Whether you call him The Llama or The Amazing Feiderman, one title will forever be etched aside the name Seth Feider – 2021 Bassmaster Angler of the Year. Last week in New York, the Rapala Pro from Minnesota realized a lifelong dream to be recognized as Bassmaster’s best.
“It’s amazing,” Feider said on the Bassmaster stage after weighing the five-bass limit that cemented his win. “It’s a milestone. It’s a lifelong work for that. Ever since I was a little kid, just every minute fishing to get to this. It feels amazing.”
In his seventh year on the Bassmaster Elite Series, Feider won the Angler of the Year title with 787 points – 61 more than the runner-up. Fellow Rapala® Pros Brandon Palaniuk and Patrick Walters finished 3rd and 4th in the AOY race, with 708 and 668 points, respectively.
Feider thanked Rapala USA, which has sponsored him for more than a decade – “from the get-go,” as he put it – within seconds of securing his AOY win.
“Dan Quinn at Rapala, he’s awesome,” Feider said on the weigh-in stage. “… I love those guys. … Thanks for supporting me. We couldn’t do it without you.”
The admiration from Rapala is mutual.
“I can’t begin to explain the level of respect I have for Seth, he is flat-out awesome,” said Quinn, Rapala Director of Field Promotions. “Not only for his sixth sense to sniff out the biggest fish, but for being his own person and listening to his gut instincts in everything he does.”
“And Seth is always game to get together to work on new products, film content, do photo shoots or do anything to help us out,” Quinn continued.
Feider hooked and landed dozens of big bass this season on Rapala® lures, VMC® hooks and Sufix® line. Both VMC and Sufix are Rapala Respected Brands.
After practically re-inventing drop-shotting a few years back by arming his rigs with VMC Neko Hooks – and dramatically increasing his hook-up ratio – Feider this season enjoyed similar success drop-shotting VMC Finesse Neko Hooks on Lake Champlain and the St. Lawrence River.
“With a lot of finesse-style hooks, you end up skin-hooking the fish on the roof of the mouth,” Feider has explained previously. “The Neko Hook, it doesn’t skin-hook it ‘em – it punches solid meat every time. It’s a big confidence-booster for me when every fish you set into is pinned perfect.”
VMC® Heavy Duty Flippin’ Hooks gave Feider’s flippin’ baits bite and hold this season. When he placed third on Florida’s St. Johns River, for example, he caught all the 69 pounds, 6-ounces of bass he weighed flipping Texas-rigged soft-plastic baits rigged on a 3/0 VMC Heavy Duty Flippin’ Hook. He flipped with 30-pound Sufix® 832 Advanced Superline® which was connected to a leader of 17-pound Sufix® Advance® Fluorocarbon.
Feider locked up his AOY win last week on the second day of the final Elite Series tournament of the season, fishing for big smallmouth on New York’s St. Lawrence River. After weighing in a five-bass limit that weighed a combined 22 pounds on the first day of the tournament, which he entered as the AOY leader, Feider needed on the second day to catch only 11 pounds, 3 ounces of combined weight to clinch the AOY win. He blew that away, however, weighing 20 pounds, 3 ounces.
Moments later, he was handed the Angler of the Year trophy. Having bested 99 other Bassmaster Elite Series anglers for an entire season, the 37-year-old Minnesotan fulfilled a childhood dream of succeeding as a bass pro, competing against the heroes who inspired him.
“That’s all I ever wanted to do,” Feider said. “It was never really a reality until the last few years. Definitely I’ve spent every minute of every day trying to accomplish something like this.”
Quinn and his colleagues at Minnesota-based Rapala USA have believed in – and supported – Feider from the beginning.
“It has been nothing short of amazing to work with Seth for over a decade, starting out when he was the local hammer around the Twin Cities,” Quinn said. “I know how hard he worked to get into the Elites and stick with it after some tough times. I can’t wait to watch the rest his career unfold – he’s just getting started!”
With his crowning as AOY champ, Feider capped one of the most-consistent performances in Bassmaster history, having made the semi-final cut in all nine tournaments and placing in the top 10 four times. He never finished lower than 29th in a field of almost 100 of the world’s best bass anglers.
“For perspective,” bassmaster.com reported, “every AOY winner since 2017 had at least one finish of 49th or lower, and one … overcame a 105th-place finish … to win the title.”
Feider started his season strong with his best finish of the year, third place on Florida’s St. Johns River. He later placed 6th on the Sabine River and Lake Fork, in Texas.
“If I looked on paper, before the season started, I would’a told ‘ya St. Johns River and the Sabine River would have been my worst two tournments,” Feider said earlier this season. “They turned out to be two of my best two tournaments.”