GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. -- Minnesota's mane man, Seth Feider, was my boat driver today for Round 2 of the Bassmaster Classic Bracket. He lives just 45 minutes away from Lake Pokegama and showed up at dinner last night. He said he wanted to see what this Bracket deal was all about. So we put him to work as a camera boat driver. Feider said he'd never driven a photographer around and asked for guidance.
With a couple of pointers, Feider got the hang of it quickly. And I was lucky to have him. We were covering Mike Iaconelli, who made 52 moves in the six hour session. And even the short moves were fast. Feider kept up admirably.
Feider finished the 2017 season in 14th place in Toyota Angler of the Year standings and will be fishing in his first GEICO Bassmaster Classic next March. "That feels fantastic," he said. When asked how he's feeling now, he said, "Relaxed." Here's more from our conversation:
When is the last time you fished Pokegama? "Three years ago or more. I fished seven or eight tournaments here. Won two."
What's it like watching another Elite fish? "This is the first time I've been able to just watch another pro. It's a little frustrating because I want him to fish the spots I'd be fishing. I'd focus more on the down trees. And I'd spend some time on the drop near the bridge. Tournaments have been won there."
What tournaments are you looking forward to in the 2018 schedule? "Lake Oahe in South Dakota. That one will be different. None of the guys have experience on it. I've been there once, a long time ago, fishing for walleye. But I'm worried about the Sabine River. Dreading it really. I think about that one every day. That was my first Elite Series tournament [in 2015] and I zeroed on Day 1 [he finished 73rd with 8 pounds 15 ounces]. I may need to pre-fish that one."
What's your dream schedule? "After May every state we go to needs to border Canada. The weather's so nice, and the fishing is pretty good to."
After Iaconelli missed the same fish three times, then finally landed it: "You know the nice thing about Minnesota? Our fish are pretty dumb. They can see a lure three time and still bite it. Down at Guntersville, one time and you're done."
What do you plan to do in the off-season? "Drink beer, shoot the shit, hunt, and get married [October 7 to Dayton Reinke]. Really it's a short off-season. I'll get a new boat and need to get it all set up."
How did you feel about Ike's performance today? "He fished well. He got 'lied' to with that first fish, the 3.7 he caught in the reeds. Never caught another fish in the reeds all day. That happens all the time."
In terms of volume of talking, please compare your boat mate today, me, vs. your other boat mate, Dave Mercer. Twenty percent more talking by Mercer, 90 percent more? "10x more by Mercer. Easily."