“La Crosse was a turning point for me,” he said. “It was the first time I fished with confidence and realized I could fish with these guys. The rest is history.”
It was an amazing turnaround. He won more than $100,000 in 2017, qualified for the Bassmaster Classic the next four years and locked down the Angler of the Year trophy last season.
In his mind, the AOY trophy affirms he’s the real deal.
“I won a couple of tournaments but nothing like an Elite Series [tournament] — a four-day event where everyone is trying,” he explains. “This is a huge milestone and means I’m in. You know what I mean? I’m really, really in.”
It’s not easy regaining that kind of confidence when you bottom out, but Feider says the difference was going back to fishing his own way, shutting off dock talk and fishing to win.
Bassmaster emcee Dave Mercer noticed another change.
“He went back to being Seth Feider,” Mercer insists, “instead of trying to be like other people or trying to conform and not be different. And he hasn’t NOT caught them since that day.”
He had four Top 10 finishes last year, and his worst finish was 29th on the Tennessee River. He pocketed $160,000 from tournaments in addition to the $100,000 for winning the AOY title. His career B.A.S.S. winnings are nearly $890,000, most of which has come in the past four years.
Feider says he also returned to his strengths as an angler, which include fishing shallow with a big rod in his hands. While most might assume Minnesota anglers grow up as finesse anglers, Feider did not.
In fact, his idol was Denny Brauer and remains so today. He modeled his style after Brauer and bought all of his signature products throughout those early years.
Oddly enough, he’s never met Brauer, a 17-time Bassmaster winner through the mid-1980s and early 2000s and former AOY and Classic champion.
“I’ve never met him and [I’m] not sure I want to,” Feider laments. “I’d be like a little schoolgirl and probably wouldn’t be able to talk. And I’m serious about that.”
Rapala spokesman Dan Quinn says he always knew Feider was a gifted angler, but his transformation as a well-rounded pro has been incredible.
“We knew of him before he left Minnesota to go pro,” Quinn recalls. “He was a great angler but was very quiet and lacked a lot of the off-the-water skills we need in someone to represent us.”
But Feider’s fishing skills were undeniable. Rapala gambled, and Quinn is thrilled with the results. The 37-year-old pro has become a great ambassador for the company and is relatable to both the serious and weekend bass angler.
“We’ve got some great pros on our team, but Seth is the best on-camera guy we have,” he says. “We shoot a lot of content, and he outperforms everyone. People believe him because he won’t tout anything unless he believes in it. He’s superloyal, has great product development insights, gives solid feedback and certainly doesn’t get wishy-washy with us. To see where he was in the beginning and how he has grown as a pro angler is truly phenomenal.”
Bassmaster TV host Mark Zona agrees wholeheartedly, noting that Feider is a righteous guy who “does things the right way.”
What does that mean?
Feider shrugs and explains it this way.
“I don’t call people for waypoints and I find my own fish,” he asserts. “And, of course, I won’t be a piece of crap on the water. I don’t pull in on anyone and don’t fish around people.
“I also don’t bend the rules — I don’t even read the rule book. People who pore over the rule book are cheaters. I know the size limit and when I have to check in. That’s it.”
Obviously, Feider isn’t your cookie-cutter kind of pro angler. His hair lies across his shoulders; his broom-like moustache drapes his upper lip; and he’s likely the most superstitious angler on tour.