Feider expands AOY lead

Seth Feider, 14th, 31-11

With two northern smallmouth-dominant tournaments to close the nine-event season, everyone thought this tournament at Lake Guntersville almost had to be where Seth Feider might loosen his grip on the Bassmaster Elite Series Angler of the Year title. But he did not. Feider expanded his lead with a 24th-place finish at Lake Guntersville.

AOY points don’t become official until the standings are final. Jason Christie, unless he falls several places on Championship Sunday, will move into second place and Patrick Walters will fall to third. Feider had a 41-point lead over second place Walters after Neely Henry. If Christie finishes fourth, where he started Sunday, Feider’s lead will be 48 points over second place. His lead over Walters, who finished 35th, is 52 points.

This is how incredible Feider's season has been: Guntersville was one of his worst finishes of the season. His “worst finish," if you can call it that, was 29th place at the Tennessee River. Here’s his season in a nutshell: third St. Johns River, 29th Tennessee River, 25th Pickwick Lake, sixth Sabine River, sixth Lake Fork, 12th Neely Henry, 24th Lake Guntersville.

Feider’s going to have a chance to get rested and refreshed before the northern swing, thanks to the unusual placement of the Bassmaster Classic June 11-13 this year, due to previous COVID-19 concerns.

“I’m really looking forward to fishing the Classic and not fishing a tournament for points for a change of pace,” Feider said Saturday. As for the potential Angler of the Year title, he said, “It’s all I think about. I wake up thinking about it. I go to bed thinking about it. I just need six more good days this year, and it will all work out.”

Feider was referring to making the Top 48/Day 2 cut and fishing on Day 3 at New York's St. Lawrence River and Lake Champlain. Based on his recent past performances there, Feider is a solid bet to be fishing on Day 4 at those two places. Over the last four seasons, the Elite Series has been to the St. Lawrence River four times. Feider finished 18th last year, 28th in 2019, 10th in 2018 and 34th in 2017. The Elite Series has been to Lake Champlain three times. Feider finished second last year, 24th in 2018 and second in 2017.