BOENRE, Texas — Bassmaster Elite Series angler, Byron Velvick, has announced that the 2016 season will be his last as a professional bass angler.
“I’ve had a great run,” Velvick reflected with a grin. “But I have a 4-year-old little girl who wants her daddy at home. Every time I get ready to leave for a tournament my daughter, Kamber, hugs me, cries and says she doesn’t want me to leave. There comes a time when her and my family’s needs are more important than my career.”
As a first-time father Velvick quickly came to the realization that the demanding travel schedule of the Bassmaster Elite Series isn’t conducive to his family life. His wife, Belinda, owns a Texas health care and hospice business. Her busy schedule involves long hours at the office and travel as well. Last year they made a joint decision that it made more sense for him to stay close to home, retire from the tour and take care of their child and their home.
“I’m looking forward to being there for them after this season is over,” he said. “These years will go by fast. It won’t be long and she’ll no longer be a little girl. She’ll be a young lady with a life of her own. I want to take full advantage of what time is available to me right now. I can’t do that if I’m on the road.
“I’m also a firm believer in parents raising their children. This decision will allow that to happen.”
Originally, Velvick wanted to retire at the end of the 2015 season, but when a back injury on the Delta forced him to suspend his season with a medical hardship he had to delay his retirement until the end of this year.
“I didn’t want to go out with an injury and not fishing. I wanted to fish every event, have some quality time with the guys and maybe camp at least one more time with my mentor, Rick Clunn. Fishing the 2016 season gives me the opportunity to do just that. It’ll also give me the opportunity to throw some big swimbaits in unconventional places, and make a big splash.”
Velvick will be writing occasional columns for Bassmaster.com. In them he’ll chronicle his final year on tour, talk about the highs and lows of his career, share a few stories from the past and generally give fans his thoughts about a fisherman’s life.