Consistency — it’s what the Bassmaster Elite Series Angler of the Year title rewards. The guy who catches ‘em the best over the course of a season wins, but everyone who plays this game knows that this doesn’t just happen.
You must invest the diligence, but despite the cliche, stars must align.
While an angler cannot conjure such fortuitous alignment, he most certainly can choose to control the controllables; and few things matter as much as who he has in his life. During Wednesday night’s annual Night of Champions banquet, 2021 angler of the Year Seth Feider cemented this point.
Knowing Feider’s decidedly humble demeanor, it makes perfect sense that the defending AOY champ would devote the majority of his speech to thanking the people who’ve helped him reach a milestone few will every approach.
His Wife, Dayton: Feider described the mother of his two kids as “a damn wildcat” and “the secret to my success last year.” (Take that however you like. That’s what the man said.)
“I have no way to thank you enough,” Feider said to his wife. “You mean more to me than anything, you keep the wheels on the bus.”
His Parents: Pete and Anne Feider got a shout out, especially his dad (who Feider calls “Pedro”) for uh, well, that magic moment from which he originated.
“Way to go Pedro,” Feider said of his conception. “He can’t be here right now because his little squirrel dog had to have surgery, so he’s taking care of her right now.”
His Sponsors: Each of the 55 anglers competing in the the 2022 Academy Sports and Outdoors Bassmaster Classic Presented by HUK visits Lake Hartwell understands the importance of positively reflecting the companies with which they partner. Feider took a very personal approach, with particularly meaningful nods to two of his sponsors in attendance.
“The list of individuals who have had a hand in my Bassmaster career is really long; too long to put into words, but I share this AOY title with everyone who has supported me,” he said. “A couple of really supportive people are Dan Quinn of Rapala and Curt Arakawa of Daiwa. They were my first two main sponsors.
“A lot of people want to sponsor somebody who’s already done something. They took a chance on a kid who really hadn’t proven himself. I love you for it and I hope my boat (wrap) looks exactly the same as it does now ‘till the day I’m done (competing).”
His Inspiration: Bassmaster legend and 1987 AOY Denny Brauer was Feider’s role model and motivation.
“He was (a master) flipper and my absolute hero,” Feider said. “He made me want to be a Bassmaster.”
His Allegiance: Feider emphasized the pride and purpose he’s felt during his seven previous seasons as a Bassmaster Elite competitor.
“Every hero of mine has been a Bassmaster and I want to thank B.A.S.S. for giving me the platform that allows me to do this,” he said. “A couple years ago, I was faced with a career decision (to remain with B.A.S.S. or join another circuit).
“The best decision I’ve ever made in my entire life, except for marrying that woman right there (referencing his wife), was staying right here at B.A.S.S.”
Heavy on the heartstrings
Feider warned the audience on the front end that his speech would be “short-and-sweet” — the polar opposite of the 48-minute epic delivered by 2019 AOY Scott Canterbury. Feider parked this one in 5:15.
It was over before most had finished their cheese cake with raspberry puree, but like a world class roller coaster that packs a ton of fun into a brief slice of your life, Feider’s thematic thrill ride included brief cigarette smoke, quips of rye humor and a bathroom tissue allusion that, while way off-limits for a family publication, actually made a lot of sense. (You had to be there.)
Notably, Feider ended with a few remarkably candid thoughts reflecting the outbreak of damp eyes and tightened throats when Bassmaster Emcee Dave Mercer opened the evening’s presentation by cueing a moving tribute to three-time Angler of the Year, Arron Martens, who on Nov. 4, lost his battle with brain cancer.
“That video was difficult for all of us to watch,” Mercer said. “That’s because of the incredible life and the incredible legacy that Aaron Martens leaves in this industry.
“What you learned from (Martens) is live life — every single moment, because that dude did. All I have to say, is what he would have said if he was here: I love you bro.”
Feider echoed that sentiment and explained how a past AOY legend impacted his career: “He was probably one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met, super genuine and welcoming. I felt close to him, even though I had minimal time talking to him.”
From a fishing standpoints, Feider said he’s grateful for the influence Martens had on his perspective.
“It was the fine details; all the little tiny tweaks,” he said. “I’ve watched a lot of his (videos) and I’ve picked up on it.
“I never want to miss a bite or lose a fish and I think all the little stuff he did to his tackle — little tweaks with hooks and line and hook sets and rods — was to prevent that and to try to catch every fish that bites. I took a lot of that into what I do now.”
No doubt, attention to detail fuels the engine that drives consistency.
In 2021, no one did it better than Seth Feider. And in what turned out to be the shortest AOY speech in recent memory, he reminded us why he’ll be remembered as one of the most unique individuals to wear that title.