ONAMIA, Minn. — Sometimes you have to fail before you can succeed. Nobody has exemplified that better than Seth Feider over the past month.
“I was hopeless,” said Feider, describing how he felt after finishing 85th in August at the Potomac River. “I thought I blew my season at the Potomac. I really did.”
After finishing 58th in Angler of the Year points in his rookie season on the Bassmaster Elite Series, Feider dropped to 69th place prior to the final regular season event of his second season.
“I didn’t know if I’d be fishing (the Elite Series) next year after the Potomac, but it worked out pretty well the last two weeks,” said Feider, who allowed himself a smile before adding, “I’m pretty sure I’m fishing next year.”
It doesn’t get anymore storybook than Feider’s season ending. The short version of the story is that he finished second last week on the Mississippi River at La Crosse, Wis., which allowed him to qualify in the 50th and final spot for the Toyota Angler of the Year Championship this week in his home state of Minnesota. Then he capped his career revival with a victory at his “home away from home” Sunday – Lake Mille Lacs.
“It was a blessing in disguise that I did so poorly at the Potomac,” Feider said. “I definitely went into La Crosse with a different attitude. I’m fishing now like I fish locally, like in the little 50-boat tournaments I jump in around here. You go try to cut everybody’s head off and you win the thing.”
Feider, 31, is a legend on the local bass circuits around his hometown of Bloomington, Minn. But until two weeks ago, he hadn’t been able to display those skills on the Elite Series.
“The first year-and-three-quarters I was fishing for 50th place on the Elite Series,” Feider said. “You can’t do that against these guys. It’s not going to end well. You fish for 50th and you’re going to end up 80th.
“I’m going to fish every tournament next year like I’ve got nothing to lose.”
It’s been both fascinating and thrilling to watch a guy rise from the ashes like Feider has over the past two weeks. No one knows that better than fellow Minnesota resident Al Lindner, a Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame member and one of the legends of the sport.
“All the sudden, he has that set of credentials that he needs to take him to the next level,” said Lindner, who was an interested observer of Sunday’s weigh-in. “You need that break. Every one of these touring pros – at some point in their career –were where Seth was three weeks ago. You’re considering hanging it up. Then all the sudden you get that break.
“Seth has gotten that break that will launch his career. That’s the beautiful part of this sport.”
When Feider saw that Mille Lacs Lake was on the Elite Series schedule this year, he spent three weeks further exploring the intricacies of the 130,000-acre lake that he already knew well. But he wouldn’t have made the top 50 AOY cut without that second-place finish at La Crosse.
“It’s been a special week,” Feider said. “I got here by the skin of my teeth.”
Feider made the most of the opportunity by posting a three-day total of 76 pounds, 5 ounces, topping second-place Brent Ehrler by over six pounds.
“I think it’s almost impossible to beat a guy like Seth out here,” said Ehrler.
Imagine that: All these accolades for a guy whose Elite Series career was on life support only two weeks ago. Gerald Swindle’s Angler of the Year title was a feel-good story Sunday. But Seth Feider’s resurrection is the feel-good story of the year.