Byron Velvick has been around the block many times in the world of professional bass fishing. He's won major events out west. Produced a victory in Florida. Set a three-day weight record at a B.A.S.S. event he won on Clear Lake in California.
The amiable Mercury fishing pro has also suffered through difficult seasons thanks to a variety of injuries that have been severe enough to take him out of competitive fishing for an entire season at one point.
Byron is nothing if not resilient. The 2015 Elite Series campaign started off on the rough side for him. Rough as in no fish and finishing 110th at the Sabine River. Not to be held down, Velvick popped back to nearly the top at Lake Guntersville with a second place finish.
Velvick is camped out in the middle of the Elite field now in Angler of the Year (AOY) points and has two of his favorite fisheries staring him in the face for his next opportunity to win or move up in the AOY standings, the California Delta and Lake Havasu. Both are significant in his evolution as a pro. It's a homecoming of sorts for Velvick and he can't wait to get back to where his roots are located.
The California Delta has never been easy for Velvick.
"I've never won anything on the Delta," said Velvick. "The Delta always makes me a bit nervous. It was always won by Delta rats like Robert Lee or Bobby Barrack. Guys like that know how the fish react on certain tides like nobody else.
"What I did learn over the years at the Delta was incredible. When I started exploring it during college, legends like Dee Thomas were there holding court. It was amazing what you can learn by listening to these guys.
"I did learn that running and gunning on the Delta is almost a guarantee you won't do well. Find an area and stick it out. That will help you be there when the tide is right."
Velvick plans on using a variety of offerings during the Delta event. Punching grass with plastics like Tightlines UV Whisker Baits. Frogs, chatterbaits, spinnerbaits, and even some bed fishing might be possible.
Velvick is pumped up about Lake Havasu.
"I feel absolutely great about fishing Lake Havasu," said Velvick. "I'm thrilled about being there. It is a fishing homecoming for me.
"I cut my teeth on tournament bass fishing on Havasu. Before I was old enough to fish in the tournaments, I would go to Havasu with my neighbor and friend Steve Oliver who was fishing the events. I would run bags for the anglers at the weigh-ins. I loved it.
"Of course, then I started fishing the events and won on Lake Havasu. It is a really cool place to fish. I just love it. Havasu has such great memories for me. Hopefully some really great new memories will happen this year."
Velvick's arsenal at Havasu will include a variety of Livingston crankbaits, topwaters, possibly some swimbaits and the classic brown and purple jig. It's a favorite in these waters and the offering Velvick used to win a Western Classic on Havasu.