TV's The Bachelor is over for tour pro Byron Velvick, but his new life is just beginning. On the final episode he presented a rose to Mary Delgado and proposed. She accepted and the two are now together in her hometown of Tampa, Fla. With the tour seasons just around the corner, BassFan caught up with Velvick to learn what his post-Bachelor life is like.
BassFan: Now that it's all done, how do you feel?
Velvick: It's not all done by any means. It's go-go-go.
Are you mostly busy with media engagements?
There's a lot of magazine stuff and promotional stuff for the show, but I'm trying to get ready for the tour now. It's driving me nuts because I'm trying to do two things. I'm trying to get back into fishing at the same time I'm doing all this.
Where's your tackle?
It's all at my house, along with my boat and my truck and all my stuff at Lake Mead (Nev.). I'm going to go out there and get all my stuff and bring it out here. I'm actually flying back to Vegas next week.
I left last year for 6 months on the tours so I've done it before. Last year I was able to stay at my dad's house in Punta Gorda (Fla.), so this is about the same thing – just load up the truck and drive it out.
How are things after the show, now that you and Mary get to spend some more time together?
Things are good between us. We're doing great. The only thing we're having a hard time doing is finding time to be alone and have some downtime. Two days ago we spent a day at the beach, thank God. We just took the day off and slept in a hammock yesterday and relaxed at the beach, and that was a nice, slow change. Then we were right back to it.
While the show was running, you weren't able to tell anybody the outcome. It turned out you proposed to Mary on camera. What was it like to keep a secret like that for so long?
Well, you know, it was pretty easy actually (laughs). As a fisherman, I think you learn how to keep secrets for a living. Honest to God, you sit there at dinner with Gerald (Swindle), Skeet (Reese) and John Murray and you know the fish are eating crankbaits in 2 feet of water, but you just sit there and keep your mouth shut.
So you talk about everything but you don't talk about anything important. Keeping secrets comes naturally to anyone who spends as much time fishing as we do. I really think that helped a lot because I never had a hard time at all not saying her name or not talking about who it was.
Were you allowed to see her while the show was running, or did you have to remain separated?
We saw each other every 2 or 3 weeks. They wouldn't let us go more than a few weeks without seeing each other.
On the After the Final Rose special, you mentioned the FLW Tour, but we didn't hear you mention Bassmaster.
I fished both tours last year and I'm interested in fishing wherever I can. I think it would be fun to fish both this year. I'm waiting to hear on a few more things. I'm not exclusive to one or the other and I want the option of both. One tour has been a little more aggressive than the other to this point.
Are you still planning to live in Florida instead of Nevada?
I'm going to have to if I want to be with Mary. Her family and friends are still all here. So from a fishing perspective, I think it's great. And it's also good because her family and friends are all still here.
Have you been fishing down there yet?
Not this year, but the last couple of years, like I said, I stayed in Punta Gorda and fished the tour events. This year, if I fish Bassmaster and FLW, I'll be fishing four events in Florida.
Through this whole Bachelor experience, what have you learned about promotion and self-promotion? You were already skilled, but have you improved in any areas or learned anything new?
With live TV, you get thrown into it and learn really fast what your idiosyncrasies are. People would call to tell me I have the habit of talking too fast, or something else. You hear about that, and consequently, I've learned a little bit about it because it was pretty overwhelming – a total immersion course in public speaking, with the talk shows especially.
Do you have an agent, or do you do all your own booking?
No. An agent can get in the way sometimes with friendships – especially if you're talking about fishing stuff. I don't think an agent knows what entry fees are, or a retainer or anything about performance contracts. We know that stuff better than any agent does. An agent would be like, 'Wait, what does it mean if they're going to do a monthly retainer?'
I just don't think agents can tap into the fishing market as well as the fishermen themselves. That's inside the industry. Outside the industry it might be different.
It must be hectic scheduling your appearances though.
I have two things going, really. Yes, I'm going to fish FLW and Bassmaster, if I'm able, but there's something else going on too that I can't comment on right now.
Will do be doing any of the outdoor shows this winter?
I'll be going to a couple of boat shows for Mercury – some of the bigger ones like Miami and Minnesota.
Has The Bachelor affected your industry contracts?
It's brought a little bit to them, but at the same time, ultimately, you can't go back and gouge the people who have been with you for 10 or 13 years. You can't go to them and say hey, I'm The Bachelor, I need triple the money. That's wrong.
I've had some offers that were a lot more than what my current sponsors have given me, but at the same time I'm loyal. It would bum me out to not be loyal. It's not worth an extra $500 a month to lose a friend. It's not for me.
There's other ways to make money in this thing. If I can go out and make some personal appearances, that offsets me all of a sudden being a traitor to Maxima or Okuma and everybody else who've been with me as long as they have.
We all know that these relationships matter and my sponsors should be rewarded for the fact that they believed in me when I was out there placing 120th last year. They didn't cancel me. All of a sudden I'm on a primetime reality TV show and I can possibly pay them back for everything they've done for me.
Is Mary going to go on tour with you?
She's going to keep her job, but she's going to come to some events. Already we've heard ABC is going to come to a couple of tournaments just to cover us being at a tournament together.
Do you feel that pro fishing got enough exposure on The Bachelor, or is the best of it yet to come?
I don't know. I didn't get into it to expose fishing. I got into it because I thought it was a great premise to meet a great person. The whole fishing thing was a secondary deal – that's not why I got into the show. I think it didn't hurt our sport at all. I think a lot of guys kind of like the idea that people, when you say professional fishing, they now say, "Oh, kind of like that guy on the TV show does."
They have at least a little better visual on what it is – better than what it was before. So I don't think it hurt the sport. I don't know if there's more to come. We'll see. I'll be curious to see what the turnout will be like at the tour events. Maybe they're there, maybe they're not – I don't know.
Have you set a date for the wedding yet?
Nope. We're looking at some time next year, but right now, we're just trying to be a couple. We're just battling hard to be a couple.
> Velvick is originally from southern California, but moved to Boulder City, Nev. to be close to Lake Mead. "Rick Clunn told me that if I wanted to compete seriously, I had to live on a tournament lake. That's why I moved."