February 19, 2014
With 18 years experience competing as a professional tournament angler, Byron Velvick has witnessed a bit of everything. But he continues to live-and-learn. Byron Velvick's Guides Eyes show, in its second season on Outdoor Channel, is an example.
Season Two has a tighter focus in Velvick's quest to fish with the best saltwater and freshwater fishing guides.
"I've learned to focus even more on a guide's life," Velvick said. "There's a huge background story on what it takes to be a guide. That's what we're showing. These guys get out there and grind every day. And the volume of stuff they do at night to get ready for the next day is just incredible."
Click image to see photos of Getting Into A Guide's Eyes
Season Two, airing now, delves further into the details of being a guide. To those who don't know the details, you may be surprised at the amount of work that goes into a job that appears from a distance to be simply getting paid to take someone fishing.
"Each week it's a feature story about a guide's whole life," Velvick said. "They have to be an ambassador for the area, a boat detailer, a bait-maker and everything else. We've really concentrated on the background of a guide's life, and there's a lot of aspects to it."
As in Season One, Velvick and crew have gone in every direction — West Coast, East Coast, Lake Michigan's Sturgeon Bay to Florida's Lake Okeechobee — in highlighting a guide's life. The variety of species is there, too, from striped bass on Lake Mead, to rainbow and brown trout in Arkansas, to peacock bass in the Miami area.
As have most of us, especially this winter, Velvick has met his share of weather difficulties. With a smallmouth bass show shot at Sturgeon Bay, Velvick hoped to follow up with a walleye trip on Lake Michigan, but bad weather didn't allow it. The same thing happened to a largemouth bass show at Kentucky Lake.
Velvick, 49, thought he'd seen it all in his fishing career. If not there, then in his varied experience with television. He is best-known for his appearance on the sixth season of "The Bachelor," an ABC reality dating program. But Velvick's TV experience includes many roles as a host or analyst on various fishing productions, especially those on the Bassmaster tournament trail.
Velvick took a medical leave of absence from the Bassmaster Elite Series last season after undergoing neck surgery. He'll be back competing on the Elite Series this year. In addition to experience, Velvick has shown he can win from coast to coast on the Elite Series, having posted victories at California's Clear Lake in 2010 and Florida's Lake Okeechobee in 2007.
In spite of all that experience, Velvick got a lesson in just how dependent fishing success is tied to the weather.
"We were in Galveston Bay catching redfish and trout," he said. "We kept filming while this massive (weather) front started approaching. The show ends with black clouds rolling over us."
The fish quit biting before that. Every angler knows that weather fronts affect fish catching. That wasn't news to Velvick. It was the one-moment-hot, next-moment-not aspect that stunned him.
"When that first breeze from the front starting rippling the water, it was over," Velvick said. "The bite abruptly stopped."
If you want to see how the very best guides operate on some of the top fisheries in the U.S. under every condition imaginable, check out Season Two of "Guide Eyes." You will be surprised at times, just as Velvick was in taping this wide variety of episodes.
"Byron Velvick's Guides Eyes" show page