Sep 16th, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Sep 16th, 2008 at 12:00 AM
Velvick ArrivesSure, anybody who follows pro bass fishing or watches ESPN2’s fishing shows has seen or heard of BASS Elite Series pro Byron Velvick. West Coast bassers have known him for a long time. He set a three-day weight record for a BASS event on Clear Lake back in 2000, plus he’s won the US Open on Lake Mead a couple of times. Heck, he’s even gained fame as a reality TV star appearing on ABC’s The Bachelor several seasons ago.
In fact, after his run as The Bachelor, Velvick got a gig with ESPN and was a co-host of the now defunct BassCenter show. It was a bass tournament fishing knock-off of ESPNs famous Sportcenter.So, with all of this success what would an angler of his stature still need to achieve to feel successful? How about qualifying for the Bassmaster Classic? Yep, until this year he’s never made it to the big show. He’s covered it as a field reporter for ESPN, but never fished it. This year, everything changed.”I’ll tell you what,” said Velvick. “I’m glad I work with ESPN, but I’m so happy I’m not working at the Classic this year. It isn’t that fun being there when you aren’t fishing it.”2008 was his break-out season.”I’m not sure exactly what it was this year, but my focus was very good and I made good decisions pretty much throughout the year,” he said. “It all started last fall when I had to re-qualify for the Elite Series at the Wildcard event in Florida. I won that and since then things have been going good for me.” He finished 35th overall. The top 36 anglers in the BASS Angler of the Year race qualify for the Bassmaster Classic.If no money is on the line, Velvick feels he’ll win whatever is at stake. “I finally won an event after a long drought,” said Velvick. “Last year I won the Wildcard event, but there was no money for winning it. I qualified to fish the Elites, but won no money.”I also made a huge comeback from last season to this season,” he said. “There used to be the Horizon award for the angler who made the biggest comeback from the previous season. The angler who won that made some good money. Well, this year the award was discontinued and I would have won it.”Look for Velvick this winter to star in one of ESPN2s Saltwater Sunday shows. Go to www.espnoutdoors.com for more information.