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Event Article

The Velvick-Clear Lake Reunion Part I


Date: 3/21/10
Location: Clear Lake, BASS Golden State Shootout
Event Date: 3/18-3/21/10
Reviewer: Leo

In the year 2000, Byron Velvick made a huge breakthrough on the tournament scene. At the time swimbaits were popular on the trophy hunter scene, but the tournament angler didn’t see it as a viable option. During pre-fish for that event Byron recognized the size of the bait fish that the Clear Lake giants were eating and in a definite “outside the box” move tied on a large swimbait. His swimbait of choice in 2000 was a Basstrix swimbait with a top hook. Byron went on to win the event with a record weight that still stands today (for a 3 day event). His three day total of 83 pounds 5 ounces was proof enough to the tournament world that the swimbait is a viable option.


Byron Velvick again had the top weight on Saturday at the Golden State Shootout


Turn the clock to 10 years later, nearly to the day, on the same lake with a similar bait Byron is running away with the Bassmaster Golden State Shootout.  Although Byron still has a final day of competition he has this victory in his grasp and barring a bad final day is in prime position for another victory on his favorite body of water.


Byron lands another nice fish with his secret swimbait


This time Byron again was thinking outside the box when he tied on a newly created bait by Jerry Rago of Rago Baits. For three days Byron has relied on the 7-inch “Velvick 3D” Rago bait to put himself into the lead and remain there with one day left in the event. In fact, not only is the lake, time of year and bait nearly the same, the area of the lake Byron is fishing is exactly where he set the record ten years ago. Byron knows the area well and is targeting specific patches of grass in the area with this new swimbait design.


Byron was committed to the big bait bite he threw the line through "Velvick 3D Swimbait" all day long


The bait Byron is throwing is a soft plastic, line-through swimbait with a traditional paddle tail.  Byron is targeting shallow 2 to 6 feet weed beds on a large flat in the North end of Clear Lake. The bait is rigged with a treble hook on the belly (size information is yet to be released) but, the fins on the body of this bait helps make this bait near weedless. In fact, the near weedless design might be just the thing that is getting the fish to bite the bait.  As the bait ticks the top of the weed beds it catches just enough grass to “snap” out of the grass and create the reaction strike.


Byron pins another fish with the swimbait...


Byron has two baits tied on and has yet to let anyone know which of the two are getting the bites. The only difference in the two baits is the color, one being light Hitch and the other being dark Hitch. On day 1 Byron landed a 10 pound 11 ounce giant as part of a 29 pound even bag on day one.  On day 2 Byron brought 22 pounds to the scales to hold onto a nearly 5 pound lead over second place. On day 3 Byron landed 6 fish and brought 24 pounds 8 ounces to the scales to extend his lead to 5 pounds 15 ounces over second place.  The bites came few and far between for Velvick on day 3 but, they were the right bites.


...and celebrates upon landing


With at times as many as a dozen boats floating nearby Byron methodically picked apart a stretch of about 100 yards with the Velvick 3D swimbait.  Byron threw the swimbait exclusively all day and although by his own admission considered making a switch at least once during the day, “I keep thinking about leaving but, I’ve gotta stick it out”, he yelled over to the spectators. Sticking it out was the right thing to do but, at least one onlooker – me, was amazed by his thorough and relentless attack of the area. 


With one more day to go Byron is in great position with a 6lb. lead


Byron begins his final day in just a few hours so we’ll catch up Byron post event and get all the specifics and more. The event is far from in the bag for Byron with many of the best anglers in the world trying to chase him down tomorrow, including another Clear Lake aficionado Skeet Reese, but his 10 year reunion with the Clear Lake has certainly gotten off to a fantastic start.


Check out Part II of this article as we interview Byron Velvick









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