After an absolutely horrible 2007 season on the Elite Series tour, Byron Velvick has rebounded — his Day One third-place finish on Kentucky Lake being just one more example.
The former contestant on ABC "The Bachelor" entered this week in 26th place for the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings race. He's finished in the top 50 at four tournaments this season, including third place at Texas' Falcon Lake and a 15th-place at Florida's Kissimmee Chain.
Last season Velvick, who will turn 44 next week, essentially finished dead last in the AOY standings: He was 107th with 1,141 points; Elton Luce Jr. finished 108th with 99 points after having to leave the tour.
"I'm healthy this year," Velvick said in explaining his resurgence. "It was like a black cloud followed me last year."
The black cloud formed in the second Elite Series event of the season last year, when Velvick was injured prior to the tournament on Lake Amistad, which Velvick has called home since buying Amistad Lake Resort in Del Rio, Texas.
Velvick had to go to the emergency room on Wednesday night before the tournament started, after his leg got caught between his truck and his boat trailer, which came loose from the hitch.
(It's a long story, but wasn't Velvick's fault.)
"Amistad was like a blur, because I was on so much pain medication," Velvick said. "I could hobble to the front of the boat. Then I just sat in the seat ... I couldn't even stand up.
"It took four or five months for my leg to really get better. It was blown up. It was a major contusion."
The black cloud followed Velvick to California, where he almost sliced his thumb off with a knife, trying to cut a banana during the tournament at Clear Lake.
"This year I've been careful," Velvick said with a smile. "I'm fishing slow. And I've had Mary (Delgado) with me, who's my good luck charm. Every time she's with me, I find fish (in practice)."
Delgado, for the few who don't know, is Velvick's fiancée, whom he met during the sixth season of "The Bachelor."