in general.
“I got sucked into the schooling bite and sucked into breaking fish,” he said. “I had 80 cane piles I could’ve ran if that’s what I wanted to do. There were too many places with fish coming up that forced me to stay. It was one or the other. I couldn’t run and gun and fish the schoolers, too. That takes too much time. The schoolers were too big to not try to catch them.”
His day started to unravel shortly after it began. He went without a bite at his first spot, then made a move out in the middle of the lake where fish were actively on the surface all around him.
“It was the biggest school of big bass I’ve ever seen here this time of year,” he said. “I got frustrated because when I’d get bites I’d lose them. I spent way too long on one spot and then ran around trying to make up for lost time.”
He later ran up the Saluda River and probed some isolated shallow brush with a big worm, similar to how he won in 2014. Eventually, he came back down the lake and caught a couple 3-pounders with a Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits D-Shad.
“Over the next hour, I had 12 to 15 bites, all on the D Shad,” he added. Read more