Field notes: Lake Champlain

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Andy Crawford

Seth Feider could go down as one of the most consistent anglers ever to win the Bassmaster Angler of the Year title.

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — The run Minnesota pro Seth Feider is putting together toward a possible Bassmaster Angler of the Year title has featured many fascinating layers.

After placing fourth at last week’s Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Lake Champlain, Feider now has four Top 10s in eight events.

Notching Top 10 finishes in 50% of the events is amazing enough. But what might be even more impressive is that he hasn’t finished lower than 29th a single time — that was in the second event of the season on the Tennessee River out of Knoxville.

Compare that to other recent AOY winners.

In 2020, Texas pro Clark Wendlandt took home the title despite an 81st-place finish at Chickamauga during which he caught only one fish in two days. 

In 2019, Alabama angler Scott Canterbury finished 49th at Lake Fork — a tournament that still seems stuck in his craw when I talk to him even now.

Justin Lucas, in 2018, had a 73rd and a 48th in back-to-back events on Kentucky Lake and Lake Travis, and Brandon Palaniuk, in 2017, overcame a 105th-place debacle at Lake Okeechobee.

If Feider manages another Top 30 showing at this week’s Farmer’s Insurance Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River — something that seems very likely, considering his history there — he could go down as one of the most consistent anglers ever to win the title. 

Elsewhere in the field at a great Champlain tournament …

First place: Bryan Schmitt 

While it was Schmitt’s first Elilte Series victory, he had previously won a Basspro.com Bassmaster Open on Champlain in 2016. 

In those two tournaments, he went to bed five of the seven nights in first place. Moving forward, anybody who doesn’t add him to their fantasy team for a Champlain tournament is committing a gross oversight.

Second place: Keith Combs

Though Combs hasn’t won an event since 2017, it’s not like he hasn’t been close.

This was his second second-place finish in as many years — and since the start of the 2018 season, he’s finished inside the Top 10 nine times.

He now has 30 career Top 10 finishes with B.A.S.S.

Third place: Chris Zaldain 

With his third top five in five events, Zaldain has officially moved inside the Classic cut after struggling earlier this season. 

Champlain was his 24th career Top 10 with B.A.S.S.

Fifth place: Austin Felix

Felix was 8 ounces shy of equaling his best career finish with B.A.S.S.

He now has seven Top 10s and three top fives in only his second year with the Elite Series.

Sixth place: Destin DeMarion

This marks the best Elite Series finish for the second-year pro from Pennsylvania.

Seventh place: Patrick Walters

With Jason Christie slipping a bit, Walters did his best to keep at least a little pressure on Feider in the AOY race with an amazing 16th Top 10 finish in only 53 career events with B.A.S.S.

10th place: Justin Hamner

This is the highest career finish for the Elite Series rookie fishing in only his 19th event with B.A.S.S.

15th place: Carl Jocumsen

The Australian pro is finishing his season strong, having placed 15th or higher in three of the past four Elite Series events. 

16th place: Garrett Paquette 

This marks Paquette’s highest Elite Series finish since last year’s Northern Swing when he finished 14th at the St. Lawrence River and 29th at Champlain.