AFTCO's Pro Team is expanding in 2023 with the addition of one of the most dynamic media personalities in the fishing industry, Mark Zona.
The co-host of Bassmaster and host of Zona’s Awesome Fishing Show is a household name in the fishing and outdoors industry. Widely renowned and revered for his cunningly unscripted, unpredictable, and hilarious color commentary, Zona (aka “Z”) will join an already impressive lineup of anglers and outdoor personalities representing the AFTCO brand on and off the water. “I couldn’t be happier to partner with a company that has supported our industry for decades,” says Zona.
Known for being highly passionate, highly unpredictable, and highly entertaining, Zona will be outfitted with AFTCO’s wide range of technical fishing apparel including their ICAST award-winning outerwear, fleece, sun protection, and lifestyle gear throughout the 2023 season of Zona’s Awesome Fishing Show and on the set of the Bassmaster Elite Series.
When asked about his decision to partner with AFTCO, Zona states, “I fish in extreme conditions throughout the country from the bitter cold to the brutal heat and thankfully AFTCO apparel has EVERY situation covered – their gear is 100% made for fishermen.”
The International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST) wrapped up this week and announced the best new products for 2023, as chosen by the media.
The ICAST Trade Show draws manufacturers from around the world and is where many of next year’s new fishing tackle products are displayed to tackle buyers.
Here’s a breakdown of the winners of each category:
Best of Show - Soft and Hard Coolers
Product: P88-MK Combo | PacBak
Best of Category — Boating Accessories
Product: Frabill ReCharge, Deluxe Aerator | Pure Fishing, Inc.
Best of Category — Boats and Watercraft
Product: BOTE Rackham Gatorshall + APEX Pedal Drive | BOTE
Best of Category — Footwear
Product: AFTCO Ankle Deck Boot | AFTCO
Best of Category — Ice Fishing
Product: Garmin LiveScope Plus Ice Fishing Bundle LI | Garmin USA
If you're at a Great Lakes port this season, you might see one of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ large fisheries research vessels conducting annual fish surveys.
The public is encouraged to visit the vessels when in port and talk with the crews about their work. To ensure the safety of all, anglers and boaters are asked to give research vessels and their deployed sampling gear plenty of space when on the water.
“The staff on these vessels is working on a wide variety of studies to better understand Great Lakes fish communities, population sizes and habitats,” said Gary Whelan, DNR fisheries research manager. “Their work and the knowledge gained are essential to supporting current and future fisheries management.”
The vessels are based out of Marquette, Alpena, Charlevoix and Harrison Township harbors.
Fisheries surveys on Lake Huron are conducted by the research vessel Tanner. This vessel focuses on the sunrise coast’s lake trout, walleye, yellow perch and forage fish populations, which includes time in Saginaw Bay and the Les Cheneaux Islands in the eastern Upper Peninsula. The R/V Tanner visits the St. Marys River once every five years to evaluate fish communities in collaboration with a number of partner agencies represented by the St. Marys River Fisheries Task Group. The next scheduled survey stop is in August 2022.
Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie
Work on lakes St. Clair and Erie is done by the R/V Channel Cat. This vessel focuses its efforts on walleye, yellow perch, smallmouth bass and lake sturgeon in the waters that support some of the highest fishing effort seen throughout Michigan and the Great Lakes. New for Lake St. Clair this year is a predator fish survey that is part of the recently initiated lakewide fish community assessment – a collaboration among the Michigan DNR, the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources, and Forestry, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Lake Superior surveys are conducted by the R/V Lake Char, which assesses the status of Lake Superior’s self-sustaining lake trout and lake whitefish populations along with other members of the lake’s unique coldwater fish community. The R/V Lake Char's plans for 2022 include a trip to Isle Royale for deepwater lake trout spawning habitat assessment, work at Superior Shoals to tag lake trout with archival tags that record depth and temperature and an assessment of lake trout populations at Big Reef. This vessel is also going to assist with lake trout tagging in support of ongoing assessment of the Buffalo Reef stamp sands evaluation.
The 16th Annual Tie-a-thon at the Elkhart Conservation Club in Indiana produced thousands of flies to be donated to a group that helps women recovering from breast cancer.
About 40 people gathered to finish flies, socialize, and enjoy a fabulous gourmet lunch. Nearly 35,000 flies were pledged to this year’s event and about 33,000 were in house. The flies will be donated to Casting for Recovery (CfR) Indiana and Michigan for use at future retreats for women recovering from breast cancer.
Representatives from CfR Indiana and Michigan were on hand to enjoy the day and receive the flies. Co-coordinator Karen O’Briant commented, “I’m blown away by the effort and generosity of the strangers and friends in the fly tying community.”
Boat US Report
Gas prices are up. What can boaters do to prepare for a summer of boating? The 800,000-plus member Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) offers these fuel-saving tips to help boaters save on fuel and still enjoy a fulfilling season on the water. While some of these techniques may sound obvious, there may be some you never considered.
Before Heading Out: