This year, the American Fishing Tackle Company (AFTCO) celebrates its 50th Anniversary. Started by JC Axelson on October 28, 1958, the company was purchased by Milt and Peggie Shedd in 1973. Today it is operated by five Shedd family members and several long time employees.
Starting with Milt Shedd's passion for fishing and for his desire to give back to the marine world, AFTCO has developed a company culture that uniquely combines business interests and resource stewardship. Its products such as AFTCO roller guides & tops, Unibutts, Taper-Tip gaffs, Roller- Troller release clips, Bluefever fishing gloves, and Maxforce belts, and harnesses, have a world wide reputation for quality. In 1989 Bill Shedd started the AFTCO Bluewater clothing division. Beginning with the first short designed specifically for the serious fisherman, the line has grown into an 80-page sportswear catalog. With the addition of licensed products by renowned artists Guy Harvey and Al Agnew, as well as the IGFA, the AFTCO family of sportswear is now a leading brand for outdoor enthusiasts.
To give back to the resource, AFTCO contributes 10% of its profits along with significant involvement by its employees to provide leadership for ocean conservation efforts. Accomplishments by AFTCO staff and Shedd family members include the co founding of SeaWorld, founding the Hubbs/SeaWorld Research Institute, co- founding United Anglers of Southern California, preventing the long line industry for establishing itself in California, starting California's white seabass hatchery program, helping to create a Rigs-To-Reefs program, and bringing a more rational approach to the Marine Protected Areas issue. AFTCO also supports fish tagging programs and created the AFTCO TAG/FLAG Tournament to help advance the tag and release ethic.